periodic inspection report long posting


I rent a house to students. Two years ago I had a periodic inspection report carried out by Electrician A. He ststed on the certificate that the OVERALL ASSESSMENT was "SATISFACTORY" whilst SUMMARY OF THE INSPECTION stated GENERAL-GOOD.
Under OBSERVATION AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN he ticked the box that stated no items were dangerous. He also wrote that there was "no earth loop at two fittings upstairs" and that the "fan inside shower cubical"
A couple of days ago I had another certificate done on the house by ELECTRICIAN B. He also stated that the OVERALL ASSESSMENT was SATISFACTORY. However, he gave me a list of faults which he said were NECESSARY to do, that were dangerous if left undone, that were not permisible and for which he was taking a risk issuing a certificate. The faults that he found were:
1. No earth on several lights 2. Mains fan inside cubicle MUST be changed to 12v 3. Investigate high resistance to phase convertors on ring fnal circuit.
My concern is that problems 1 and 2 were deemed worthy of reference two years ago but considered NECESSARY to be done by the new electricain. Also, the new electrician is unable to give me an estimate for problem 3 as it is "investigative" and in any event I have to do it in order to comply with legal requirements.
Is there an electrician reading this posting that can give me some idea on wether I am obliged to carry out 1 and 2, also how long might 3 take in a two storey house with 6 bedrooms, kitchen and two bathrooms plus lounge?
Any advice appreciated
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Why are you having the inspection done? An old installation does not need to conform to current regs, only to those in force when it was installed or last modified. It also needs to be safe, but departures from current regs does not automatically make it unsafe -- in most cases if it was wired within last 45 years in PVC to the then-current regs and any worn out wiring accessories have been replaced, and the installation hasn't been subsequently bodged, it will be safe. Departures from current regs should be noted however.
1. Doesn't conform to current 16th Edition regs. IIRC, it did conform to 13th edition and maybe 14th edition regs (not sure quite when it changed). When was the place wired? It is still safe today providing all the accessories (lights, switches, etc) on the circuit are double insulated. It would however be necessary to record that it's not to current regs, and double insulated accessories must always be used.
OTOH, if the lack of earth is a fault rather than the original wiring, then that's a different matter and needs to be fixed.
2. If the fan is in Zone 1, i.e below 2.25m high... This is allowed by current 16th Edition regs if the fan is designed for this purpose, which means it's rated IPX4, or IPX5 if the shower might be pointed at it. Some mains fans for showers are IPX4 rated, although not IPX5 that I've seen. The circuit also needs to be RCD protected at no more than 30mA. Earlier 16th Edition regs would not allow the fan within reach of someone using the shower, so you can't point back to those and claim it was covered. The fan probably doesn't predate the 16th Edition regs, but I don't recall what 15th Edition said.
If the fan is in Zone 2, i.e. 2.25m high or more... Same as above, except the RCD not required by current regs.
3. I suspect 'convertors' is a misreading of something else. Whatever, this should probably be fixed, but can't say for sure without knowing what it is and what the readings were.
I'm not an electrician, but those are my views.
--
Andrew Gabriel
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writes:

I suspect that there is a high resiststance on the live/phase loop on a final ring main. For "convertors" read "conductors". Electricians writing looks like a doctors:) Usually this is down to a bad connection at the connections at the back of a socket (the L terminal). It could also be down to a badly connected junction box under the floorboards that could take ages to find.
I would never put satisfactorty on a report that had this problem. I would be doing no one any favours by lying on the report. A fault is a fault.
Adam
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I agree, a fault is a fault. Problem is, I am not the only landlord getting certificates marked SATISFACTORY with the electrician then muttering something along the lines of "I'm putting my career on the line doing this" whilst handing out a sheet of paper a foot long with about 500 worth of work that needs doing to make the electrical system comply.
I don't know if these NICEIC electrician are plain con men or simply are qualified but simply lacking the skills to communicate what they mean.
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wrote >>>

Why do you need a PIR every year?
Adam
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mean.

Because the three electricians that I asked said that it was necessary to do a new inspection EACH time there was a change of occupancy, so that in a studnet house, where the tenancy lasts for a year, the inspection needs to be done before the new tenants move in. If the property is a flat whcih might in some yars have a new tenant every few months then the inspection would need tobe done more often.
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Do you suppose they might have a vested interest?
This is far too often for a PIR, unless you are letting to people you think might interfere with the installation. If you paid a bit more for the PIR, you might get an honest electrician (although there's no guarantee).
It's probably reasonable to do a check of the appliances between each occupancy. Some of these could be simple visible checks performed by yourself, but make a formal record of having done so and the state of each appliance. For something like the kettle, it might just be simpler to buy a new one for each new occupancy.
--
Andrew Gabriel
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wrote

A waste of money. All you need to do is get the faults fixed that have being noted (see Andrew's response about points 1 and 2 as to the need to do them) and then every year do a test on every socket in the house (buy yourself a socket tester), check the condition of the light fittings, switches etc and replace any broken ones. If you really want a PIR certificate then get one every 5 years as would a halls of residence.
There is a recommendation (not a requirement) that a PIR should be done on change of occupancy on a domestic installation. See pages 98/99 of the NICEICs Inspection, Testing and Certification book
Adam
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in message >

Thanks for the advice, problem is there are a whole lot of recommendations that are probablt being pushed as legal requirements. The pressure starts after the visit is done and before the certificates are handed over so its all a bit dodgy and makes me and quite a few landlords feel that there is a big scam going on. AnWhere can I get the book you refer to, sounds like it might be a good investment!
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wrote

Use your library. No point in buying a book now that will be out of date in a few months (the 17th edition regs will soon be here). Other than that use Amazon or eBay. ISBN 0 9531058 8 1.
Do not treat the PIR as you would an MOT certificate for your car. The PIR certificate may have the words unsatisfactory and a list of recommendations on it but unlike an MOT there is no seperate pass or fail certificate. I realise you want the words "SATISFACTORY" on the certificate and I understand why.
I do not "hold back" certificates. If I have an agreement with someone to do a PIR and put right any faults (sometimes as simple as a light fitting or two that needs changing) then I would not issue the PIR certificate until the work was done. If there is no agreement then a certificate is given with the recommendations on it.
I have entered houses several times and after 10 minutes decided that a rewire is the only option. I ask for a 40 call out fee and tell the clients the problems I have seen. I see no point in continuing a test and charging someone for a certificate that would have the words "needs rewiring" writen on it.
Adam
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wrote

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Ah -- I was trying to think what it might be but missed that obvious one!

When I moved into my previous house over 20 years ago, it had no heating and I bought a 2kW convector for the bedroom. Each time it cycled on/off, the bedside lamp got noticably dimmer/brighter. A voltmeter showed I was losing nearly 10V when the heater came on. This turned out to be due entirely to most of the connections in the backs of sockets not being tight. After going around tightening them all up, the problem was solved.

Indeed. This would have dissipating 10 x 8 = 80W heat in the backs of the sockets, albeit distributed around lots of them, but plenty enough to cause rapid damage/deterioration of the installation.
--
Andrew Gabriel
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