Need to Upgrade Your Old Fuse Board to a New Consumer Unit?
Why Should I Upgrade My Fuse Board?
Many UK homes are still equipped with old style fuse boards (like the one pictured). If your electrical installation is protected by one of these older style fuse boards we strongly recommend that you upgrade a new style consumer unit.
The newer consumer units provide better electrical safety to your home or business but more importantly, your family or tenants. A consumer unit will also ensure your home is up to the current standards of the electrical regulations.
For years now regulations have dictated that we fit RCD’s for additional protection. A Residual Current Device (RCD) is a must have safety device which switches electricity of in a fraction of a second if you get an electric shock. Old fuse boards don’t have RCDs and can take significantly longer to switch off the electricity – the difference between life and death!
In January 2015, IEE Wiring Regulations (BS7671) Amendment 3 was published. A major change in Amendment 3 concerned consumer units (the term for a modern day domestic fuse board). New regulation 401.1.201 stated that in domestic environments, consumer units and similar switchgear must be constructed from non-combustible material (metallic).
Unless you are a fully qualified and self-certified electrician, please don’t attempt to upgrade your fuse board by yourself or have a cheap trader do it for you, trust us, it’s just not worth the risk! By law, the homeowner or landlord must be able to prove that all electrical installation work meets Part P of the building regulations, or they will be committing a criminal offence.
In order to prove compliance with Part P of the building regulations, all notifiable electrical work (including fuse board upgrades) must be properly certified by a self certified electrician. Your electrician will then notify your local building control office of the works carried out and will be able to provide you with a Part P certificate, proving compliance. Without these documents you may come into some issues when selling/letting your property.
Do I Need to Upgrade My Fuse Board?
If your electrical installation is safe and meets the current regulations for an electrical installation then you won’t need to upgrade. However it’s very difficult to ascertain this information just by “looking” at your installation without testing, so the best way to check is to have an electrical installation condition report carried out on your installation.
There are however some tell-tale signs that you would benefit from upgrading your fuse board, these are:
- You have an old fuse board with a wooden back, cast iron switches, or a haphazard mixture of both – these will need replacing, for your own safety.
- You have decided to rent out your property and are aware your electrics have not been upgraded for several years;
- You don’t have any provision of residual current devices (RCDs) for wiring buried less than 50mm in the walls, sockets circuits, lighting circuits in domestic properties or circuits supplying equipment in a room containing a bath or a shower
- You are planning a building or improvement project such as a new electric shower, Solar PV, an extension or an loft conversion and additional wiring and new circuits will need to be installed.
What Are My Electrical Responsibilities as a Landlord?
Unsafe Electrics could put your tenant’s life in danger and put you at risk of a significant fine, civil damages or even imprisonment.
Don’t take the risk – get a modern Consumer Unit with RCD Protection fitted today.
Landlords must comply with statutory regulations or face significant risks
The Landlord & Tenant Act 1985, and several other statutory regulations, requires that electrical equipment is safe at the start of every tenancy and maintained in a safe condition throughout the tenancy.
Failure to comply with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 and the Consumer Protection Act 1987 is a criminal offense and may result in:
- a fine of £5,000 per item not complying
- six months imprisonment
- possible manslaughter charges in the event of deaths
- tenants may sue you for civil damages
- your property insurance could be invalidated
Electrical accidents happen more often than you think
Information from the Electrical Safety Council reveals the following frightening statistics:
- about 70 people die and 1.2 million are injured in electrical accidents in UK homes each year
- approximately 50% of fires in UK homes are caused by electrical faults (that’s about 21,000 per year)
- almost all electrocutions in the home and 20% of fires with an electrical origin could have been prevented by having RCD protection.
Why Do I Need an RCD?
Residual Current Device (RCD) is a must have safety device which switches electricity of in a fraction of a second if you get an electric shock. Old fuse boxes don’t have RCDs and can take significantly longer to switch off electricity – the difference between life and death.
Will I Need Other Work Doing Before I Have My Fuse Board Upgraded?
It’s unlikely you will need any other work doing just because your electrics are old. The most common additional work that may be required is earth bonding. It is mandatory under UK wiring rules that earth bonding is present before any electrical work can be undertaken.
What are the Benefits of a Fuse Board Upgrade?
- Upgrading to a new RCD protected fuse board will make your home safer protecting you from the risk of electric shock & electrical fire.
- An RCD is a life saving device that is designed to stop you receiving an electric shock. 50% of the homes in the UK don’t have an RCD installed putting the occupants at unnecessary risk from electrical accidents.
- A professionally installed & certified consumer unit WILL improve your electrical safety.