Workmanship. Does anyone bother? by Duncan

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Duncan
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Been in our house twelve years now, moved in when it was new. So I'm changing the cloakroom downstairs, putting in some cupboards and a new loo and sink.

Now I knew the main feed from the electricity meter ran behind the plasterboard up to the consumer unit as I'd photographed it after first fix, but couldn't tell exactly where. To cut a long story short, found them quite easily as one of the fixings for the old sink went straight through the insulation of one of them. Could easily have killed me while taking it out. Maybe It's not as bad as it looks and there's a little bit of the inner insulation left. I won't be digging until I can turn off the main switch!

Does no-one care about doing things right? (this is a rhetorical question, as it's about the fourth thing I've uncovered over the years).
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Posted 22 Oct 2012, 19:33 #1 

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RichardGarner
That is very bad!!! Luckily though meter tails are double insulated, but it shouldn't have been left like that!

Posted 22 Oct 2012, 19:39 #2 

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raistlin
We had the opportunity to regularly inspect our new-bulid house during all stages of construction in Telford some years back and on one occasion I noticed that the vertical cable drop to the living room light switch was such that it was displaced by some 8 inches sideways at the switch.

When i asked for it to be put right I was told that it was perfectly acceptable until i pointed out the appropriate regulations.

Anybody assuming correctly installed cables after plastering could easily have fitted something to the wall and inadvertently screwed through the cables. I just wonder now, how many other cables where not quite vertical drops in that house.
Paul

Cogito ergo sum... maybe?

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Posted 22 Oct 2012, 20:06 #3 

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Duncan
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RichardGarner wrote:That is very bad!!! Luckily though meter tails are double insulated, but it shouldn't have been left like that!

Yes but from my early look, I think it's gone through both sets of insulation. I'm not poking around to be sure until I power the house off!
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Posted 22 Oct 2012, 20:47 #4 

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Borg Warner
Hi Duncan

If you've gone through the meter tails the only way to make them safe is by pulling the main cut out fuse. This should be sealed by either your local district network operator (DNO) or supplier. If you give the DNO a call they should send someone round to sort it out for you.

As an apprentice electrician for the MEB Paul we always ran cables vertically to switches. sockets etc., they were also encased in either metal or plastic capping or trunking for mechanical protection. Popped in to a neighbour's house as he was having some major electrical re-wiring carried out and I was absolutely shocked (no pun intended) to see that the Part P registered electrician had chased the plaster out from ceiling to socket outlet, clipped yes CLIPPED the cables directly to the breeze block wall ready for the plasterer to make good. No capping or any form of mechanical protection. I'm no longer a practising sparky but recently re-wired my garage because I wouldn't trust some of the sparkies today.

I understand the Part P regs were bought in to stop DIYers carrying out certain alterations to their house wiring. This because an MP's daughter was killed after her husband had installed a towel rail in the kitchen and had gone through a cable which was not running vertically and, most likely, had no mechanical protection. As a result I can't put a socket in my kitchen or an outside light etc.. I of course adhere to the law.

Best of luck Duncan, and please be careful, there's most likely to be either an 80 or 100 amp fuse behind those meter tails and all it takes is 15mA.....

Gary M

Posted 22 Oct 2012, 21:46 #5 

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ceedy
Some of the handiwork deep in our house is terrible .. none of it down to me !!

if I ever Dig up the builder he's having a right earfull .

It only been up for around 310 years ( C1702) :-D :-D

Chris
Got one for Me , Then one for her, and now a big one for me again, All BLOO! Well saves on the touch up paint, Now Number one son's Spoilt it all by getting a Firefrost 1.8T

Posted 22 Oct 2012, 22:09 #6 

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Duncan
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Borg Warner wrote:Hi Duncan
If you've gone through the meter tails the only way to make them safe is by pulling the main cut out fuse. This should be sealed by either your local district network operator (DNO) or supplier. If you give the DNO a call they should send someone round to sort it out for you.

Well to be clear, it's not me that's done it, I only found it after 12 years. Our house doesn't have a main fuse but a main trip which can be switched off and back on, it's not sealed.
As an apprentice electrician for the MEB Paul we always ran cables vertically to switches. sockets etc., they were also encased in either metal or plastic capping or trunking for mechanical protection. Popped in to a neighbour's house as he was having some major electrical re-wiring carried out and I was absolutely shocked (no pun intended) to see that the Part P registered electrician had chased the plaster out from ceiling to socket outlet, clipped yes CLIPPED the cables directly to the breeze block wall ready for the plasterer to make good. No capping or any form of mechanical protection. I'm no longer a practising sparky but recently re-wired my garage because I wouldn't trust some of the sparkies today.

The meter tails are just like that. No protection at all. They run through from the outside, then horizontally, before turning and running up the wall.
I understand the Part P regs were bought in to stop DIYers carrying out certain alterations to their house wiring. This because an MP's daughter was killed after her husband had installed a towel rail in the kitchen and had gone through a cable which was not running vertically and, most likely, had no mechanical protection. As a result I can't put a socket in my kitchen or an outside light etc.. I of course adhere to the law.

