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Are electrical Joins allowed in the roof?


Zapnologics
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Good day,
I have had some additional plugs installed at my house by a contractor.  I am mildly unimpressed with the quality of work.   Being rather handy my self i'm happy that the work however messy and rushed, shouldn't burn my house down. 

However I am not familiar with the legislation and laws around passing electrical compliance. Hence the reason for the contractor.

 

I have several concerns with their install.

1: are joins in the roof allowed? If so can you just twist them with some electrical tape? Or does one have to use a chocolate block in some sort of box or enclosure.

2: Can you run single strand cables in the roof without conduit? I think you can with twin flex.

3: Does color coding of the wires matter? They have used blue as earth on the plugs instead of green? 

 

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Edited by Zapnologics
Reduced Photos & fixed spelling
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  • Zapnologics changed the title to Are electrical Joins allowed in the roof?
28 minutes ago, Zapnologics said:

Thanks for this,  and does one need to put the wires in conduit 

No, it's not necessary to be in conduit but you need strain relief where the wires enter the junction boxes. 

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Its a common sight for me to see this type of crap wiring ... normally the response from the customer would be ... "but its worked like that for 20 years, why are you saying its illegal ?" 

Open wiring ... has a code .. .but that type of wiring would be a code violation.

Open joints taped up like that ... are code violations.

Using blue wires as a neutral or earth/CPC ... it gets interesting ... because we use the blue as a phase wire ... however in a domestic installations ... people seem to feel it is ok because the cabtyre neutral is blue ... you are allowed to wiring up your house using cabtyre ... provided you take certain regulations into consideration ... personally I would put a short piece of heat shrink on the blue wire to identify it is "black/neutral" or green/yellow for earth ... or even strip the insulation  if the blue is used as the earth wire. 

Just looking at those pictures (a bit difficult to see what is actually going on) ... I don't see a green/yellow earth.

I am assuming they didn't issue a COC ? 

A tip for anyone who calls an electrician ... every single semi skilled or skilled person in the electrical industry has some form of identification.

For example an eleconop 1 /2/3 

Electrician 

Single phase tester 

Installation electrician

Master electrician 

Each skill level has limits ... except a master electrician. 

If you call an electrical company to install a plug ... the person who installs the "isolated wiring" could be an elconop 1/2/3 for example ... however as soon as the wires are live then the minimum level would be a qualified electrician.

It is your responsibility as the owner or person renting to make sure the electrical work is reasonably safe ... so you as the owner would need to verify that the people dropped off on site are suitably qualified to carry the work they do ... as crazy as that sounds. 

My advise to you ... when people are dropped on site request the staff wear their card with their skill level ... in fact request a copy of each person skill level. 

The pictures above look like a labourer (unskilled person) did the wiring. 

Edited by isetech
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Please share the electrical contractors details ... also check if the contractor is registered with the DOL and ECB or ECA.

Each company will have a DOL registration number for example ... KZN- 1234 .. the licensed electrician will have a registration number ... for example IE 0123. 

The copy of the COC ... if you have one. 

It looks like a builders "electrician" did the wiring. 

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4 hours ago, isetech said:

Its a common sight for me to see this type of crap wiring ... normally the response from the customer would be ... "but its worked like that for 20 years, why are you saying its illegal ?" 

Open wiring ... has a code .. .but that type of wiring would be a code violation.

Open joints taped up like ... are code violations.

Using blue wires as a neutral ... it gets interesting ... because we use the blue as a phase wire ... however on a domestic installations ... people seem to feel it is ok because the cabtrye neutral is blue ... you are allowed to wiring up your house using cabtyre ... provided you take certain regulations into consideration ... personally I would put a short piece of balk heat shrink on the blue wire to identify it is "black/neutral".

Just looking at those pictures (a bit difficult to see what is actually going on) ... I dont see a green/yellow earth ... it looks like they have connected the blue and black together.

I am assuming they didnt issue a COC ? 

A tip for anyone who calls an electrician ... every single semi skilled or skilled person in the electrical industry has some form of identification.

For example an eleconop 1 /2/3 

Electrician 

Single phase tester 

Installation electrician

Master electrician 

Each skill level has limits ... except a master electrician. 

If you call an electrical company to install a plug ... the person who install the "isolated wiring" could be an elconop 1/2/3 for example ... however as soon as the wires are live then the minimum level would be a qualified electrician.

It is your responsibility as the owner or person renting to make sure the electrical work is reasonably safe ... so you as the owner would need to verify that the people dropped off on site are suitably qualified to carry the work they do ... as crazy as that sounds. 

