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Topic Title: 5 Year old new build, some problems with electrics.
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Created On: 03 November 2013 09:41 AM
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 03 November 2013 09:41 AM
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BigEd

Posts: 7
Joined: 02 November 2013

Just looking for some advice as think our house may have some
badly installed electrics in it. We are the second owners of the house & it is 5 years old, built in 2007.

The first thing I found that just doesn't seem correct is that we have a cast aluminium bollard with a light built into it, but this didn't work. I took the bollard apart to find that it was a 70w son (no bulb & a blown transformer due to water damage). The cable is swa 1.5mm armored but the wiring was incorrect as the live & neutral were the wrong way
round & the colours are brown, black & a gray wire with earth
sleeving. Checked it for power & it was dead.


So into the garage where the timer is & the main CU I had a look at the sangamo s251 solar timer to see if it was ok & to find the power feeding it, I found the live feed had been cut that goes into the timer (probably when the bollard blew) & a terminal block screwed onto it to cover it. (This was still live). Then I traced the disconnected terminal block live & still connected neutral going into the sangamo timer into the CU, being fed from a 6a mcb (marked as bell & lights, I have checked & found this is not internal house lights, so must only be the outside ones) & this is being fed from the non RCD protected side of the CU!. SO the outside bollard & the outside pir light have no RCD protection. I have tripped the mcb to ensure they are not live as Im not sure if this is allowed as they are outside devices.

My plan was to have a garage type CU type box with a RCD & 6a mcb fitted above the original CU, have it fed from the original mcb (to keep the doorbell transformer feed). Friend has a brand new garage CU box with a 40a 30ma RCD with a 32a mcb & a 6a mcb that I can have for free, I would have the 32a mcb removed & just keep the RCD & the 6a mcb. Is this ok to use just for the RCD & the 6a mcb.

Ok now to the second & third thing. The shower in our on-suite is
fed from the non RCD protected side, Is this ok or should it have a RCD?. The light fitting above the shower is a gu10 240v bulb that is not ip rated & can be easily touched with your hand by reaching up while in the shower, I know this is not on the RCD protected side as the CU has been labeled up & I have tested it goes off when I turn off the mcb. This light is also an issue as it has been letting moisture into the attic as its not sealed at the front or ip rated.

Fourth is/was the tumble dryer socket (I have fixed this myself & moved it up the wall around 4" to allow proper plugging in).
The tumble dryer socket was placed to low against a wooden pipe protection box meaning the tumble dryer when plugged in wasn't actually fully in, this has led to the plug pins partially melting & the socket itself has a crack across it & has the same melt damage. The inside of the socket was broken & badly burned & the neutral cable has melted some of the brass & the wires copper was actually coloured brass. The tumble dryer was fitted when the house was built so it has been like this for years unknown to the previous owner of the house (going by the mess under the tumble dryer he never had it out!)

Can anyone give me any advice in what is correct/wrong & if the regs allowed any of this when the house was built or was the building passed even when it shouldn't have been?..

Edited: 03 November 2013 at 09:57 AM by BigEd
 03 November 2013 10:11 AM
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colinhaggett

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Joined: 08 July 2004

Hi, If built in 2007 it would make it 6 years old and would come under the 16th regs. So only RCD protection for socket outlets likely to be used for outdoor equipment. It is probably best to replace shower light, move tumble dryer socket and fit RCBO's for outside lights, shower etc.
 03 November 2013 11:57 AM
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DOUGIE1000

Posts: 4163
Joined: 13 August 2005

Outside bollard should be a easy repair.
Shower lights a easy changed to IP shower fittings
RCD the board by adding in RCBOs. Adding in a seperate consumer unit is fine however as your still getting the RCD protection that you wish.

If you are really concerned about electrics then i would recommend an approved electrical contractor to carry out a full EICR (electrical installation condition report), you didn't say what size of house you have but locally to me a EICR for a standard house costs £150+vat and takes most of the day. (electric heated property more).

-------------------------
Dougie
Power Plus Electrical.co.uk

My mission is to live as long as possible......so far so good!
 03 November 2013 10:01 PM
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BigEd

Posts: 7
Joined: 02 November 2013

Thanks for the replies guys!.

