Thank you for your replies guys.
Like you, I asked myself why? and triple checked everything, so swapped them back over.
As there is now no C1 and no place to record "rectified revered tails at board". Is there any need or requirement to report this to, either, whichever company may have made the mistake, The landlord, The tennant, or any official body?
Realistically no normal equipment should be damaged by a L-N swap itself, as it either implies some failing in the insulation or it has some very unusual functional earth feature (like some RCBOs). That is the reason for doing IR testing L+N to E as all "live" conductors should be adequately separated from the CPC & Earth.
Doing a global IR check (so supply isolated, and L+N for all to E) would reveal odd functional earths as a low R (typically RCBO's functional earths look like couple 100k ohm-ish)
But you do raise an important point that all socket outlets, etc, ought to be checked with one of those plug-testers just to make sure that somebody in the past did not "fix" the reversed polarity at the CU by also swapping at some accessories.
I suspect if it came down to some claim for damages, you would have a very strong case against whoever installed the boiler, etc, in the first place as they broke the rules by installing against accepted electrical practices (i.e. failing to report or correct a C1 fault, and knowingly hiding it by a deliberate incorrect installation of the socket/FCU).
I carry out EICRs for quite a few agents, Dexters Group being one.
I’ve been implicitly told by them NOT to do anything without permission of the landlord/owner.
Obviously this plays on the mind and I can only go as far turn off the main switch, which we all know will be turned on by the time I leave.
The responsibility for the safety of the installation is then passed to the landlord/agent as I’ve informed them of the issue. If they don’t want to fix it, I can’t forcibly do it.
I have done this before adding a circuit on to a fuseboard that I found in the same situation, and had the RCD trip due to 2 x hard wired appliances with reversed polarity.
Then spent a couple of hours emptying out kitchen cupboards looking for impossible to reach isolators so I could rectify this, for which I didn’t get paid for and had to cancel my next job because of.
Morally it’s the right thing to do of course, but not as simple as just swap it over in my opinion.
Indeed. I've heard stories of things that went bang or stopped working when the polarity was reversed, and the likely explanation was that they already had an undiscovered L-E fault that had been lying low as an N-E fault. Other than the unusual case of the RCBO, I cannot think of any piece of single-phase equipment that will malfunction or be damaged by reversed AC polarity, even other things with functional earths.
Polarity means totally different things for AC and DC. On DC, it refers to which way the electrons go round a circuit, and reversing that will destroy most electronics or at least stop them working. But on AC, polarity refers to which of the two wires is earthed and if all the live parts of the equipment are insulated from earth as they normally should be, it will function equally well regardless of which supply lead is earthed (although there may be safety implications from SP fusing and switching).
In the first half of the 20th century, with 3-wire DC mains, the significance of the different meanings of polarity was more apparent. With the middle wire earthed and thus neutral, half the properties with a 2-wire service had a positive live and half had a negative live (live was then the correct term for what we now call line.) In some situations what mattered was live / neutral, e.g. all light switches needed to be in the live. In other situations the live / neutral polarity didn't matter but the positive / negative did. e.g. with AC/DC radios and TVs that used half-wave rectified mains as HT. If you plugged in your radio and the valve heaters glowed, but there was no sound, you would reverse the 2-pin connector on the back of the set. This allowed the polarity to be put right without rewiring the plug (if it was 3-pin.)
Would not touch it until I had instructions from the owner/landlord, if I did not know them then a duplicate book with the instruction written out and signed by them prior to any work being carried out.
It's relatively early days for the new law, but there is provision in it for the local housing authority to serve a remedial notice, or in the case of urgent remedial action being required by the most recent EICR they can in theory agree directly with tenants for an authorised person to carry out the urgent remedial action.
As things stand I cannot see how this can ever really be triggered though, unless there is an agent involved and they are chasing up (which I know some do, as I get phone calls asking if I've done the remedials yet!)
But in the case of a private landlord who directly rents, who's to know if a C1 gets dealt with?
I do wonder whether when the dust settles and the shortcomings are established and agreed the CP scams will eventually require C1's not immediately dealt with to be reported directly to the housing authority.