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Discuss New socket on ring main - replace consumer unit? in the Electrical Wiring, Theories and Regulations area at ElectrciansForums.co.uk.

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  1. Alex1970
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    Alex1970 EF Member

    Location:
    London
    I currently have a double socket in our spare bedroom and a 4 way extension block running a computer and peripherals. For neatness I would like to have an electrician add a second double socket right next to the existing one and do away with the extension block. The socket can be added to the existing ring main.

    However a neighbour told me that if I have any electrical work like this done then I may be required by regulations to have my consumer unit updated as it is a fuse wire unit, not RCD.

    I could understand an upgrade requirement if a new circuit was being added but not for a trivial modification like this surely?

    (I do understand the safety benefits of RCD over fuses, I just want to be clear on whether an upgrade would be mandated as my neighbour suggests.)

    Thanks for any help.
     
  2. Andy78
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    Andy78 Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Kingston upon Hull
    All new work has to comply with current standards. All sockets require RCD protection (apart from circumstances which won't apply in this case) to the current standards.
    RCD protection may be able to be added in the form of a stand alone RCD in a small enclosure next to the existing consumer unit. This is a compliant, inexpensive, and easy way of completing this work.

    If you end up altering more than a couple of different circuits that all require RCD protection then a new consumer unit would be the way to go, but for a single circuit this solution would be fine. Think ahead of any other work you may have planned for the next year.

    Get a local electrican round (after xmas of course) to explain the benefits and limitations of both options to you.
     
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  3. Alex1970
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    Alex1970 EF Member

    Location:
    London
    Thanks for your reply.
    Out of interest would it meet regs if the new twin socket had built-in RCD protection? Or by tapping into it does the whole circuit become liable to upgrade?

    Thanks.
     
  4. Andy78
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    Andy78 Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Kingston upon Hull
    RCD protection for the socket could be in the form of one integral to the socket. There are also regulations surrounding RCD protection for buried cables though that an electrician will explain to you. It's best one that has seen the situation informs you of your best option.
     
  5. Murdoch
    Online

    Murdoch Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Woking
    Please also be aware that the electrician would also check the earthing and bonding in the house too - so there may be one or two "extras" that you may need also.

    I've seen 2 houses lately - neither of which had an earth!
     
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  6. Alex1970
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    Alex1970 EF Member

    Location:
    London
    Ok thanks very much for your help Andy. I'll have a think about it. I'm reluctant to bring an electrician out if its going to get expensive because I simply won't have the money to pay for it.
     
  7. Andy78
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    Andy78 Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Kingston upon Hull
    Any decent tradesman will do a free quote. Don't consider DIY. A surge protector lead is better than a multi block.
     
  8. HandySparks
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    HandySparks Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Hampshire
    Business Name:
    Neish Electrical Services
    Would any of you add another non-RCD socket outlet to an existing circuit in, say, a lounge or bedroom where none of the existing circuits have RCD protection (no buried cable required)? OK, not strictly to the regs, but there's no real additional safety risk.

    My opinion is that the regs are too prescriptive in this case and that some allowance for the existing installation should be made. Having to install an RCD socket where no others are protected is pretty silly in my opinion.
     
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  9. westward10
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    westward10 In echoed steps I walk across an empty dream. Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Northamptonshire
    I am with you on that.
     
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  10. happysteve
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    happysteve Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Nottingham
    Business Name:
    Dovecote Electrical
    I empathise with your sentiment and I can see where you're coming from, but I wouldn't. If this was generally permitted, you'd end up with situations like Trigger's broom...
     
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  11. Alex1970
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    Alex1970 EF Member

    Location:
    London
    We should be ok on that front as it was checked a 7-8 years ago when we had some kitchen work done.

    No, I wouldn't DIY it, I'd just carry on using the extension lead (which has surge protection).
     
  12. Murdoch
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    Murdoch Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Woking
    Hum ... yes, but this is were the 17th Ed AMD 2 lost its way IMHO, as if my memory serves me correctly, wasn't there in the "draft version" the suggestion that this could be allowed and then it was removed....
     
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  13. Murdoch
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    Murdoch Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Woking
    Which is what most people do but I recommend that its fixed to the wall (if feasible) and then the cables and plugs are less likely to get damaged.
     
  14. Pete999
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    Pete999 Trusted Advisor

    Top Poster Of Month

    Location:
    Northampton
    W
    hat's a Ring Main?
     
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  15. Alex1970
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    Alex1970 EF Member

    Location:
    London
    Yep, point taken.
     
