OT. Aussie home insulation fiasco

Introduced by the Australian govt last year as part of an economic stimulant package that could also save the planet, homeowners there were offered a $1600 max rebate on the installation of loft insulation. This was not for the DIY brigade, as it was only done following quotes from govt approved contractors.
Unfortunately, the scheme came to an untimely end when, after a few months the government suspended the Home Insulation Program after it was linked to the deaths of four installers, 120 house fires, and thousands of safety and quality problems.
It would appear that Australian houses (mainly bungalows) frequently have badly insulated wiring in their loft space. Also, their fusing/protection systems are often ineffective. This, and the fact that some of the insulation packs were metal foil wrapped, had resulted in many electrical short circuits.
Oh well, it seemed such a good idea at the time to the politicians...!
http://www.smh.com.au/national/abbott-demands-schools-batts-inquiry-20100405-rmqh.html
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Ancient wiring is a result of restrictive laws which prevent electrical work other than by certified bodies. The result is that wiring that should have been replaced years ago is still in service. This is common with countries which introduce such laws in the misguided belief that uncertified electrical work causes fires, whereas it's actually electrical installations which don't get worked on which cause fires, and you end up with very much more of that when you restrict who can do electrical work.
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Andrew Gabriel
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On Wed, 07 Apr 2010 17:37:11 +0000, Andrew Gabriel wrote:

There's certainly some truth in that - I really want to re-wire the lighting in our place (northern US) as what's in there now is ancient but the fact that I need to buy a permit and then pay an inspector to sign off on it once it's all done keeps putting me off. If I didn't need the permit, and only had to have the inspection done if/when we move, I would have done the work a long time ago.
As it stands, I've got some new lighting I want to put in downstairs and other misc electrical projects, so hopefully I can queue things up and at least do it all on the same permit/inspection.
cheers
Jules
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wibbled on Wednesday 07 April 2010 19:01

How much is a permit? What happens if you ignore the law *and* they notice?

At least in the UK, you can write out a totally open ended BNA and keep working to it, ostensibly forever, or at least until the IEE 18th Ed assuming you want to get your current work signed off...
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Tim Watts

Managers, politicians and environmentalists: Nature's carbon buffer.
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Under SI2006 the only thing you can't do is add a new final circuit or add a new crossing to a garden.
You can maintain anything such as replace SWA crossing a garden (twist cable beneath outside glands to check armour ok), replace a CU enclosure if holes damaged/too big re IPx4/IPx2 rating, replace a single circuit (or as many as you like since there is no time limit specified, ie, years), replace a backbox in a kitchen or anywhere else re maintenance, you can replace everything in a shed, garage or porch. You can not install a new shower or new cooker or new garden crossing. You can have a cable enter a new light at the rear, but not an outside socket (since it may cross a garden, just like an extension lead plugged indoors into a non-RCD circuit.
I thought Australia had learnt from the dead baby incident, despite attempts to block global FOI requests, but evidentally from roofing to wiring it is more interested in a centrally planned economy. Australian insurers will pay you to go to NZ rather than rent whilst they get enough Certified people to rebuild your house if it burns down.
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wibbled on Wednesday 07 April 2010 19:45

Learn? Hmm, alien concept I fear...
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Tim Watts

Managers, politicians and environmentalists: Nature's carbon buffer.
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On Wed, 07 Apr 2010 16:56:20 +0100 David J wrote :

Yes, our government has taken a lot of flack over this, including one resignation. The fires are mainly due to insulation being placed over concealed downlighters and the electrocutions to foil faced insulation being stapled through cables (you do have to wonder ...). Personally I would like to have heard a little less criticism of politicians and a bit more of the scammers who saw this a licence to print money, using substandard materials in some cases, and untrained and unsupervised operatives.
--
Tony Bryer, Greentram: 'Software to build on' Melbourne, Australia
www.superbeam.co.uk www.superbeam.com www.greentram.com
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It's a job for burglars. And poetic that in Yngland, ye home of Privateering, Wyndesore Castyle waf burned downe bye ye untrained maffef.
Next stop: Parliamentable. Fat chance.
But one hopeth eternal.
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I listened to a radio program here about the various green initiatives we've had in the UK.
To start with there was the mass mailing out of CFL's by the energy companies. They estimated 80% of these had been used, but the actual number turns out to be nearer 10%. Well, they were credited on their estimate, and not on reality, due to government incompitence in drawing up the rules. This was such a scam the government banned it in January, but that gave one of the suppliers just enough warning to mail out many millions more CFL's and earn credits (at the assumed 80% level again).
Then there's the loft insulation game. Two initiatives here - loft insulation subsidised up to 70% in DIY outlets for DIY install, and grants available for companies to install. So government looks at these and says we now have x extra DIY installs, y extra professional installs, x + y = z total new loft insulations. Well that didn't happen - the professional installers all went and bought the subsidised loft insulation from Wickes, B&Q, etc, and pocketed the subsidy, which is a large wad of cash earmarked for home insulating which has gone straight into installers' pockets to insulate their hips... Again, the energy companies are given full credit for z, whilst they can happily continue to sell excess fuel because z didn't happen.
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Andrew Gabriel
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writes:

Had the energy companies mailed out CFLs in sizes larger than 9 and 11w then more of people would have used them. For many people this was their first experience of CFLs and it did not give them a good first impression.

Indeed, my brothers DIY extension benefited from a Wikes special on loft insulation, so no carbon offsetting there.
Adam
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David J wrote:

The problem is not as you suggest, The reasons were mainly dills of installers. Some of the insulation was foil backed and installers were using metal staples and puncturing wiring,also covering lighting fixtures causing fires, they did not all have bad wiring.

http://www.smh.com.au/national/abbott-demands-schools-batts-inquiry-20100405-rmqh.html
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