Sigh. Here we go again with a condition report that couldn’t be less fit-for-purpose had someone simply wiped their arse across it. Plastic CU a C2? Really? Is that still happening? Lawks-a-lawdy! Lack of a surge protector also a C2? Well shit, that’s a new one on me. Okay then, let’s pull all the stupid out of this one...


I have to say, I receive a few of these in the email from people all over the country pleading for my take on a condition report authored by someone deeming their electrical installation as dangerous and requiring a load of money thrown at remedial work. Most of the time, the report appears to be rubbish; one can tell as much by all the errors and omissions contained within if one knows what to quickly look for. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to proofread and comment on the paperwork of others anytime it’s sent to me. Christ, half the time I don’t get back to my own customers when they’re screaming at me for quotes, so nit-picking through the nonsense of others on behalf of people who will never be my customer as they don’t live in my geographical area is more of a bizarre hobby and not one I’m planning on spending further time in doing.


It’s depressing that this problem is so rampant, and I’ve done my best to address it on this website and on my social media channels. Some links to that related content are at the bottom of this page. All that said though, I have this and one other example that require especial mention. They also suffer from the common mistakes you’ll likely find on any bad report, so you may use these examples to judge for yourself if that electrical inspector who has just written off your installation really knew their onions or if they’re just bullshitting their way through a process they shouldn’t even be undertaking.


This first duff report hails from London, as do many – it seems the capital has more than its fair share of doughnuts who don’t know what they’re doing, led by example from Number 10 I guess.


The landlord, quite reasonably, allowed their letting agency to appoint someone to undertake an inspection on a 2015 property. The letting agency used what appears to be a maintenance agency, the maintenance agency then appointed a one-man-band. The one-man-band, let’s call him Dick Headd Electrical, produces a report with his logo, company name and signature but no enrolment number. Dick Headd is not accredited with any Competent Persons Scheme for either electrical installation work or condition reporting. That’s easy to verify at the Electrical Competent Person website which has a lookup by name or postcode for those independently accredited with a CPS such as NAPIT, NICEIC, Elecsa, Stroma etc.


Now, Dick Headd Electrical isn’t claiming to have any accreditation – it’s not like he has a website flashing logos he’s not entitled to be using, and accreditation isn’t mandatory. The trouble is, his report is filled with errors and omissions, so how do we know Dick Headd is any kind of electrician, let alone one fit for purpose to be undertaking inspection work? For all we know, Dick has spent the last thirty years in maintenance simply changing light bulbs, but now he fancies himself as the big-on cock n’ balls and has gone it alone. Who is verifying Dick’s qualifications and experience for this role if a third-party CPS hasn’t assessed him?


Well, if the (falsely named) Prat Maintenance appointed him, then perhaps they have in-house staff who are themselves qualified to assess Dick Headd and they hold records of how they have diligently done so for this line of work? Hopefully, they also have suitable professional indemnity insurance to cover the call they’ve made by rubber-stamping Dick. Prat Maintenance are themselves claiming affiliation, and with NICEIC no less. This is from their website:

ServicesNIC


The trouble is, Prat Maintenance also don’t appear under a name or postcode search on the competent persons website. Indeed, their postcode isn’t even listed on their own website despite a trading address being a legal requirement, but they can be found on Companies House, and NICEIC say Prat ain’t on their books when you do a search! This puts Prat Maintenance in a new light as their website claim appears to be fraudulent. Like Dick Headd, they’re not registered with NICEIC or any other CPS, so nobody’s overseeing them.


Still, it’s neither Prat or Dick who are left holding the bag here. It’s the letting agency, Bellendus Lettings, for want of a better fake name, who took the landlord’s money for the electrical inspection work and who appointed Prat Maintenance to bally well get on with the job. Bellendus Lettings haven’t performed their due diligence in ensuring the maintenance company they chose had the accreditations they say they have and, without that third-party CPS assessment to fall back on, the onus is now on Bellendus Lettings to make their own in-house assessment that Prat Maintenance and their subcontractors are suitable for the job. Who here thinks a letting agency would have on their staff someone qualified to make that call? Not only would they have to vet their contractors in-house, but they’d also need the indemnity insurance to cover them in case someone they vet makes a major cock-up. Why go to that effort when you can use a CPS registered firm where the CPS have made the assessment and given the all-clear?