My advise to you ... when people are dropped on site request the staff wear their card with their skill level ... in fact request a copy of each person skill level. 

The pictures above look like a labourer (unskilled person) did the wiring. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you @isotech,

This is actually extremely useful information and certainly not well enough known in the public sector.

It seems that I am partially at fault here assuming that when you call on an  "electrician" I assumed that they at least are some form of an electrician.  Yes maybes he's not a master electrician but normally they send in the skivvy to do the job and the big boss signs off.   

Based on the information which you have told me, I am almost 90% sure I am going to get some sort of story when requesting the COC.  I just popped some pics of their work last night.
 

What is the recommended path forward from here?  Do I simply get them to label the earth plugs with green heat shrink, and put proper junction boxes with glands  on the ceiling joins?   Or does this call for throwing toys out the cot and requesting my money back?

What does sans say about the joins inside the junction box? can they be twisted with tape, or is there a special method of connecitivity?

I have checked and they have used 2.5mm cable with a 20A breaker, which all seems to be connected correctly. 

 

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Once you have the COC ... I would suggest you send these pics to your local AIA (authorised inspection authority) ... or if the company is a member of the ECB or ECA and let us know their response. 

Did you send the pics to the person who will be issuing the COC ? 

Just a note ... without a site visit and a full understanding of what was requested and where these cables are installed  ... a person can only assume certain things. 

Something seems strange about this installation ... why they didnt they use 2.5 mm  Twin+E ? 

Why did they use red/black and blue ?  ... are there ferrules under the tape or is the wire just twisted together ? 

Was this done in South Africa ? 

Edited by isetech
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It's really quite shocking that an electrician at any level would actually let this shody work pass. The ceiling also gets quite hot and chances of insulation tape pealing off, over time is high and you would never know it until you have a fire. Good thing you took photos. I would even go as far as saying, NEVER use this electrician again to be honest, the risk element is just too great of losing your whole house. Please as soon as possible get this redone.

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Public awareness ... trying to keep it as simple as possible. 

Lets say I want to install  a socket outlet at my house ... so a simple domestic installation connected to single phase power. 

I would contact an electrical contractor.

What would I check.

The contractor is registered with the DOL ... for an electrical contractor to register with the DOL ... there is a list of requirements which include the registered persons details and qualifications.

Do they have to be registered with the ECB or ECA ... the simple answer ... no.

The contractor is covered by public liability insurance and a few other things but we wont go into so much detail today. 

What would be the  "minimum" requirement of the person who would sign the COC ... a single phase tester ... can an installation electrician or master electrician sign the COC ... yes ... but it would be like getting a specialist to do the job of a GP.

Once the contractor arrives on site ... each team member has a level of competence ... which should be displayed on their identity card.

For example

The labourer would carry the equipment ...

The elconop can install the wiring to a point ...

The electrician would isolate the power and fit the lockouts with the labels indicating his contact details if the plug is connected to an existing circuit. 

Once the socket and wiring is installed ... the wires will be connected by the competent person ... once the installation is complete and connected  ... if the electrician on site is a qualified single phase tester they could carry out the insulation resistance tests on the wiring before connecting  ... then they will carry out the rest of the tests ... complete the "supplementary" COC and hand the original document (not a copy) to the person responsible for the electrical installation on that property .. which must be attached to the "initial" COC.

If you dont have an "initial" COC ... then it gets complicated ... so lets leave that for today. 

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Cheap is expensive, especially when disaster strikes or checks are done to establish code compliance. Seldom are checks done by relevant bodies but at the minimum we need to, as best as possible get things done to code or to a level where, even optically things look good. The example in this thread is atrocious. Conversely, the attendant costs of getting qualified people to do the work is not cheap. It becomes and egg and a chicken issue, what to do? (Rhetorical). With regards to a socket, I can confirm I have replaced some domestic sockets myself and am not a qualified electrician, but I have looked at the previous standard that was there and have sought to adhere to it, now imagine coming into sight of such and when maybe trying to fix a burnt wire, I would be clueless of how to fix it, without resorting to the same errors and hazards.

This post has been a great eye-opener and conversation for us to all throw in our 2-cents and see how best we manage, compliance vs cost of engaging qualified contractors at various levels, for minor work as well as major work. I would hazard to even suggest that for example when getting a major job done, on a separate job, that same person (qualified electrician) can even be kindly asked to look at our "other" works elsewhere to ensure code was complied with, thereby saving costs and creating goodwill between him/her and ourselves for future work knowing they'll always throw in a "freebie" in other areas and in turn, we don't always gripe too much on their bills. A give and take relationship is therefore cultivated. 

