Competent person?

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earth in length of 1.5mm T&E as a switched live rather than using 3 core cable. I also saw this on another install he had done. Damn good plumber, I couldn't fault that at all but his electric's were decidedly questionable.
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-- Bill

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I've seen this done by a pro sparks rather than plumber who you'd expect it of. ;-)
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*Eat well, stay fit, die anyway

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@argonet.co.uk London SW 12
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On Sat, 11 Oct 2003 09:15:11 +0100, Dave Plowman

I have long felt that in years to come we will be amazed at the type of person who was licensed to drive a motor vehicle at this time.
Paul Mc Cann
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wrote:

This is all very well but there are several points....
- The vast majority of electrically related accidents relate to portable appliances and not fixed wiring.
- The new legislation permits so called minor works which anybody is supposed to be allowed to do. If they get it wrong the effect is going to be just as lethal as if they had attempted a more major project and got that wrong. So why was the legislation drafted in this way? Simple. This fudges the issue because the only way would have been to organise the legislation along the same lines as that for gas and introduce criminal penalties and a watchdog. This would have gained a much higher visibility and accusations of draconian government interference. It is anyway of course, but this has been lubricated and spun using information from the IEE, RoSPA and others selectively - i.e. select the evidence to support the foregone conclusion.
- Somebody doing electrical work as DIY who does not know what they are doing to the point of creating danger is probably not very likely either to take any notice of or even know about the new legislation. Likewise for cowboy professionals.
Saying that one accident is one too many is bogus in the real world. People have to take responsibility for themselves. It's reasonable to do things and have legislation which is going to make a statistically significant difference, but this is not and the case is far from proven. It is not justifiable to introduce legislation affecting everybody in an attempt to prevent the demise of one or individuals who would probably have ignored it anyway. This demonstrates that the real reasons are not as presented at all. But then we knew that.
.andy
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Oh piffle! "If it saves just one child"... What next: legislation against gravity to stop people hurting themselves if they skip and fall, or fall over a cliff? To tear up the road network because people die on it? Accidents *happen*. Good sense, widespread information, enlightened self-interest, product design standards all work to reduce risk. But pretending that all risk can be *eliminated* risk, and looking for someone with deep pockets to sue when a (genuine) accident happens, takes us into a world where only lawyers are rich & happy (well, rich anyway ;-)
The UK already has a very *low* rate of deaths and accidents through faulty electrical installations - and as Andy H has been tirelessly pointing out, based on the IEE's and RoSPA's own figures, the bulk of electricity-related injuries and deaths which do occur are casued by faulty or misused *appliances*, not *fixed wiring*. Most of the electrickery questions posed on this group are eminently reasonable, and typically answered quickly and with a bias towards safety (and "get in a sparky" if it seems the enquirer is significantly deficient in the clue department). It must be hard to gain a balanced perspective of overall practice if you're called to too many inquests, I suppose, but it'd be worth making the intellectual effort to at least try so to do...
Stefek
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In uk.d-i-y, snipped-for-privacy@hp.com wrote:

Oops: meant to have been "slip and fall", rather than the extreme-nannying "skip and fall" typo. (Look, k and l are right next to each other on this qwerty keyboard. Ah, that tells me who to sue for causing me this immense emotional distress. No point trying Underwoods or the other typewriter mfrs, too little money. But *logitech*, makers of this here keyboard: oh yes, they'll do nicely. Must go find a conditional-fee merchant...)
Stefek
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On 11 Oct 2003 13:05:10 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@hp.com wrote:

Did you bother to read this thread? I suggest you read my message i.d. 1heo47wsi1nd7$.cxr3g9oxtani$. snipped-for-privacy@40tude.net, where I set out my views about the subject in more detail.
I am concerned that a complete novice attampting to follow an idiot's guide to wiring alterations 'parrot fashion' will not have any understanding or concept of the dangers inherrent in not carrying out the works in a safe Manner. It is fashionable these days to say 'So what? If the idiot kills himself or his family, tough luck.' I happen to think that such incidents can and should be avoided.
Taking your argument to its logical conclusion, I assume we can expect to see you promoting do-it-yourself brain surgery! After all, if we can't eliminate *all* risks, if we're prepared to adopt good sense, if we're prepared to seek out all available information, if we're all prepared to practice enlightened self-interest by performing surgery on somebody else, if we're all prepared to use only the prescribed tools and equipment for the job.......
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and one or two others too...