By taking the money of the landlord, Bellendus Lettings have failed in their duty under the Consumer Rights Act of 2015 to ensure the service provided is of satisfactory quality, fit-for-purpose and to a standard that is reasonable. If the report is demonstrably a load of rubbish, then the landlord is within their right to withhold payment or demand a full refund. Worse for Bellendus Lettings, if they’ve appointed Prat Maintenance to produce hundreds of dubious reports that have resulted in a slew of other landlords forking out for work that wasn’t needed, then they’re now liable and, If word gets out, they could face a lot of legal action.


What you have to remember about reporting is that it’s all a cover-your-arse exercise and someone is always left liable. Ultimately, that someone should be the inspector undertaking the report, and under Electricity at Work Regulations it probably will be in the event of a serious incident or accident, but not necessarily financially. If the tenant at this property dies because Dick Headd failed to spot something dangerous through not knowing how to actually perform a competent inspection, then he’ll be the one HSE haul into the dock for some potential prison time as his boots were on the ground as the supposed expert. Prat Maintenance and Bellendus Lettings will likely each get slapped with a fine for failing to verify his ability to adequately do the damn job, but they’ll also be open to prosecution by any landlord holding a Dick Headd report as it will be proven in court that Dick was an incompetent twat.


Let’s take a look at this report then and see how this landlord can legally get their money back.


On Page 1 the basic errors begin.

P1


Estimated age of the installation: 25 years. The landlord tells me it’s a 2015 build which is why they’re so surprised the word UNSATISFACTORY is stamped on the A4 in big red letters. More on that later. Meantime, 'Extent of electrical installation covered by this report' has been left blank as have any limitations. Here, you’re supposed to say what you’ll be inspecting/testing and what you won’t be. There are always limitations – accessories you can’t get to because of fitted or heavy furniture, tests you can’t perform because they’re impractical on some circuits such as L-N insulation resistance, impedance where it may not be practical to plug in your test leads and so on. Dick Headd hasn’t stated the extent of his tests or what he will be leaving out. If we look further in, we find a couple of interesting things relating to this:

Schedule2


This page tells me two important things: firstly, he hasn’t undertaken any insulation resistance tests between live conductors (the whole Live-Live column is blank). Perhaps he thinks that only applies to three-phase installations, but if he took a look in BS7671 Definitions, he'd see live parts are classed as those that are energised under normal operating conditions (i.e. line and neutral in this case). Not performing line/neutral testing has been a limitation for him on the day as it always is on some circuits, but he never listed any limitations and doesn’t record it as such here. He's also tested everything at 250V for insulation resistance although he hasn’t said why he’s limited the voltage; regulation 643.3.2 having the test voltage set at 500V unless there’s a reason not to. As an aside, it’s strange that he also hasn’t recorded anything in the 1x RCD column, not that such is needed as regulation 643.8 only requires the 5x result when the RCD is installed for additional protection as these are. That’ll crop up again later. Still, if the column is on the paperwork, you may as well fill it in as, presumably, he undertook that test and got a figure for it?


Anyway, the second important thing from this page which relates back to a point earlier is that this is a dual RCD board. It appears RCD1 covers circuitways 1-9 and RCD2 covers circuitways 11-14. Dual RCD boards weren’t being fitted 25 years ago, they came to prominence from 2008 when the 17th Edition of BS7671 came out and remain the go-to for most today, although many of us now fit full RCBO boards in preference. A dual-RCD board is what I would expect to see on a dwelling built between 2008 and the time of writing in 2021, so if it really is a 2015 build, how does he think it’s 25 years old? Note also on the RCDs that he has filled in test data apparently showing he I.R. tested each RCD to earth at 250V and got a figure above 299MΩ - the clot! You don’t IR test an RCD!


And of course, that throws into suspicion all his other IR test results, each coming out perfectly. Well, maybe they did on such a young installation, but how can I trust that Dick here has diligently performed any I.R. tests at all with this kind of schoolboy error?


