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  • Writer's pictureDavid Moore

Our Hall Of Shame

Updated: Oct 30, 2023

Here is some examples of dangerous electrical work we have found over the years. This is what you may end up with if you use unqualified and un Part P registered electricians.

We will carry on adding to this as and when we find suitable candidates.

This really could burn your house down!

We found this during an electrical inspection. A bathroom fitter had added a small fuse board and used the brown wire to supply it from the existing fuse board, as they didn't have a fuse, they just bypassed the fuse terminals.

This is extremely dangerous in quite a few ways however the two biggest problems are, there is no fuse in the circuit meaning if a fault or overload occurred there is a significant electric shock and fire.

A bit of a live wire

(in fact, three live wires)

We found the two black flexes and red single core cable under a floor board whilst re wiring a house. The yellow volt stick device glows red when the cable is live. This was a considerable fire risk, as you can see, these live wires were a small bit of yellow tape away from the ninety year old wood which was all around it! The worst bit is that with five minutes extra work, they could have all be completely removed at the junction box or connecter you can see in the picture. (The connector would need to be replaced as well but I'm trying to keep things brief.)

The electrician wiring this dimmer switch was certainly on the "dim" side

This is a deliberate and dangerous situation where the culprit must have known how bad it was when they did it! The black and red cable could be correct, the black should have a red or brown sleeve to show it is being used as a live wire, however the green and yellow earth wire will become live when the dimmer switch is turned off! If these are connected to the main earthing terminal of the house the fuse or circuit breaker would blow whenever the lights are off. This was not happening and after further investigation we found it was being used as a 3rd live wire allowing a second "2 way" switch to be added. This is very dangerous and could lead to a significant electric shock for anyone working on the electrics.

"Wood" you believe it?

This is something I have seen quite a bit over the years, but it is rarely this bad. I always think it looks like a wasps nest at first glance but in reality it is far more serious!

This hole is where we removed a downlight that was not sitting flat on the ceiling. The customer had just had a large kitchen extension so this work was less than 3 months old. The electrician who did it refused to come back as he claimed the builder had not payed him for the job but in my opinion nothing excuses this.

So what happened I hear you ask? This is a classic case of a failure to plan, when fitting down lights it is essential to plan where each light is going, ensuring you avoid all the structural wood work in the ceiling. in this case the electrician did not do this and when he cut the hole in the freshly plastered and painted ceiling he would have realised there is a double structural joist in the way, instead of moving the down light and repairing the hole in the plaster board he has used a large paddle drill bit to drill out all the wood in the way, he has removed approximately 50% of one joist and 25% of the other, this will have seriously reduced the strength of the brand new structural joist that is holding up the wall of the house above!

The building regulations state a gap of at least 50mm should be guaranteed between the exterior of the light and any combustible materials. This can be a very difficult thing to do if you are trying to achieve symmetry or a certain pattern, but it is imperative as the heat from a down light will dry, if not char the wood around it and eventually the wood may catch fire. This situation is even worse than that as they have compromised the strength in a crucial structural element of the house and in theory this joist could have been weakened to the point of failure in which case the wall above could end up in the kitchen!

PLEASE ensure you always use qualified and Part P registered electricians!

A Twisted Tale

This is a case of at best, simple laziness, at worst incompetence. This connection was for a flood light at a school, it was the reason all the outside lights in the "drop off and pick up" area were constantly tripping. All electrical connections should be carried out using the correct connectors and contained within a suitable box with cable restraints, in this case it would need to be a waterproof box as it is located. As you can see the yellow cable isn't actually attached to anything, this is the earth cable which is only there for safety and ensures the fuse or circuit breaker trips in the event of a fault. With this not attached the risk of serious electric shock is massively increased. Obviously the fact the cables can be pulled apart exposing live wires and the fact water can get into the wiring all mean this connection was dangerous and meant that there was no exterior lights for pupils and parents which in itself is a health and safety risk.

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1 commentaire

Colin M
Colin M
13 sept. 2023

Thanks for posting these warnings, very helpful.

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