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Topic Title: Inspection & testing of replacement accessories
Topic Summary: Is maintenance work exempt?
Created On: 31 October 2013 05:10 PM
Status: Read Only
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 31 October 2013 05:10 PM
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Posts: 35
Joined: 25 June 2013

As I am sure you are all aware, there is a caveat in the notes of the minor works certificate that it "may" be used for the replacement of equipment such as accessories or luminaires.

I am interested in members opinions as to the extent of where an MWC is to be used with respect to replacement of accessories and luminaires and what (if anything) would be classed as uncertifiable maintenance?

For example, if I was replacing a plastic socket front because the original had cracked under mechanical impact, I would not consider this as requiring an MWC because it is like for like maintenance. Or is an MWC recommended in order to verify that it has been connected up correctly e.g. the earth is present?

If I was changing the plastic socket outlet for a metal clad outlet or vice versa, then I would expect an MWC as there is an element of design involved and possible changes to earthing requirements e.g. is a plastic outlet suitable for the environment, is the metal clad outlet earthed etc.

The reason for my enquiry is that we are doing a project where we are changing some lighting column luminaires. The lamp rating is the same, so there is no change in load on the circuit. The main changes are the style of the fitting and the control gear offering PIR detection. Would this warrant an MWC as the circuit characteristics are not being changed?

Of course the work would be documented and recorded via one of our computerised maintenance management system work orders, but this does not allow for any electrical tests/measurements in the same way that an MWC does.

The MWC form notes state that 'This certificate may also be used for the replacement of equipment...'. In this context, does the word 'replacement' mean with the same type or a different type of accessory/luminaire?

To add to the mix, what about a length of cable? If a damaged/faulty cable was being replaced with the same type & length, does this require any form of certification or is it simply maintenance work?

Any comments/advice would be greatly appreciated.
 31 October 2013 05:31 PM
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Joined: 13 August 2003

I'd expect that if you replaced a socket you'd check that connections were correct (not L-PE reversed or N-PE reversed) and a decent earth connection were present at the very least - and if you're doing the checks you might as well write down the result - and if you're going to write it down it might as well be on an MWC as anything else.

I'm not sure plastic/metal-clad makes much difference as someone can plug a class 1 appliance into a plastic socket, making the risks pretty much identical anyway.

If I were being defensive I might ask: If I made a human error doing this job could someone get hurt? (e.g. getting two wires the wrong way around as this new accessory has the terminals in a different order to usual, or if I push the c.p.c. a bit too far into that daft little lighting terminal and the screw bites down on the insulation instead of the conductor), If so would you want to check/test to verify that such a mistake hadn't happened? If so would you want some kind of record that I did should it all go belly up and someone starts legal proceedings?

- Andy.
 31 October 2013 05:51 PM
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The term 'like for like' in Building Regulation terms means, replacement with a comparable component or assembly, this is an open ended statement that could mean replacing the same with the same, replacing the same with the same but better or replacing with something entirely different that does the same job, it relies on you and your common sense to decide along with Regulation 7 which states goods must be fit for purpose.

On average the majority of electricians do not issue MWC's for this type of work, of the rest some will if the customer request it and may charge, of the others they dish them out like confetti, again this is left to you to decide, at the end of day your invoice 'payment for goods and services' carries more weight than a MWC.


"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!"
 31 October 2013 06:09 PM
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Electric showers are about the only thing I issue an MWC for in the case of like for like replacements.

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