Electrical safety certificate - legal requirement?

Just noticed this recent post on the Motley Fool:
http://boards.fool.co.uk/Message.asp?mid 757375&sort=whole
including the text: *** "Hi,
I've just noticed this post and may be able to shed some light on what the sparks said, being one myself. It all depends on how one views a BTL property.
The 17th edition IEE wiring regs state that all commercial property must have an in date Electrical safety certificate that must be renewed at least every 5 years.
A domestic property (believe it or not) must have one as well, and it must be renewed every 10 years.
I hope this helps.
I'm sure many outside of the trade are unaware of the changes which came into effect in Jan/Feb 08. " ***
At first glance this seems possible as an advisory measure but surely (don't call me Shirley) this is not a legal requirement.
Firstly, we are lettting a house through a letting agent and there was no suggestion that any check or certificate was required. Secondly, if it was a legal requirement for all domestic properties to hold a safety certificate then we would be seeing an even bigger media storm than there was over HIPS with thousands of sparkies being newly trained to do the required inspection work.
So is this a load of bullocks, is there an advisory clause, what?
Cheers
Dave R
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As I understand it (having recently let our house), you must have a formal gas safety certificate, renewed every year. You must maintin the electrical system in good order but do not have to have a certificate for it. portable appliances must also be kept in good order.
Robert
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David WE Roberts wrote:

I'd advise you to post this on uk.legal and/or uk.legal.moderated.
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<snip>

Probaly more 'Part P' qualified sparkies over here.
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On Wed, 13 Jan 2010 09:56:43 +0000, Terry Fields wrote:

Dunno about uk.legal but the folks on u.l.m may know everything there is to know about the law[*] but IME know sfa about regulations such as this.
[*] or think they do ;-)
--
John Stumbles -- http://yaph.co.uk

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No.
- A PIR should be performed every 10yrs. - There is no legal requirement to do work suggested by a PIR, however for letting it would be legally unwise to leave a Code-1 (CU cover missing, insulation missing on wiring, MEB missing, nail in place of correct fuse wire, rotted meter tails, broken sockets with live parts exposed, exposed connections anywhere). - There is a conflict of interest between doing a PIR and doing the work, so it is best to have them done by separate people (that soon gets rid of the "free electrical work-order-commission I mean inspection crowd"). - There is no legal requirement to have a house "brought up to do date" despite imbecile letting agents saying otherwise.
There is a legal difference between "should" and "must".
Someone will dig up the exact wording of the 17th.
You need a safety certificate for gas. You simply need an electrical system to be safe, that does not mean brought up to date.
I believe one of the gov't websites does make it clear what BTL need to do - and actually states electrical systems need not be brought up to date. Motley fool is not as good as it used to be.
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[Default] On Wed, 13 Jan 2010 03:06:11 -0800 (PST), a certain
and wrote:

Actually, in the Building Regulations, "should" does mean "must".
--
Hugo Nebula
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Hugo Nebula wrote:

It can't do!
I should go to bed, but I must do something else. Building regs can't re-write the English language.
Dave
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wibbled:

They can, in the same what that legal English assigns precise meanings to these "trivial" words within that specific domain.
I prefer the RFC system where "MAY < SHOULD < MUST" but Hugo is a BCO and if he says that is the standard interpretation of SHOULD and MUST (ie SHOULD=MUST) it's probably best to assume other BCOs have the same interpretation.
The building regs tends to say "SHOULD" (RFC meaning) in a fairly clear way if that's what is intended, eg "where practical", "desireable", "preferred" etc.
--
Tim Watts

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On 22/01/2010 23:22, Dave wrote:

The English language has for hundreds of years been the subject of thousands of court cases where a key argument is about the interpretation of particular words or phrases.
Generally speaking, legal/contractual documents eschew the use of "should" because "should" has a number of meanings and connotations:
(1) "Shall" or "must". "You should lock the door when you leave." (2) "In the event of". "Should the door be left unlocked" (3) "Is". "If the requirement should be altered". (4) "Is contingent upon". "If Fred remembered, then the key should be on the hook". (5) Moral imperative, which can be ignored at will. "I should go to bed".
However, the Building Regulations Approved Documents (which are written in an accesible and informal style rather than legalese) often use "should" as a slightly less aggressive way of saying "shall" or "must" (which becomes tedious to read - nobody likes being told what to do all the time in such emphatic language). Nonetheless, when used as an imperative, "should" clearly means "shall" or "must".
The Approved Documents use the word "may" for conditional, subjective or optional requirements.
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Dave Osborne wrote:

