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Question 1

: Why use a registered electrician?

Answer 1

Electrical work should only be carried out by competent persons with the necessary skills and training. It’s easy to make an electrical circuit work - it’s far more demanding to make the circuit work safely. All contractors registered with ELECSA have undergone appropriate training and assessment – demonstrating competence and having relevant qualifications and training is their only route to becoming registered.

Question 2

: Should I receive a certificate or report on completion of the work?

Answer 2

Any electrical contractor constructing a new electrical installation, or altering or adding to an existing electrical installation, should issue an Electrical Installation Certificate, which is a safety declaration confirming that their work complies with the national safety standard. An electrical contractor reporting on the condition of an existing electrical installation should issue a Periodic Inspection Report detailing their findings and providing recommendations for any work that needs to be carried out. The certificate or report should be fully completed and signed. Details of what you should expect to receive are given on the ELECSA website - www.elecsa.co.uk

Question 3

: Which electrician should I choose?

Answer 3

ELECSA acts under licence from the Electrical Safety Council, as the electrical contracting industry's independent voluntary regulatory body that has been assessing the competence of electrical contractors since 1956. ELECSA is dedicated to promoting safe electrical installations in the home, and places of work and leisure.

Question 4

: Does the requirement for warning notice in accordance with Regulation 537.2.1.3 apply to a two-gang light switch fed by two separate circuits in a domestic situation?

Answer 4

The current wording of 537.2.1.3 is ambiguous and needs to be clarified. It is recognized that this requirement may be difficult to comply with in some situation.

Question 5

: Do domestic boilers and heating pipework need to have additional equipotential bonding?

Answer 5

Providing there is adequate continuity between the boiler/pipework and the Main Protective Bonding there should be no need for any further bonding to the boiler and pipework, unless it is in a bath/shower room and all the circuits of the location are not additionally protected by a 30mA RCD. However, supplementary bonding may be required in the boiler manufacturer's instruction.

Question 6

: Are the any particular requirements relating to the mounting height or location of consumer units for electrical installations in new dwellings?

Answer 6

The provision of access to consumer units is not specifically covered by Building Regulations or BS 7671. However, consumer units need to be located so as to enable reasonable access by the users, including for the purpose of testing the RCDs at regular intervals, and in case of emergency. The best advice for anyone working on new build dwellings intending to install the consumer units at high (above 1400mm) level is to seek clarification from the authority carrying out the building control function what their requirements are.

Question 7

: Which room is the 'principal room of habitation?

Answer 7

Any room in a dwelling other than a kitchen, utility room, bathroom, dressing room or WC. It is normally the most frequently used room for general daytime living.

Question 8

: Do I need smoke alarm in bedroom?

Answer 8

BS 5839-6 does not require this. It is therefore a question for the occupiers to assess their fire risk and to judge if they need additional protection over and above what is recommended in the standard.

Question 9

: I have a loft conversion where Building Control requires a smoke detector in the extension. The smoke alarms on the ground and first floors are not interlinked. Do we need to interlink all the smoke alarms?

Answer 9

It is important that smoke alarms are linked together so that, in a fire situation, all the integral sounders and warning devices operate at the same time.

Question 10

: Does the connection of equipment, such as cookers, boilers and so on, require notification?

Answer 10

No. Connection of equipment to an existing point is not notifiable, even in a special location or kitchen.

Question 11

: Where pipework in a bathroom is plastic, do I need to bond the bath, radiator and so on?

Answer 11

Where the main pipework of water distribution and central heating system are PVC, short sections of pipe connecting taps, radiators and the like are not considered to be extraneous conductive parts, because they are unlikely to introduce earths to the location. Supplementary bonding is, therefore, not required.

Question 12

: Do I need RCD protection on a shower circuit?

Answer 12

Yes. See BS7671:2008, Section 701-Locations containing a bath or shower. The scope covers any location containing a fixed bath (bath tub) or shower. Additional protection by 30mA RCDs is required for all circuits serving equipment in the location. A single RCD may protect a group of circuits, but must take account of the consequences of unwanted tripping.

Question 13

: Can equipment such as washing machines be installed in a bathroom?

Answer 13

Washing machine are classed as transportable equipment and are allowed outside of Zone 2 provided they are protected by 30mA RCD and permanently connected, or connected to a socket outlet sited more than three meters horizontally from the boundary of Zone 1.

Question 14

: Do the supporting clips and fixings have to be fire-resistant?

Answer 14

Fire-resistant clips and fixings are only required for Grades A and B systems. All other systems, Grades C, D and F, do not require fire-resistant cables, clips or fixings. Equipment, cables and clips should under no circumstances be simply stuck to the surfaces on which they are mounted or run.

Question 15

: Can I use a lighting circuit to power a Grade D system?

Answer 15

Yes, BS 5839-6 recommends that either a dedicated circuit or a regularly used light circuit be used to power Grade D.

Question 16

: Domestic smoke alarms-can they be used in commercial and industrial buildings?

Answer 16

Generally, the answer would be no. However, If the building is a small single floor lock-up shop office or workroom, and depending on the fire exit route layout, the fire risk assessment could require that some from of smoke detection should be installed, to alert the occupants, in which case a domestic smoke alarm could be considered.