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EICR cert

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« on: September 28, 2020, 02:04:03 PM »

I have just had an electrical safety certificate issued at one of our properties and for some reason they have changed the smoke alarms saying that they needed to be changed to pass the test. Originally the house did have mains powered smoke alarms which were unreliable so I change them for battery operated ones. These are operational and work fine does anybody know why they say they would have to change them back to mains powered.
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« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2020, 03:09:49 PM »

As we know, Landlords are required by law to fit smoke alarms into their rental properties. Legislation falls short of the protective levels that are recommended in BS5839. BS5839 covers fire safety... it states that alarms should be interconnected within a property, as best practice, but does not require it. Legislation does not, therefore, require it - unless there has been some more recent addendum. BS5839 rates installations on a scale - Grade D is a mains-powered system with battery back-up, Grade E is a mains-powered system with no battery back-up and Grade F is battery-powered alarms... F does not mean FAIL. The majority of standard housing in the UK fall within the D-F category - whereby mains or battery powered alarms are installed. Grades A through C are for more commercial type properties, or apartment blocks and suchlike.

An EICR, on the other hand, should be observing the system as is under BS7671... and they're supposed to code things on their own basis - C1 = mega-urgent (because dangerous), C2 = you must address this, and C3 = improvement would be recommended. BS7671 and BS5839 are different things entirely... and anything covered under BS5839 it outside the remit of BS7671 so all that could be done is an observation is made. As your detectors are battery powered then they should be outside the remit of BS7671... because there's no wiring.

Think about it - it would be like the EICR rating an electrical shower that didn't exist... you can't 'fail' a property for not having something... unless, it is a requirement for an electrical shower to exist (not only one heated by your boiler)... in this case it is like the Electrician is saying - sure, you have a gas-powered (!?) shower... and I can't comment on that, but I insist that you have an electrical shower instead, therefore I'm 'failing' you until you have one installed... oh, and by the way... I can do that for you.

Again - this is all unless there have been recent updates made to something like BS7671 and, if so, I would be asking two things... a) what is the regulation being quoted and b) what code was this given - if a C3 you could have ignored it - but, you have access to the EICR, right?

The problem with this stuff is twofold... 1) different Electricians interpret their marking and remit differently... plus 2) the regulation documents they are working from are hard to read up on ourselves, so there's some flim-flam and misdirection going on here...

That said... I am willing to be corrected on any of this, but I'd like more than opinion, I'd like a link to a regulation and, also, I would always encourage hard-wired ones too... just because issues were there in the past doesn't mean they will be in the future.
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« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2020, 06:26:49 PM »

Is there anything in the regs whereby you can't regress to a lower standard, i.e./e.g. the equivalent of Part M stipulating that you don't have to put wheelchair access in but you can't remove it if it's already there?

My other thought is what happened to the original wiring? If it's still in place and potentially live the sparky might have thought the easiest thing to do with it was just attach a new mains detector to it.
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« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2020, 12:13:36 AM »

Yes thatís exactly what he did. My point is why though. There were 2 perfectly good working battery ones there. They were removed and new mains ones fitted, no discussion just done, oh and thatís £40 please.
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« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2020, 07:39:01 AM »

Why aren't you asking him to quote the legislation he followed? That's what I've suggested. Not just "wiring regulations, 18th edition"... the part. I'm already wary of Electricians using this, and their own or their customer's lack of knowledge, to increase work / costs.

Find out for us, and report back. It will be useful.
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« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2020, 11:04:04 AM »

There were 2 perfectly good working battery ones there. They were removed and new mains ones fitted, no discussion just done, oh and thatís £40 please.

Again, I'm speculating (because that's what forums are for  ;D ), but I imagine the two battery alarms aren't the problem. The two missing mains ones are. You've got all the wiring for mains operated smoke detectors, separate, labelled circuit breaker in the consumer unit etc ... but it's a faulty installation because the mains detectors are missing.

As Hippogriff says, it would be interesting to know the chapter and verse, though. It might just be that the electrician assumed it was against regs because it just looked wrong - like one of those LBW decisions where the batsman gets in such an ugly tangle that the question of whether the ball would actually have hit the stumps barely crosses the umpire's mind.

At any rate £40 fitted for a couple of mains detectors doesn't sound like wild profiteering.
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« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2020, 12:19:38 PM »

At any rate £40 fitted for a couple of mains detectors doesn't sound like wild profiteering.

Correct. The problem comes when the Electrician says you need to have a new metal-clad Consumer Board fitted... because the plastic one fitted in, say, 2010, "doesn't meet regulations" and you swallow it because it's all new, and you simply don't know enough... and, of course, the Electrician couldn't be wrong... could they?

Or a rewire because you have funny coloured wires in your walls... sheesh... get rid of them!
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« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2020, 10:26:50 AM »

Quote
Correct. The problem comes when the Electrician says you need to have a new metal-clad Consumer Board fitted... because the plastic one fitted in, say, 2010, "doesn't meet regulations" and you swallow it because it's all new, and you simply don't know enough... and, of course, the Electrician couldn't be wrong... could they?

Or a rewire because you have funny coloured wires in your walls... sheesh... get rid of them!

I had an inspector walk through the front door, look at the consumer unit and start shaking his head. Pointing out 5 circuits without RCD protection he went on to say that (1) It's not satisfactory (2) The wires get hot without an RCD (3) You need RCBO's fitted. I asked for the regulations that required me to fit RCD protection to all circuits (he couldn't) and he then went into a cheep landlord rant saying he took safety seriously etc. I showed him the door and said he could forget about billing me!!

In retrospect it was partly my fault as I had not done sufficient homework on the regulations or on the electrician I had asked to attend. I just ran a Google search and went for a cheap option.............lesson learnt

I now use a Registered Competent Person search to locate a NAPIT NIC registered company. Next I arm myself with the Electrical Safety First Best Practice Guide No: 4 which provides electricians with advice on coding of faults or differences from the latest edition regulations. Lastly I inform the inspector that except for a simple fix, they will not benefit from any remedial work.

Less risk of  getting a cowboy looking to fleece unsuspecting landlords and there are many of these people advertising on the internet               
« Last Edit: November 07, 2020, 10:50:17 AM by Hippogriff »
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