way; it's far *more* fashionable to attempt to regulate beyond reason, and thereby produce perverse incentives. In the particular case we're discussing here - and have been discussing on and off for some months, including group participants making detailed representations both at the time the addition to Building Regs was being consulted on, and subsequently to MPs, as you'd know if you'd been participating for longer than a couple of weeks - those perverse incentives seem to be present in spades. For one, it's companies, not individuals, who have the NICEIC blessing: thuz, mumpties who learn a job by rote and mishearing get covered, while competent people outside the club don't get a look in. For two, the "minor works" exemption provides an incentive for the marginally informed - e.g. those who pick up a cautiously-worded leaflet at a d-i-y shed - to overextend existing circuits, 'cuz that's a Minor Work, where it would have been better on grounds of circuit loading and fault discrimination to put in a new final circuit. For three, it creates an incentive for the small jobbing electrician to quote two rates for a couple of socket-moves-for-the-old-lady-who-now-finds-it-hard-to-reach-down: "40 quid cash, love, or 130 through the books; it's the Certificate, see", which corrodes respect for the regulatory regime among both practitioners and public. In the current state of affairs, as multiple years of postings to uk.d-i-y bear out, there *is* respect for the Wiring Regs themselves: many, possibly even most, "new" enquirers start out along the lines of "I'm thinking of doing X, what do the Regs say?", or are at least happy to take direction from the text of the OSG (it's typically queries at the more practical level addressed by the OSG which arise, rather than the general principles level of the Regs themselves).
Indeed, the existence of the OSG - and the many books of Regs commentary / application - undermine your general point about "attempting to follow an idiot's guide ... 'parrot fashion'". The OSG, C&G courses, how-to leaflets, electrical-practice sections of d-i-y books, and the like, are all conservative renderings of the Regs, which themselves are more "good engineering" than "basic science". Would you call the OSG's Table 7.1 an "idiot's guide"? (This is the one which gives maximum lengths of 'conventional final circuits' - rings-n-radials - for different combinations of cable composition and protective device.) Since it can be *used* without doing the calculations of earth impedance - or even understanding its significance, as you call for - do you condemn all practicing sparkies who either use the table, or even more "sloppily" carry around in their heads "2.5mmsq for domestic power", while quietly knowing that (a) under boundary conditions 1.5mmsq or 4mmsq might be get-away-with-able or necessary, respectively, and (b) not being too sure *exactly* where those boundaries lie, but knowing roughly where the point comes that more detailed circuit design needs doing? If so, you're suggesting a degree of engineering micro-application which is utterly impractical in an applied-trade occupation, whether undertaken by a "competent tradesperson" or a d-i-y'er.

Oh dear, the "logical conclusion" fallacy. As with most instances of it, the alleged conclusion doesn't follow from the premises at all. Any mumpty daft enough to try to engage in d-i-y brain surgery, be it on themselves or on someone else, clearly hasn't "sought out all available information", adopted good sense, or listened to any suppliers of tools and equipment for the job. Do you seriously expect us to consider domestic electrical wiring as requiring the same level of training and background scientific knowledge as brain surgery?
Stefek
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On 11 Oct 2003 15:25:19 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@hp.com wrote:

<snipped rationale>
I don't disagree with most of what you say. Do not make the mistake, however, that I have not been following the discussions over recent months just because I don't subscribe to the AOL <me too> mentality.

But the complete novice, out to try and save himself a few quid, won't bother with any of this, will he? He'll be trying to do it coz there's an ethos that suggests that Mr or Mrs Average really *can* tackle more or less any job with the appropriate guides. This tends to be borne out by some of the posts I see in this NG. I am unable to recall any to mind at this moment, but I do read posts that prompt me to think 'If you're asking that sort of question, you shouldn't be contemplating doing that job'.
I would much prefer to see a different ethos prevail, where the DIY fraternity generally accept that it's necessary to have certain levels of skill and understanding before tackling any particular level of DIY work. I'm not for one minute saying the competent DIYer should be legislated against, and I am only too well aware that defining competency is one hell of a problem.

No fallacy in how I presented it. After all, anyone who didn't see it for the facetious response it was in reply to the thinking you were espousing in your previous post is a fool. The fallacy, if any there is, exists in the particular line of thinking you were pursuing.
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Super...
I've been out of the group for a few months, so hadn't noticed most of your clueful postings over that time.

explicit and rapid response precisely along the lines of "if you need to ask, don't start". And at least they're *asking* :-) The ones to worry about are those who leap in, drill and driver at the ready, and pull a feed to a 13A socket (double for convenience) off any passing lighting circuit. However, as the IEE/RoSPA stats show, that really is a *tiny* minority. Mr & Mrs Average seem - in the universe I live in - to have a healthy respect for the dangers of electromotive force.

themselves and others in their gung-ho attitude? For every d-i-y cockup story, there's at least one industrial/commercial one: look at the HSE notifiable-occurrences website for toe-curling examples of trades doing daft things through (a) a lack of deeper understanding of the engineering/science of what they're working on, or (b) time pressure to get a job finished, or (c) failure by their mgmt/supervisor to clue them in to this job having different risks from the ones they've done before.