Let’s move on to the particulars:

Particulars


Earthing arrangements TNS? I very much doubt it. TNCS has been the common supplier’s earthing arrangement since the end of the 1960s, so whether this one dates from 2015 or 1996 it’s unlikely to be TNS. Again, that indicates Dick here perhaps doesn’t know what he’s looking at. Under Nature of Supply Parameters we have U and Uo each at 230V. U is the nominal voltage between lines (i.e. more than one phase), but he’s ticked the box to the left to show it’s a single phase arrangement, so U should be N/A. Uo is the line voltage to earth and would be 230V. The supply protective device is given as a bunch of limitations but, again, no limitations were recorded on page one so why are they popping up now?


Continuing with the particulars:

Particulars1


Main earthing and bonding each sized at 6mm2 is a surprise as I would expect both to be bigger than 6mm2. The fact it is 6mm2 may be fine depending on the size of the supply protective device, but that’s a limitation remember? How do we know 6mm2 is adequate for either task when for earthing and bonding on a new TNCS supply today you’d use 16mm2 and 10mm2 respectively? There’s no comment, no maths, no further investigation recommended - nothing to indicate if 6mm2 really is okay which is odd if you can’t verify the supply is 80A or below. It’s also interesting that he shows a connection to the water pipework but not the gas. Maybe the property doesn’t have gas but, in that case, I would expect to see circuits for water and space heating, yet none such are listed. The bonding tickboxes just have dashes in them – does that mean they’re not applicable or that they haven’t been checked due to limitations on the day? The form also says additional information on the bonding can be found at the end of the report, but if we look there….

Bonding


…well, we get a whole lot of bugger-all. Dick sure likes his dashes, but it doesn’t tell us anything. This report leaves me wondering what the water and space heating arrangements are; is the main earthing sized correctly, is there a bond to a gas or oil service and is the bonding of adequate size? These omissions are opening up more questions than they answer, but the report is supposed to provide these very answers. It’s incomplete.


Onwards and downwards with the checklist. It’s amazing how many people simply fly through this without relating it back to whether any given item really is applicable or correct. Let’s take these a section at a time then…

Section1


Once again, we have LIMitations appearing where, as you’ll recall, no limitations were agreed at the start on Page one. But why do we have limitations for condition of the service head and cable? As electricians, we’re not supposed to poke around on the network equipment, but I have it built into my reports that I will give a visual inspection of such. Surely Dick can see if either element is damaged or deteriorated in such a way that the network operator needs to be called in? Everything else has been passed including presence of an isolator which you would find on a 2015 build, less likely so on one from 1996 where new services weren’t routinely fitted with isolators. Hmmm.

Section2


Well, according to this one, we have two generators on site! One is an alternative to the public supply such as a diesel generator that kicks in when the mains power is lost. The other works in parallel with the supply such as a solar PV or wind turbine system. They must be there – otherwise why would Dick tick the boxes to confirm he’s passed their presence and adequacy? Trouble is, the circuit listing showed no such things. That means there either aren’t any generators, or there’s another consumer unit somewhere which is wholly missing from this report. This is either a schoolboy error or the report isn’t complete and is therefore unfit for purpose. Seeing as I don’t believe this rental property really does have a diesel generator or similar to keep the lights on in the event of a power cut, I suspect we can chalk this up as improper form-filling by someone who doesn’t know how to fill out this form!

Section3


His earlier recording, or lack thereof, of the earthing and bonding cable sizes and connections cast some doubt, but everything is ticked and happy here. Either Dick is confident his 6mm2 main earth and water bonding are adequate, which is odd if he doesn't know the supply protective device size, or those earlier numbers are in error and should say, perhaps, 16mm2... which in itself would be unusual for the water bonding. Dick really should have commented about the earthing and bonding as this report throws them into confusion.

Section4


A C2 “Dangerous in the event of a fault” for the consumer unit! Just because it’s plastic no doubt. We’ll go into more detail about that nonsense later. Presence of non-standard (mixed) cable colour warning is ticked, but if this is a 2015 installation then there won’t be any old red/black wiring. Also, presence of alternative supply warning notice? Wow, maybe a backup generator really is present! Or maybe he’s just ticking boxes as his report details nothing regarding alternative supplies. If such are present, then this report doesn’t mention them.