In the aerospace industry, all that you say about should does not follow what you are saying.
In para 1 above you quote that "You should lock the door". It doesn't say you "Must" lock the door. Should leaves it optional.
Dave
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On 23/01/2010 18:54, Dave wrote:

OK, I think your example could be either equivalent to para. (1) (you must lock the door) or para. (5) (locking the door is "the right/recommended/usual/appropriate thing to do", but not compulsory). This would vary according to context.
I don't doubt that in the aerospace industry, there are many examples of "must" and "shall" in all kinds of rules, regulations, policies and procedures. However, I would also wager that very often, if the document says "you should lock the door" and you opt *not* to do so, then you will not be surprised when your supervisor demands an explanation as to *why* you left the door unlocked...
DaveyOz.
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On 13/01/2010 11:06, js.b1 wrote:

Say's who? Not the IEE Wiring Regulations.

True, and good advice.

True, and good advice.

True.
Maybe, but it's not a hard-and-fast difference. Most legal documents and contracts define their terms in the preamble to avoid any confusion over the interpretation of particular words.
In the vernacular, "should" is a little wishy-washy, implies a moral imperative which can be ignored by the weak-willed with some impunity, and therefore its use is often avoided in contracts and legal documents.
"Shall" on the other hand (which comes from the same Old English and ultimately Germanic root as "should") is the same as "must" and is always construed as compulsory.

Please refer to my reply to David Roberts, above.

True.
True, but rather than "need", I would say "You have a legal duty of care to ensure that the property (including the provision of services such as the electrical installation) is maintained in a safe condition".
The "need" does not exist other than to protect yourself from charges of negligence or vicarious liability.
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[Default] On Sat, 23 Jan 2010 13:11:06 +0000, a certain chimpanzee,
wrote:

Actually, I've had a quick scan through the B/Regulations, and the word "shall" is used (almost?) exclusively.
"Should" is used in the Approved Documents (and back to the topic, the IEE Wiring Regulations (which aren't "regulations" because they are not a Statutory Instrument)), which are guidance and not compulsory or legal requirements in themselves. The implication being, whilst not as clear-cut as a "must", if you don't do something that's a "should", you'd need to do something equally as good instead.
Mea culpa.
--
Hugo Nebula
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The 10 year PIR inspection is a recommendation not a requirement.
On the DIY side of things I would recommend that a landlord (anually if possible and certainly on a change of tenant) does a visual check of all the lights (skirts not missing from pendants etc) look for broken or cracked sockets and light switches and ideally use a socket tester that gives an indication of the earth loop at every socket. Also watch out for any additions the tenant may have done! The extra socket they added may be dodgy.
I do usually recommed that a landlord swaps an old fusebox for a CU to stop people changing fuse wire for nails. Of course the swap does requires a PIR.
If you do suspect that the house is wired in 60 year old rubber wiring then need I say anything:-)
eg <http://www.test-meter.co.uk/products/socket-testers/socket-and-see-sok36-earth-rcd-socket-tester/
Cheers
Adam
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On 13/01/2010 09:38, David WE Roberts wrote:

No it doesn't.

No it doesn't.
Firstly, the IEE Wiring Regs are non-statutory, so they can't prescribe what you are suggesting.
Secondly, Chapter 62, entitled "Periodic Inspection and Testing" makes the following reference to timescales for periodic inspections.
622.1 "The frequency of periodic inspection and testing of an installation shall be determined having regard to the type of installation and equipment, its use and operation, the frequency and quality of maintenance and the external influences to which it is subjected. The results and recommendations of the previous report shall be taken into account."
622.2 "In the case of an installation under an effective management system for preventative maintenance, periodic inspection may be replaced by an adequate regime of continuous monitoring and maintenance..."
No distinction between commercial and domestic installations is made. No recommendations for minimum or maximum time between inspections is made.
The following advice is given to the recipient of a periodic inspection report in Appendix 6: -
"For safety reasons, the electrical installation will need to be re-inspected at appropriate intervals by a competent person. The maximum time interval recommended before the next installation is stated in the Report under 'Next Inspection'".
So the IEE Wiring Regs clearly leave it to a competent person to make a value judgement as to how often PIRs should be carried out.
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wibbled:

Agreed - GPP is incorrect on both counts.
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