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Posted By Topic: House owner's work

Feb 22 2018 21:31

The house owner had rewired the house ten years ago. He passed away recently. His daughter is asking me to issue a COC for the house to prove it is electrical safe.

He had upgraded the old fuse board (a distribution board) to the modern MCBs protected by RCDs (1 RCD to 3 CBs). The organisation of the cable and the connections were done quite professionally (Perhaps he did a better job than some sparkys). Nothing was wrong about what he had done.

The MSB consists of an isolation switch, fuse for the hot water cylinder and MEN connection in the meter box. It looked like very old and there is a Vector inspection label dated 2010. Tool is required to open the panel to check the wirings and connection in the meter box.

All the GPOs passed the volt drop test according to the circuit breaker rating.

I was wondering that I need to get an inspector to sign off the COC.

Feb 22 2018 22:38

You need an inspector for any high risk PEW you do on it, but if you're just certifying that it's safe (rather than doing remedial work) you shouldn't be doing any high risk PEW. If the homeowner did work that needed an inspector (and it sounds like he did), the absence of proof that he got one doesn't make a difference as to whether you need one.

Feb 23 2018 10:51

Need to be very careful; what you are being asked to provide, and what you agree to provide may be different.

Firstly a CoC for work by others.
There is nothing wrong with issu9ing a CoC for work done by another electrical worker.. ESRs require that the work be certified, but do NOT specify "by whoever did it".

But issuing a CoC for work by an unlicenced person would be illegal 9reagrdless of how well the work itself was done). That's because the mandatory declaration on a CoC certified that the work was done "lawfully & safely" [ESR 66(1)(a)(i)] followed immediately by 666(1)(a)(ii) that the information in the CoC is correct. These are legal declarations.

However you might well decide that you can issue a different sort of certificate; along the lines of what's required for installations that have been disconnected / isolated for 6 months under ESR 73A.

Replacement of a switchboard is low risk PEW when done by a licenced person (though adding extra mcbs or RCDs is 'general" PEW )so RESC covering the lot and CoC for the newly-installed parts. However none of this work is within the limits of work allowed for homeowners.

Ten years ago, the certification requirements were a bit different (1997 Regs) and included a time limit for certification. But homeowners couldn't do this work then either.

So certifying it as "lawful & safe" while knowing it wasn't done lawfully is not far short of perjury; and certainly amounts to committing an offence. Probably something like "issuing a false or misleading return in breach of Section xyz of the Electricity Act". ESR 69 specifies a level 2 penalty for incorrect Coc, so potentially you could be up for a $10k fine.

One point on the configuration. If the meterbox is secured closed, then the isolation switch inside is not the main switch. Or in this case, the presence of a final subcircuit protective device plus the MEN mean that this should be the main switchboard, and must have a "main switch", and that main switch has to be "readily accessible"... NOT secured behind a screw-shut lid.

The Vector label probably relates not to inspection but to certification of metering, under a completely different set of rules.