I am pretty competent working on electrics so have already moved & replaced the tumble dryer socket. Looks like it was close to being a fire risk & its pretty melted. I tried to link the pics from my phone but that wouldn't work on here.

Dougie1000, The house is a 3-bed detached with built in garage.

I have found some low voltage ip rated down-lights that I plan to fit in place of the 240v lights & I am waiting on my friend bringing over the garage CU that will get fitted above the main CU. The outside bollards transformer is beyond repair & I planned to remove all the son starter/transformer stuff, fit a ip65 sealed join box for the swa cable & the cable to the original e27 fitting from it then fit a spiral energy saving bulb.

With all the electric regs that have to be followed, I take it I have to get an electrician to fit the garage CU & to feed it from the 6a mcb already in the main CU or can I fit this?..

Edited: 03 November 2013 at 10:18 PM by BigEd
 03 November 2013 10:09 PM
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Rulland

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Joined: 11 April 2008

Looking to blame and claim imho.

-------------------------
Those who make no mistakes do very little work!!......
 03 November 2013 11:17 PM
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BigEd

Posts: 7
Joined: 02 November 2013

Originally posted by: Rulland

Looking to blame and claim imho.


Really??, that's what you think?.. Real clever answer that was!.

I'm looking for advice as this is our 1st house, moved in 2 & a bit weeks ago & so far I have spent that time trying to make the house ours, make it safe & while doing this all I find is crap work by the builders & by the electricians that done the jobs when it was built.

Only reason I found the tumble dryer socket issue was when I pulled it out to fit our new one that was a wedding gift. This is what made me want to check the other things like why the bollard wasn't working & this is when I found the connections in the main CU hence finding the shower not on an rcd (yet the shower manual says it should have one) & the fact the light in the shower is 240v & non ip rated!.

Only reason I joined here was for some advice. I don't touch any gas stuff as I know you need to be gas-safe to work on that!, but with electrical regs changing with regards to working on circuits & house insurance being void if you don't have things done by the book, I just want to know if I can make the required changes to make the other things I have found safe myself or do I need to get an electrician to do it, simple as that.
 04 November 2013 08:29 AM
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gkenyon

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BigEd, welcome to the Forum.

It's worth remembering that this Forum is normally frequented by professionals, see under "Name" on LHS of this page http://www.theiet.org/forums/forum/
Technical discussion forums
Engineering discussions covering any area of technology, mostly for those working in the field


The aims of the IET include education, so Forum users would also expect questions from those in education, or also those working their way up in their trade or profession, but not "DIY" questions as it's not really a DIY forum.

It's also true, that the questions you posed are not really an "issue" for many working electricians, and even the questionable things may not have been the original electrical contractor:

(a) Earlier editions of BS7671 did not require RCD protection for outside lights, although it started to become a preference for fitting one before 17th Edition. It would now be more common for most circuits feeding equipment outdoors in "dwellings" premises to have RCD.

(b) tumble-dryer socket, whilst I agree could have caused a fire (and in my expierience, also damaged the run capacitor and/or motor in the machine): the "pipe protection box" may have been installed after the electrician left site.

(b) Shower light may have been changed by someone else after the original electrician left.

(c) Some shower manufacturers asked for an RCD, but not all. Previous editions of BS7671 didn't require one in all circumstances, and many electricians / contractors didn't fit them.

(d) tumble-dryer socket, whilst I agree could have caused a fire (and in my expierience, also damaged the run capacitor and/or motor in the machine): the "pipe protection box" may have been installed after the electrician left site?
Surely the clown who plugged the machine in last needs at least a flea in their ear?

-------------------------
Eur Ing Graham Kenyon CEng MIET TechIOSH
 04 November 2013 09:39 AM
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perspicacious

Posts: 7199
Joined: 18 April 2006

"I have found some low voltage ip rated down-lights that I plan to fit in place of the 240v lights"

240 V is low voltage.

Do you mean extra-low voltage?

Regards

BOD
 04 November 2013 09:44 AM
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perspicacious

Posts: 7199
Joined: 18 April 2006

"I'm looking for advice as this is our 1st house, moved in 2 & a bit weeks ago & so far I have spent that time trying to make the house ours, make it safe & while doing this all I find is crap work by the builders & by the electricians that done the jobs when it was built."

