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I have recently been to a property and for love nor money couldnt find the consumer unit in the 1 bed flat. I eventually found out that it is in the cellar below the shop next door.
Now my question is about the location of said unit.
I have looked into it briefly and there doesn't seem to be anything that says you have to have access to it but need adequate access at the unit for maintenance etc.
The landlord doesn't want to spend money (they never do) but I said it would be much better to have the cu accessible form inside the 1 bed flat but would mean increasing the size of the cable to 35mm (current guess without calculating) with the appropriate protective devices and running it up to the flat roughly 10m. Obviously keeping the unit where it is currently is cheaper.
Can anyone offer any advice on what they would do in this situation and maybe something in the regs to back it up?

Any help is much appreciated. Just something I've never come across before.
 
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  • #3
Why 35mm2 for a 1 bed flat?!
Not calculated yet but the tails to the consumer unit will have to be bigger as they will have to run about 10m or so to the consumer unit 25mm if its 3m or less.... so 35mm was just a guess for now
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Why 35mm2 for a 1 bed flat?!
Sorry maybe it wasn't clear I mean the tails from the meter to the consumer unit will have to be upped in size
 

SJD

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I'd be quite surprised if you need 35mm2 for a 1-bed flat, unless perhaps it is a dedicated cannabis farm ....

In fact depending on what is installed, you might not even need 25m2 - do you have a list of circuits or photo of this hidden consumer unit?
 

snowhead

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Presumably the same Landlord owns the Flat, Shop and Cellar?

What reason were you there, new circuit, repair or??
Is the access to the Flat common with the Shop / Cellar?
Is it metered separately from the shop?
What route do the cables follow to get to the Flat, do they pass through the shop?
Would the "New tails" follow the same route?
Is the C.U old or new?
 

davesparks

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Not calculated yet but the tails to the consumer unit will have to be bigger as they will have to run about 10m or so to the consumer unit 25mm if its 3m or less.... so 35mm was just a guess for now
I think you have misunderstood the regulations here. The meter tails must be no longer than 3m as this is the maximum length that the DNO allow.
If more than 3m is required then you must install a distribution circuit (submain) to feed the CU, you would normally install a switchfuse to feed the distribution circuit.

For a 1 bed flat the distribution circuit could almost certainly be fused at 45A without a problem, though you might choose to install 63A to give some headroom and a better chance of discrimination.

Installing larger tails does not negate the 3m limit on the length of the meter tails.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #7
I'd be quite surprised if you need 35mm2 for a 1-bed flat, unless perhaps it is a dedicated cannabis farm ....

In fact depending on what is installed, you might not even need 25m2 - do you have a list of circuits or photo of this hidden consumer unit?
Off memory there was shower, cooker, ring main, lights and was upgrading the cu and installing smokes.. its more would you guys leave it down there or would you move it up into the flat?
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Presumably the same Landlord owns the Flat, Shop and Cellar?

What reason were you there, new circuit, repair or??
Is the access to the Flat common with the Shop / Cellar?
Is it metered separately from the shop?
What route do the cables follow to get to the Flat, do they pass through the shop?
Would the "New tails" follow the same route?
Is the C.U old or new?
There for a unit up-grade and smoke alarm installation
It is owned by the same landlord but the shop tenants have the only access to the cellar theres no way to get there if its shut.
2 meters 1 for everything including the flat and one for the flat alone
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I think you have misunderstood the regulations here. The meter tails must be no longer than 3m as this is the maximum length that the DNO allow.
If more than 3m is required then you must install a distribution circuit (submain) to feed the CU, you would normally install a switchfuse to feed the distribution circuit.

For a 1 bed flat the distribution circuit could almost certainly be fused at 45A without a problem, though you might choose to install 63A to give some headroom and a better chance of discrimination.

Installing larger tails does not negate the 3m limit on the length of the meter tails.
Yea possibly I know that there is a 3m maximum regardlessand would need its own protective device but was under the impression that you may have to increase cable size thats all.
Not done any calculations yet for the job but there is a shower, cooker, ring main, lights and going to be smoke alarms
 
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mattg4321

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I’d just get an experienced electrician in if I were you. Sounds like it’s going to be a disaster otherwise.
 

