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How much work do i need to do to be 'satisfactory'

In order to satisfy my home insurance company, I recently had a NICEIC inspection on my recently purchased house (that I will be living in, not rented) which concluded that the condition of the installation was ‘Unsatisfactory’. The insurance company requires it to be ‘Satisfactory’. The property is an old house which I will be restoring over the next 2 years, and will include a full re-wire once all alterations and plastering, etc have been completed. I can understand most of the points that were highlighted in the inspection report and have no issue with most of them, except for 2 (which happen to be the most expensive to resolve!).

First, both upstairs and downstairs wiring circuits were noted to have no earth wire (it is an old house...) and the quote from the contractor which carried out the inspection included provision to re-wire, specifically “to rewire lighting circuitry (point for point as found) in order to provide earthing conductor as needed by the IEE regulations”, at a cost of £1k. My question is whether this is necessary; is there not an option to fit plastic light fittings and switches, or Class 2 fittings, throughout? There are no metal backboxes. It seems to me a waste to rewire now and then to replace in the next 2 years…

Secondly, there is a comment in Section K that not all circuits are RCD protected. The house has a relatively modern consumer unit that (I believe) was installed in 2002 (10 x MCBs, a main contactor, and an RCCB). The 80A 30mA RCCB, fitted within the consumer unit, covers the upstairs and downstairs socket ring mains. The contractor’s estimate quotes the following work: “To supply, fit and reconnect to existing circuitry as found new 17th Edition RCD/MCB consumer unit as required, complete with re-testing electrical installation, including new computer produced certification detail as required by the current edition of the IEE regulations”. I was under the impression that the IEE regulations were not retrospective and that the consumer unit needed only to be replaced if the installation was being altered. Is this correct, or do I need a new unit? Again, I would prefer to install a new unit when I re-wire!

Grateful for any advice as to whether I’m being ‘taken for a ride’!

Addition in response to queries: Sorry, I wasn't clear... The house will be extended, the ceilings will come down to be replaced, and a number of the partition walls will be moved; only then will plastering be done, so any equivalent to 1st fix work will have to be redone. So any chasing of wires done in a rewire will be useful for only a short period of time, etc. Wasn't planning to plaster/decorate then rewire :-)

So, in sum, plastic/class 2 fittings mean 'satisfactory' but undesirable?

6 Answers from MyBuilder Electricians

Best Answer

IN order to fully comply with BS7671:2008 all circuits should now be RCD protected so the consumer unit you have from 2002 does not fully meet the current 2008 requirements. This however should have been listed on your report as a C3 defect, and as such does not make it unsatisfactory on its own.

The lack of a CPC (earth wire) on the lighting is a bigger problem and by far and away the best option is to rewire, especially before you spend money on plastering and decorating! However as you have pointed out, if you wanted, you could just fit plastic switches and ceiling roses to make it safe, which once installed would mean that it was satisfactory even though it will still be technically non-compliant with the regulations.

I would stringly advise getting the lights rewired though and then you can forget about them for the next 30 years.

2013-01-07T07:30:02+00:00

Answered 7th Jan 2013

Hi.I agree with above resposes in that lighting requires a rewire to comply with current regs and that it would make sense to get it done before the plastering to save forking out twice after chasing has been done. However, the fuseboard sounds like a 16th edition fuseboard, in which case if there are any spare ways left on the RCD side of the board technically the lighting could be protected by it and comply with current regs.

Another option is to put RCBO's in the non-RCD protected side of the fuseboard for each lighting circuit which is also fine but they are expensive to buy. To summarise you may not require a new fuseboard if the existing one can accommodate 2 new circuits comfortably. Hope this helps!

2013-01-07T18:05:01+00:00

Answered 7th Jan 2013

Providing all testing carried out was good then there is no reason to Rewire at this point. As per ESC guideline a simple sticker warning that no earths present in circuit x, y & z and class 2 fittings only to be used would suffice and providing insulation is good and all electrically sound then them circuits would still pass a satisfactory... As one of the posters stated it should be a C3 ..... This is a typical case of the sparks scaremongering you into 1000+ worth of work that may not be necessary at this point to please your insurance people...

2013-03-23T14:40:05+00:00

Answered 23rd Mar 2013

Hi,

You will require a CPC (Earthing conductor) to be compliant with BS7671 It's needed to carry any fault current that could potentially be sitting on the Live or Neutral if there was a fault and also if any metallic parts became live and allow a quick disconnection time to protect the cable from ignition. it's also required for additional protection for yourself and others as the cabling is not mechanically protected, or at a depth where you are not able to safely miss it if you were to drill a wall. (this is why you require all circuits to be RCD protected) this is additional protection but an RCD requires a CPC (earthing conductor to work)

why would you plaster all the walls now? and rewire later? rewiring will potentially mean you will need walls chasing and sockets sinking in to new heights of between 450 and 1200mm finished floor level in accordance with building regulations..

Get a quote from 3 different sparks in your area.

Edit

In reply even if you were to change all ceiling roses and switches to plastic you would not comply as the DIYer would not know and could change a switch or light fitting in the future. The only way to get a satisfactory would be to re wire the circuits.

2013-01-08T20:50:01+00:00

Answered 8th Jan 2013

having come across this problem many times I am in agreement with response from Electrical safety services, in addition i would add that there would be little point in replacing consumer unit without also rewiring light circuits as this would in itself create problems for you

2013-01-07T12:45:01+00:00

Answered 7th Jan 2013

i must agree with previous posters about the need to only rewire once and to do it when carrying out rest of work in the house
also the comment about not being legal to have an earth on the lighting is rubbish otherwise as someone said earlier they would not supply stickers to apply to consumer units
definitely a C3 on any EICR but not total rewire

2013-05-21T09:30:02+01:00

Answered 21st May 2013

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