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EICR rewire...

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« on: May 11, 2021, 03:06:18 PM »

I have just - finally - had the EICR done at a property where my Tenant of many years (the feckless semi-recluse) eventually admitted the Electrician in, after messing him around for weeks. This is a tenancy where the Tenant is in receipt of UC and even UC agree I can get the money directly, because she cannot handle her finances herself.

In the past - about three times if I remember correctly - I have tried to bring the tenancy to an end... in the past (before UC stepped-in) for rent arrears or for non-communication (or terribly poor communication)... and I think, once, for having someone else living there... but I eventually relented every time because she starts crying to me. I have not (despite my own mantra of "annual modest increases") increased the rent since 2014 and I would dearly love to.

Sometimes it's just been all too much to deal with... and, sadly (unprofessionally), I have just let things move on at its steady state.

Anyway, the Electrician has just come to my home to give me the EICR and explain it to me (he even said he wanted to leave as soon as he got in there because of how she's living)... it needs a full rewire. I'm not arguing with him. I knew there'd be remedial work. It's not that it wasn't safe, but it's got really old wiring (multi-stranded, aluminium vs. solid core copper - so it's not just the sleeve colours) and the Tenant has told the Electrician that the electric oven is now broken(!)... why didn't she tell me?... and asked him to "pass that on" as though he's some kind of messenger boy. Anyway, I trust the Electrician... but the first question I asked was:

The only time I've done a rewire before it was in an unoccupied property but it involved chasing out walls, no power for days... are we talking about the same thing, or some kind of non-invasive rewire?

It's the full-on rewire... he said someone could stay there if they really wanted, but no-one should want to... and he doesn't want her to. I agree.

So... I'm going to sound mercenary here... but I want to use this as impetus for me bringing this tenancy to an end. I've wanted to do it for years. I certainly will put them up somewhere else, if I'm legally obliged to, while the rewire (and plastering and painting and kitchen replacement) goes ahead... but I don't want to.

What I would like is a clean break with this Tenant and, then, because the property is in a desirable part of Sheffield (even though it's an older terrace) I want to consider selling it on and buying closer to home.

Is this way too mercenary of me? Can it be achieved? Any suggestions as to the legal aspect and the moral aspect?

Obviously the Tenant will not want the tenancy to end. But it might be possible. I might be talking 6 months here. Obviously I want the EICR actions to be actioned... ASAP. But... also... I don't want the current Tenant to move out at my expense... me have all this work done - and take opportunity to make it snazzy (I've asked the Electrician to go for brushed steel sockets, more sockets per room, some with USB etc.) and there'll be a new oven, it sounds like, and new kitchen cabinets... so... well, I don't want the same Tenant coming back in at the same rent, because she'll just make it nasty again. What I want is to have her out, get the work done, not have her back and evaluate my options... rent to someone else at a higher rent, or - more likely - sell it on and buy something a bit closer to home.

Happy to be "told off" too... I feel kinda bad thinking about this angle... but I want them gone and have done for a long time, I've just never had the gumption to do it.
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« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2021, 05:57:12 PM »

Pleaeeese can I do this for you? It just gets my goat,when a good scrupulous landlord gets played like this.Turn down the volume on your conscience,you have gone way beyond your moral and legal duty.Your karma is clean as a whistle on this one.Ignore the waterworks,I know how some women operate.
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« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2021, 07:22:21 PM »

I dunno... I'm conflicted... the re-wire has to be done... the question is whether I can get her out (preferably willingly and quietly) before that happens... or whether she'll be obstructive for any activity at all, or whether I have to proceed with providing her another roof while the re-wire goes ahead, only to come back afterwards... as part of the re-wire (as all the kitchen cupboards will need to come off etc. and I'll probably replace the kitchen) there'll be plastering and repainting and appliance replacement so I'll effectively do a pretty substantial refurbishment... and then I'll want more rent (which UC won't want to pay for, so she won't be able to afford - the top-up route is one that doesn't work in our business relationship)... or I'll want to sell it... I can probably sell that house in Sheffield for 1.2x what I could buy the same house for in Barnsley... the rent in Barnsley would be about the same as what I've been getting, so transaction costs could be just swallowed-up and I'd have something a bit closer to home.

I am guessing other Landlords, as part of the EICR feeding frenzy, must have been told they that need a full re-wire... and I was curious... did they just get on and do them with Tenant in place? That seems unlikely to me. It's way too disruptive... so were Landlords placing plenty of Tenants in other accommodation?

Thankfully this is only one, and it's the only one.
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« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2021, 10:06:25 AM »

I had a partner once who was a sparks,and I know all the tricks they employ.Who can argue when they are told a full rewire is required,especially if "fire risk" is mentioned ? Few bother to get a second opinion.I lived once in a large flat that had to be rewired soon after I moved in.I could not afford to move into a hotel,and it was really horrible and stressful.
It helps a lot if you have an electrician you have used before and trust.Presumably there have been a lot of reported electrical faults,how was the diagnosis reached?