FatAlan

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Mr Nagy has recently put a YouTube vlog re a switched fuse in shop below and running 16mm tails up to DB in flat.
 

davesparks

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Off memory there was shower, cooker, ring main, lights and was upgrading the cu and installing smokes.. its more would you guys leave it down there or would you move it up into the flat?
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There for a unit up-grade and smoke alarm installation
It is owned by the same landlord but the shop tenants have the only access to the cellar theres no way to get there if its shut.
2 meters 1 for everything including the flat and one for the flat alone
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Yea possibly I know that there is a 3m maximum regardlessand would need its own protective device but was under the impression that you may have to increase cable size thats all.
Not done any calculations yet for the job but there is a shower, cooker, ring main, lights and going to be smoke alarms
If discuss it with the customer and establish a sensible soloution befir estarting any work. In my opinion it should be accessible to the flat and if the customer refuses to address this issue I would probably turn down the work.

Your statement "but was under the impression that you may have to increase cable size thats all" is a little worrying if you are carrying out electrical work, you should surely understand how to calculate cable size and know that just going up a size is not a compliant soloution to anything.
 
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  • #11
If discuss it with the customer and establish a sensible soloution befir estarting any work. In my opinion it should be accessible to the flat and if the customer refuses to address this issue I would probably turn down the work.

Your statement "but was under the impression that you may have to increase cable size thats all" is a little worrying if you are carrying out electrical work, you should surely understand how to calculate cable size and know that just going up a size is not a compliant soloution to anything.
As I said at least 3 times before I haven't calculated anything yet.. i was under the impression that if it has been calculated previously to 25mm for example (I haven't seen the actual size of tails yet) then the chances are it would need increasing in size and a protective device within the 3m limit too... maybe I shouldn't be so vague on here... i only wanted to ask what other people would do in the situation. I agree with you if they don't want to move it into the flat then turn it down... he has actually asked me today how much it would be for an EICR instead because he now wants to sell due to all the problems lol providing everything else is OK... (which it won't be) I assume location of consumer unit would be a c3??
 

pc1966

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I assume location of consumer unit would be a c3??
That is an interesting point!

Regulation 462.1 requires an installation to a means of isolation, and I would assume that has to be accessible by the owner or occupier of the installed location. Not being able to isolate the supply if an obvious fault is detected (or simply for any repair work) is looking like C2 territory to me.

Ladies and gentlemen, discuss...
 

mattg4321

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As I said at least 3 times before I haven't calculated anything yet.. i was under the impression that if it has been calculated previously to 25mm for example (I haven't seen the actual size of tails yet) then the chances are it would need increasing in size and a protective device within the 3m limit too... maybe I shouldn't be so vague on here... i only wanted to ask what other people would do in the situation. I agree with you if they don't want to move it into the flat then turn it down... he has actually asked me today how much it would be for an EICR instead because he now wants to sell due to all the problems lol providing everything else is OK... (which it won't be) I assume location of consumer unit would be a c3??
How often have you ever seen 35mm2 cable in a domestic property, let alone a 1 bedroom flat?!
 

magnoliafan89

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I would be thinking what if in an emergency you needed to isolate something it would be hard. Access would therefore be an issue surely?.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #15
How often have you ever seen 35mm2 cable in a domestic property, let alone a 1 bedroom flat?!
Seriously... i have said numerous times i haven't seen it... 25mm was an example not job specific. I've not calculated anything yet
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I would be thinking what if in an emergency you needed to isolate something it would be hard. Access would therefore be an issue surely?.
That was what I thought but according to niceic its acceptable to be inaccessible... surely if this is the case its just very bad practice
 
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  • #17
That is an interesting point!

Regulation 462.1 requires an installation to a means of isolation, and I would assume that has to be accessible by the owner or occupier of the installed location. Not being able to isolate the supply if an obvious fault is detected (or simply for any repair work) is looking like C2 territory to me.