Section4 1


Another C2 condition, this time on the confirmation of a functional SPD. Okay, we’ll look at that in more detail shortly too. In the meantime, the following ticks in the above are highly dubious:


Presence of other required labelling… like what exactly?
Protection against electromagnetic effects… only applicable on metal enclosures, but he’s already written this one off because it's plastic.
RCDs provided for fault protection… I doubt it. The RCDs installed in this CU are for additional protection and there’s nothing detailed in this report showing any other RCD switchgear as being present. With all final circuits protected at 30mA, where then is this 100mA time delayed (or whatever) fault protection RCD and why would such be present on a supposed TNS system he thinks is 25-years old? Again, it seems he either doesn’t understand what’s he ticking, or he has omitted other equipment from the report entirely.

He's ticked the boxes for adequacy of arrangements for both a backup generator and a parallel generator - I've a feeling of déjà vu here! I’ve no idea why his form is designed so these things appear twice, but if he didn’t catch his error the first time around, he certainly seems to have missed it the second time too.

Section5


Here, cables correctly supported throughout their run is ticked, but how does he know that? It’s a given limitation on most reports, his own paperwork says so on page one:

Limitations


Hard to read here, but the small print says “It should be noted that cables concealed within trunking and conduits, under floors, in roof spaces and generally within the fabric of the building or underground, have not been inspected…”


The obvious reason for that being it’s unreasonable to expect Dick to start knocking holes in walls and pulling up floors in order to verify the cables are where they’re supposed to be! It’s a given limitation; one he doesn’t even need to specify, yet instead of listing it as LIM, he’s ticked the box. So, what’s he ticking off? It doesn’t make sense. It’s the same with the boxes for concealed cables installed in prescribed zones, concealed cables adequately protected and cables correctly supported throughout their run – if he can’t follow the run of every cable because it’s physically buried under floors and in walls, what’s he ticking any of these for?


Non sheathed cables has also been ticked off, but most domestic installations don’t use non-sheathed cables. I’m not saying there is nonesuch here, I haven’t seen the site, but I question whether this is valid or just another box ticked out of ignorance.


Let’s finish the checklist with locations containing a bath/shower:

Section6


Where used as a protective measure, requirements for SELV or PELV met has been ticked, but none of the circuits in this domestic installation use SELV or PELV as their protective measure. They all use earthing. That’s backed up by his own circuit schedule which lists a circuit protective conductor for all outgoing circuits.


Schedule1


It is possible that the circuits serving the bathroom(s) then break down into something like SELV, but I’ve never seen it. Why would anyone bother? Bathroom electrical equipment is designed to hang off earthed wiring even if the accessory or appliance is itself Class II. If there are SELV arrangements (you wouldn’t get PELV in any domestic environment), why is it not detailed anywhere else on this report? There may be individual items of equipment that themselves are SELV, but this checklist is concerned with circuit protection.


Going back to that checklist and Presence of supplementary bonding is ticked, but on a dual-RCD board in a 2015 build you wouldn’t have any. Sockets present outside three metres from Zone 1 is also ticked. That suggests there is a socket in the bathroom (not the done thing in the UK) and that the bathroom is big enough for that socket to be sat in the bathroom over three metres away from the bath and shower. Maybe that’s the case, but I doubt it. If there are no sockets in the bloody bathroom, then this box is not applicable.


Anyway, that’s enough of the checklist. We saw two C2 issues on there and these are given in the observations:

Observations


1. Consumer unit does not meet current fire regulations
2. Insufficient surge protection

No other comments are given on these observations. In fact, no other comments are given at all:

Comment


I’ve covered the plastic CU thing before, although a C2 for ‘insufficient surge protection’ is a new one. The landlord queried things and Prat Maintenance came back with this laughable bumfluffery:


“Hello xxxxx,


Thank you for your email.


Regarding the estimate, we genuinely never know the age of the property so the electrician estimated within the last 25 years.


The installation records are normally not available via the agency or occupants so if they are not available on site we do list this as not available.


