Listed Georgian property – unwittingly damaged by electrical installation

Following a ‘first fit’ electrical installation, undertaken by an electrical contracting company, it was noted that work was incomplete and not as per the original specification. Further observations note the work has not been completed with due diligence and much of the work is not fit for purpose and amendments are required to accommodate the successful application of lime plaster.

Furthermore, the unnecessary and irreversible damage has been sustained to this Listed Georgian property, timbers have been cut unnecessarily, lath and plaster have sustained avoidable damage and masonry work has been unnecessarily chased.

This report provides the following:

  1. Observations: an evaluation of all socket and switch boxes on the ground, first and second floors. It does not thoroughly audit the lower ground floor, where works completed in 2012 are being amended.
  2. Damage: a summary of the unnecessary damage caused to the listed property’s masonry and timber.
  3. Recommendations: amendments required to complete ‘First Fit’.

 

1. Observations

a. Socket and switch boxes

A large number of the sockets are not level within tolerance, many are not fitted in line with the surface of the wall, which will prevent the boxes from being plastered at the level of the wall. Many failed a pull test to see whether they were attached to the wall. They need securing better and bringing true. Bedroom 1&2, sockets 1&2 are not centred correctly to the traditional design of the room.

 

b. Omissions

Bathroom pendant and shaver socket have not been completed. Bathroom extractor, not requested, partly rewired and left incomplete. Bathroom pendant missing. Kitchen stair wall mounted light missing. Outside light, cable installed, light not fitted. Outside socket, cable and socket have not been fitted.

 

c. Corrections

Refit all boxes true and in line with the surface. A light switch has been installed in the bathroom which was not specified and not required. This box needs to be removed and the lath and plaster repaired. In the study, sockets 6 (double) and 7 (telephone) are at a different height to everything else in the room, they have been measured from the top of the skirting board instead of from the bottom, remove and repair lath and re-fit.  Hall and stair lights should be checked for shadowing. Kitchen stair light should be returned to surface mount.

 

2. Damage

a. Floorboards

Several historic floorboards have been cut, completely contrary to instructions. High traffic areas such as the halls, stair landings and doorways are constructed with whole boards side to side, these must not be cut.

Top floor hall: Bathroom doorway, floorboard cut unnecessarily rather than removing the door. Cut discreetly along a painted line in the floor between the rooms, the integrity of the board has now been lost. This board is adjacent to another board that has also been cut but did not give access to both wiring positions.

Bedroom 2: board cut to access route to consumer unit, the adjoining board was already accessible and the newly cut board could have been removed whole.

Middle floor hall: Bedroom 3 doorway, floorboard cut unnecessarily, again cut discreetly along the line of the door between the rooms rather than lifting the whole board, the integrity of the board has now been lost.  Another board outside bedroom 3 is completely missing, evidence suggests it has been cut in 2 places, one joist centre apart, the integrity of the floorboard, as well as the board itself, has now been lost.

At the head of the first flight: a third board has been cut in a high traffic and landing area to relocate the pendant below by 45mm, this was unnecessary. The integrity of the board has been lost and the resulting deterioration of the landing will become a hazard at the head of the first flight. Furthermore, the relocation of the pendant may create unnecessary shadowing at the foot of the first flight.

First flight, half-landing: high traffic area, board cut unnecessarily when cable could have been chased into the ceiling or simply remain surface mounted below. The integrity of the board has been lost and deterioration will become a hazard to the half landing of the first flight. These floorboards are fitted whole for the purpose of integrity and safety.

Study: floorboard cut next to door pillar, adjoining boards provide sufficient access.

 

b. Lath and plaster

The bathroom light switch is outside the room, but an unnecessary second switch was fitted inside the room, damaging the lath. Top floor hall, wrong light switch box fitted, lath damaged. Middle floor light switch, lath damaged. Bedroom 3, socket 1, lath damage. Study, sockets are installed at the wrong height, lath damaged. Lounge and hall, boxes not secured behind lath, lath damaged. Ceiling pendants have been secured into lath without timber support added between joist, heavy pendants must not be used.