  16. HandySparks
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    HandySparks Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Hampshire
    Business Name:
    Neish Electrical Services
    I think you're right.
     
  17. HandySparks
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    HandySparks Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Hampshire
    Business Name:
    Neish Electrical Services
    Don't get picky; the OP's not an electrician.
     
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  18. andyb
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    andyb Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    West Sussex
    I say ring main, I use the language of my customers. Ring main, light bulbs whatever.
     
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  19. Pete999
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    Pete999 Trusted Advisor

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    Northampton
    Get the basics right and you can't go wrong
     
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  20. westward10
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    westward10 In echoed steps I walk across an empty dream. Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Northamptonshire
    You are barred.
     
  21. andyb
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    andyb Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    West Sussex
    I'll get my coat.
     
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  22. Midwest
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    Midwest Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    Whilst I can't criticise (perhaps not the right word), I can't whole heartily agree with everything that's been said.

    If you asked me to install a new socket without RCD protection (even though existing adjacent have none). I would decline. The RCD protection is there for good reason. Even though your trailing lead has none either, I don't understand peoples mindset, when they want to change something for 'neatness', but do not wish to consider safety.

    Another issue I wish to comment on; there will be some here, who say there is nothing wrong with a rewire-able fuse board (consumer unit) and they would be correct. But it is also an indication of the age of your electrical installation. I would recommend considering having a (free) quotation for a new consumer unit, and perhaps an inspection of the remainder of your installation.

    I see that you can afford 'computers & peripherals', but it seems you don't have money to spend on a safety upgrade to your property. A motor vehicle is required to have a annual safety check after three years of age, but a domestic electrical installation can go for decades without inspection, other than DIY alterations.

    It is easy for me, perhaps to pontificate as the cost to me as an electrician would be small, but I would follow your neighbours nontechnical, but sensible advice.

    My opinion.
     
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  23. telectrix
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    telectrix Scouser and Proud of It Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    cheshire/staffordshire
    Business Name:
    Telectrix
    socket can be fitted without RCD protection if it's labelled as dedicated use for computer equipment and there's no likelyhood of a portable appliance being plugged in. tin hat on.
     
  24. Pete999
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    Pete999 Trusted Advisor

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    Location:
    Northampton
    H
    Honest question would that also need a Risk Assessment.?
     
  25. Midwest
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    Midwest Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    Both incorrect. Believe in this instance it's a domestic property, so therefore no sockets without RCD protection and risk assessment doesn't apply or permitted.

    I believe the only exceptions, would be the use of a socket outlet for specific medical equipment or critical IT equipment. I suppose you could argue the latter, so you can access this forum for one's daily 'fix'.
     
  26. telectrix
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    telectrix Scouser and Proud of It Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    cheshire/staffordshire
    Business Name:
    Telectrix
    disagree . a socket thet's dedicated to a fridge or freezer and labelled as such is permitted in a domestic situ. also, OP can do what he wants in his own house, assuming he does a safe job.
     
  27. Midwest
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    Midwest Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    Reg. 411.3.3 has changed from 'specifically labelled' to 'for a specifically labelled'. The examples of particular equipment (domestic) given in a ECA on-line training package I did were; specific home medical or IT critical equipment. Which is why I mentioned IT equipment, as you mentioned 'computers' in you earlier post. I'm not sure if a home PC could be determined as critical IT equipment.

    I suppose a fridge freezer could fall into this definition, but the supply to the socket would have to be installed so that reg. 522.6.20 didn't apply.

    From the IET wiring matters 54, it is stressed 'Unless the electrical installation designer is convinced that the socket-outlet cannot reasonably be expected to be used for other purposes, RCD protection for that socket-outlet should not be omitted'.

    And of course the OP can do want he wants to do in his own house. But these are the regulations that apply in these circumstances, ones which I intend to comply with and advise to.
     
  28. Midwest
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    Midwest Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    Having reread my post, my opening line comes across a bit pompous, so apologies for that. Just think we should be careful what we advise DIY'ers.