Here I do continue to disagree with you. To my mind there was a clear logical fallacy in going from "d-i-y brain surgery would be daft" to "d-i-y electrical installation would be daft"; especially as my argument explicitly called out 'good sense', 'informing onesself', and the like, as preconditions for "undaft to d-i-y <given-activity>". Since those conditions as explicitly listed are significantly different in the cases of brain surgery and home electrical alterations, it's a clear logical fallacy to create a misapplication of the argument I was putting forward, and to describe that misapplication as a "logical conclusion". Logic warn't in it; (poor) rhetoric was; hence the use of the f word to describe it.
Anyway, it's heartening to have you acknowledge that the brain surgery angle was no more than facetious: we can, then, agree that domestic electrics does *not* require the same level of background expertise and extensive tutelage as brain surgery, then? I'm also happy to agree that unthinking meddling with house electrics is dangerous: as I and others point out often in this NG, the existence of safety devices in an installation (ELCB, MCB, service fuse even!) is no defence against stupidity, and the older an installation is, the greater the potential for Surprises (borrowed neutrals, rings taking their live supply from separate fuses, cables in unprotected joist notches, perished rubber insulation, unearthed lighting circuits... the list goes on!) and that "simple" d-i-y guides can't spell out all these potential problems, but are left with vague disclaimers along the lines of "if your electrical system doesn't seem to look like this, don't try to follow these instructions".
Where we disagree is in our response to that state of affairs: you seem to be arguing that because of the existence of residual risk, including the existence of reckless fools, regulation should step far into the "leave it to the Professionals" end of the spectrum. And your evidence so far to support that position has been limited to "some people ask questions which belie woeful and potentially dangerous ignorance", and "in extremis (at the inquests I've been expert witness at) things go tragically wrong". I, based on "people seem to ask sensible questions", and on "IEE/RoSPA stats show very few cases of idiocy", argue for a position of "give sensible advice and warnings; the terminally clueless will find some way of contributing to the Darwin awards anyway". And I also adduce arguments concerning the adverse consequences of the particular regulatory regime the NICEIC stitchup seems to be about to give us.
Stefek
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Sorry to butt-in completely OT, but I once borrowed a book from the local library called "Do It Yourself Brain Surgery" which also included such gems as "crochet your own suspension bridge" and "breed your own Nija Hamsters". That was about 15 years ago (at a guess). I've never seen it since, and no no-one will believe the book existed. Has anyone else seen it?
Hwyl!
M.
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Martin Angove: http://www.tridwr.demon.co.uk /
Don't fight technology, live with it: http://www.livtech.co.uk /
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On Sat, 11 Oct 2003 22:00:46 +0100, Martin Angove

Yes it exists.
The author is Stewart Cowley.
If you type his name into the search field on www.amazon.co.uk there are a few second hand copies around.....
.andy
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On Sat, 11 Oct 2003 21:00:46 UTC, Martin Angove

Yes. I think it was 'Combat Hamsters', actually. Not to mention 'Open Cast Mining in your Garden'. Not sure if I still have the book.
By Stewart Cowley. Seems to be available from Amazon for 4 quid.
It's not OT...it's DIY!
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Bob Eager
rde at tavi.co.uk
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"Martin Angove" wrote | Sorry to butt-in completely OT, but I once borrowed a book from the | local library called "Do It Yourself Brain Surgery" which also included | such gems as "crochet your own suspension bridge" and "breed your own | Nija Hamsters". That was about 15 years ago (at a guess). I've never | seen it since, and no no-one will believe the book existed. Has anyone | else seen it?
I can remember one of the 'Grattan' type catalogues having a minicraft type drill described as "ideal for craftwork, hobbies, dentistry..." which I always found amusing.
Owain
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I was actually given the sequal "Advanced Do it Yourself Brain Surgery" for Christmas one year. This one included techniques such as complete brain transplants (poke all nerves back into the spinal column with and a knitting needle and always be aware that brains can easily confused with cauliflowers).
I hope this helps
Cheers
Mark Spice
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I was actually given the sequal "Advanced Do it Yourself Brain Surgery" for Christmas one year. This one included techniques such as complete brain transplants (poke all nerves back into the spinal column with and a knitting needle and always be aware that brains can easily confused with cauliflowers).
I hope this helps
Cheers
Mark Spice
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I was actually given the sequal "Advanced Do it Yourself Brain Surgery" for Christmas one year. This one included techniques such as complete brain transplants (poke all nerves back into the spinal column with and a knitting needle and always be aware that brains can easily confused with cauliflowers).
I hope this helps
Cheers
Mark Spice
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"Mark Spice" wrote | I was actually given the sequal "Advanced Do it Yourself Brain | Surgery" for Christmas one year. This one included techniques such as | complete brain transplants (poke all nerves back into the spinal | column with and a knitting needle and always be aware that brains can | easily confused with cauliflowers).
Some people's can be, certainly.
Owain
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This is what happens when you post from work (another efficient day in the Civil Service) via an old Google account. Sorry for the cock-up.
Cheers
Mark Spice
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mike r
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