 

c. Masonry 

Georgian internal brick is soft fired, hygroscopically open with a soft mortar to match. The property has a long history of structural movement and mechanical breakers must not be used to chase the walls. Walls have been damaged where chased too deep to accommodate PVC conduit that is not required.

The central wall is carrying the load of the roof and the floors to the newly installed beam on the lower ground floor. Because at some point a double doorway was created between the front and back rooms, the load is now carried on the two small columns to each side. Both have been heavily and unnecessarily chased with a mechanical breaker. Symptoms of structural settlement are expected to manifest.

 

3. Recommendations

a. Floorboards

The timber floorboards need to be repaired or replaced, appropriate mountings need to be secured, shoulders added to joists and fixed down using brass screw lubricated with beeswax.

The damage to boards to the stair landings and half landings will require the attention of a skilled joiner or cabinet maker to ensure they are repaired fit for purpose and do not deteriorate or create a hazard.

b. Lath and plaster

The PVC boxes that have been put into lath and plaster should be removed, chased in properly, and then replaced and adequately secured with proper structural integrity, behind the lath. Where the lath has been damaged, it should be replaced as per original.

c. Masonry

All chasing and holes must not be undertaken using a mechanical breaker. The central wall of the property has particular structural concerns but all walls should be approached with care. Further chasing should be undertaken by a skilled contractor and by hand to prevent further damage.

Where the chasing is not deep enough to accommodate capping, the capping should be removed and cable should be plastered into the wall, this is accepted practice especially in an old listed property.

d. Plastering

All of the sockets need to be refitted flush with the surface appropriate for plastering and secured appropriately.  All incorrectly positioned sockets need to be moved.

Excess metal in the walls will interfere with the lime plaster. In places, the capping has been secured by drilling and fixing with screws and washers. Unnecessary metal should be removed if required cables can be tacked using a foam applicator gun ready for plastering.

e. Decorating

Lime plaster should be covered with lining paper and painted with clay paint. The patching in around sockets, switches and pendants should also be papered to prevent paint coming into contact with the plaster. When rooms are later decorated this paper can be removed and replaced as a whole, with the lime plaster finish intact.

f. Services

Historic redundant services, both plumbing and electrical, should be removed where possible and accessible.

 


Appendix 1.

Box locations are numbered clockwise starting at the door.

Top floor: Bedroom 1

Socket 1 Double, metal 35mm for USB charger.

Horizontal 2.1º Fail

Vertical 2.5º Fail

Depth 7 – 14mm Fail

Screws RH Fail

Pull Pass

Comment Masonry chased unnecessarily deep for conduit.

Recommend Socket 1&2 not centred to original building line, bed located on the centre line of the window.

Socket 2 Double, metal 35mm for USB charger.

Horizontal 0.4º Pass

Vertical 12.0º Fail

Depth+2 – 18mmFail

Screws LH Fail

Pull Pass

CommentMasonry chased unnecessarily deep for conduit.

Recommend Socket 1&2 not centred to original building line, bed located on the centre line of the window.

Socket 3 Double, metal 25mm.

Horizontal 0.4º Pass

Vertical 4.5º Fail

Depth 5 – 10mm Fail

Screws Pass

Pull Pass

Comment NA

Recommend Re-fit

Socket 4 Double, metal 25mm.

Horizontal 0.5º Pass

Vertical 4.1º Fail

Depth8 -13mmFail

Screws Pass

Pull Pass

Comment Reused box, with one previously used hole.

Masonry chased unnecessarily deep for conduit.

Recommend Re-fit. Hole require filling before plastering.

Switch 1 Single metal 25mm.

Horizontal 0.1º Pass

Vertical 3.8º Fail

Depth+2 -8mmFail

Screws Pass

Pull NA

Comment Chasing has caused damage to masonry and joinery. Plaster has fallen away on the other side.

Recommend Remove screws that secure conduit, unnecessary drilling and problematic with lime plaster.

If necessary tack using expanding foam applicator gun.

Pendant Replaced not relocated.

Screws LH Fail

Pull Not tested for load.

Comment Located as per previous.