Any reason why a survey prior to purchase wasn't carried out, or was it assumed by you and your legals that a ~5 year old place wasn't going to have any defects?

Regards

BOD
 04 November 2013 10:59 AM
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BigEd

Posts: 7
Joined: 02 November 2013

Originally posted by: gkenyon

BigEd, welcome to the Forum.

It's worth remembering that this Forum is normally frequented by professionals, see under "Name" on LHS of this page Link removed/forums/forum/

Technical discussion forums

Engineering discussions covering any area of technology, mostly for those working in the field


The aims of the IET include education, so Forum users would also expect questions from those in education, or also those working their way up in their trade or profession, but not "DIY" questions as it's not really a DIY forum.

It's also true, that the questions you posed are not really an "issue" for many working electricians, and even the questionable things may not have been the original electrical contractor:

(a) Earlier editions of BS7671 did not require RCD protection for outside lights, although it started to become a preference for fitting one before 17th Edition. It would now be more common for most circuits feeding equipment outdoors in "dwellings" premises to have RCD.

(b) tumble-dryer socket, whilst I agree could have caused a fire (and in my expierience, also damaged the run capacitor and/or motor in the machine): the "pipe protection box" may have been installed after the electrician left site.

(b) Shower light may have been changed by someone else after the original electrician left.

(c) Some shower manufacturers asked for an RCD, but not all. Previous editions of BS7671 didn't require one in all circumstances, and many electricians / contractors didn't fit them.

(d) tumble-dryer socket, whilst I agree could have caused a fire (and in my expierience, also damaged the run capacitor and/or motor in the machine): the "pipe protection box" may have been installed after the electrician left site?

Surely the clown who plugged the machine in last needs at least a flea in their ear?


Hi gkenyon,

I actually did work in the IET Glasgow Teachers building fitting 2 plasma display screens. That's why I remembered the name to find this website.

I thought I would try on here to find out the regs that I may or may not be breaking doing any/all of the work myself instead of looking on some general diy forum where people tell you that you can do it when you shouldn't at all. There are plenty of diy cowboys with poor & even dangerous advice out there!.

To answer some of the things you pointed out:

For (a) thats fair enough, I just wanted to know if it should have had an RCD being an outside light fitting that anyone could walk up & touch. I will fit the garage CU my friend has dropped off to ensure that is safer than before.

For (b) The box was placed there when the boiler went in to protect where the pipes go into the walls & prevent the tumble dryer hitting them. It may be one trade (gas/plumbers) did something that then blocked the others (electricians) work (as is the case most of the time)

The Shower lights are the ones fitted when the house was built as the other house we viewed in the estate has the same ones as do 3 of the neighbours houses.

For the shower RCD, seeing as the installer manual calls for one saying it must be used with a 30ma rcd, I would have thought they would fit one regardless of if the regs say you needed one or not.

Yes, the clown that forced the plug into the socket when it clearly wasn't fully in is the one to blame for the tumble dryer socket issue. I'm just glad I found that & installed a new socket to a far better position that was less than 6 inches from the original position.

Edited: 04 November 2013 at 04:13 PM by BigEd
 04 November 2013 11:06 AM
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BigEd

Posts: 7
Joined: 02 November 2013

Originally posted by: perspicacious

"I have found some low voltage ip rated down-lights that I plan to fit in place of the 240v lights"

240 V is low voltage.

Do you mean extra-low voltage?

Regards

BOD


Yeah BOD, Im forgetting that 240v is low voltage & was going to swap them over to selv 12v fittings.

As for the survey, The house had a home report carried out before we purchased it as it had been on the market for so long & needed another one before we were able to purchase it. that had the single survey, energy report & the property questionnaire.

It listed the usual settlement cracks (only a few) & there was slight moisture found in the attic (this is partly due to the lights in the 2 bathrooms not being sealed & the fact the attic door wasn't closed properly) But I don't think they pull out the tumble dryer etc to check every plug!.
 04 November 2013 11:58 AM
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gkenyon

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No problems, no criticism of you meant from me, just setting the scene and trying to explain a little of why you've had the replies you got here!