The reason we have listed the consumer unit and surge protection as a C2 and quoted to replace the consumer unit is due to new fire regulations. Not to completely bore you but research was carried by building control where they found that a large number of fires are caused in consumer units and therefore they have changed regulations accordingly which can be found on the below link:

https://electrical.theiet.org/wiring-matters/years/2015/55-special-edition-ii-2015/new-non-combustible-enclosure-requirement-for-consumer-units/


When regulations changed, consumer units and similar switchgear assemblies installed in domestic premises must either have their enclosure constructed from non-combustible material or be housed in an enclosure or cabinet constructed from such material. In this apartment, it does not comply with either.


If, wherever the consumer unit is located, unsatisfactory connections are found during inspection, this would warrant a code C2 classification, meaning that this is potentially dangerous and that the overall condition of the installation is unsatisfactory. Further information on Classification codes for periodic reporting is given in Electrical Safety First’s Best Practice Guide 4 which, like all other BPGs, can be downloaded free of charge from the Electrical Safety First website


The new government legislation requires landlords to upgrade electrical installations to be compliant with BS7671 2018 edition.


The below website can also help with the explanation:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/electrical-safety-standards-in-the-private-rented-sector-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities/guide-for-landlords-electrical-safety-standards-in-the-private-rented-sector

Thanks”

 


Oh lordy. Let’s pull these apart in turn…


“Regarding the estimate, we genuinely never know the age of the property so the electrician estimated within the last 25 years.”


Now, I shouldn’t have to point out that it’s the very job of an inspector to have a good idea of what they’re looking at and to be familiar enough with electrical installations to be able to have a good ballpark of their age. A 2015 installation looks nothing like one from 1996! For a start, the wiring colours changed in the UK c2006 from red/black to brown/blue and if Dick Headd doesn’t know that, then how can he possibly be a bona fide inspector?


When working in and out of properties with frequency, especially when serving a known local area, you can spot the likely age of the building by its design. Victorian, Edwardian, pre-war, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s 90’s and 2000 builds all have their characteristics, and even if not on the original electrical installation, a Sixties fuse box differs from those of the 70s or 80s with MCB boards going in over the 1990s, single RCD around the Millennium and dual RCD from around 2008 when 17th Edition came in. Brand names, models, board layouts, colour schemes, wiring sizes and materials – there are all sorts of clues an inspector who knows their game and has seen a million installations can call on to put an educated guess on the age of what they are looking at instead of shrugging their shoulders and just calling it 25 years. If this is a 2015 build, there’s no way it would look like one dating back to when the Playstation first came out and Gazza scored *that* goal in the Euros!


But you know what, we can just use the wonders of the internet to take a quick gander of the place, and in so doing, we find it looks like this:

Property


Yeah. I'm no architecture expert, but that sure doesn't look 25 years old to me. Who wants to see what it looked like in 2014?

Propertybuild


And there you have it. All I had to do was use Streetview to confirm the age of that building. There's no way this will be TNS with 6mm2 earthing & bonding and there's absolutely no old wiring colours going to be in here, yet Dick Headd has failed to recognise the age of the property based on what he's seeing. That is unfathomable. The fact he doesn't understand the wiring colours absolutely rules his ass out as being an electrical inspector. What's more, the construction company would have provided a ten-year certificate which is still in date today, but for rental purposes it has to be reinspected after five years. Dick is saying their work is now invalid and, indeed, "dangerous". I wonder what the construction company, or their legal department, would make of that?

"The reason we have listed the consumer unit and surge protection as a C2 and quoted to replace the consumer unit is due to new fire regulations." and "When regulations changed, consumer units and similar switchgear assemblies installed in domestic premises must either have their enclosure constructed from non-combustible material or be housed in an enclosure or cabinet constructed from such material. In this apartment, it does not comply with either."


This is pure bollocks. For plastic consumer units, as I’ve said before, BS7671, the Wiring Regulations changed from 1st January 2016 to require installations installed from that date to use metal consumer units. The wiring regulations are not retrospective and older installations are not required to be brought up to today's code. This is demonstrable in two places in this standard:


Page 13: Note by the Health and Safety Executive
"...Installations which conform to the standards laid down in BS7671:2018 are regarded by HSE as likely to achieve conformity with the relevant parts of the Electricity At Work Regulations (1989). Existing installations may have been designed and installed to conform to the standards set by earlier versions of BS7671 or the IEE Wiring Regulations. This does not mean that they will fail to achieve conformity with the relevant parts of the Electricity At Work Regulations 1989."