Ladies and gentlemen, discuss...
Yea see thats what I thought... it has to have the isolation, but doesn't say it has to be accessible... its just adequate accessibility at the unit not getting to the unit... but surely if you can't access it then you can't isolate so does it class as isolation if you can't physically do it 🤣
I dont get "phased" easily with these jobs i like to get them done properly and sleep at night knowing that its safe. Id be worrying that if I turned it down then he will get diy dave sto sign it off
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Ok what calculations are you thinking of doing? Maybe we can help you check them.
Im quite capable dont worry but as of today in not sure whether I'm going to need too because I now don't know what the landlord wants to do
 
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davesparks

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i was under the impression that if it has been calculated previously to 25mm for example (I haven't seen the actual size of tails yet) then the chances are it would need increasing in size

I agree with you if they don't want to move it into the flat then turn it down.

I assume location of consumer unit would be a c3??
Why would it need increasing in size? I would say the chances are that it doesn't need increasing in size, in fact I would say there is a very high chance that if you do the calculations correctly the flat would need a smaller supply and cable size th a 25mm.

I did not say that if they don't want to move it I wouldn't do the job. I said that it should be accessible to the flat and if the customer refuses to address this issue I would refuse the job. Giving the flat a key to gain access would be addressing the issue.

Don't assume codes. Location of the consumer unit wouldn't be any code as far as I am concerned.
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How often have you ever seen 35mm2 cable in a domestic property, let alone a 1 bedroom flat?!
Not very often, but that is completely irrelevant. It doesn't matter how many times you have seen a particular cable size in an installation before, that doesn't have any bearing on the calculations.

I specified a 2x 95mm in parallel for a 100A supply not very long ago, I'd never seen that before but it was what I had calculated.
 

pc1966

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Location of the consumer unit wouldn't be any code as far as I am concerned.
What about access to it?

Regulation 462.1 requires an installation to a means of isolation. I would argue that an "installation" would be within the extent of ownership/occupation, so somehow that has to be in an area that the flat occupier has legal physical access to at any time necessary, otherwise it is a safety issue.
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Of course I am assuming in the OP's statement:

I eventually found out that it is in the cellar below the shop next door.

That access to this cellar is not provided or guaranteed to the flat occupier. I may be wrong, but that would be a rather odd arrangement from the point of view of the shop owner/occupier!
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I wonder if the IET will introduce a CU sticker with "Beware of the leopard" for this sort of situation?
 
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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #20
Why would it need increasing in size? I would say the chances are that it doesn't need increasing in size, in fact I would say there is a very high chance that if you do the calculations correctly the flat would need a smaller supply and cable size th a 25mm.

I did not say that if they don't want to move it I wouldn't do the job. I said that it should be accessible to the flat and if the customer refuses to address this issue I would refuse the job. Giving the flat a key to gain access would be addressing the issue.

Don't assume codes. Location of the consumer unit wouldn't be any code as far as I am concerned.
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Not very often, but that is completely irrelevant. It doesn't matter how many times you have seen a particular cable size in an installation before, that doesn't have any bearing on the calculations.

I specified a 2x 95mm in parallel for a 100A supply not very long ago, I'd never seen that before but it was what I had calculated.
Again what annoys me on here is that people don't read all the replies what I said was that the 25mm was an example ffs i haven't done anything yet what I said was IF they were 25mm IF that means they have a reason to be that size and would of been calculated as such so theoretically without actually calculating anything you would initially think cablw size would go up... again not calculated anything yet... and ill say it again I have not calculated anything yet.

What was your reasoning for 95mm cables on a 100A fuse? I can't even think of a situation where that is necessary... might help me in the future if I come across a similar situation... i also wasnt assuming codes. 1 the tennant will not be allowed a key to the shop... thats ridiculous therefore would it make the code c2 or c3? as you would have no means of isolation without access to the shop which isnt always going to happen... i think there's alot of grey area here and that's the problem
 

richy3333

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Regardless of the Regs, common sense dictates that there should be a means of isolation in the flat at the very least. Say, if it was midnight on Saturday and the shower catches fire how are the electrics isolated? Put that question to the landlord?
 
