Be warned – Use your own electrical contractor?

by Readers Question

9:17 AM, 7th October 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Be warned – Use your own electrical contractor?

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Be warned – Use your own electrical contractor?

A note which should be issued to all Landlords using a managing agent for their properties: You may be aware that new Electrical Regulations are coming into force for rental accommodation. Until now, it was only necessary to have a full electrical installation test every 10 years. Under the new regulations, this period is now reduced to 5 years and prior tests and reports seem to be null and void.

Please be aware that it is preferable for you to source your own electrical contractor who is suitably qualified and registered to carry out the inspection for you and produce the Report. Do not leave it to your managing agent to arrange testing via their preferred electrical contractor. Why not, you ask? Because agents are paying low rates for a survey and the only way a contractor can financially justify doing the survey is to make it up on the remedial work needed.

This means landlords can face huge bills for work that is not truly needed. Unless you are a suitably qualified electrical person, it will be difficult to challenge an inflated report. I have personally experienced such a report, but being a Chartered Electrical Engineer was able to raise queries to the extent that the contracting company withdrew it and cancelled the survey charge – with the result that my remedial bill dropped from £980 to £280 – so be warned.

David


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Comments

Happy Landlord

10:00 AM, 7th October 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Thank you David - you have just confirmed to me exactly the same situation - this time there was no full report just a list of what was perceived to be necessary. I have questioned this and asked for a second electrical contractor to carry out an inspection and provide a proper report with the classification details - incidentally the figures were also near enough identical. I have always had my doubts about gas safe it now seems the same crooked action is happening within the electrical industry, they need to get their house in order. No one wants an unsafe installation in any property - I would always err on the safe side but once again it looks as though landlords are considered a soft touch aided and abetted by this government. It looks like rip of Britain strikes again something we all need to be aware of.

LaLo

10:04 AM, 7th October 2020
About 2 weeks ago

There are not many contractors our way the one I chose charged £500 each job, is this about right?

Ron H-W

10:07 AM, 7th October 2020
About 2 weeks ago

That's an important point, David.
But, unless you've recently had some work done and are satisfied with the person, HOW would you go about selecting an appropriate person to do the EICR?
Because I'm worried that even somebody who is not undercharging ("pitching low") for the certificate might also specify unnecessary work and/or "upgrade" a C3 to a C2.
It used to be that "you get what you pay for", but how would Joe Public know whether something is indeed quality or simply cheapo rubbish with a big mark-up? (This applies to goods as well as services.)

graham.bowcock@oakwoodvaluations.co.uk

10:10 AM, 7th October 2020
About 2 weeks ago

I may be going against the grain here, but we get very few issues raised by our gas and electrical contractors. In the main our work is done by a medium sized firm (maybe 100 staff) who do both gas and electrical tests. Initial fees are reasonable, but I'm sure they don't go looking for extra work. Where remedial work is noted, we would get a second quote.

If an agent is complicit in a landlord not getting value for money then the first port of call should be the agent. Whilst agents are not experts, a good one should have enough nous to spot a rip off.

Julie Dawson

10:26 AM, 7th October 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by LaLo at 07/10/2020 - 10:04
My electrical contractor has worked for me for years and is doing the certificates for £100 each, most need no remedial work, he's glad for the work and volume i give him, so he's not ripping me off ... some people are taking the mick i think !!!

Paul Shears

10:31 AM, 7th October 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by LaLo at 07/10/2020 - 10:04
No it most certainly is not!!!!!!
£150 is more like it.

Paul Shears

10:35 AM, 7th October 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Ron H-W at 07/10/2020 - 10:07You don't unless you acquire the skills yourself! This is another ill conceived piece of incompetence by central government that has created an instant national scam with electricians & agents taking a cut and the landlord picking up the tab. Nobody is policing this mess in practice. It is wide open to fraud.
My own recent experience totally reinforces this. The contractor was licenced and legal and he should never have been trained in the first place.
Never use the same contractor who does the EICR to do the supposedly required remedial work and what is more, this should be totally banned. This won't solve the inherent structural fraud, but it will help to some extent. But the landlord will still suffer. Look for any conflict of interest such as a connection between the EICR issuer and the remedial electrician.

Paul Shears

10:42 AM, 7th October 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by at 07/10/2020 - 10:10
My agent totally agrees (Off the record) that this mess is structurally fraudulent. As he put it himself, "It really cannot be the case that absolutely every EICR test that is conducted legitimately fails." But that is exactly what he finds.

Paul Shears

10:42 AM, 7th October 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Julie Dawson at 07/10/2020 - 10:26You got lucky. After decades of employing countless contractors, I have no idea how to find good people. I just get lucky from time to time. Most of the useless ones are oblivious of the fact that they should never have received whatever little training that they have.

AlanR

11:37 AM, 7th October 2020
About 2 weeks ago

For an EICR you should employ an electrician (competent person) who is registered with a government-approved trade association such as the National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers (NAPIT) or the NICEIC. There may be other approved associations. In the case of NAPIT, the required competency is EIS. Plenty of information on the NAPIT and NICEIC websites. Fees for the EICR will depend on the number of circuits to be tested. For a 3 bed terraced house (NE England) I was charged £230 for up to 10 circuits by a NAPIT registered electrician. There was £70 of remedial C3 items. Anyone who tells you he/she can do the job for £100 is probably not going to do the job properly.

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