Discuss Who recommends new CU if BS1306 fusebox found? in the Industrial Electrician Talk area at ElectriciansForums.net

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andy8758

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:eek: Went to quote for a customer who wanted a new CU. They had a BS1306 fusewire fuse box and had had a new water heater installed a few months ago (16th Wiring compliant). Seems the sparks had upgraded the bonding then told the customer they must have a new consumer unit. I could not understand why and told customer so. They had no plans for new wiring/circuits etc. and had no problems with existing installation. It sounded a lot like a bit of a rip-off. Any thoughts about that from 'out there'?
 
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mdshunk

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It sounded a lot like a bit of a rip-off. Any thoughts about that from 'out there'?
Generally, you have to tread carefully before you accuse another tradesman of a ripoff. What was actually said, and what the customer thought they were being told are often two completely different things. It may have been more of an explanation of the benefits of upgrading, and some of the safety pitfalls of keeping the existing equipment. I try to "sell" customers on the benefits of upgrading every chance I get, but I certainly don't lie to them or try to rip them off. In the end, it's their decision. Just be careful of what you might be accusing the guy you never spoke with of having done. What that last spark did I would just call "business". I see nothing wrong with trying to sell someone on the benefits of upgraded equipment, even if the benefits are only slight. Some people just want the latest, greatest, and safest. Farbeit for me to determine that what they have will be fine for them without having ever asked. It might be adequate and safe, but maybe they want something better? Never know unless you ask.
 
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andy8758

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  • #3
Just be careful of what you might be accusing the guy you never spoke with of having done. What that last spark did I would just call "business". I see nothing wrong with trying to sell someone on the benefits of upgraded equipment, even if the benefits are only slight.
Fair point about making accusations - I did carefully go through the customers needs and requirments before making my comment about them not really needing an upgrade. I did see a thread here recently where another sparky expressed horror that BS1306 had survived into the 17th Wiring Regs. I also accept that latest CU's are safer to the customer and less of a fire risk - but if it has never gone wrong, is in good condition and effective earthing is in place then I let the customer make the decision.
 
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greekislandlover

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  • #4
Sounds like good advice to me. The purpose of the fuse it to protect the cables against overload - not the customer from any danger. So advising the customer that it is in their interests to have some protection was sound advice IMHO.
 
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EasyFox

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  • #5
No but I do point out the benefits of MCB's / rcd's to customers.

After all why change something that complies with the regs albeit when it was first installed.............................unless you are changing circuits of course.
 
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PAUL M

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  • #6
I did see a thread here recently where another sparky expressed horror that BS1306 had survived into the 17th Wiring Regs.
:) THAT WOULD BE ME SIR:)
 
C

Carter

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  • #7
Safety is always a difficult sell but as 'the professional party' in the discussion I feel I have a duty at least to try. Joe Punter doesn't know why an RCD/RCBO is safer, no reason why he should, he's just heard the term associated with electrical safety but can't make the mental connection past "what's in it for me?"

So I take a bit of time to tell 'em. I give them a quick walk through of the principle of operation in dead simple laymans terms along the lines of....

The medically accepted upper limit of survivability when a sustained (a few seconds qualifies as sustained) electric current passes through the cardiac muscle is around 50mA which is about a tenth of the current drawn by that 100W light bulb above you. That's the point at which the survival graph starts to tip sharply downwards OK?
If you get hold of a live conductor the smallest fuse in your consumer unit won't even think about tripping until 10 amps or more is flowing through you. If you get thrown clear then you are lucky, if not then you are there until found. The fuse is there to protect the wiring and accessories NOT YOU or your nipper sticking bits of his trashed toy cars into sockets! (optional)

then a bit of explanatory...

An RCD looks at the current flowing down the live and returning up the neutral, if those are different by anything over 30mA and immediately trips the supply to that wire you got hold of and it will do it within 40mS.

Then chuck in a bit about low level Earth faults which normal fuses or breakers simply cannot 'see' but nevetheless are a cause of fire and you can see their attitude beginning to change. The 50 thousandths! of an amp explanation always comes as a surprise to them but is nevertheless true and can't be ignored.

If they are intent on a move in the near future then of course the 'upgrading = sellability' is a natural incentive.
 
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4x4 mark

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  • #8
there is also the chance that some previous owner of the house could have stuck 30amp wire in a 6amp carrier, so i always recommend a change of board though i do tell people its not "thou shall have a new board and like it" but my personnal recommendation. It was one of the first jobs i did when i moved house.
 
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wayne

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  • #9
installing rewirables has been stopped (533.1.1)and a code 4 should be used on pirs
 
A

andy8758

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Thanks to all for their opinions. My primary purpose with this post was to generate discussion on this point. I am with 4x4 Mark - I would change my own home, but then cost is not a problem for me, and I only have to pay for the parts. But for the older generation (e.g. my parents) the cost is difficult to justify (on a pension) and I do not want to pressurise people into costly changes unless it is essential.
 

ian.settle1

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Mentor
Arms
installing rewirables has been stopped (533.1.1)and a code 4 should be used on pirs
Wayne are you reading a different Reg as the above Reg does not say anything about rewirebles cannot be used.

As in Appendix 4 section 5.1.1 states you must use the derating factor of 0.725 for BS3036 fuses.
 
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jimes

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  • #12
went to price today for some mains smoke alarms in a b&b and the house had an old metal board with at least retrofit mcb's and an old type of rcd with the big yellow test button, they also had an electric shower. Does this mean as im adding new circuit should i change the cu? I recommended it but its a bit of a grey area i think. What if there had been no rcd? Gas was bonded but not water,never sure of what the minimum you have to upgrade before doing any work?
 
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