Personally I would be dancing an Irish jig at being offered an escape route regarding a thorn in the side tenant.I would tell her it has to be sold,whilst privately keeping my options open until she vacates.Sadly,I think you may see another side to her if the tears don't work for once.The daft  and feckless but likeable lady may suddenly change.Don't fall into the trap of thinking she likes or respects you.     

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« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2021, 11:29:52 AM »

I have the report and I could pore over it, but he came around to see me and explain it. Basically, it's not just old wiring... it's really old wiring. We're not just talking not blue and brown... not just black and red... but actually multi-stranded wiring instead of single core copper... he mentioned something about aluminium wiring somewhere... the cooker isn't going back to the right level of thingie and the thingie... there are no hard-wired smoke alarms... it's a collection of small(er) things that all add up to him saying it "should be a re-wire"... and I'm not against this, philosophically... like you say.

I want to make it clear there were no C1s on the EICR. We are talking about 2 C2s (which I'm finding out more about, the question is  - could they be remediated?) and some C3s. The C2s aren't related to the stranded wire either - they're related to "circuits having low insulation resistance reading"- regardless, they're C2 - remedial action required... whether that's a re-wire is a follow-on.

But - no - the Tenant has certainly not reported any electrical faults, none whatsoever. I cannot see the need is pressing (because it suddenly became unsafe the day the Electrician visited)... but I expected serious remedial work to come out of this property (as it's an older one I simply have not had the access to I would like) and I was ready for something momentous too.

He's done all my other EICRs and I don't think that this is the pay-day he was waiting patiently for... he seems a good egg. Plus, for a re-wire I will get a second quote in because this guy's quote was 3,500 (including all materials) whereas my last re-wire in 2016 was 2,000 but I had bought all the sockets and switches and light fittings... so, even though it may balance-out it feels a tad heavy (to me).

The Tenant has gone very quiet.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2021, 12:17:10 PM by Hippogriff »
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« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2021, 02:11:21 PM »

The plot has thickened somewhat. I'm not saying a re-wire still isn't necessary... but another Electrician has cast serious doubts on the EICR... the EICR makes C2 references to low insulation resistance readings... but the test results are documented as <1,000MΩ. There's no actual figure recorded. On the other EICRs, that passed without any issue, he documented his readings as >1,000MΩ. You don't look at things that pass, obviously... but I've been digging into this failure...

The other Electrician says that <1,000MΩ is "meaningless" and it doesn't even indicate a test failure at all. It might be the case that there is low insulation resistance, but the report doesn't back that up. In fact, a failure - something worthy of a C2 rating would be <1MΩ. This EICR saying <1,000MΩ somehow makes a reader infer the Electrician thinks there's something special about the 1,000MΩ boundary... there isn't. 50MΩ would be fine. 150MΩ would be fine. 999MΩ would be fine... all are <1,000MΩ.

The other Electrician says that the insulation resistance measurements and associated comments currently make no real sense, such that there may well be no problem at all, let alone a need for a re-wire. And, funniest by far, the comment that, sure, fault finding can take a long time and be onerous, however in this case - what faults? The test results in the EICR do not indicate any faults exist.

The other Electrician has also said that the comments about stranded wire aren't right - apparently stranded wire is still sold today and is perfectly fine to use. The comments about aluminium wire are probably incorrect (otherwise other issues would exist) and it's probably tinned copper wire he found. And the C3 about no hard-wired smoke alarms isn't even supposed to be coded - there's no code for it.

My ECIR author has gone silent since I asked about it... (only yesterday afternoon, so I'm not panicking, it's just... interesting). I have learned a lot in the last day.
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« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2021, 02:28:49 PM »

Bloody hell,I did not even do O-level physics,so none of this makes sense. I do however know that in my experience sparks are lying cheating love rats who can't keep their flies zipped.My own place was built in 1890,I still have the original windows and there is horsehair in the walls.I am pretty sure it has been rewired at some point, I certainly hope so.
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« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2021, 02:54:52 PM »

Shows how important a 2nd opinion is!

There is so, so much interpretation of ECIR's its almost farcical.
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« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2021, 02:58:10 PM »

Well, we don't need to be Physicalists to know that there's a big difference between 1,000 and 1. Yes, <1,000 might actually be indicating something that is still, say, 0.5 (which is still <1 and indicates a problem - but not necessarily one that might indicate a mandatory re-wire)... but worth documenting it correctly, right? There's a lot of doubt between 1 and 1,000. As I've been told, he seems to have just recorded anything above 1,000 as >1,000 and anything below 1,000 as <1,000 despite the fact that many numbers that are dramatically less than 1,000 would be a passing measurement (even a small handful of MΩ). The other Electrician says the closer to 0 it actually is the more RCDs / MCBs would be tripping in the house all the time, until you get to a measurement of 0 (a short-circuit) and an immediate fail... and there's been no reports of that from the Tenants, not ever.

