Be warned – Use your own electrical contractor?

Be warned – Use your own electrical contractor?

9:17 AM, 7th October 2020, About 10 months ago 25

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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



Comments

by CazT

14:36 PM, 7th October 2020, About 10 months ago

This was the report I had done very recently. When I queried it I was told if I used another electrician I would have to pay £180 + VAT for previous electrician’s time on site.....
The Electrician has attempted to complete the EICR Report, unfortunately the EICR has come back as unsatisfactory.

Please see the quotation submitted below to resolve the issues and remedial works required for the certificate to be classed as satisfactory.

Classifcation Codes:
C1 - Danger present. Risk of Injury. Immediate remedial action required.
C2 - Potentially dangerous. Urgent remedial action required.
C3 - Improvement recommended.
F1 - Further Investigation required without delay

Site Report:

C1 - Danger present. Risk of Injury. Immediate remedial action required.
Materials used for the construction of enclosures of electrical equipment shall comply with the resistance to heat and fire requirements in an appropriate product standard (421.1.6)
Consumer unit made of wood

C2 - Potentially Dangerous. Urgent Remedial Action Required:
Accessory damaged (421.1.3)
Broken lens back external light fitting
Quotation:

Replace consumer unit with x1 8 way consumer unit complete with rcbos.

Replace broken outside light fitting.

Total costs of works - £680 + VAT

OUCH!

by Jireh Homes

14:55 PM, 7th October 2020, About 10 months ago

Selection of a suitable electrician is a challenge. Utilising that engaged by a good Agent should provide a level of competence as the Agent sees lots of assessments and able to better judge if reasonable on service and cost, where-as a LL is more likely to be taking a "punt". However the comments that some Agents drive down the cost to them (which may be different to cost charged to LL) and thus the electrician looking to recover profit on the remedials is a real concern. Choice is thus the strength of trust between LL and Agent.

Cost for the EICR will vary with size of property (number of circuits) and local market conditions, but £120 - £180 is a reasonable range (plus VAT where charged).

Finally, check any C1 / C2 findings and challenge if not sure if valid, or cost appears excessive.

by Graham Bowcock

15:00 PM, 7th October 2020, About 10 months ago

Reply to the comment left by CazT at 07/10/2020 - 14:36
Was the fee of £180 for providing the NICEIC report in the first place? It's not unreasonable to pay for the report - we pay about £80 plus VAT (for 2 bed modern semis). They quote separately for any remedial work and we are free to get alternative quotes. We have got to know rough costs and are generally happy with what they quote.

by Ron H-W

15:30 PM, 7th October 2020, About 10 months ago

Reply to the comment left by CazT at 07/10/2020 - 14:36
You should be charged separately for the EICR and for any remedial work! Then they don't have you over a barrel in this manner.
On another note, I've NEVER heard of a "Consumer unit made of wood" -- bwah-ha-hah-ha!!!!! (Maybe a "backless" fusebox fixed to a wooden panel rather than to a panel of fire-resistant board?)

by Paul landlord

18:58 PM, 7th October 2020, About 10 months ago

Reply to the comment left by AlanR at 07/10/2020 - 11:37
I can guarantee they're not going to do the job properly at a hundred quid- unless they like working for peanuts of course.

You will generally find 3 types of inspector in my experience (and I am one of many years by the way)

1) someone knowledgeable and honest who will diligently do the job properly with all tge hours it requires- its not like a gas check where if they are there half an hour they been there ten minutes too long! They will do reasonable fixes whilst there included and give you a satisfactory EICR.

2) a nice cheapo EICR for 70 to 100 quid and pick holes in everything- some genuine faults and some not but whichever way charge you far more for remedials in the final analysis- foot in the door tactic im afraid- anyone surprised on this?

3) again cheapo. There an hour and get a pass without doing the job properly- you can hardly make a start in an hour! They make up all the test results- whose gonna check it, the chances are you are not going to get an incident anyway and tgen in 5 years time they long gone and someone new brings you issues you didnt know you had- you're def not going to get any recourse from a 5 year old poor inspection but if you like wasting time you can always try it!

Im No.1

I see many 2s and 3s in my business than 1s. But people like cheap!!

Unfortunately tho as in another comment someone made earlier paying the right money still doesn't guarantee you a good service. Very much pot luck.

The good in our industry hate the 2s and 3s as it gives us all a bad name- very similar maybe to all of us landlords who have demon names even tho we're quality housing providers and far from rogues? Food for thought maybe?

by Paul landlord

19:07 PM, 7th October 2020, About 10 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Ron H-W at 07/10/2020 - 15:30
Yes old BS3036 consumer units have been made out of wood and there are still plenty out there in service.

That would attract a C3 rating tho just the same as a plastic consumer unit would. The bigger problem with the 3036 board is tge fact it has no RCD protection andcif the supplementary bonding required in 'special locations' aren't in place thats going to be a C2.