Apologies about the mistake with my list repeating tumble-dryer twice!

For the shower RCD, seeing as the installer manual calls for one saying it must be used with a 30ma rcd, I would have thought they would fit one regardless of if the regs say you needed one or not.
Yes, I understand. Shower in our house was in same position when we moved in. I fitted RCD retrospectively.

If you search on this forum, going back a few years to the time of the 16th Edition, there were a number of discussions on this precise topic, and we do know that many items of equipment have in the past been installed not fully in accordance with manufacturers' instructons. BS7671 now quite clearly and categorically states that equipment must be installed in accordance with manufacturer's instructions (Regulation 134.1.1), but it wasn't always so explicit - although, you'd have thought that individuals wouldn't want to take on all the responsibility of ignoring a manufacturer's recommendations, would you?

-------------------------
Eur Ing Graham Kenyon CEng MIET TechIOSH
 04 November 2013 10:16 PM
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Banners

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Joined: 06 October 2013

Were you a diplomat in a previous existence gkenyon?
 04 November 2013 10:39 PM
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peteTLM

Posts: 3142
Joined: 31 March 2005

Hi BigEd, and welcome.

Unfortunatly housebuilders wont get a good write up from me, as ive seen too many lash ups, defects, and plain ignorance in their work over the years.
Im sure there are millions of perfect ones out there, and the gentlemen on here do a much better job, but ive seen too many, and would even believe that the thousand monkeys on a typewriter writing shakespeare analogy is the method they use to do their installs, albiet with apprentices and school leavers rather than our furry cousins.

So i know where you are coming from. Hope you get it sorted.

-------------------------
----------------------------------------
Lack of planning on your part doesn't make it an emergency on mine....

Every man has to know his limitations- Dirty Harry
 05 November 2013 01:00 AM
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westfield6

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Originally posted by: BigEd

I don't touch any gas stuff as I know you need to be gas-safe to work on that!


Not actually true. You can work on your own gas installation if you are competent (which is not actually defined).

What you can't do is chargeable work for someone else.
 05 November 2013 07:46 AM
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SherlockOhms

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Not actually true. You can work on your own gas installation if you are competent (which is not actually defined).



What you can't do is chargeable work for someone else.

Well I never knew that?
S
 05 November 2013 10:13 AM
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AncientMariner

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Joined: 14 December 2004

Interesting, "You can work on your own gas installation if you are competent (which is not actually defined)"

If you can post a link to the document(s) that give that info, I can pose the question to a colleague of mine with access to governmental legal research.

Cheers!

-------------------------
Clive S Carver GCGI IEng MIET
 05 November 2013 11:17 AM
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rocknroll

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I can enlighten you on that after spending a couple of months with GSR in early 2012 investigating a statement that was made at a committee hearing that 50% of all gas work is illegal, the Gas Act/GSIUR is primarily about the gas connection to the service and anyone can fit gas equipment but the connection to the service and subsequent test should be made by someone who is Gas Registered, DIYers are exempt from this Act.

The Gas Act/GSIUR is a H&S perogative and the domestic client or domestic premises have no duties under HASAW only Housing Health and safety and common law.

regards

-------------------------
"Take nothing but a picture,
leave nothing but footprints!"
-------------------------
"Oh! The drama of it all."
-------------------------
"You can throw all the philosophy you like at the problem, but at the end of the day it's just basic electrical theory!"
-------------------------
 05 November 2013 01:20 PM
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AJJewsbury

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Interesting, "You can work on your own gas installation if you are competent (which is not actually defined)"

If you can post a link to the document(s) that give that info, I can pose the question to a colleague of mine with access to governmental legal research.

Possibly this one? http://www.legislation.gov.uk/...2451/regulation/3/made I think the "a member of a class of persons" (regulation 3(3)) is the bit that refers to GasSafe/CORGI registered requirement.
- Andy.
 05 November 2013 07:10 PM
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mikejumper

Posts: 1706
Joined: 14 December 2006

Originally posted by: AncientMariner
Interesting, "You can work on your own gas installation if you are competent (which is not actually defined)"

I think it is a bit.
I understand you need to hold some gas qualifications.
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