Page 237: [on inspections] Regulation 651.2 Note 2:
"Existing installations may have been designed and installed to conform to previous editions of BS7671, applicable at the time of their design and erection. This does not necessarily mean that they are unsafe."


Together, these passages allow for older installations to exist and be recognised even if they don't meet the requirement of today. A wiring installation may well predate what BS7671 would specify if the work was new, but so long as it remains maintained and working to a safe design that was permissible in earlier editions of BS7671, then the HSE won't prosecute an inspector for letting it pass. This goes back to the old car analogy - a garage passes the MOT if the car works as designed, i.e. the brakes, seatbelts, lights etc. function as intended. It may well lack more modern safety features of ABS, crumple zones, side impact bars and airbags, but there is no requirement to retrofit such. Of course safety is important, but it doesn't have to be top-of-the-line all of the time. It is permissable for a rental property to not meet the full requirements of the latest electrical standards just the same as it's possible for a hire car company to rent you a vehicle that doesn't have a full 5-star Euro NCAP rating.


As for surge protection, that isn't a requirement at all in domestic dwellings even in the latest version of BS7671:


Page 101: Overvoltage control, Regulation 443.4
"...the electrical installation shall be provided with protection against transient overvoltages, except for single-dwelling units where the total value of the installation and equipment therein does not justify such protection."


What that means is it's up to you as the property owner/duty holder to decide if you think the addition of surge protection is justified based on the value of the fixed wiring installation and connected equipment versus the likelihood of damage caused by surges. It's not mandatory, and if an inspector feels you would benefit from such, perhaps because you're in an area where indirect lighting strikes are common or you live near a factory where spikes are being caused by machinery, then they should offer that as a recommendation based on fact. This report gives no justification for the C2 awarded for lack of surge protection.


I notice they mention fire regulations, then they fail to quote anything from any British Standard or legislation regarding such. Instead, they send a link to a magazine article from the IET who write the wiring regulations...

https://electrical.theiet.org/wiring-matters/years/2015/55-special-edition-ii-2015/new-non-combustible-enclosure-requirement-for-consumer-units/


...and this article contains the following passage:



Yes, an implementation date for metal consumer units was set for 1st January 2016, a whole six-months after 17th Edition Amendment 3 was published in July 2015 "to allow a period of co-existence of both metal and plastic-enclosed consumer units and to allow time for manufacturers to work existing and new products through their supply chains."


If plastic consumer units were to be fully outlawed with the intention of that ban applying retroactively like we're being led to believe here, why were manufacturers and wholesalers given six months to clear their supply chains? That stock would have been unsellable as anything bought and installed in those six months would have been done so in the knowledge it would have to be ripped out and replaced again almost immediately! Plastic consumer units were permitted on new designs until January 2016, and if they were signed off and certified to a pre-2016 design, then they complied with a prior version of BS7671 which allowed the installation of such.


"If, wherever the consumer unit is located, unsatisfactory connections are found during inspection, this would warrant a code C2 classification, meaning that this is potentially dangerous and that the overall condition of the installation is unsatisfactory."


Very true, loose connections, thermal damage, incorrect components or physical damage to the enclosure would warrant a C2 coding. Okay, so let's look back at this very report...

4.5
4.14
4.21
5.6 5.7


Item 4.5 Enclosure not damage or deteriorated so as to impair safety - ticked as passed.
Item 4.14 Compatibility of protective devices, bases and other components (no signs of unacceptable thermal damage, arcing or overheating) - ticked as passed.
Item 4.21 Confirmation that all conductor connections, including connections to busbars, are correctly located in terminals and are tight and secure - ticked as passed.
Item 5.6 Coordination between conductors and overload protective devices - ticked as passed.
Item 5.7 Adequacy of protective devices: type and rated current for fault protection - ticked as passed.


So, where are these unsatisfactory connections then? If there is no damage to the CU, no signs of overheating, the correct devices are present and all connections are tight and secure, then why should it be at risk of bursting into flames anytime soon? Their own report ticks it all off as being checked as okay, but then they go and say it's a danger? Why? No explanation is provided in the report itself.


