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Read our new Electric Shocker column

In his first column, our Senior Technical Adviser Malcolm Duncan gives a shocking example of how electrical work carried out by an unqualified tradesperson put one householder in very real danger

The householder was concerened about the wiring

A recent call to the SELECT Technical Helpline was swiftly followed by an inspection on request from one of our technical advisers. This inspection identified a potentially dangerous electrical condition in a bathroom at a house in Ayrshire.

It became apparent after discussion between our technical adviser and the client that a plumber had recently replaced a power shower rated at 1KW, protected by a 5A circuit breaker, with an instantaneous electric shower rated at 8.5KW. The plumber had agreed to return within the week to fit a 40A circuit breaker in the existing consumer unit.

The client did not think this was correct, hence the call to our helpline and the subsequent use of our inspection service.

A detailed inspection of the shower installation subsequently revealed that the existing 1.5mm2 PVC sheathed cable used to supply the power shower was connected to a 6mm2 in the wall partition within the shower cubicle. The plumber had intended to simply replace the 5A circuit breaker with a 40A device.

Following the inspection, SELECT’s technical adviser prepared a report highlighting the need to completely rewire the circuit from the consumer unit using a suitably rated cable and control switch.

The cable would require to be protected by a suitably rated protective device (circuit breaker) and have additional 30mA RCD protection installed.

An Electrical Installation Certificate complete with a schedule of inspection and schedule of test results would also be required on completion of the work.

Without these remedial works, a potential hazard of electrical shock and fire would exist.

This is just one of many examples of poor and dangerous work that the SELECT teams sees and hears about on an all-too-regular basis.

I’m sure readers of CABLEtalk will have seen similar examples of poor work – or maybe even more dangerous ones. We’re keen to highlight these in Electric Shocker in the coming months, so please get in touch.

If you have any similar scare stories, please email the image, along with a brief description, to our website or email them to

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