Are RCD fuse boards compulsory?

by Readers Question

14:40 PM, 17th September 2018
About a month ago

Are RCD fuse boards compulsory?

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Are RCD fuse boards compulsory?

I’ve just had an electrician to my house and he said that from a July 31st 2018 it is compulsory for all rental properties to have a RCD fuse box, which has to be metal.

Is this just good practice or a legal requirement?

Many thanks

Sarah

Residual Current Devices (RCD) these are switches that trip a circuit under dangerous conditions, and instantly disconnect the electricity.



Comments

James Barnes

15:58 PM, 17th September 2018
About a month ago

I think you're mentioning two different things. Metal cases to house the actual consumer unit, and RCDs to cut the current to prevent electric shocks.
Both are probably required by the new wiring regulations but these regulations can't be applied retrospectively, only on new works. So for instance, if you have a plastic case and old style rewireable fuses, you wouldn't necessarily have to replace. Older installations aren't inherently dangerous, they're just not quite as safe as what would now be required to comply with the new Regulations.

Ian Narbeth

16:17 PM, 17th September 2018
About a month ago

Just be aware that if the house becomes licensable as an HMO you may be required to upgrade the fuse box to get the licence.

Gary Nock

17:20 PM, 17th September 2018
About a month ago

Sack that electrician. 1. RCDs are not compulsory albeit advisable. 2. Metal consumer units became compulsory on all new installations and new consumer units from 1st January 2016.

But this is not retrospective.

Rob Crawford

22:35 PM, 17th September 2018
About a month ago

The electrician is referring to current regs for new installations. However, if you have the old fuses he may advise annual tests. The landlord can ignore this advice but would, I suggest, be unwise to do so. Also, if the property is an HMO, the Local Authority may require a metal box to replace an existing non fire proof box if on an emergency exit route or in an area where there are combustable materials such as wood if under the stairs for example. New metal consumer units are circa £70. Installing at the time of the installation test would reduce the labour charge.

Annie Landlord

9:09 AM, 18th September 2018
About a month ago

It has cost me around £250/£300 a time to have a new, metal consumer unit installed. My rentals were fine, but when a new box was fitted in my own home the electrician had to keep tweaking and adding fuses as the wiring is old and the new box is apparently more sensitive than the old one. (Note: my electrician is fully qualified and I trust him implicitly)

Rob Crawford

9:49 AM, 18th September 2018
About a month ago

Ann, if you have had RCD's installed to replace an old fuse protected system then the existing wiring and it's circuit layout will most likely be in need of replacing to the current standard. RCD's are far more sensitive to electrical overload (so will keep tripping) - hence safer! If the existing circuit is old you may only have a two circuits (1 x lighting and 1 x 13amp) and two RCD's covering the whole property, that's why the RCD's trip. By modern standards this is insufficient. A modern installation will have at least two lighting and two 13 amp circuits on each floor, each going to separate RCD's. So in your case the electrician should have advised for the house to have been rewired! From experience, qualified electricians will not provide a safety installation check on old fuse box systems and will normally insist on an RCD box (which must now be metal) and in most cases a rewire.

AA

10:15 AM, 18th September 2018
About a month ago

Suggest all and sundry look at the small print on your buildings insurance policy. Most require an ECIR report which has a life span of 5 years which would fail the old consumer units in situ and thus void your policy. I have to say I freak out at times when I hear snippets of compliance not already in place south of the border . Is it really a consideration spending £300 to safeguard your investment? In a worse case scenario do you have an appetite to argue with an insurance company risking your hard work being washed away, or even worse, in the dock ? Talk about a wing and a prayer.

In Scotland we have to have a valid ECIR, CP12, EPC and check this, PAT test not only on the appliances you supply but any appliances introduced by the tenant which you know of, like a kettle or a microwave, which would be visible in the kitchen.

Gary Nock

11:22 AM, 18th September 2018
About a month ago

AA this is incorrect. The EICR is assessed against the edition of the Electrical Regs in force at the time of construction. You cannot retrospectively apply new regs to old installations. And while we as agents and landlords insist on EICRs many agents and landlords do not because there is not a specific law in England that says you have to have an EICR. There should be but there isn't. So some landlords and agents don't have them done. As agents we have lost business to agents who don't insist on EICRs as it saves the landlord £150-£200. But I would rather sleep at night.

AA

11:36 AM, 18th September 2018
About a month ago

Reply to the comment left by Gary Nock at 18/09/2018 - 11:22
That is the correct mind set to have. You want to be able to sleep at night. I was making reference to Scotland which I would have thought been UK wide. As an agent if your prerequisite is for a landlord to have an ECIR that should be peace of mind for the tenant. and a selling point for you.

Rob Crawford

12:19 PM, 18th September 2018
About a month ago

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