"Further information on Classification codes for periodic reporting is given in Electrical Safety First’s Best Practice Guide 4 which, like all other BPGs, can be downloaded free of charge from the Electrical Safety First website"


Yeah, go take a look at BPG4: https://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/media/1626/best-practice-guide-4.pdf which has the following passage:

BPG4


It's of note that BPG4 used to state a plastic consumer unit should be coded as a C3 (improvement recommended) only if installed under wooden stairs or in a sole escape route, but I notice they seem to have removed this statement entirely and no longer mention plastic enclosures at all! That’s a shame as they should give definitive advice about this common cause for complaint, but it does indicate that Electrical Safety First have themselves decided it's a non-issue. Here’s what they do say about the inspector though:

BPG4inspector


If Prat Maintenance are using BPG4 to bolster their position, it does entirely the opposite. BPG4 allows for older installations to exist, mentions nothing about coding plastic consumer units and has requirements for the competence of the inspector which I don’t think Dick Headd is living up to!

 

I also draw your attention to NAPIT Codebreakers which is a guide for inspectors that also states a plastic CU is a C3 at the most unless there is evidence of damage or degradation. It should never be a C2 without something to back up that coding and this report gives no reason for a C2.

Codebreakers


"The new government legislation requires landlords to upgrade electrical installations to be compliant with BS7671 2018 edition. The below website can also help with the explanation:"

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/electrical-safety-standards-in-the-private-rented-sector-guidance-for-landlords-tenants-and-local-authorities/guide-for-landlords-electrical-safety-standards-in-the-private-rented-sector


This link they supplied is unhelpful to everyone because it contains typical government duplicity. It says...


"...all landlords now have to do what good landlords already do: make sure the electrical installations in their rented properties are safe." and goes on to state "Landlords of privately rented accommodation must... ensure national standards for electrical safety are met. These are set out in the 18th edition of the ‘Wiring Regulations’, which are published as British Standard 7671."


That makes it sound like landlords are required to bring their installations to 18th Edition standards, however much further down in Section 8 it goes on to say "Existing installations that have been installed in accordance with earlier editions of the Wiring Regulations may not comply with the 18th edition in every respect. This does not necessarily mean that they are unsafe for continued use or require upgrading."

Legislation


Again, the 18th Edition recognises and allows older installations to exist, so if the current installation meets the safety criteria it was designed to, and there's literally nothing in this report to say it doesn't, then it complies with the spirit of 18th Edition if not the letter.


These bozos could confirm what I’ve said here by speaking to their CPS who would tell them all this, but they're not accredited with anyone which may be why they don't know what they're doing. Their own report clears everything and then says the baby and bathwater all need throwing out without saying why. The justifications they've given don't bear out with their own evidence - BPG4 does the opposite of backing up their argument, BS7671 isn't on their side, the government guidance goes against them and any real inspector can spot their paperwork, their conclusions and their arguments are void.


Someone slapping C1 or C2 codings onto your electrical installation needs to be able to explain why they’ve done such. Simply saying ‘new regulations have moved the goalposts’ is not in itself a valid reason as the regulations are not retrospective. When a regulatory change comes in, it applies from that point forward for new installations. Older installations won’t comply of course, but a good inspector will be able to point out what the changes are and whether it’s to your benefit to fork out for any upgrades. A good inspector will put the ball back into your court for you to make a risk assessment on cost and disruption vs. benefits. A bad inspector will struggle to fill out the basic paperwork and dream up costly remedials which may be wholly unnesessary while perhaps missing other dangers a better inspector would have spotted. Dick Headd says he can undertake inspections, Prat Maintenance have taken him on his word and Bellendus Lettings have assumed Prat Maintenance know their stuff without even a cursory check that their claim of NICEIC membership is valid. Nobody has checked the facts and now they all risk not getting paid, at best. Worst case would be that Dick missed something dangerous as he bumbled through his bullshit inspection and has left the tenant in danger.


As I’ve said before, many of these assholes who today go about writing off the work of installers who worked prior to 2016 legitimately putting in plastic consumer units used to do the same themselves. How many of them do you think are calling up their pre 2016 customers to tell them the work they themselves performed is now deemed to be dangerous and non-compliant and they need to be paid again to change it all out?


