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Created On: 01 December 2015 06:39 PM
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 01 December 2015 11:25 PM
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John Peckham

Posts: 8783
Joined: 23 April 2005

There was a plastic CU that did pass the independent testing of a number of different manufactures. I cannot understand why this manufacture is not shouting that from the roof tops.

It would appear most of the forum members think I have gone bonkers, perhaps I have.

-------------------------
John Peckham

http://www.astutetechnicalservices.co.uk/
 01 December 2015 11:33 PM
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Zs

Posts: 3814
Joined: 20 July 2006

It was BG

It's OK JP, you're fine and it is good not to be too scared to challenge you when you post preposterous nonsense.

I had it confirmed today that I'm not yet menopausal. On the day that I become so, it might not be a good idea not to P me off...I plan on being magnificent

Zs
 01 December 2015 11:42 PM
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John Peckham

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Zs

Spot on!

So as in the big yellow bumper book of fun there is no definition in Part 2 for non-combustible what does non-combustible mean? Would it have been better to use the term " Non flame propagating" for which there is a definition in Part 2.

if you think this is a new regulation you might want to have a look in the 3rd edition of the Wiring Regulations published in 1897. It says "Switchboards shall be made on incombustible material".

So BG boards might just be OK, all we have to do is ask ask BG to confirm they meet the requirements of AMD3.

-------------------------
John Peckham

http://www.astutetechnicalservices.co.uk/
 01 December 2015 11:46 PM
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John Peckham

Posts: 8783
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I forgot to mention I have had a consumer unit fire on an E7 board some years ago. An old plastic board which was self extinguishing so did not burn rapidly giving off flame a dripping flaming globules of plastic like a modern CU. The tails started to burn back like a fuse and lots of choking acrid smoke.

-------------------------
John Peckham

http://www.astutetechnicalservices.co.uk/
 02 December 2015 12:09 AM
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mapj1

Posts: 9356
Joined: 22 July 2004

Oh my !

I look wonder if there may be a few lightly edited posts in the morning, - the difference between a bulletin board and a private conversation is the general broadcast nature of it, so you might like to imagine there may be hundreds of snotty noses pressed on the other side of the glass reading as you type. (well thats how I imagine it, and I know it''s very possible to get the tone wrong even so)

Please don't frighten the horses...

-------------------------
regards Mike
 02 December 2015 12:31 AM
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potential

Posts: 1631
Joined: 01 February 2007

Originally posted by: normcall

I've just found out that the London Fire Brigade haven't found any fires solely caused by plastic fuseboxes in my area.

Does this mean that they have been using different materials in the London area or different installation standards?
.................

I suggest it means that in your area fuseboxes are installed to a high standard and that your locality is lacking the type of people who are likely to make "alterations" to their electricity supply.
 02 December 2015 09:10 AM
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Zs

Posts: 3814
Joined: 20 July 2006

Ah, Mike, I'll not edit because I think it is a healthy discussion.

However, I know that we have certain payers on here who's words are taken as having a significant level of authority. You, JP, OMS and R&R are those at the top of my list. JP in particular is very skilled at coming across with a fantastic level of authority. So loads of us are scared to challenge.

(You wanna try challenging Jobbo....now there's a brain. I tried it once...)

As such, the responsibility weighs higher on your shoulders because hundreds of people look in on here and both sides must be allowed to digest. I learned long ago not to challenge OMS on anything other than domestic for example.

The 'hazard' word implies that we are installing sub standard kit. the regs give us headway on plastic boards. I think JP is implying that my work is not up to scratch if I comply with the regs and install a plastic DB before January 2016. I think also there is a suggestion that all of those DBs I/we have installed are putting our clients in danger and I don't want my clients alarmed by my purchase of compliant equipment.

Not forgetting that JP is an inspector with the opportunity to make our clients think that we have carried out a dodgy install.

