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Thread: CoC Nightmare

  1. #1
    Gold Member daveob's Avatar
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    CoC Nightmare

    Please guys - all this discussion about CoC's and the level of 'operator' issuing these things is, quite frankly, starting to scare me sh!tless.

    We bought our house a little under 2 years ago. The house is about 30 years old and a CoC (I think ?) was issued by the sellers electrician as part of the requirements of the transfer process. Yes, Yes, I hear you saying, and with 20/20 hindsight, I agree that I should have appointed the electrician to issue the CoC. But, being a first time recent buyer of a house (last time was 20 years ago) I didn't know any better. The estate agent didn't tell me any different - he was the seller.

    Then after we moved in, the next round started. We had wiring for outside lights re-routed to an indoor switch, plug points moved, dimmer switches fitted, geyser replaced, all by a number of contractors. In addition to this, one even convinced me to have the switches on the DB replaced as they were old, printing illegible, etc, etc.

    So I assume that my CoC ( if that was what was issued for the transfer ) is no longer valid ?

    On top of this, the neighbour 2 doors away had their 3 storey house, fitted with railway sleeper stairs, doors, paneling, etc, completely gutted apparently as a result of a domestic worker forcing the tripped switch up with the broom so she could get the ironing finished. Something in the home entertainment area blew and the result was not a pretty sight.

    So now I start to question the safety of my own house. Are the new 20A switches on the DB over / under rated for the old wiring in the ceiling ( assuming their job is to protect this wiring from overheating and burning ? ). Do I need to get a complete CoC re-issued for the property ? Who do I turn to for this ? How long should a typical inspection take ( 3 bedroom, office, flat, pool ) and what should I be paying ?

    Also, considering the age of the building, would you recommend that it be completely re-wired from top to bottom ? We are planning to live here for the rest of our time, so it's not a case of wanting to save cash before re-sale -- I want it safe for my family and my kids.

    Any pointers would be greatly appreciated.
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    Gold Member Sparks's Avatar
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    At least you are at the right place now. You can start feeling better. For starters you can forget about everything for the moment. Have the installation inspected first. The work done might just be up to spec. As for the "old" wires, age does not count. An insulation resistance test will determine if you need a rewire. In my experience, the older the less chance. Previously 4mm vulcanised rubber insulated cables were used for plug circuits, today we are saddled with an inferior insulated 2.5mm cable culture. If you have Pyro cables and there is a section that does not meet the insulation standard, you only need to rewire that section. I have been requested to quote for a rewire many times on old houses and after doing my tests refused to quote a rewire because the insulation readings were better than a brand new roll of wire. Shop around for a reputable contractor to do an inspection, bigger does not mean more reputable. As for the price I cannot comment as I am in Port Elizabeth and the tarrifs differ from there by you.

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daveob View Post
    Then after we moved in, the next round started. We had wiring for outside lights re-routed to an indoor switch, plug points moved, dimmer switches fitted, geyser replaced, all by a number of contractors. In addition to this, one even convinced me to have the switches on the DB replaced as they were old, printing illegible, etc, etc.
    Each of these jobs should have had a certificate issued by the electrician who did them.

    Quote Originally Posted by daveob View Post
    So I assume that my CoC ( if that was what was issued for the transfer ) is no longer valid ?
    You would probably be wise to have the premises tested as a whole at this stage in the game.
    Quote Originally Posted by daveob View Post
    On top of this, the neighbour 2 doors away had their 3 storey house, fitted with railway sleeper stairs, doors, paneling, etc, completely gutted apparently as a result of a domestic worker forcing the tripped switch up with the broom so she could get the ironing finished. Something in the home entertainment area blew and the result was not a pretty sight.
    Sounds suspect, a circuit breaker will still isolate the circuit if a fault condition occurs even if the lever is wedged up with a broom.
    Quote Originally Posted by daveob View Post
    So now I start to question the safety of my own house. Are the new 20A switches on the DB over / under rated for the old wiring in the ceiling ( assuming their job is to protect this wiring from overheating and burning ? ).
    All the breakers with the exception of the earth-leakage are there to protect the infrastructure (cabling) from overload damage or a fire resulting from overload. Assuming they replaced like with like, the breakers should be correctly rated...as long as it's less than 80°C in your ceiling space......ONLY JOKING. If they're not this should be picked up by the contractor performing a new COC.
    Quote Originally Posted by daveob View Post
    Do I need to get a complete CoC re-issued for the property ? Who do I turn to for this ? How long should a typical inspection take ( 3 bedroom, office, flat, pool ) and what should I be paying ?
    If you've had extensive work done without certificates being given and obviously it's your house then a full and no bulls**t COC would be in your best interest.
    Quote Originally Posted by daveob View Post
    Also, considering the age of the building, would you recommend that it be completely re-wired from top to bottom ? We are planning to live here for the rest of our time, so it's not a case of wanting to save cash before re-sale -- I want it safe for my family and my kids.
    This would be a decision you would want to make once the inside of the DB, sockets and switches have been exposed during the test procedure. If there's cabling and wiring that needs replacing from a deterioration or safety point of view then it should appear on the list or remedial work required for issuing a COC. If you want to replace cabling as a part of future proofing your property then discuss the financial and technical implications of this with the IE you settle upon.
    Who do I turn to for this ?
    If you really don't know a decent electrical contractor then maybe go to a local large electrical wholesalers and speak to the manager or owner for advice on a contractor or two that might be suitable.
    Last edited by AndyD; 11-Aug-10 at 12:22 AM.
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