Are RCD fuse boards compulsory?

Are RCD fuse boards compulsory?

14:40 PM, 17th September 2018, About 5 years ago 22

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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


Residual Current Devices (RCD) these are switches that trip a circuit under dangerous conditions, and instantly disconnect the electricity.
These are precautions that are necessary for safety as with the storage of medicines.

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Ian Morgan

7:47 AM, 19th September 2018, About 5 years ago

Having done part P and associated inspection and testing elements.... An old board, (DB, fuse box, consumer unit whatever you call it!) is not necessarily unsafe and in need of updating. As long as it was up to regs at time of install and is still safe (passing current tests for time for disconnection, i.e. "tripping" etc etc). Quite a lot of sparkies comment about the age on EICR forms saying they need updating on grounds of age not test results - the regs says this is erroneous! Believe it or not, unless there is a specific reason for it, they can be left alone.

The only serious and obvious danger is the lack of RCD for a power outlet that has the potential to be used for equipment up to 32amps that is used outside e.g. lawnmower etc. This does create a code for EICR, a C3.

WRT metal consumer units and fire, believe it or not you can install a fireproof surround around a plastic unit and still meet the current regs! Perhaps I'm giving away too much here! Pink plasterboard would give you a chunk of time.

Obviously new installs you'd put in current up-to-date box, but older ones and inherently unsafe.

Finally, my tutor told me, with the newest regs BS7671 2018, arc fault protection and surge protection will be necessary, costing a small fortune per circuit for the new devices. From January 2019! If you don't want these more expensive devices you'll have to sign your life away to the sparky saying you don't want them, along with, most likely, insurance repercussions! So change now to avoid this!

Lastly, sorry, look this pdf for codes etc in EICR, it's great:

Best Practice Guide 4 - Electrical installation ... - Electrical Safety First
PDF › ...

Ian Morgan

7:49 AM, 19th September 2018, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Morgan at 19/09/2018 - 07:47
You can always install a socket with built in RCD to avoid certain danger codes and RCD detects current imbalance i.e. leak to earth or you and then trips! Not overload.....


8:54 AM, 19th September 2018, About 5 years ago

I upgraded one of my properties from a fused consumer unit to RCD and, in the process, it was discovered that the earthing cable size needed to be increased to meet current regulations. This was done and required floor boards to be lifted etc., luckily the house was unoccupied at the time.
I had my other property inspected and a lot of small earthing faults were found - I also had the earth cable size increased.
Was all of the work entirely necessary? Maybe not, but it brought me peace of mind. There is always the chance that the tenant can plug in an item of their own which is faulty - the chances of electrocution are reduced to a minimum if the wiring system in the house is properly earthed and RCDs are in use. Should a tenant electrocute themselves the LL will be in deep trouble if their property electrical system is found to be deficient with regard to protection. Do your research, get some other third party advice and then make your decision. My advice would be to upgrade your electrics.

Gary Nock

9:14 AM, 19th September 2018, About 5 years ago

Have an EICR done. This identifies any faults and then you can take the advice of the electrician on how best to resolve them.

Ian Morgan

20:20 PM, 19th September 2018, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Alan R at 19/09/2018 - 08:54
Adequate earthing is the most important thing in an installation, most of the tests are to check it's continuity throughout an installation.

So adequate cable sizes for the main earth etc are especially important. Why? Quite simply it's a case of path of least resistance - in the case of a fault such as an item becomes live, a good earth means that the current flows to earth instead of via you then earth!

If all earth permutations are done to the letter supplementary bonding equipotential etc etc an installation could in theory be without an RCD, (except for a socket fitted with one for outdoors).

RCDs are a great get out of jail card, for the installers to satisfy the regs.

But as mentioned above get an EICR but use the pdf file I suggested to guide you about the results. Obviously, HMO licensed properties have some extra requirements depending on the council probably - having two of these I am aware of those issues.

Michael Barnes

22:35 PM, 19th September 2018, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Rob Crawford at 18/09/2018 - 09:49
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.
Why should RCDs trip if the draw is less than the circuit rating (5 amp for lighting; 30 amp for ring) (excluding leakage to earth)?

Rob Crawford

12:18 PM, 20th September 2018, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Michael Barnes at 19/09/2018 - 22:35
Because it's an old arrangement with old wiring and the current draw at times will exceed the single RCD/B leakage & load. The fact that it's old wiring will likely result in leakage. When initially installed the wiring would have been loaded with not much more than a single TV & Washing machine. Nowadays you can add a dish washer, tumble dryer, toaster, microwave, kettle a couple of TV's sound system etc.


9:16 AM, 22nd September 2018, About 5 years ago

Obfuscated Data

Rob Crawford

10:31 AM, 22nd September 2018, About 5 years ago

You provide a more technical explanation thanks. But this bit is contradictory: "Earth leakage has nothing to do with the actual appliance loads however high loads can and will cause the wiring to warm up and this may increase leakage current in the house wiring to the point where 50 mA is exceeded", but reflects the point I was trying to make!

Southern Er

14:12 PM, 22nd September 2018, About 5 years ago

I’m an electrician and landlord so have an iron in each fire

To make life easy I’d suggest all landlords have a recent eicr and have it done every 5 years. It is not the law yet but I suspect it will be soon - and rightly so.

The eicr will give you a report of your installation and suggest improvements and give you codes of importance of work that needs doing. C1 - someone will die or fires will start, you need to fix it now or turn the power off, c2 - potentially dangerous, needs fixing ASAP as could be a hazard, c3 - does not comply with current regs (bs7671) but not immediately dangerous, FI - further investigation required, maybe the test readings were too high or circuit has readings that only just comply but are higher than they should be expected.

The fuses - be it fuse wire, cartridge fuses or breakers/mcbs protect the cable and stop it being overloaded. An rcd protects the user or the cable from dammage. They also allow for extra protection to bathrooms, outside and concealed cables to save other works such as supplementary bonding (extra earthing) in the bathroom or concealed cables having to be protected from screws ect.

If you add sockets, cable, lights, change the earthing it’s new work so has to comply. The easiest way around most regulations is to change the consumer unit. It protects pretty much everything, shows you have considered the safety of the installation and therefore your tenants and property.

If a tenant gets a shock or you have a fire you’ll regret not doing it. I would say it’s as important as a gas test, as important as smoke alarms, as scary and as dangerous as carbon monoxide leaks for a landlord and something that the government are way behind on.

It’s not expensive in the big scheme and something that I can’t recommend highly enough. I’d also say it will be the next thing to be made compulsary as I also believe carbon alarms will be too. I also happen to fit those in my properties too as I feel I have a duty to my tenants.

Hope this helps you make a sensible decision.


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