And so on. gotta go see a job which I think is about to feature the word 'extraction'. Not on my watch. Putting diplomatic hat back on.

Zs
 02 December 2015 09:18 AM
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AJJewsbury

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You might want to ask your favorite manufacture when and why they removed the fire retardant from their consumer unit plastic.


There was a plastic CU that did pass the independent testing of a number of different manufactures. I cannot understand why this manufacture is not shouting that from the roof tops.


there is no definition in Part 2 for non-combustible what does non-combustible mean?


There seems to be a lot of unanswered questions on this subject still, I could add:

If all steel construction, drop-down door and fireproof paint are essential to a AMD 3 CU - what do the manufacturers offer us for 3-phase domestic use?

What should I use for intakes that are located in (damp) domestic cellars (as is common in these parts) where IP rating and corrosion resistance have traditionally been top of the requirements list?

- Andy.
 02 December 2015 09:18 AM
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ebee

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"there is no definition in Part 2 for non-combustible"

I wish there was and all consumer units etc had to be type tested and sampled periodically. I would be happier to install compliant insulated units in many cases.

Trouble is - would it be policed properly?

-------------------------
Regards,
Ebee (M I S P N)

Knotted cables cause Lumpy Lektrik
 02 December 2015 10:51 AM
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geov

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".....On the day that I become so, it might not be a good idea not to P me off....."

Zs, I'm now not sure if it will or won't be a good idea to P you off! I don't think I'll try either way!

I do think many (most?) of us believe the issue of non combustible, non fire propagating, non whateverelse has been very badly handled, and will leave installing electricians with the various issues already mentioned (damp conditions, TT etc, etc).
Why was the fire retardation of plastic units simply not enforced?
Also John, why should there be information relating to this issue, not in the public domain???? We're not exactly talking national security.
And for the record, I have been (reluctantly) fitting Amd 3 compliant boards since October, unless the client specifically says otherwise (and after I have explained the changes in Regs).
 02 December 2015 12:07 PM
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Lozmic

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Are meters manufactured from non combustible material. I ask this as it is not uncommon for meter tail to work loose over time, particularly under stairs or by doors.
Also most CUs I have been called out to due to overheating has been detected by the householder from the smell. Will this still be the case for the ' hermatcally sealed' a net 3 units.
 02 December 2015 01:00 PM
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gkenyon

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OK, so we all know now that in January we start making comments about the consumer unit on EIC, Minor Works and PIRs, if it's not non-combustible.

What is an unknown, is whether if in February, there's a house fire, related to the intake / CU - but the PIR had made the note, and insurance company uses it as an excuse not to pay up?

What if that CU was fitted in Sep 2015, or even Feb 2015, or Dec 2015 ?

"Fit for the purpose for a reasonable length of time"?


Just asking ... it's perhaps an argument waiting in the wings for the odd unfortunatel domestic installer?

-------------------------
EUR ING Graham Kenyon CEng MIET TechIOSH
G Kenyon Technology Ltd

Web-Site: www.gkenyontech.com
 02 December 2015 02:59 PM
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Angram

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Surely the insurance company looks for a pass or fail.
Could be improved is not a reason a court would accept refusal for.

Thats my take.

a class action by consumers could see manufacturers replacing every board in the uk at their expense.
 02 December 2015 03:10 PM
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normcall

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Exactly!
I have a Wylex 804 with B20 mcbs for my storage heaters. It's been there since the early 1980s. I had the cover off in the summer and as clean etc. as when I installed it, but with a wooden base and cream cover, should I tell myself it's soon about to burst into flames and should be replaced? Fortunately the normal domestic is a metal C50 Crabtree unit of the same vintage, so should I replace that as well as the bus-bar is exposed?

Good job I design and install without concerning myself with the assorted guides to BS7671.

