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Builder taking decisions without authority

Builder taking decisions without authority

Postby Horticgirl » Tue Jan 24, 2017 8:53 am

Hello

I'm hoping for some opinions please on a consumer problem.

Last November we had a (largely) new kitchen fitted in our holiday cottage. We agreed a price, not the cheapest by a long shot, and the work began. The builder said he'd forgotten to include a costing for the electrics installing a dishwasher so we agreed that we would pay an additional £75 being half of the electricians cost.

When the work was done we received an email from the builder saying all complete and functioning. I paid the original bill forgetting the additional £75.


Visited the cottage the following week and discovered that the oven was now not working, no electricity going to it at all. Not a big problem, so phoned the builder who came round in person and wired it up in 5 minutes.

This is where it starts to get tricky.

In December, by sheer chance, an electrician friend of ours stayed at the cottage. He told us that the dishwasher had been wired into the cooker socket and whilst not dangerous it wasn't really according to industry standards. He also told us about a couple of other things that we really could do with getting improved including a new consumer unit.

We spoke to the builder and told him what our electrician had said about the dishwasher wiring and he agreed to send his 'normal' electrician round to re-do it - by now a job which will involve some re tiling.

A few days later I received a further email from the builder telling me that the electrician had said that the dishwasher wasn't unsafe as it was but because he too felt further work should be done to the cottages electrics he wanted to do that first before he was prepared to do anything to rewire the dishwasher which he had then disconnected on the instructions of our builder. I told the builder he should have consulted us first but of course got excuses about no mobile signal where he was working! He is now refusing to get the dishwasher back on, despite the fact that two competent electricians have said it wasn't a problem, just not the ideal installation. At one stage he said he would get it done if I put in writing that it was on my instruction but he seems to have now gone back on that.

We have no holiday guests booked so no legal obligations there.

We feel he should put us back in the situation that we paid for i.e. a working dishwasher and give us time to get quotes for the further work. We are also suspicious now about who did the original electrical work and wonder if the builder just did it himself, but have no evidence other than the non-working oven and the builder returning in person to rectify.
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Re: Builder taking decisions without authority

Postby atticus » Tue Jan 24, 2017 9:22 am

Ascertaining the facts is always a good starting point.

I suggest you start by finding an electrician you trust to advise on the present state of the electrics, whether any remedial work is required, if so what and why, and likely cost.
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Re: Builder taking decisions without authority

Postby dls » Tue Jan 24, 2017 9:49 am

As always with such things, the costs of falling out over it can vastly exceed the amounts at stake. Take care.
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Re: Builder taking decisions without authority

Postby Horticgirl » Tue Jan 24, 2017 9:59 am

Thanks both.

Have just spoken to the builder and agreed to a temporary fix, pending further investigations into the further electrical work. This way I'm not obliged to just accept the quote from his pet electrician.
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Re: Builder taking decisions without authority

Postby Hairyloon » Tue Jan 24, 2017 11:07 am

Horticgirl wrote:Thanks both.

Have just spoken to the builder and agreed to a temporary fix, pending further investigations into the further electrical work...

If I have understood the scenario correctly then a fix should take all of about ten minutes. Whether that fix is temporary or permanent possibly depends upon whether you want to follow regulations blindly or not: consider what the regulations actually say and why they say it. Most likely there is a reason for it, but that reason may not apply here, or there may be another way of achieving the same goal.
My guess is that the regulations say that you should only have a cooker on a cooker socket, and the reason being that it is on such a big fuse that it might not trip in the event of a lesser fault. If that is the case, then an additional fuse in the spur off the cooker socket should cover it.
Bear in mind that I am not an electrician and I am only guessing.
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Re: Builder taking decisions without authority

Postby steve » Tue Jan 24, 2017 1:10 pm

My guess is that the regulations say that you should only have a cooker on a cooker socket


Cooker wiring often depends on the fuse/MCB at the consumer unit which is typically a large ampage (20-40amps).

Likely, a dishwasher will only have a 13 amp (or less) flex whereas cookers have hefty flexes. If it is "wired into" the cooker socket it sounds like there is no plug with a fuse protecting the dishwasher which is not safe.

Commonly, cooker wiring involves an accessible switch. Wiring from the switch leads to a less accessible socket behind the cooker space into which the cooker is directly wired - like this:

http://www.screwfix.com/p/mk-45a-cooker ... 0wodcyIDTQ

Sometimes, dishwashers and fridges have accessible switches. But rather than wire the device into a separate socket, the separate socket is a standard plug socket, so the device keeps its own plug.

If there are any new sockets in the kitchen they need to be passed by a qualified electrician who provides you with paperwork. This costs more than £75 in my experience.
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Re: Builder taking decisions without authority

Postby Hairyloon » Tue Jan 24, 2017 1:35 pm

steve wrote:If there are any new sockets in the kitchen they need to be passed by a qualified electrician who provides you with paperwork. This costs more than £75 in my experience.

That is not necessarily the case. You can, for example install your own sockets if you wish. I'm prepared to be corrected, but I think the regulations say "competent" rather than "qualified".
Your insurer may of course have another opinion.

I think we have been here before, and somebody on the board not only knows what the rules are, but where to find a copy to link to.
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Re: Builder taking decisions without authority

Postby steve » Tue Jan 24, 2017 1:58 pm

A "competent" person may install them.

A qualified person must sign them off.
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Re: Builder taking decisions without authority

Postby diy » Tue Jan 24, 2017 2:03 pm

1. verify how much of this was/is notifiable work.
2. Get certification for the works done and tests performed by the approved electrician.

whether something is good, bad or dangerous isn't down to opinion.

It really depends what you've got in the kitchen and the load, along with cable rating and ventilation.

Things like washing machines can easily go on a kitchen ring, induction hobs really need dedicated radials at least 5mm2

Is this england or wales? the law is different.

from a legal point of view you might have a claim for making good the damage done by the builder.
If you didn't get any paperwork for the install then find a new contractor who will appraise what should have been done and this would be the basis of your claim.

so much of electrical work is in the testing. Any idiot can wire something in and get it working.
My suggestions are not legal advice
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Re: Builder taking decisions without authority

Postby Horticgirl » Tue Jan 24, 2017 4:43 pm

This is England, and there is a new socket. One has been installed under the sink for the dishwasher to plug into. This has been taken off the cooker wiring.

Will it be building regs that are in question or something entirely separate for electrical work?.
I will google it later.
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