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Topic Title: I confess
Topic Summary: Could not locate main earth bond.
Created On: 26 April 2013 08:59 PM
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 26 April 2013 08:59 PM
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tillie

Posts: 789
Joined: 03 May 2006

Hi , I was asked to do a quick job for a datacomms company I do work for. They were installing new network cables.

It was to install 16 twin socket faces onto new wiring in three compartment trunking in an office block.

The data chaps had installed the trunking and ran the FP200 cable from the distribution board around the room in the trunking and left the ends ready to be connected.

All work was visible and of a good standard.

So I turn up on site and the first thing I see are other electrical contractors working away on various stages of the refurb.

One company is doing the reception refurb and another is doing the fire alarm and emergency lighting.

Most of the work is complete and office bods have already moved into the completed areas.

So before I start I ask a few questions of the engineers ie where is the main switchroom and where are the main gas and water supplies into the building.

I was shown the main switchroom where I located the switchfuse for the distribution board I was to work on.

So far so good.

Nobody knew where the main water or gas entered so I had a wander around.

After being faced with locked doors on all basement levels I went to see the site manager.

Apparently I was the first person in the three months that the job had been going on to ask for the locations of the gas and water mains.

After explaining why I needed to see them He went and got the electrical foreman who then wandered around with me for awhile but we were confronted with too many inaccessible areas.

I finally located the gas main in the car park with a nice 35mm bond.

From the mains room several more large green/yellow cables disappeared to who knows where.

Well to cut this story short I completed what I had to do filled in my cert but never mentioned the lack of a visible earth bond.

I have had to walk away from two jobs this year due to bonding that could not be accessed and I was not going to do it again.

Do I worry too much. Should I have walked away.

There was continuity between my socket earth and a radiator which I used a long lead to .measure.

Have I been bad ?

Am I a cowboy ?

One more thing , obviously a proper Ze could not be taken so I used Zdb measured at my main switchfuse in the mains room.

What do others do in this situation ?

Advice please.

Regards
 27 April 2013 11:10 AM
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Zs

Posts: 2906
Joined: 20 July 2006

Hi Tillie,

I think you did more than many would and in a case like this I would be using one of my covering letters.

On the certificates in capital letters, and more than once, I would write

'That attached covering letter dated 27/04/13 and comprising one page from Zs (details) forms part of this document.

Then a covering letter detailing exactly what you have just told us only posher.

I would go a little further and include an explanation of what the unfound connection serves for but that's an extra I provide. I'm in the process of writing a plain english glossary or terms for clients at the moment...tricky thing to write.

Bad? Allowing for some forum type opinions which are no doubt coming your way, but No, you haven't been bad in my opinion, quite the opposite.

Clearly you have acted more responsibly than your predecessors on that site. Handle that letter well and It will be you who gets the calls in the future. Trust me .

Cowboy? Hmm, not sure about that one seeing as I don't know you and have absolutely no idea how good you are with a lassoo (sp?) and a set of spurs...but I somehow doubt it.

Zs
 27 April 2013 01:18 PM
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weirdbeard

Posts: 1535
Joined: 26 September 2011

Originally posted by: tillie


Do I worry too much.



I think so, but it's my opinion that we are not helped by the paperwork requirements of the regs - assuming your sockets are on a new circuit, therefore you have produced an EIC - the tick box relating to MPCs says 'continuity and connection verified' which surely must be ticked for the certificate to be valid as there is no allowance for the box to be crossed or marked N/A - but to actually verify the continuity of a MPC it would need to be disconnected from the extraneous conductive part and continuity measured end to end of the conductor

Looking at connections both ends, or measuring continuity with everything connected does not necessarily mean an MPC's continuity is verified.

To actually verify continuity of a conductor you would need to isolate the whole installation, disconnect the bonding connections and then measure continuity - obviously this isn't very practical for minor jobs in large installations!

Although the wording in the book doesn't allow it, I reckon a minor works certificate is more appropriate for adding a single circuit to an existing distribution board.
 27 April 2013 02:35 PM
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stateit

Posts: 2185
Joined: 15 April 2005

Originally posted by: weirdbeard

.. which surely must be ticked for the certificate to be valid as there is no allowance for the box to be crossed or marked N/A -


Are you sure about that?

-------------------------
S George
http://www.sg-electrical.com
 27 April 2013 02:49 PM
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weirdbeard

Posts: 1535
Joined: 26 September 2011

Originally posted by: stateit


Are you sure about that?


Yes.
 27 April 2013 05:03 PM
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weirdbeard

Posts: 1535
Joined: 26 September 2011

PS, sorry to anyone who might have been taking a few minutes to view the last post via a phone, having recently got one of these smart phones myself and occasionally looking at the forum from it during the day I appreciate that it can be frustrating to view recent posts only to find short comments without any substance.

So, stateit, I take it from the inference of your question to me that you know different to what I posted earlier, would you mind explaining your reasoning?

Thanks.
 27 April 2013 05:27 PM
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stateit

Posts: 2185
Joined: 15 April 2005

633.2 ? (page 196)

I know you can throw back 632.4, but it is possible to play a game of ping-pong between these two clauses until the cows come home.

Game of whiff-whaff anyone?

-------------------------
S George
http://www.sg-electrical.com
 27 April 2013 05:55 PM
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weirdbeard

Posts: 1535
Joined: 26 September 2011

Originally posted by: stateit





I know you can throw back 632.4, but it is possible to play a game of ping-pong between these two clauses until the cows come home.