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I dont believe cheap is always expensive ... sometimes expensive is even more expensive ... I had a callout to attend to one plug not working ... the job was done by an electrical contractor with all the relevant registrations and qualifications  ... however like most sites ... a team was dropped off and the competent person leaves the site to "go collect material" ... the competent person arrives back at 4.30 pm to collect the team ... at which time it seems he didnt take the time to test the completed work.

In this case the team had to replace "all" the old metal socket outlets with new plastic double sockets ... it turns out that the old steel piping was used to provide earth continuity (no earth wires) ... the 4x4 plastic extension boxes were fitted with new plastic socket outlets.

I can only assume the unskilled team left to replace the sockets didnt understand why there were only a red and black wires and no earth wires ... so they just connected the red black as we normally do. 

When I contacted the electrical contractor ... I was spoken to in a manner like I was some idiot who didnt know what I was talking about ... I put down the phone ... created a fault list and report sent the bill for the callout and advised the customer to contact the AIA and report them ...  Once the contractor realised the implication of his teams actions ... they went back and sorted out the problem ... hopefully they learnt a lesson form that experience. 

What do we learn from this -

It doesnt matter if the electrical contractor is the most expensive master electrician registered with the DOL and associations ... has all the correct qualifications and liability insurances ... if the  job is not done under the supervision of a competent person and required tests not carried out on completion ... you are pretty screwed.

The next time a team is dropped off on site ... best you verify the qualification of all the skilled people left on site and request all the test results done on completion.

 

Edited by isetech
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13 hours ago, Gnome said:

Pretty sure only twin and earth and Surfix are allowed to be installed without a conduit.  Since this is general purpose house wire, I don't think it complies.

and cabtyre ... training cable ... armoured cable etc ... it gets complicated ... especially when you start installing wiring/cabling in roof spaces ... some people feel that if the roof space is closed ... there is no need to install conduits ... lets wait and see if there is a note attached to the COC " closed roof space" ... if that is the case ... the entire roof space would be deemed an enclosure ... just like a control panel or junction box ... which is a topic on its own. 

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Take note of this thread .. .this is a discussion about a few silly plug sockets ... add a string of panels ... an inverter and a couple kwh of batteries ... suddenly the risk becomes a reality.

I deal with insurance assessors on occasion ... for small ... medium and large claims for electrical damage due to surges ... lightning and fires ... you want to make sure you have all your ducks in a row. 

 

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4 hours ago, isetech said:

and cabtyre ... training cable ... armoured cable etc ... it gets complicated ... especially when you start installing wiring/cabling in roof spaces ... some people feel that if the roof space is closed ... there is no need to install conduits ... lets wait and see if there is a note attached to the COC " closed roof space" ... if that is the case ... the entire roof space would be deemed an enclosure ... just like a control panel or junction box ... which is a topic on its own. 

The fact that a electrician can sign off a roof space as "enclosed" is crazy.  It is already risky working in roof spaces.  Making it more risky with wires running like that should not be legal.  When I was younger I'd been in a number of roof spaces with wires running everywhere (alarm mind you).  And I had to do gymnastics to avoid the wires and probably damaged some stepping on them.  Doing the same for actual electrical wire, yeah no thanks.  (especially IMO a young man's game, I'm not that skinny and flexible anymore)

Edited by Gnome
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When I bought my house, I had to replace part of the roof. When the ceiling came out, it was a rat's nest of twisted cables and exposed cable joints. And that was after I got a CoC for the house. The electrician, from Electrosurgeon, didn't do much testing for the CoC, because the house had renters in that didn't want him there, as they were sour because they were being kicked out because the owner sold the house.

 

So I don't think a CoC means much in terms of actual safety.

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1 hour ago, Gnome said:

The fact that a electrician can sign off a roof space as "enclosed" is crazy.  It is already risky working in roof spaces.  Making it more risky with wires running like that should not be legal.  When I was younger I'd been in a number of roof spaces with wires running everywhere (alarm mind you).  And I had to do gymnastics to avoid the wires and probably damaged some stepping on them.  Doing the same for actual electrical wire, yeah no thanks.  (especially IMO a young man's game, I'm not that skinny and flexible anymore)

He is wrong. Single core GP wire like that can only be used within a wire way.  That means conduit or truncking or racking.  An open space in a ceiling is NOT a wireway.

 

 

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Does seem like neutral must always be black, at the very least.  So blue wire neutral is a no-no.  I'm also surprised that Cabtyre is allowed for home wiring.  My impression was it is not.

Since my GF works in the engineering industry I have all the latest regs (full SANS library access), but I'm not going to bother reading them again (the latest revision is from 2020), so I'll just take people's word for it.

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