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Posted By Topic: Uncertified and unlicensed, what next?

Feb 10 2019 21:36

I was asked to consider installing a meter board today by a new customer. Appears to be an old house, moved onto site then renovated. Supply to the property is a builder's temp which is where they want to install a meterboard and thus liven the installation.

Naturally, I asked who had wired the house and whether certificates had been issued. Turns out it was done by a retired sparky who may not have held a practising licence.

It's all heresay at the moment - I sincerely hope she's wrong and the spark was in fact licensed.

But, what if he wasn't licenced? Short of tearing the place apart to visually inspect all fittings, are there any other remedies available to this homeowner? Even if I turn down the work I'd like to be able to offer her some useful advice.

Feb 11 2019 11:53

get their contact details and have a chat.

Feb 11 2019 14:43

Yup, I intend to do that.

Question remains, what if he wasn't licensed?

Feb 11 2019 17:44

in reality there's nout illegal about throwing wires around as they're just wires until they're connected..., it's a bit like having an ornamental 'P' pipe, just ornatmental till used. there are occasions where i will suss out what a customer has done and either tell them to get an inspector to sign it off or maybe take it as my own work, depends on their workmanship of course. it's the same as a copper letting you off with a warning or giving you a ticket, thing if you google it it's called discretion.


Feb 11 2019 20:25

Rarrar I understand what you're saying about discretion. But I disagree on the legality of an unlicensed person doing PEW on a house they don't own. Even if an inspector was to sign it off.

The person signing the ESC is responsible for the electrical safety of the installation being connected. We're allowed to rely on certificates issued. If there are no certificates then we must decide for ourselves whether the with is safe and compliant.

Feb 11 2019 21:28

yip, you've been on here long enough to know what the answer is, just depends on how you want to play this one out, or are you like me post questions on here that i know the answers to but so the customer can see what the go it themselves, if that's the case i've probably already ruined it for you

Feb 12 2019 08:14

actually there is something illegal about installing wring; even before it's connected. If you look at the definition of PEW - things we are prohibited (by Electricity Act)from doing unless authorised - the very first thing listed is "installing ... conductors used in installations".
So OK to string up some cable for use as a clothesline; but not OK to do anything with it if intent is that it become part of an installation.
For Mowgli's hypothetical question; what has happened before we get to a site generally isn't our problem. We can't be held responsible for actions / omissions of others that came before; and we're certainly not required to ensure that it was all legit.
If we are asked to connect something we haven't done ourselves, we are entitled to rely on a CoC (assuming there is one). If no CoC, our choice whether to connect - which means accepting responsibility - or not.
The only other responsibility we have legally is to report immediate dangers if we find them while doing PEW.
Advising someone what to do if we suspect something about their installation isn't kosher needs to be done with care. probably best not to emphasise the angle that they could be prosecuted for having an unlicenced person do PEW; especially if you have no direct evidence of it. I'd just concentrate on any non-compliance of the work done; rather than worry about who did it. And of course ask for CoC for anything I was asked to connect.

Feb 12 2019 09:11

Thanks AlecK.

My concern is that ESR73A doesn't make a clear distinction between PEW completed by the person doing the connection, and PEW completed prior to connection. It would be very hard to prove compliance with ESR73A in the absence of certificates without doing some serious investigations. All good though, until something goes wrong.

The job is to remove builder's temp and install a meterboard in preparation for connection to the grid. I won't actually be doing the connection. The ESR would be signed by the inspector (local setup) who does the high risk inspection (main earth, mains alteration), hangs the meter and installs the service fuse.

So, I could do my bit then issue a very precise COC identifying the limits of the work undertaken by me. Then it would be up to someone else to accept/reject the quality of the work and verification for the rest of the installation.

I'll give the inspectors a call and see what they suggest.

Feb 12 2019 11:50

Heard back from the inspectors. They will happily install the meter, however, the tail out of the meter would be made safe and the installation left disconnected.

ESR68 doesn't limit issuing a COC for work carried out by another, but, ESR66 requires that a COC certifies that the prescribed electrical work has been done lawfully. S.74 of the Act requires the person undertaking PEW is authorised, there being exceptions for the homeowner and a supervised person. Supervision is a defined term that can't apply in this case and the work wasn't completed by the homeowner. The work wasn't completed lawfully and therefore a COC can't be issued in good faith. No COC = no ESC.

The only 100% legal option would be to start again. The only alternative is to find someone who is prepared to look the other way. That's not me

Feb 12 2019 13:52

I agree with your assessment WRT "lawfully".
Risky enough to issue a CoC that covers work done by a licenced workmate.
More so for an Inspector issuing for homeowner work.
And more again where you have no idea who did what.. very risky.
I wouldn't.