So the Electrician either has a passing familiarity with orders of magnitude, specificity, the regulations or the truth. Who knows at this stage? I could still end up getting the property empty and doing the re-wire. I would like to know I'm not being coerced into it, though, on dubious measurements.
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« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2021, 03:56:19 PM »

Thanks for the further clarification.That now makes perfect sense.
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« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2021, 10:45:25 AM »

I was coached by another Electrician to ask the EICR Electrician over WhatsApp about a remediation approach for the C2, rather than getting an empty property (nigh on impossible) for a full re-wire. He has replied - "The c2 s are there for a reason ie rewiring required due to low insulation resistance readings , not my rules as we all have guidelines to work to pal" - which has made my heart sink as his demeanour and responsiveness has suddenly dramatically changed. I've now been advised to ask directly about the actual readings for where he's put <1,000MΩ.

I am firmly told that putting in <1,000MΩ doesn't indicate a failure (as written) and certainly not a C2. The places he's put >1,000MΩ are fine, because some meters will 'top-out' at those numbers... but no meter will bottom-out at 1,000... they'd provide a true reading down to 0... so why not record that number on the EICR?

Before I go further I thought I'd ask a quick favour here... as we all have EICRs now... has anyone else seen an Electrician record IR figures like this on page 5 of the EICR? Or have other Landlords been given true readings?
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« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2021, 11:13:25 AM »

Before I go further I thought I'd ask a quick favour here... as we all have EICRs now... has anyone else seen an Electrician record IR figures like this on page 5 of the EICR? Or have other Landlords been given true readings?

Mine just says > 200

I don't know whether they'd give greater detail if it was less than 200, but apparently 200 is enough as far as they're concerned.
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« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2021, 11:41:24 AM »

Thanks. 200 is more than enough. 2 is, indeed, enough.
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« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2021, 01:21:09 PM »

I asked the Electrician, over Whatsapp, about the actual test results... instead of him putting <1,000MΩ. A subset of his response included - "Am not arguing over some readings the house wiring is well dated and feel free to get a 2nd opinion too . Anything less than the 1 meg is a fail so if it says less than thats cos it is" - and - "Get someone else to go do the test and i will transfer you the money back after i have had a copy of the new report."... I said I wasn't arguing, I just wanted to see actual figures that made sense... less than a thousand million Ohms is hardly specific enough to justify a multi-thousand Pound re-wire.

So even there he's talking about 1 meg... not 1,000 meg... so that maybe indicates, to me - as he won't confirm, that it's an error in recording... and he meant <1MΩ. He now seems to be in a huff (story of my life, really). Also, the Tenant is in a huff. No-one is happy with me.
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« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2021, 01:52:11 PM »

It seems to me there's a world of difference between something that wants doing at the first suitable opportunity (i.e. the next time the property's empty) and something that needs doing before you can get a certificate. It's a pity your tenant isn't likely to make it easy to get a second opinion. We don't know for sure whether the electrician made a mistake with his meter, or just wrote it down wrong on the form (missed out the decimal point?) because he seems to have gone on the defensive.

You'd probably only need to re-check one circuit to get a ballpark idea of whether it's a testing or a recording error.

Have you got somebody lined up to look at the oven?
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« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2021, 02:34:47 PM »

Yeah,on the defensive, when questioned,that rings a bell.
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« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2021, 09:47:31 AM »

I've got another Electrician to go around and offer a second opinion... he's really confident there won't be low IR... he's seen the EICR produced by the first Electrician and one of his comments was that it looked like it had been completed by a five year old. Go figure. Another Electrician educated me on the reason why the form asks for actual figures... and not some kind of "pass" / "fail" mark... is because when the next EICR comes around the future Electrician will want to see this one, and then they'll do the same tests and if there's been any deterioration over time the figures will show that... just having some kind of range of <1,000MΩ would not allow that comparison so that guy was questioning the first Electrician's competence in even filling out the basic form correctly.

I've now spoken to the Tenant... it's the oven door rubber seal... the oven works... just the seal might need replacing. I'll tell her to get a Handyman in at her own convenience and see how that goes.
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« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2021, 02:41:47 PM »

I can't see any IR figures on any of them,in any section.Section 5 on mine is about the length of time the certificates will be valid for.
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« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2021, 03:20:42 PM »

Yours are probably all suspect too...  :-X
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« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2021, 03:24:33 PM »

I've now spoken to the Tenant... it's the oven door rubber seal... the oven works... just the seal might need replacing. I'll tell her to get a Handyman in at her own convenience and see how that goes.

