In January 2015, IEE Wiring Regulations (BS7671) Amendment 3 will be published. A major change in Amendment 3 concerns consumer units, the term for a modern day domestic fuse box. New regulation 401.1.201 will state that in domestic environments, consumer units and similar switchgear must be constructed from non-combustible material.
Unless fully qualified, please don’t attempt to upgrade your fuse box yourself or have a rouge trader do it for you, trust me, it’s just not worth the proposed risks or your families safety.
Do I need to upgrade?
Providing your electrical installation is safe and meets the current BS7671 requirements for an electrical installation then you won’t need to upgrade. Of course it’s very difficult to ascertain this information just by “looking” at your installation without testing, so the best way to check is to have an electrical inspection on your property.
There is however some tell-tale signs that you would benefit from upgrading your fuse box, these being:
- You have an old fusebox with a wooden back, cast iron switches, or a haphazard mixture of both – these will need replacing, for your own safety.
- You have decided to rent out your property and are aware your electrics have not been upgraded for several years;
- You don’t have any provision of residual current devices (RCDs) for wiring buried in the walls, sockets circuits and outlets that may be used to plug in outdoor electrical equipment.
- You are planning a building or improvement project such as a new electric shower, Solar PV, an extension or an attic conversion and additional wiring and new circuits will need to be installed.
Unsafe Electrics could put your tenant’s life in danger and put you at risk of a significant fine, civil damages or even imprisonment.
Don’t take the risk – get a modern Consumer Unit with RCD Protection fitted today.
Landlords must comply with statutory regulations or face significant risks
The Landlord & Tenant Act 1985, and several other statutory regulations, requires that electrical equipment is safe at the start of every tenancy and maintained in a safe condition throughout the tenancy.
Failure to comply with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and the Consumer Protection Act 1987 is a criminal offense and may result in:
- a fine of £5,000 per item not complying
- six months imprisonment
- possible manslaughter charges in the event of deaths
- tenants may sue you for civil damages
- your property insurance could be invalidated
Electrical accidents happen more often than you think
Information from the Electrical Safety Council reveals the following frightening statistics:
- about 70 people die and 1.2 million are injured in electrical accidents in UK homes each year
- approximately 50% of fires in UK homes are caused by electrical faults (that’s about 21,000 per year)
- almost all electrocutions in the home and 20% of fires with an electrical origin could have been prevented by having RCD protection.
Why do I need RCDs?
Residual Current Device (RCD) is a must have safety device which switches electricity of in a fraction of a second if you get an electric shock. Old fuse boxes don’t have RCDs and can take significantly longer to switch off electricity – the difference between life and death.
Will I need any other work doing if my electrics are old?
It’s unlikely you will need any other work doing just because your electrics are old. The most common additional work that may be required is earth bonding. It is mandatory under UK wiring rules that earth bonding is present before any electrical work can be undertaken.
- Upgrading to a new 17th edition RCD protected fuse board will make your home safer protecting you from the risk of electric shock & electrical fire.
- An RCD is a life saving device that is designed to stop you receiving an electric shock. 50% of the homes in the UK don’t have an RCD installed putting the occupants at unnecessary risk from electrical accidents.
- A professionally installed & certified 17th edition consumer unit WILL improve your electrical safety.
How much does it cost?
Our prices vary on the size of the consumer unit and if you need more than one. On average the cost will be £400 + vat for:
- All materials including a top brand METAL fuse box (now in regulation) with breakers, such as Wylex;
- Labour carried out by one of our qualified NICEIC domestic or contractor installers;
- Installation Certificate on completion, which will be registered with your local council or building regulations;
- 12 months warranty on all parts and workmanship.