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interlinked smoke alarms

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Author Topic: interlinked smoke alarms  (Read 230 times)
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« on: May 23, 2021, 05:02:27 PM »

Hope someone here can help me.  I have just had an EICR done, and in the Urgent remedial action required box, the electrician has listed 'Smoke alarms are not interlinked'.  This is for a maisonette spread over 2.5 floors and we have 3 smoke alarms - one on each floor.  My understanding was that interlinked smoke alarms were only a requirement in Scotland and my maisonette is within the greater London area.  The company has sent me a quote to replace the three smoke alarms with an interlinked system, but I am now wary that they are just trying to drum up work.
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« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2021, 06:47:03 PM »

I'm sure someone will be along to give you chapter and verse on the requirements in England but, out of interest, how much is their quote (inc. VAT) for replacing the 3 existing units with interlinked alarms?

Here's a just one example from a reputable manufacturer: FireAngel Wi-safe 2 Wireless Smoke Alarm currently available from Wickes at 22 each.

https://www.wickes.co.uk/FireAngel-Wi-safe-2-Wireless-Smoke-Alarm/p/155292

10 year battery. 10 year guarantee.

Two screws. No mains wiring. You could easily fit them yourself.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2021, 07:00:25 PM by HandyMan »
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« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2021, 08:56:27 AM »

Is that marked as a C2 failure? In that the EICR has been marked UNSATISFACTORY? The path to resolution here is talking with the Electrician who conducted it... and, as basic layman Landlords, we are often going to be in the dark when talking to a 'professional'. That's the challenge. No-one will like their work being questioned. If they are trying to drum-up some work, they'll like it even less. They won't like being told they're incorrect on this. But I also think they are. I had an EICR done where comments were made about smoke alarms (that was a C3, but these aren't hard-wired or interlinked even)... another Electrician told me that it "wasn't even a code" for the EICR.

You need to be careful because even though an EICR is a prescriptive form that is supposed to be filled-in taking into account well-specified rules and regulations, it certainly seems there's a lot of subjectivity depending on which Electrician you end up with. Not all of them can be correct, can they?

I would look at this EICR and if the cost was a few hundred, probably allow the work in a pragmatic sense to get that SATISFACTORY report (yes, it's becoming a tick-box exercise at this stage, it's gone beyond providing a safe place for a Tenant to live - it's not that which is the focus any more!) and move on... you have the quote, you have the guys standing-by, you have the opportunity to act.

Going to Wickes and buying a set of interlinked alarms you fit yourself... doesn't give you that EICR marked SATISFACTORY. That's the sticking-point. Maybe you can say, here's my UNSATISFACTORY report and here's the action I took in response... but I think it's much more important to have the EICR marked SATISFACTORY.
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« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2021, 02:02:31 PM »

buying a set of interlinked alarms you fit yourself... doesn't give you that EICR marked SATISFACTORY. That's the sticking-point. Maybe you can say, here's my UNSATISFACTORY report and here's the action I took in response...
It's up to @amandamcl, but I would certainly rely on that. It's obviously provable that you have fitted interlinked alarms and, as such, the C2 has clearly been addressed.

(assuming it should even be a C2 in the first place!)
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« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2021, 02:08:43 PM »

I am suspicious of the C2 myself.

.gov site has this to say on the matter... my bold... which I find both interesting, and limiting:

Where the report shows that remedial or further investigative work is necessary, complete this work within 28 days or any shorter period if specified as necessary in the report. Supply written confirmation of the completion of the remedial works from the electrician to the tenant and the local authority within 28 days of completion of the works.

I note the bold... but the electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk site says:

Any remedial work or further investigation following the inspection must be addressed within 28 days, with written confirmation that the work has been completed provided to the tenant and Local Authority.

It doesn't preclude the written confirmation coming from the Landlord, but that has always been my assumption (that the same or new Electrician would provide the written evidence via a new EICR marked SATISFACTORY - maybe that's not needed, but I don't feel 100% confident)... and, if not and you just get an email or something, then you still have an EICR marked UNSATISFACTORY.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2021, 02:14:37 PM by Hippogriff »
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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2021, 02:16:49 PM »

Thanks Handman and Hippogriff for your advice.  My estate agent suggested that I speak to NICEIC this morning as they are up to date with all the latest regulations and they confirmed that the smoke alarms are not required by the latest legislation to be interlinked.  The electrician carrying out the EICR failed it on a number of points, all of which had been present when the previous EICR (which passed) had been carried out such as insufficient fixings on wall cables, a down lighter in the living room not being fire rated, an out of date dimmer switch, unable to locate bonding connections, a small hole in the top of the fuse box. His quote for remedial work came to 1,500 but as he didn't itemise it I don't know what his charge would have been to replace the 3 existing smoke alarms with 3 interlinked ones.

