Does it have to be a metal fuse box now?

by david porter

13:15 PM, 16th July 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Does it have to be a metal fuse box now?

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Does it have to be a metal fuse box now?

I am being told that to comply with new electrical regulations we need a certificate of fitness. I am also being told that the plastic fuse box/consumer unit needs to be replaced with something of non-combustible construction?

This means made of metal!

We have spent the last 50 years taking out metal fuse boxes because they are conductors of electricity. They have been replaced with plastic.
Now we are to take the plastic ones out and replace them with metal?

I am wondering if I am being told a load of nonsense?

Please can you assist?

David



Comments

Appcon

15:48 PM, 19th July 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Rennie at 18/07/2020 - 10:36
As a fully qualified electrical inspector of 16 years, electrical apprentice mentor, and a landlord, I feel that there is a lot of confusion surrounding the coding on DEICR Domestic electrical installation condition reporting, that can be avoided.

If we look at the electrical safety first website Guidance note 4 it gives clear advice and guidance for both Inspectors and clients. This document has been compiled by all the governing bodies associated with electrical safety and compliance.
https://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/

Generally a correctly fitted and maintained plastic consumer unit is not an issue regarding electrical safety. However, it does pose a greater risk, surrounding fire safety.
Under the afore mention document (Electrical safety first, guidance note 4 best practice guide). It states that a code of C3 (improvement recommended) should be attributed to that observation unless it's showing signs of thermal damage/poor connections and is within a sole route of escape, then a code C2 will apply.

Code C3, Presence of a consumer unit or similar switchgear made from combustible material (e.g. plastic) that is not inside a non- combustible enclosure and which is:
Located under a wooden staircase, or
within a sole route of escape from the premises
(Note: If unsatisfactory connections are found during the inspection, this would warrant a code C2 classification to be recorded)

Of cause, if the improvements are made for example replacing damaged parts then this code will reduce back to a code C3, any remedial work will need to be certificated to satisfy the requirement of the DEICR.

The inspector may notice more issues with the consumer unit, such as Poor IP (ingress protection) rating due to holes in the encloser or unused opening way/cable entries. These would also warrant coding (large holes C2), again these can be rectified.

The law is a bit ambiguous surrounding who can carry out these inspections. In Fact, it says a qualified and competent person. This has opened the door to anyone that says they are competent to conduct inspections. So a lot of companies and sole traders that are advertising cheap DEICR. For a full inspection on a single-bedroom property, it should take between 2.5 to 3.5 hours, unless C1 issues are found such as access to live parts. The inspector should notify the duty holder and then rectify the issue before continuing the inspection.

However, not all registered electricians are trained in inspection and testing, nor are they recognised by their governing bodies to carry them out.
A greater level of knowledge qualifications and experience is needed and additional professional liability insurance.
More annoyingly it is the Landlords responsibility to check the competency of the inspector. if they employ a person that is unqualified or not competent then it's the landlord that will be held liable. So you could find a contractor from a recognised scheme such as NAPIT, NICEIC or ELECSA that is registered but competent to carry inspection in the private rented sector.

To counter this problem the Government has extended its Competent persons scheme to include Inspection within the private rented sector.
To be on the scheme the elctrical contactor has been accessed by their governing body to meet the requirements for competency and holds a minimum of £250,000 professtional libilty insurance.
Details for the scheme can be found on https://www.electricalcompetentperson.co.uk/

If you choose one of the contractors from this scheme then you can be satisfied that you have complied regarding the competency of your chosen contractor and that they themselves have been audited yearly

Secondly,
If you disagree or feel that the inspector is mistaken in their finding you can contact their governing bodies, for example, the NICEIC and speek with their technical helpline engineers for an independent opinion.
In more serious cases you would be able to compliant directly to their governing body and the senior area engineer would investigate.

So I would always suggest that that you find your contactor through the competent person's electrical scheme and then check if they are on a review site. That way you should get the professional service that you've paid for. And don't be tempted into getting a cheap price for the inspection and paying inflated prices for the remidial work.

Rennie

8:58 AM, 20th July 2020
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Appcon at 19/07/2020 - 15:48
Thank you very much Appcon. I have looked on that list and found my electrician. I remember when I was looking for someone to do the EICR I phoned him and asked if he had all the "badges". He said yes so I looked it all up on the internet not really knowing exactly what I was looking for but believing I had found it. It is good to be reassured that I was right.

Andrew

9:52 AM, 3rd August 2020
About 3 days ago

I've just interviewed an electrician and Landlord and debunked some of the myths in this thread - you can find the video here - https://youtu.be/DFgK3uwkLwM

Let me know if you find it useful

Andrew

14:08 PM, 3rd August 2020
About 2 days ago

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