This is why I suggested the regs paperwork requirements for what might be a very minor works in the grand scheme of the installation as a whole aren't conducive to being filled out accurately - there is as far as i can tell no provision for the box not to be ticked for continuity of MPC on the EIC - but for a minor works you can simply comment on what has been carried out, such as a visual inspection, but without having to declare that continuity has been actually confirmed.

I'm not suggesting in any way that there should be a get out clause for bodgeitandlegit to ignore any potential safety issues, but I do think there is a case in some circumstances for the paperwork to be simplified - afterall, whats better, accurate description of work carried out on an MWEIC or none at all?
 28 April 2013 12:51 PM
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OMS

Posts: 19668
Joined: 23 March 2004

A couple of points:

Who is the designer - and have they verified the bonding exists

Is it credible by observation that bonding is in place (you found the gas, and several G/Ycables are also visible)

Did you ask the client for a copy of the last PIR or EIC - are they credible and can you rely on them.

As Zs, just note it, advise the client and suggest they get back to you (and every other contractor) if it remains "lost"

Regards


OMS

-------------------------
Failure is always an option
 28 April 2013 02:11 PM
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tillie

Posts: 789
Joined: 03 May 2006

Hi , I suppose that I am the designer.

It was a simple job. two radial ccts in three compartment trunking.

When I agreed to do the job I explained o the client ( datacomms company ) that I would be checking the bonding before I do anything else.

There was no way I was going to walk away just because I could not locate the water bond which I have done on two previous occasions.

To tell you the truth sometimes I feel a right fool when I go to companies and ask the person I am meeting where their main gas and water bonds are.

Most of my work is in central London and most of the buildings I work in are multi occupancy and I can tell you now that in thirty years of doing this I have only once ( last year ) seen a copy of any kind of certificate for electrical work that has been done.

I was out of my comfort zone on this job because I have a list of clients which I do work for and over the years I have managed to get all the information I need with regards to their supply arrangements.

But on a job like this in an eight storey building with two basement levels , locked doors and storerooms full to the brim with furniture and all sorts of equipment then what do others do.

I have never encountered another contractor trying to locate a bonding conductor.

I filled in my cert and just left the box for the water bond empty , the same as I do where it has a box for the lightning conductor and the box where it says "other". If there is no lightning conductor or other then I always leave this box .

I like Zs,s idea and tomorrow when I hand the cert over to the client ( datacomms company ) I will attach A note to say exactly what I done on the day and to let them advise their client.

Thanks for advice.

Regards
 28 April 2013 03:18 PM
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Alexg

Posts: 406
Joined: 03 February 2004

Tillie,

I must say you are not alone in this, I find myself in exactly the same position as you when working in big offices. I remember one job I looked at in a big multi-story office. The place was built in the early 70's but has had major refurbishments since. My job, like yours was to do the mains side to a data installation for a company I did regular work for. When I looked at the job and spoke to the building manager he looked blankly when I asked about the main gas and water bonding. There had been many electricians in the 20 years he had worked there and apparently I was the first to ask about the bonding?!! really?! Anyway the main water stop-cock was on the ground floor (no basement) in the corner of a smartly refurbished office, behind nicely done MDF paneling with only a 4x4 square access hole with a cover on top. I shone a touch into the hole but couldn't see a sign of a bonding conductor or clamp on the all steel main (which I could see disappearing into the concrete floor). Same for the gas which although was more accessible was a long way away from the main electrical intake, again all steel disappearing into the concrete floor. Seeing as the main supply was 200A / 95mm tails the cost of putting the 25mm bonding conductors in was going to be big as it was solid wall and concrete ceilings in smart offices. There was no sign of bonding conductors at the main intake, only connections onto the trays..... Anyway I put in a quote and an explanation for why it needed doing which they refused saying no one else had needed to do it, I did respond to the Email they sent me along with simplified regs and was just met with refusal. Anyway, I didn't get the job for the electrics on that data job and they got someone else in, who now does all the work for the data company...

I was really professional about it, explaining why it had to be done, why it had to be the size it did etc and I almost felt like I was treated like a cowboy, I was very bitter about this as it was regular, nice work and just because of one stubborn building management someone else got in who properly does the job, no cert or false cert and moves onto the next job, the data company probably love that as its no fuss for them.

Where ever I go I seem to be the only one who every checks the MEB properly, I do work in schools, pubs and other similar premises and rarely find it carried out properly if at all.

Verifying MEB is one of the things I hate most about this job, however professional you are about how you go about explaining it, even when you hand them a nicely printed leaflet from the ESC it still sometimes is the difference between you getting the job and not and indeed I see many other companies carrying out work without getting it right, many of who are large firms with of course their scheme registration logos all over the distribution boards

Anyway Tillie, this post doesn't really help your situation, but at least you know some other people are in the same boat.

Alex.
 28 April 2013 05:20 PM
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leckie

Posts: 1864
Joined: 21 November 2008

So assuming you can't find a main bond to the water supply..............
if you carried out a continuity test between the MET and the incoming water supply position and you got a low reading would that be any good?

I know you couldn't tick the box saying the continuity of the bonding conductor had been verified, or write in what size cable it was. But if, as in tillies case, a main gas bond had been found, lots of g/y cables had been seen, but you couldn't either find a stopcock or it was boxed in apart from the stopcock itself, could you let that go? Perhaps even tick the water bond box and record a departure on the EIC to record that the clamp was not accessible but that the water pipe was connected to the MET?

My feeling is that you shouldn't, but from some of the posts it seems that in some cases it may be ok? I can understand it if you have existing EIC's and design data, but I would be a bit concerned without that data. However, I also understand that it's frustrating to turn down work that others will just do regardless.

Edited: 29 April 2013 at 06:00 AM by leckie
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