-------------------------
Norman
 02 December 2015 03:57 PM
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ebee

Posts: 6338
Joined: 02 December 2004

Cage Clamps, Cage Clamps.Cage Clamps.
I`ll say it again Cage Clamps!
Bah Humbug

-------------------------
Regards,
Ebee (M I S P N)

Knotted cables cause Lumpy Lektrik
 02 December 2015 04:14 PM
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John Peckham

Posts: 8783
Joined: 23 April 2005

Norm

I failed an installation recently that I inspected for a contractor that had a CU just like the one you have. I asked him to keep it for me when he did the remedial works. I now have it in my collection. It even has the proper paxolin back that cost an extra few shillings so was not general fitted in a time before the old queen died. It has the cut off tails and T&E attached so looks like a beating heart torn from a body when you hold it up. It was delivered to me in an MK box from the replacement metal CU that replaced it. I am thinking of taking it to my presentations to companies in the MK box and pulling it out like a rabbit from a hat as an example of a non-combustible board. The hard wood frame might burn but not after 7/8 seconds like a modern plastic CU, the ivory plastic cover will not rapidly combust. Perhaps Wylex could discover the answer to plastic AMD3 boards in their own archives. Of course when they look they might find tunnel terminals in brass with 2 screws for conductors.

I am collecting old CUs from my contractor friends for my own tests. I have an old Crabtree CU for my next non laboratory flame test.


I have a photos from an intense fire where the plastic board has disappeared but an adjacent old Wylex metal board is still there with all the paint burned off the metal cover and rusty from water used to extinguish the fire. The plastic CU was the source of ignition from a poorly terminated conductor.

Cabtree C50 boards build like a brick outhouse. Designed by engineers not accountants. Yes exposed bus bar but not accessible without a key or tool and you should isolate before removing the cover so no problem.


Lozmic

Yes meters and supply heads are made of non-combustible plastic. The newer series 7 heads are made from a clay and resin mix. Both meters and heads will char and smolder but will not support a flame. Interestingly meter operators will not buy meters with cage clamps after past problems. So meter manufactures do not make meters now with cage clamps only tunnel terminals as no one will buy the former. If electricians stopped buying CUs with main switches and cage clamps would the manufactures stop making them?


Geov

That is the way to go!"

In Note 2 of regulation 421.1.201 it says. " The implementation date for this regulation is the 1st January 2016, but does not preclude compliance with the regulation prior to that date".

So you electricians out there why are you still fitting plastic boards when there are readily available safer products on the market?

-------------------------
John Peckham

http://www.astutetechnicalservices.co.uk/
 02 December 2015 04:22 PM
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AJJewsbury

Posts: 15823
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So you electricians out there why are you still fitting plastic boards when there are readily available safer products on the market?

If I bought a plastic CU at today's end-of-line clearance prices and used the money saved to buy & install a TMV for the hot water system - would the overall safety level be increased or decreased compared with just fitting a new Steel CU?
- Andy.
 02 December 2015 04:30 PM
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John Peckham

Posts: 8783
Joined: 23 April 2005

Andy


With the money you saved it may be better to buy a fire extinguisher and turn the stat. down on the water heating system.

-------------------------
John Peckham

http://www.astutetechnicalservices.co.uk/
 02 December 2015 05:30 PM
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frspikeyhead

Posts: 830
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And heres me thinking no-one seemed really interested in this topic so I logged out. Wow. And yet no one has actually answered my original question. The nearest to it was JP but I don't understand how you can install a new circuit into an existing plastic CU and call that ammendment 3 compliant?????
 02 December 2015 05:40 PM
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AJJewsbury

Posts: 15823
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I don't understand how you can install a new circuit into an existing plastic CU and call that ammendment 3 compliant?????

Same way as you can rewire an 18th century house (with part P notification) and claim building regs compliance. New regs don't apply retrospectively to existing, just as long as the existing can support the compliance of the addition, and the addition doesn't endanger the existing, it's acceptable.
- Andy.
IET » Wiring and the regulations » ???????????????????

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