Think I will find a new electrician to carry out the remedial work as I have totally lost confidence in the one who did the EICR.  I am happy to pay for any work that needs doing, but no one like to think they are being charged for work that isn't necessary. Not sure whether I will arrange a new EICR after the work has been done, or just written confirmation from the new electrician that the faults have been attended to.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2021, 02:46:09 PM by amandamcl »
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« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2021, 02:55:43 PM »

Form what you say,it is more than possible that some of the remedial work may not need to be done.I would ask around, try to find an honest sparks. I think that written confirmation should be sufficient.This requirement has been left open to individual interpretations,very confusing.
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« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2021, 02:56:15 PM »

The thing is... the latest regulations aren't retrospective either. They don't apply to an installation that met all the regulations at the time it was put in. I think you are going the right way in your approach - but I would also (and this is something I'm investigating in the background too for one of my properties) ask the original Electrician for your money back based on providing a duff EICR. You'll soon find out how reasonable they are. They'll give the game away.
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« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2021, 03:01:49 PM »

Form what you say,it is more than possible that some of the remedial work may not need to be done.I would ask around, try to find an honest sparks. I think that written confirmation should be sufficient.This requirement has been left open to individual interpretations,very confusing.

Yes, there is scope for subjective interpretation by different Electricians when there shouldn't be any. That is true.

There is much more scope for deliberate con artists to frighten Landlords into parting with thousands of Pounds. An accidental con artist in my book would be someone who's basically not competent to be doing the testing, but is qualified... and makes expensive recommendations based on good faith (because, after all, they are improvements, right?)... it's just that they can be unnecessary improvements to get to where Landlords need to be... that's holding an EICR marked SATISFACTORY. Yes...wall cables should be fixed sufficiently, consumers boards shouldn't have holes in them, even I cannot fathom what an "out of date" dimmer switch is... do they have expiry dates, like milk? But it certainly sounds like a pro-active change / improvement... which is unnecessary at the same time.

Out of date dimmer switch... please get in touch with the Electrician and find out for us.
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« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2021, 12:27:30 PM »

Will let you know what an out of date dimmer switch is ;).  Meanwhile, my estate agent has put me in touch with his own electrician who has analysed the original quote and said that a) it was greatly inflated and b) some of the work totally unnecessary. I will get him to do the remedial work so I no longer have to deal with the original electrian. As already commented, there are contractors 'trying it on' out there, and I find this is especially true when dealing with women as they assume we have no idea what is involved and they can tell us anything.  Amazing though what you can learn about current wiring regulations within a few days!  Thank you all for your help and suggestions.
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« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2021, 01:50:03 PM »

Yes,on hearing that the customer is not only female but a wealthy fat cat landlord does make those signs light up in the brains of some tradesmen.It certainly seems to be that domestic electricity is not an exact science,there's room for lots of creative thinking!
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« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2021, 02:57:04 PM »

...I find this is especially true when dealing with women as they assume we have no idea what is involved and they can tell us anything.

I wonder what my con-man Electrician thought about me then. Your remediation quote was a mere 1,500... mine was 3,550. I wasn't even wearing a low-cut top that day... I wasn't even there!

If you want to cover yourself properly... get your remediation work done and have the second Electrician do you another EICR as part of it. I would. It might not be necessary, we've debated it here and I don't think we're fully settled on the answer as a body, but I I still would.
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« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2021, 02:27:56 PM »

When it comes down to it, it all depends on the honesty of the tradesmen, whatever their field.A "rooofer" used by the agents I had years ago visited after tenants reported damp patches.I was not about to go up a ladder and check for myself (though the 90 year old ex-builder father of a friend did just that,God bless him)  I was told the chimney stack was in imminent danger of falling on someone,and that guttering and soffits needed work.It was around 1500 (20 years ago) I later found out he had just used some flashing tape,a few pounds a roll,and replaced a bit of cement on the chimney. The roofer turned out to be a general handyman. I hope I would be more canny next time,but some work is hard to prove.
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