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Rental Property - Consumer Unit replacement for metal

Discussion in 'Home and Garden' started by Scottona, 23 Jun 2021.

  1. Scottona

    Gangster

    Joined: 17 Mar 2005

    Posts: 293

    Location: London

    Hey All...

    Just looking for some advice, we are looking to rent out our flat so we had someone come out who was going to do both our gas and electric certificates, he mentioned that our consumer unit fuse box (10 years old) would need to be replaced with a metal box due to new regulations in 2016... The box is a dual RCD 10 way wylex, mint condition and we have had zero problems with the box or electrics...

    I can see the new regulations and see new boxes have to be metal but there seems to be confusion if older boxes have to be replaced unless major electrical changes are being done or there is an issue with the box (he did not expect the box or cables, just referenced the box needs to be changed)...

    I was just wondering if this was legitimate and we need to replace the box before renting or if I am being fleeced to install a new box with no real need?

    Cheers
     
  2. LeeUK

    Soldato

    Joined: 1 Mar 2008

    Posts: 5,634

    No idea for rental but you don't need to change it for the sake of changing it in a private property.
     
  3. Jez

    Caporegime

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 32,858

    You do not need to change the consumer unit. A new tenancy creation now requires a sub 5 year old EICR certificate, you do not need a metal consumer unit to pass this.

    No confusion…metal are only required for new installations :)

    source: I rent out a few properties. I’d be ditching that electrician out of principle…
     
  4. Scottona

    Gangster

    Joined: 17 Mar 2005

    Posts: 293

    Location: London

    Brilliant, thanks for that, it's what I thought from what I've read online but great to have clarification... I've messaged the electrician just to see his response (just incase something was lost in translation) but hazard a guess we will be going with someone else!
     
  5. lemonkettaz

    Capodecina

    Joined: 28 Nov 2005

    Posts: 12,497

    New regs came into being 2018. Due to fire safety all new installations to be metal unit or suitably enclosed space, I think (metal room who knows).

    If you have an in date inspection and testing done there is no requirement to change to a metal box. Although to be overly rigid, maybe the location of the board itself could lend to it being a potential risk. Not even sure it's worthy of a C3 on an inspection report. If it's directly underneath a stairway for example and that is the only route for anyone upstairs to get out to safety, then you could argue it's more of a risk if it set on fire.
     
  6. SeatIbiza

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 21 Jan 2008

    Posts: 1,239

    Location: Cotswolds

    It's all BS - electrics, unlike gas, does not really change over many, many years. After a series of government led mistakes, us private LLs now have to pay to have a check on something that is, by it's very nature, static.

    You've already got your answer, but that unit is absolutely fine and I'm sure far better than in a lot of private homes that the government don't see as easy tax cash cows....

    It's just another tax.
     
  7. Tinders

    Soldato

    Joined: 1 Jul 2003

    Posts: 5,521

    Location: There's a voice that keeps on calling me.

    EICR is a good idea but not in its current form. one of my places failed, it was only till the eicr was done that i discovered some of the wiring was sodding VIR.

    The metal CU thing is a bit overkil, unless its done properly, they are still a fire hazard.
     
  8. ZG002

    Capodecina

    Joined: 22 Jul 2004

    Posts: 10,833

    Location: Up north in Sunderland

    You are thinking too small I'm afraid, if you had seen some of the stuff I've pulled either myself or one of my team have on EICR's you wouldn't think the above.

    Your property/properties may be fine but I can assure you many aren't.

    Anyway..

    As above OP it should be marked as a C3 (improvement recommended) on the EICR but that EICR should be Satisfactory.

    Do you know what regulatory organisation he is working under?
     
  9. Scottona

    Gangster

    Joined: 17 Mar 2005

    Posts: 293

    Location: London

    I believe they are a member of NAPIT... I've messaged him to question the need for a replacement box, always a little more awkward as it was from a recommendation and has carried other work for the family hopefully it was just lost in translation

    While not a electrician the lack of issues etc I just assumed this EICR would be a formality, fingers crossed... The box itself is high on the wall in the main hallway of the flat (looks awful in terms of its location)... Ground floor flat with technically two ingress points (main door and juliet doors onto communal gardens)
     
  10. Rroff

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 13 Oct 2006

    Posts: 77,444

    Might be worth seeing what they have in mind - we moved into a place with a lot of legacy electrical issues, a lot of it not legally required to be sorted even though against newer regs but we were planning on doing it anyhow. Some electricians would do stuff like that to comply with newer regulations as part of other work for minimal extra cost others would try and use it to make as much extra money from the job as possible.
     