Regardless of the Regs, common sense dictates that there should be a means of isolation in the flat at the very least. Say, if it was midnight on Saturday and the shower catches fire how are the electrics isolated? Put that question to the landlord?
It would obviously make sense to have isolation in the flat, but common sense and electrical regs don't always go together as we know.

In your shower situation, hopefully the shower would have an isolator (as required by regs) - Hopefully that isn't in the cellar too! :oops: .

If the property is sold separately to the shop though in the future, the CU might become impossible to access so obviously that is an issue that really should be addressed, though which regulation it would fall under might be an interesting discussion.

Might be more sensible to get the landlord to contact the DNO and see if the service head can be moved into the flat? Though I doubt they'd do that FOC.
 

magnoliafan89

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It would obviously make sense to have isolation in the flat, but common sense and electrical regs don't always go together as we know.

In your shower situation, hopefully the shower would have an isolator (as required by regs) - Hopefully that isn't in the cellar too! :oops: .

If the property is sold separately to the shop though in the future, the CU might become impossible to access so obviously that is an issue that really should be addressed, though which regulation it would fall under might be an interesting discussion.

Might be more sensible to get the landlord to contact the DNO and see if the service head can be moved into the flat? Though I doubt they'd do that FOC.
What if it was the shower switch though?
 
Regardless of the Regs, common sense dictates that there should be a means of isolation in the flat at the very least. Say, if it was midnight on Saturday and the shower catches fire how are the electrics isolated? Put that question to the landlord?
Shower catches fire, get out don't worry about isolation. It isn't ideal but I don't see a problem.
 
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  • #26
Seems like everyone is in the same boat as me... not 100% sure lol

I'm going to advise him to move the consimer unit up to the flat that way at least it can be accessed by the occupant.

See what happens because this is obviously the more expensive option but the better one in my opinion

Thanks everyone
 
Have a look at the memorandum of guidance on the electricity at work regulations. Regulation 12 requires a means of cutting off the supply. Paragraph 187 of the memorandum requires it to be in a suitable location.
 
Have a look at the memorandum of guidance on the electricity at work regulations. Regulation 12 requires a means of cutting off the supply. Paragraph 187 of the memorandum requires it to be in a suitable location.
Does that apply to dwellings.
 

pc1966

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The problem with wiring regulations, etc, is they tend not to be written assuming the most advanced muppetery possible. Same for the EICR codes, they cover what is typically seen but not everything.

As mentioned, here is the HSE guidance:

Pages 33-35 cover this in sufficient detail to allow a C2 code backed up not only by the IET regulations (which are not statutory), but the also by the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 (which really are "the law").
 
The problem with wiring regulations, etc, is they tend not to be written assuming the most advanced muppetery possible. Same for the EICR codes, they cover what is typically seen but not everything.

As mentioned, here is the HSE guidance:

Pages 33-35 cover this in sufficient detail to allow a C2 code backed up not only by the IET regulations (which are not statutory), but the also by the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 (which really are "the law").
Does that apply to a dwelling.
 
I don't know.

But presumably it applies to the shop as a place of work, and by extension to access for the isolation by those with supplies derived from it.
The shop yes but not the dwelling. As an aside if the shop shares the same supply as the dwelling then Part P applies to works in the shop.
 

davesparks

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What was your reasoning for 95mm cables on a 100A fuse? I can't even think of a situation where that is necessary... might help me in the future if I come across a similar situation.
The large size was required due to being a long distance and having a load with a bit of a heavy inrush, and not being overly tolerant of a big voltage drop.

I carried out the calculations and assessed the practicalities and came to the conclusion that the best solution was 2x95mm in parallel.
The voltage drop dictated a large cable size, I think for a single cable it would have needed to be either 150 or 185, but that would have been very awkward to work with, and more expensive than the 2x95mm option.
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Regardless of the Regs, common sense dictates that there should be a means of isolation in the flat at the very least. Say, if it was midnight on Saturday and the shower catches fire how are the electrics isolated? Put that question to the landlord?
You get the hell out of the building and phone the fire brigade.
If it is on fire then turning the power off is not the priority!
 
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