But it doesn't stop them. Those who would do a rubbish job, either don't know or don't care about part P.
Best of luck Duncan, and please be careful, there's most likely to be either an 80 or 100 amp fuse behind those meter tails and all it takes is 15mA.....
Gary M

Believe me I'm aware of that. That's why I was being so careful as I'd already found previous evidence of how the workmen who built the place did very poor work!

I have also seen some of the really dangerous stuff done by DIYers (or maybe incompetent tradesmen). Did you know there was such a thing as 2.5mm twin without an earth? No neither did I. But I found a house where the sockets were wired this way, and it was not the old rubber stuff, it was grey PVC. Then as an afterthought, some of the sockets had an earth added, though it was the earth core out of a 3amp flex! On another, I almost found the bare ends of the live lighting circuit by leaning on them, and on a third (my Brother's) the ring main was only a ring for earth and Neutral, as the phase had been cut by the socket fixing screw.

What really riles me though, is building control are supposed to be interested in this kind of thing, but they aren't. I contacted them about a pressurised hot water system that hadn't been installed in line with the manufacturers instructions, and they weren't the least bit bothered as the installers had the bit of paper that permits them to do work badly without being checked.
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Posted 23 Oct 2012, 06:58 #7 

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Zeb
Been in our 1960s built house for 8 years now.....done lots of DIY including completely moving the kitchen from one room to another...I have yet to see any light switches that are connected by a vertical drop....some I found were at a near 45 degree angle...

Posted 23 Oct 2012, 08:23 #8 


carlpenn
We have squeaky floorboards upstairs in our house, so a few months ago we lifted the Carpet and started to remove the Floorboards in an effort to refit them, in the hope of stopping the squeaking.

Halfway through, Tina unscrewed a Screw and started to hear a hiss, followed by a strong smell of Gas. Some muppet had screwed the floorboard through a Gas Pipe and into the Joust, the screw had gone completely through and luckily sealed itself somehow (We never smelled Gas before). Scary to think that such bad maintenance could have been carried out and the potential disaster that was beneath our feet on a much used area.
Upgrades:

Fitted Electric Memory Seat, Leather Cubby Lid, Wood Dash, Message Centre.

Posted 23 Oct 2012, 08:53 #9 

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Borg Warner
There will be a main fuse Duncan, it's on the end of the service from the street, will either be black or grey and before the meter. May even be a metal clad one depending on age of property. May look like this:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/MAINS-SUPPLY- ... 519254945a

2.5 and no earth? How dangerous is that? It really beggars belief how standards have fallen today. I understand that Part P is being reassessed by the government, what the likely outcome is I have no idea.

That was lucky Carl. When lifting a floor board as an apprentice I almost went through a gas pipe; almost!!! Oh happy days.

Posted 23 Oct 2012, 11:07 #10 

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Duncan
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You are right about the fuse, it's been a while since I was in there and TBH I'd never done anything other than have a quick look. The fuse is before the meter but there's an isolator switch (not a trip) after the meter, and is not sealed on the output end. That's what had stood out in a quick look as I'd never seen one before in a meter box. So I can safely isolate the tails while I investigate how severely the insulation is really damaged.

Really irritating, I need to upgrade the supply to the garage, and this episode is making me worry about being able to get a decent spark to do the job!
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Posted 23 Oct 2012, 20:01 #11 

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Borg Warner
PM me if you wish Duncan.

Posted 23 Oct 2012, 21:10 #12 

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Duncan
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Thanks for the offer Gary. Once I've established the extent of the damage, probaly Friday afternoon, I'll have a better idea what needs to be done and I'll probably ask for a second opinion.
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Posted 24 Oct 2012, 06:53 #13 

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RichardGarner
Twin without earth, that's just bonkers!!!
With my new job I've just done a basic wiring and meter fitting course, I've been shown examples of shoddy workmanship. Things like twin pole isolators that have caught fire and people trying to bypass meters. The fuse will be in your cut out before the meter, as mentioned above i think, with an isolator after your meter. Out of interest what was the wiring like in your consumer unit?

Posted 24 Oct 2012, 19:21 #14 

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Duncan
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The wiring in the CU is a little untidy, but basically sound.The only thing near the CU I don't like is the bell transformer that appears to have been fed straight from the lighting trip, without a 1A fused spur, and using only the cores from some T&E without the outer sheath. The SELV wiring to the bell also runs with all of the big boy stuff behind the CU. If the tails do need replacing, I'll probably get that improved at the same time, as well as getting the feed to the garage uprated as using a welder or circular saw can take the 16A trip out in the house, due to the surge.
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Posted 24 Oct 2012, 20:21 #15 

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Bermudan 75
Part P of the Building Regulations legislate against the public from fitting, for example a new/replacement consumer unit. B&Q and others sell the said consumer units to the public......
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Posted 25 Oct 2012, 16:27 #16 


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