  11. ZG002

    Capodecina

    Joined: 22 Jul 2004

    Posts: 10,833

    Location: Up north in Sunderland

    See what he says, If you don't get the answer you want ask him to confirm that it is a C2 in the NAPIT code breakers book.

    It is at an exit, but not the only exit by the sounds.

    They are sometimes a little harsh with coding on EICR's.
     
  12. LeeUK

    Soldato

    Joined: 1 Mar 2008

    Posts: 5,634

    If plastic is a fire risk why did they switch to plastic in the first place? My old wire fuse box is made out of some tough Bakelite stuff which I doubt burns easy. I've seen older boxes that are metal from back in the day when stuff was actually made to last too.

    Yet a 2013 built new build has the most flimsy plastic box I've ever seen.
     
  13. ZG002

    Capodecina

    Joined: 22 Jul 2004

    Posts: 10,833

    Location: Up north in Sunderland

    Cost as always, it always seems to be a race to the bottom. But there have been issues over the years with consumer unit fires, I know one model that was very common in use had a big issue with solid neutral bars and the plastic construction wouldn't contain that fire.

    With the correct board and fire suppression technologies now avaliable it's quite impressive how a fire can be contained.
     
  14. lewism

    Mobster

    Joined: 10 Mar 2006

    Posts: 2,700

    Location: Fife

    Needs to be metal to contain a potential fire. The consumer unit isn't designed to extinguish it. Most fuse boards in domestics are in little cupboards with piles of the occupants combustible crap placed in front of it. Hence the metal box and lid.

    If the consumer unit was in a sole escape route or under a stairwell I would C3 it, anywhere else I would just make general observation and note it. If it's the only C2 observation on the report then I hope you haven't paid him yet.
     
  15. Steampunk

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 1 Jun 2013

    Posts: 8,851

    IIRC, they went to plastic so that any short in the CU couldn't electrify the outside of the CU, and the wires inside were insulated from the outside. They then decided that metal was better because any fire inside a plastic CU could melt the CU, and not be contained, potentially starting a fire in the house.
     
  16. Wegason

    Gangster

    Joined: 27 Feb 2011

    Posts: 413

    Location: Essex

    Totally agree. Moved into a new house recently, had a spark round to put more plug sockets around the house, run some networking, and sort out extractor fans/lights and replace the consumer unit. Issues found:

    • Hall light moved but junction box not properly sealed off nor earthed
    • En-suite lights all not earthed with earth wires all cut back and taped
    • Outside power sockets, controlled from a front room (why?) not earthed or even on a RCD!
    It is mad what people who think they know what they're doing can do to a house to make it ******* dangerous. This is why i just use professionals.
     
  17. K.C. Leblanc

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 13 Sep 2003

    Posts: 8,154

    Location: Glocestershire

  18. dpbadger

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 9 Jul 2009

    Posts: 1,721

    I'm having a new consumer unit fitted along with associated checks, two new double sockets putting in and a dedicated cable and switch for the fan oven in the Kitchen. I got a quote of £720 plus VAT. I hope there isn't anything else found it's a 1906 terrace.
     
  19. Tinders

    Soldato

    Joined: 1 Jul 2003

    Posts: 5,521

    Location: There's a voice that keeps on calling me.

    Do you know what type of consumer unit it is? how many ways and i assume its RCBO's rather than a split RCD board.
     
  20. Tinders

    Soldato

    Joined: 1 Jul 2003

    Posts: 5,521

    Location: There's a voice that keeps on calling me.

    He's brilliant, I learnt alot from DS, Artisan, CJR and Nick Bundy, im kind of addicted to their channels now, and i have no interest in becoming a spark!