What work needs to be done when working on an old installation.

Discussion in 'Electricians' Talk' started by GavRob, May 15, 2018.

  1. GavRob

    GavRob New Member

    Hi, guess this has been asked before but I can't seem to guess the right search terms.

    If you are asked to do some work on an existing domestic installation that did at the time, but no longer meets regs (due to changes in regs, not faults), are you supposed to insist on upgrading before you connect? If the customer doesn't want to pay to upgrade do you refuse work?

    Couple of examples:

    1) swapping a light fitting and notice there is no earth - are you allowed just to throw an earth in from the fitting you are working on back to the board and maybe advise on the rest?

    2) Old fuse box and you are working on the sockets (adding/relocating) in the kitchen. - can you just do the work (poss add an rcd in line) or would you need to upgrade the box and poss bonding.

    3) customer wants outside socket - can you install( within the existing ring) an outside socket with internal rcd protection regardless of how out of date the installation is? (Within reason) or again, would you be quoting for further works before you can do it?

    If so how often do you have to walk away from work? What happends if you have a regular customer, say a kitchen fitter and you are having to constantly tell his customers its going to cost more? Could you point me to the relevant regs.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Bob Rathbone

    Bob Rathbone Well-Known Member

    From previous replies to similar questions on this site, it appears that for an inspect and test you cannot apply regs retrospectively, if it complied when it was installed, most would pass it with a caveat. For new work, which is what changing a ceiling rose would be, the current regs must apply. So basically, if you modify the installation in any way, current regulations must be applied. Yes it is a mess and it is difficult to explain to the customer.
  3. seneca

    seneca Screwfix Select

    If you're just replacing an accessory it's not a problem but if adding to an existing circuit that circuit needs to comply.
    I had a job yesterday, adding an outside socket on the front wall, the kitchen was in the front of the house and there was a socket outlet under the worktop just behind where they wanted the outside socket positioned, very handy I thought! Now of course when I removed that socket I found it was already a spur! So, I fitted an fcu before the socket and fed the outside socket and the existing one from there. All ok until I came to do the rcd test and found it wouldn't trip at 30 m/a, then on checking at the c/unit I find that the rcd there is 100 m/a, (it is a TT system with 16th edition c/unit) so I then changed the fcu for an rcd/fcu. I know I should have checked more before starting the job but I have done several jobs for these people before (but nothing that's involved looking too closely at the c/unit) and they're very easy people to deal with and never quibble about cost etc.
  4. Coloumb

    Coloumb Well-Known Member

    It's often totally disregarded but for any alteration or edition, the earthing and bonding needs to be verified.
    Bazza likes this.
  5. dobbie

    dobbie Well-Known Member

    What edition is that ?
    The 18th edition is out in July.
  6. GavRob

    GavRob New Member

    So, worst case and by the book....

    You turn up to add a spur for some Air Con in the conservatory, simple back to back to an existing socket, you are working for the AC company. You notice the cable is the old stranded type (but not rubber), "sorry Mr/Mrs customer I have to change your entire downstairs ring main to connect your AC as its not up to regs", "oh and your fuse board, bonding tails etc", "right done that, thats £XXX please". "Oh by the way I wasn't able to connect any of your old circuits back in to the new board due to the cable not being up to current regs, and I spotted a socket on the landing didn't have a switch, you need all that swapping to".

    *I am assuming that old pvc/pvc with the stranded cable is not allowed in the current regs.

    Would that be how it goes? The customer will feel like they have been conned and doubt you would get further work from the AC company.
  7. seneca

    seneca Screwfix Select

    No you've got it completely wrong Gavrob. There's nothing wrong with stranded cable, it's 7/029 the forerunner of 2.5mm, the non switched socket isn't a problem either. Lack of rcd protection is the only likely problem in the case you're quoting.
  8. GavRob

    GavRob New Member

    Ah, right, i was under the assumption if the regs say it wasn't to be used now (i.e. isn't there something about all socket outlets have to be switched locally?) then it wasn't compliant and thus ok to leave as is, but if someone worked on the circuit couldn't leave it that way.
  9. Pollowick

    Pollowick Well-Known Member

    You best speak to the manufacturers ... there are plenty of non-switched sockets produced and available. If they have to be locally switched, why would they be made in large quantities?
  10. GavRob

    GavRob New Member

    Well I guess local isolation does not mean on the actual socket outlet.
  11. seneca

    seneca Screwfix Select

    In the case of a plug & socket pulling the plug satisfies local isolation requirement!
  12. GavRob

    GavRob New Member

    either way, I think we are off topic regardless of the socket, if you swapped a consumer unit do you have to verify all circuits connected would meet today's regs? Some things would be obvious (rubber cable, no lighting earth) but if there were subtle things, spur off a spur without fusing down for example (that one must be against regs) would these have to be corrected before connecting into the new unit?
  13. GavRob

    GavRob New Member

    good point
  14. seneca

    seneca Screwfix Select

    On a c/unit change no earthing on lighting circuit's isn't a great problem, a notice has to be attached to the c/unit stating that lighting circuit --- doesn't have an earthing conductor and that class 1 accessories shouldn't be used, if there are any metal switches present I always change them for plastic ones. As regards cables, rubber cable is ok provided it's in good condition and passes insulation tests ok.
  15. GavRob

    GavRob New Member

    So would you test all the circuits beforehand or make it clear to the customer that if a circuit doesn't pass further work is needed? if you swapped the board then had a circuit that didn't pass what are your options?
  16. seneca

    seneca Screwfix Select

    Some people do a full test before changing the c/unit, personally I don't. I have a good look around, maybe remove a couple of sockets just to see what the cables are like, sometimes do a Ze test, check for the existence of water and gas bonding etc. and then explain to the customer that there might be some extras if problems are found when doing the final testing. I always allow enough in reserve when I quote, I never go in ridiculously low just to get the job as i'm in the fortunate position that I don't need to grab every job that comes along, having said that I often try to price myself out of it if I don't fancy the job for some reason but that rarely works! I can't remember the last time I had to charge someone more than I quoted.
    Sparkielev likes this.
  17. Sparkielev

    Sparkielev Well-Known Member

    Generally have a look round check Bonding and fittings you know if it's gonna be a pain so you price accordingly
    seneca likes this.
  18. GavRob

    GavRob New Member

    Cheers all, thanks for your help on this.
  19. Risteard

    Risteard Well-Known Member

    Lighting circuits without provision for a CPC notice is not prescribed by BS7671. So such a solution would be non-compliant with the Standard.
  20. seneca

    seneca Screwfix Select

    Well in England (where I am!) the niceic are quite happy with it, I have used such jobs on annual assessments many times without any problems.
    retiredsparks likes this.

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