    Anyhow's just come back from my expedition to the local supermarket, to secure a reduced price turkey. Its like a war zone, with hand to hand fighting. Managed to secure one, using a distraction blow on a fellow raider, she was about 85. We gonna be eating turkey for weeks. :)
     
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  29. Andy_G
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    Andy_G EF Member

    Location:
    Derby
    Business Name:
    Sparkatron
    I would take the view that a new consumer unit is needed but I would make it clear that it is not compulsory to do so. I genuinely don't think you would be providing a quality service by just installing an rcd socket that would give rcd protection to just 1 socket in the property. Give them the options in writing to be on the safe side. Replacing an old c/u that has rewritable fuses is not overkill by any stretch of the imagination, unless you have no knowledge of electrical installations
     
  30. ETO
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    ETO Active EF Member

    Location:
    UK
    Just a quick question, what work did have done in the kitchen 7-8 years ago? that would have landed under 16th edition regs and so socket rcd protection would have been required if any sockets were added then. *insert massive groan at kitchen fitters*
     
  31. LankyWill
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    LankyWill Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Northants
    Im with Pete on the ring main part but light bulbs is a tricky one. Even major retailers are against us, light bulb department and all that. Sometimes to avoid looking like an anorak i use the bulb phrase and secretly die a little inside.
     
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  32. Andy78
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    Andy78 Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Kingston upon Hull
    Needed but not compulsory ? They mean the same thing.

    Providing a quality service means providing what the customer asks for, being compliant with the regulations, and delivering a solution in line with the customer's budget as far as practicable. Not more than quadrupling the price of a job for no good reason just because it's something that's "needed, in your view"
     
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  33. Murdoch
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    Murdoch Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Woking
    If sockets were added or moved then RCD protection should have been added..... and the main earthing and bonding should have been checked too.....

    A kitchen fitter who is a competent, qualified spark is a rare beast...
     
  34. hightower
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    hightower Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Durham
    true, but it also comes down to "good practice", something that comes up a great deal. It's okay for a spark not to want to do it a certain way no matter how compliant it is if he feels it might tarnish his name
     
  35. Midwest
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    Midwest Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    I tend to agree that the customer should be advised to consider CU replacement (as I gave in #22). Whilst non RCD sockets, and fuse boards were compliant when they were installed, things have moved on in terms of safety. Much like power steering and anti-lock brakes in cars. The installation of a new CU is not expensive, considering the safety improvement. The OP could quickly establish a price guide, by searching this forum.

    It's the customers decision, but I think we should encourage the improvement of an existing installation, as long as we are honest & upfront about the alternatives.
     
  36. Andy78
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    Andy78 Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Kingston upon Hull
    If I took my car in for new tyres I wouldn't expect to have a new uprated braking system recommended.
    If I needed a dented panel sorting, I wouldn't expect to be quoted for a full respray.

    I'd suggest a board change and all the potential remedial work that comes with it if 2 or 3 circuits were to be altered and all required RCD protection, but for a single additional socket, I'd be surprised for any customer to consider more than the cheapest option.
     
  37. Midwest
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    Midwest Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    You've not watched 'Wheeler Dealers' or 'Car SoS' then, they are always up-rating the braking systems and respraying their cars. :rolleyes:
     
  38. Andy78
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    Andy78 Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Kingston upon Hull
    That analogy would be best suited to a house renovation with a view to sell and not an additional socket don't you think ? ;)
     
  39. Midwest
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    Midwest Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Oxfordshire
    I wouldn't know, I was just taking the Michael ;)
     
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  40. Danny Speddings
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    Danny Speddings Heating junction box ( Whats wrong ? }

    Location:
    Sheffield
    Business Name:
    Danny Speddings.
    Brill
     
  41. Paul.M
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    Paul.M Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Lost in Space
    Just ask your electrician to install a short bit of 20mm or 25mm galv conduit in between the two socket back boxes bedded in the wall (a coupler would be easier). This is well within the Regs and is listed in the Regs itself. The new socket plate can be an RCD or none RCD one, depends upon its use. In your case, you do not need one (but it is advisable). As already said above, a surge protection extension lead should be used if for computer equipment, common sense.


    Protection for fixed wire installations for cables less than 50mm from finished surface should be RCD protected OR adequate mechanical protection (galv conduit) OR surface mounted.

    Its only an extra socket and even in London would cost less than £150 (should be anyway???)
     
  42. westward10
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    westward10 In echoed steps I walk across an empty dream. Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Northamptonshire
    In op's situation you would be hard pushed for a reason not to provide additional rcd protection.
     
  43. Paul.M
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    Paul.M Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Lost in Space
    RCD for the 6 inch of fixed wire or the socket outlet?
     
  44. Rpa07
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    Rpa07 2000 posts - only 46379 behind Telectrix! Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Bristol
    Business Name:
    Ebenezer electrical
    @Paul.M@Paul.M where have you been - thought you may have been thrown out with the bath water !
     
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  45. westward10
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    westward10 In echoed steps I walk across an empty dream. Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Northamptonshire
    The socket.
     
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