Not a single fucking one. It would make them look stupid and be disastrous for their business. Yet, they’re happy to go around slapping UNSATISFACTORY in big red letters onto the work of others. I’m just waiting for one of my pre-2016 clients to call me up with a ‘report’ written by some berk condemning one of my plastic enclosures from back in the day and I swear I’ll either be extracting a written apology from the prick to publish on here or taking legal action for them damaging my reputation in the eyes of my client through their incorrect conclusions.


Also, how many of these plastic CU = automatic C2 wankers are up-front about it? If Dick Headd is failing every plastic board he comes across, does he forewarn the landlord or homeowner that they will be paying for a report failing the installation regardless?


I doubt it. If we’re to believe Dick’s report, this installation is in good nick – no sign of damage, degradation, overheating, IR numbers are off the chart, good ring end-to-ends, low earth fault loop impedances, working supplier earthing etc. Despite passing everything, Dick turned up with preconceptions on how it would fail before he even wiped his boots on the doormat.


It’s the same for the pillocks who issue automatic C2s for circuits lacking RCDs for additional protection. A new circuit in a dwelling today would require RCD protection, but installations before 2008 won’t necessarily have such for all circuits. It’s an engineering determination as to whether the primary protection, as designed at the time, is adequate for continued use. It’s not an automatic failure. But try telling that to the Check-a-trade wankers out there performing moody inspection work. Do they tell the client up-front they’ll automatically fail any pre-2008 consumer unit, or do they go through the motions and make sure they get their money first?


As I said at the start of this article, I have one more of these to go through with all the same sort of shit again, except this time it was by someone accredited with a CPS and the homeowner filed a complaint through them. How do you reckon the CPS arbitrated it? It won’t come as any surprise, but it might be a few weeks before I write that one up. In the meantime, as I say, I’m no authority on proofreading the reports of others, nor do I have the time for it. Ultimately, it’s not something I should have to do; the CPS schemes make vast amounts of money for vetting and overseeing their members and should be taking to task anyone cocking it up. It’s not my job to act as judge and jury; I am but a one-man inspector trying to publicise how things are supposed to work!


If you’re being charged for a report that appears to be a load of crap, check the competent persons register (in England and Wales) to ensure the person who undertook the inspection really has been checked and assessed as being fit-for-purpose. If they’re not listed, treat the report as valueless and use the Consumer Rights Act to attempt to get your money back. The onus is on the person performing the inspection to prove they’re qualified and insured for that line of work. Their claiming “I’ve done it for thirty years” doesn’t prove anything. If they’ve not been independently verified, treat their paperwork and conclusions as ‘probably bullshit’.


As for Prat Maintenance, well I shopped them to NICEIC for their unwarranted claim of accreditation as I always do when I see someone flying the flag of an organisation they're not a member of in their attempt to dupe the public. I pay good money and jump through enough hoops for my current NICEIC, ECA, Which? and TrustMark associations, so anyone I catch fraudulently claiming the same gets swiftly grassed up. It only took a few hours for NICEIC to respond which isn't surprising. Somone using their name without paying for it doesn't make for a good business model for them and sets a precedent if allowed to get away with it.


NICresponse


And indeed, Prat Maintenance, having been caught with their pants down, made a change to the text on their website a few days later...


ServicesNICnew


...except this still doesn't go far enough. We know this is lies; the contractor used for this very job isn't accredited with anyone. They're still using the NICEIC name without paying a penny for it, still giving false claims to potential customers and nobody is in a position to validate the above statement. What proof is there that they will appoint the right people when in this very example they have failed to do so? Even when caught out, they've attempted to back-peddle while standing by their man. Again, I have flagged this up to NICEIC who surely ought to ensure their name is expunged entirely from Prat's point of sale. Let's see what happens.


In the meantime, the client reports they have got their money back, so that's a fucking result!

 

BMAC
BMAC-XXI

I pulled a similar load of crap apart in Cowboy Competition 8 with an accompanying sweary video.

 
Note:- Page numbers and regulations quoted are for BS7671:2018 Amendment 1 current at the time of publication and may differ to other editions or amendments as published previously or in the future. The wiring regulations will never apply retrospectively however, for reasons explained in this article.