So I had a chat with someone recently about coding issues on an EICR, it’s not the first time I have had the conversation and I am sure it won’t be the last. The truth is I don’t understand why we question it; why would we belittle electricians who code something based on their opinion. If someone disagreed with my interpretation and wanted me to change it to suit their budget requirements, I’d just walk away and tell them they need to specify personalities instead of competence next time. I mean I have in the past challenged this but I’ve come to realise what I state below…. we really should question the competence of someone if we’ve already employed them!!!
I know individuals who check EICRs for a living and spend more time telling electricians they’ve coded things wrong than educating and checking the actual principles of electricity. The truth is a C2 to one electrician may be a C1 to another. Its all down to interpretation and experience. One electrician might put a C1 for a hairline crack in a socket whereas the other would put a C2 (me included). However, the spark who put a C1 might have personally plugged something into a socket which once had a hairline crack and received an electric shock as it collapsed. EXPERIENCE remember. You have to respect that.
Let’s look at it another way.
Every single night before I climb into bed, I walk around my house and shut every door apart from mine and my two daughters. Why? Because in my head I think if something happens on a night that warrants me running to get them I want signs to tell me they’ve left their room and have gone into another.
To you, that might seem mad, but to me, it’s a necessity derived from worry. Above is my C1 but you might live next door to a fire station and therefore yours is a C2!! If that makes sense.
This is exactly the same with coding an installation. Yes, sometimes you can challenge it but you’re not challenging the code, you’re challenging the engineer’s judgement. You’re telling a qualified person that they’re wrong because you say they are. How sad is that?
The solution here is to classify certain things yourself and then agree to these with the team before commissioning a testing contract. I mean NAPIT have developed a fantastic Code Breakers book with a couple of hundred codes which are common to the industry. Their codes and Electrical Safety Firsts don’t necessarily mean they’re right for YOU, they’re guidance to help you along the way.
Here’s some guidance that might help you challenge a sparky when you receive an EICR from them:
General comments – does it sound like an engineer has written this or a small child?
Estimated Age – cross reference with cable types and reference/install methods
Next inspection date – if it’s just the same old same like everyone else!!! Tick.
If Domestic see where they’ve written 230V (Uo or U)
Have they written ADS or EEBADS (id probably trust EEBADS these days)
Main switch – does it exist? Have they written 60439/61439 or 60394 or some other weird combination?
Type of wiring
Size of conductors – adiabatic
Protective device and its rating against the circuit
Ring checks r1 =rn, r1 = calculated 1.67 (1.5mm) and 2.5 (1mm) for r2, (r1+r2) / 4 = R1+R2 etc etc
Zs – check assumed lengths and fault currents etc – is the cooker circuit 100 metres long and the kitchen ring 25????
RCD tripping times
Checking the above to validate competence is far more important than challenging a spark on C2 or a C3. All you do by challenging this is make the person your challenging walk away saying not so nice things about you under their breath. A poor leader and auditor challenges codes when everything else is spot on.
We need to start focusing on competence and educating people as opposed to putting them down. Be ethical in your approach to people and organisations, believe me, it’s very very important.