Oi!  I'm not getting involved with your tenant   ;D
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« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2021, 03:25:54 PM »

Expect a call. It's only a little rubber seal... bark-bark!
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« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2021, 03:29:10 PM »

Oh shit.I am keeping schtum.Ignorance is bliss.
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« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2021, 04:04:13 PM »

Yours are probably all suspect too...  :-X
I'm not sure that's right.

I have a 'certified good guy' who did my EICR. He is very knowledgeable about the regulations and NICEIC requirements and has all the right test kit.

Attached is an extract from the report. Note that insulation resistances are shown simply as >200M
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« Reply #23 on: May 17, 2021, 05:08:23 PM »

Greater than is not quite the same as a less than recording. The 200MΩ at 500V DC is likely the max their reader returns. The true value could be 201MΩ or a million MΩ for all the electrician care, it's more than enough to pass the test. As stated above though, if it's saying less than, that doesn't tell you anything. Less than one MΩ at ??V and a failure according to the IET, between one and two MΩ and a fail according to HSE, or 999MΩ and a flying pass?

* Passing figure from quick Googling and not any actual knowledge
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« Reply #24 on: May 18, 2021, 09:25:28 AM »

I have just looked again,following Handyman's advice.I can only find something on 1 of the 5 properties ,and that says > 100. This is the 2 up 2 down terrace,previous workman's cottage,quite old. am pretty sure my Sparks has stopped work due to mental problems,and looking at all this stuff he had to fill in after visits I am not surprised.
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« Reply #25 on: May 18, 2021, 10:01:25 AM »

If you're seeing >100MΩ and >200MΩ then you've really nothing to worry about... but the point made about recording actual figures still stands because of the comparison that is supposed to be done when it's time for the next EICR... however, at those levels I doubt very much there'd be anything to worry about. What some Electricians are doing here with >xMΩ appears to be a kind of shorthand when they assess there's nothing to see here. If you saw a figure less than 100MΩ then you might start to wonder... why that is... and whether you need to do anything... but it would still be a fine pass and nothing would be urgent, or require any kind of coding on the EICR. It's the <xMΩ that is the problem, as stated (especially when x is stupidly high), and - of course - using that to then code a C2.

For me... all the previous EICRs passed so like any typical lazy Landlord I just read the SATISFACTORY tick box and moved on... only when I saw the first UNSATISFACTORY did I even begin to think about things... but it was the absolute refusal of the Electrician to consider any possible remediation path other than a full re-wire that got my SpideySense tingling... I remembered back to all my previous comments about a feeding frenzy of Electricians in 2020 and 2021... I had discussed, up front, with this Electrician my concerns... and he seemed a good egg. It's possible that I'm a poor judge of character... .because he turned nasty abruptly when questioned in a very polite way.

But, after all this, it's still possible there is low IR... and the second Electrician has now booked himself in with the Tenant... however, he categorically states a full re-wire is not the only option on the table if that is the case. He also states it'd be really unlikely to have low IR to the point where it fails... and it's much more likely something wasn't removed from a socket when the test was done... however, I cannot pin my hopes on that, can I?
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« Reply #26 on: May 18, 2021, 10:27:16 AM »

Hope springs eternal as the bloke from up the road said.
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« Reply #27 on: May 26, 2021, 07:10:25 PM »

Here's the gist of a text message I've just received from the second Electrician...

"Hi [me!], Iv neen to [Tenant's] property [address] I'll give you a ring tomorrow and have a chat about it mate. Its passed just. Cheers"

I'll find out more tomorrow... but it looks like I'll have a new EICR... and maybe he'll be recommending some things (because I don't feel 100% about that "just") but at least it's not a 3,550 re-wire!
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« Reply #28 on: May 26, 2021, 08:37:51 PM »

I'll listen out for any reduced time till the next inspection if "it passed just".
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« Reply #29 on: May 27, 2021, 01:39:19 PM »

Spot on...

He's recorded the two circuits of concern from the last EICR as being between 50MΩ and 100MΩ - a clear PASS - could be better, but it's an old property and old wiring.

However, he tells me that whatever he tried, he couldn't get the lighting circuit above 5MΩ... now that's still a PASS and the EICR has been provided and marked SATISFACTORY, but he wants to re-check in 2 years. I am perfectly happy with that, as it gives me and the Tenant the runway we need to make some decisions.

However x 2, I checked the previous EICR and the lighting circuit there was recorded as >1,000MΩ. So it makes you wonder... did the other Electrician basically not bother to record any figures at all - and everything he put down was either <1,000MΩ or >1,000MΩ and, in his head, that meant FAIL or PASS? Seems like it.

Anyway, crisis (of tenancy and pocket) averted.
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