Sorry to have to point out your lack of knowledge on fuseboards but people need the correct advice. Too much poor advice on these EICR threads

by Paul Shears

20:39 PM, 7th October 2020, About 10 months ago

C2 - Potentially dangerous. Urgent remedial action required.
C3 - Improvement recommended.
OK, here’s my experience:
1. C2 (Verbal) All sockets in the house have to be changed to switched sockets.
C2 (Written report) Some sockets in the kitchen need to be changed to switched sockets.
There were no un-switched sockets in the kitchen..........
2. C2 (Verbal & written) There is a (previously unnoticed) small hole in the side of the ceiling height fuse board which has never been used and must have been cut by the electrician who installed the new fuse board a couple of years back, but who did not then actually use it.
One fix is five minutes work gluing a patch over the hole with a plastic of the same type as the fuse board. But the "electrician” told me that he had no materials and that would be a recall fee plus the fee for the work itself.
3. C2 (Verbal & written report) Two cables enter the fuse board from underneath through tight holes.
The cable is round obviously and the holes are square.
So it would be possible to get a pin in the corner of the holes or fumes to escape if the fuse board is on fire...........
The cure, I was told, is a small amount of appropriate mastic around the part of the cable that enters the fuse board from underneath.
But the "electrician” told me that he had no materials and that would be a recall fee plus the fee for the work itself.
4. C2 (Verbal) The main trip takes 37ms to trip.
C2 (Written report) “The main trip takes 39ms to trip” And again on the same report “The main trip takes 39.5ms to trip”.
So a new trip was required which would then have to be tested. No chance of me going down the road to get one at the time then………..
Actual trip time is 3.9ms maximum.
Perhaps the “electrician” confused milliamps with milliseconds……..
5. C3 (Verbal & written report): “Some of the ceiling roses have no green or green/yellow sleeve on the earth wire”.
When I came to check this for myself I found that I had to use a rubber pipe grip (Boa constrictor – available in two sizes and priceless!) to take the ceiling rose covers off because they were stuck on with the ceiling emulsion.
So clearly the “electrician” had X-Ray vision. Ah that’s what I’m paying for! Now I appreciate the error of my ways!
Of the 13 ceiling roses that I examined only one had no earth sleeve which took a minute to rectify.
However I was advised by the “electrician” that if I fitted any earth sleeves, the whole system would require another EICR report as it is possible that I might not connect the earth correctly……..(I have two electrical HNC’s and decades of experience but I have not been on an EICR course and I don’t possess an EICR test meter, so what do I know?)
I was given 48 hours to get the remedial work done unless I employed the “electrician” to return and do the rectification work above.
After that an EICR failure certificate would be issued.
The “electrician” forgot to issue the full failure certificate until I sent him proof that the “remedial” work had been completed by another electrician a week later. He then refused to issue anything other than a full failure certificate.
So we have structural corruption sweeping the country instigated by government & yet another old boys club which never answers the most important question of all: Should some tradesmen ever have been engaged in any way in their line of work in the first place?
The second electrician that I employed showed me how the first one had made numerous errors and inconsistencies in the “draft” report that he sent to me once I had paid his invoice.
So, if you want to increase your confidence that whatever remedial work that is done, brings the installation to a safe and regulated standard condition, pay the “fee” for the first EICR visit and look elsewhere to get it sorted.
This is still no guarantee of course, but………
Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice, shame on me.

by Binks

10:13 AM, 8th October 2020, About 10 months ago

I really do feel for some of the landlords with such poor experiences. We’ve been happy with our electrician, £140 + VAT for the report which seems reasonable to me. Our flats were completely rewired in 2016 so as expected we only had a couple of C3 advisories (presume reflecting 2018 changes to regs).

by Andrew

16:43 PM, 10th October 2020, About 10 months ago

David

Couldnt agree more with you which is why I recorded this video to help landlords know exactly what to look for and understand the process. https://youtu.be/DFgK3uwkLwM
Property118 also ran a very popular article on the topic here https://www.property118.com/myth-busting-electrical-safety-installations-act-2020/

Hope that proves a useful resource

by steve gilbert

10:30 AM, 11th October 2020, About 10 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Paul landlord at 07/10/2020 - 19:07
Hi Paul, just checking in with your opinion as evidently you know what you are talking about but also, even amongst professionals, there seems to be a differing opinion on consumer units. You say that a plastic consumer unit is a C3 however the general consensus I am getting (these are from trusted guys who know their stuff) is that a plastic unit is a C3 unless it is in a fire corridor in which case a C2 and needs replacing. Considering nearly all single residencies hallways are a protected escape route and that many consumer units are in the cupboard under the stairs, then many plastic units will need replacing. The exception being if under stairs has half hour fire protection (double boarded) or a metal cupboard fitted around the unit.
Also with regards to RCD's . I have been led to believe that a split consumer unit, both RCD protected is required so a single RCD would be a C2
I am certainly not trying to contradict just seek your opinion. I am not qualified but have been in building a long time and know many decent electricians, many of whom are friends. It is not all bodge artists trying to rip off. There is genuine confusion amongst good guys
Where do you stand on above


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