Recommend Timber secured between rafters.

Locate to original building lines, centred to window and fireplace to prevent excessive shadowing.

General Recommend 5a socket on two way with pull cord.

Top floor: Bathroom

Shaver Socket Omitted.

Comment. The proposed location, where wall switch was installed wrongly, has been rejected by the client.

Recommend Surface mount inside proposed cupboard.

Extractor Omitted.

Comment Not requested, not completed, unclear what outcome was intended – pull cord behind the door.

Recommend Pull cord operated, behind the door to connect door closing with showering and operating.

Extractor vent pipe not connected to the roof vent.

Pendant Omitted – removed not replaced.

Screw NA

Pull NA

Comment Removed but not replaced.

Recommend Centre line with window and basin (TBC)

Top floor: Hall

Socket 1 Double, metal 25mm.

Horizontal 1.3º Pass

Vertical 2.3º Pass

Depth 9mm Fail

ScrewsLH Fail (1 of 3)Pass

Pull Pass

Comment Reused box, with two previously used holes, require filling before plastering.

Chase depth too shallow for conduit, not enough depth to plaster.

Recommend. Re-fit. Remove unnecessary conduit. Fill holes in the box before plastering.

Socket 2 Double, metal 25mm.

Horizontal NA

Vertical NA

Depth NA

Screws NA

Pull Fail

Comment Failed pull test. Masonry chased unnecessarily deep for conduit.

Recommend NA

Socket 3 Single, 25mm for data.

Horizontal 1.2ºPass

Vertical 0.7ºPass

Depth 3 – 8mm Fail

Screws LH Fail (1 of 3) Pass

Pull NA

Comment Chase depth too shallow for conduit, not enough depth to plaster.

Recommend Remove conduit.

Switch 1 Single, PVC 35mm.

Horizontal NA

Vertical NA

Depth NA

Screws LH Fail

Pull NA

Comment Not secured, lath damaged while cutting.

Wrong box, double 4 gang specified, single 2 gang fitted.

Recommend Replace propose 2@ single 2 gang, bathroom hallway.

Pendant Replaced and relocated.

Screws Pass

Pull Not tested for load.

Comment Not centred to original which may cause unnecessary shadowing on stairs.

Recommend Timber secured between rafters.

Middle floor: Bedroom 2

Socket 1 Double, metal 25mm.

Horizontal NAFail

Vertical NA Fail

Depth NA Fail

Screws LH Fail

Pull Fail

Comment NA

Recommend Re-fit. Socket 1&2 not centred to original building line, bed located on the centre line of the window.

Socket 2 Double, metal 25mm.

Horizontal NA Fail

Vertical 9º Fail

Depth 0 – 12mm Fail

Screws LH Fail

Pull Fail

Comment Not secure, pulled out.

Recommend Re-fit. Socket 1&2 not centred to original building line, bed located on the centre line of the window.

Socket 3 Double, metal 25mm.

Horizontal 0.4 Pass

Vertical 6.8º Fail

Depth 5 – 20mm Fail

Screws Pass

Pull Pass

Comment NA

Recommend Re-fit.

Socket 4 – Double, metal 25mm.

Horizontal 0.1º Pass

Vertical 1.0º Fail

Depth 3 – 10mm Fail

Screws RH Fail

Pull Fail

Comment Masonry chased unnecessarily deep for conduit.

Recommend Re-fit. Pack and re-secure in line.

Switch 1 Single metal 25mm.

Horizontal 0.0º Pass

Vertical 1.4º Pass

Depth6 – 9mmFail

Screws Pass

PullNA

Comment Masonry chased unnecessarily deep for conduit.

Recommend Remove screws that secure conduit, unnecessary drilling and problematic with lime plaster.

If necessary tack using expanding foam applicator gun.

Pendant Replaced not relocated.

Screws Pass

Pull Not tested for load.

Comment Located as per previous.

Recommend Timber secured between rafters.

Locate to original building lines, centred to window and fireplace to prevent excessive shadowing.

General Recommend 5a socket on two way with pull cord.

Middle floor: Bedroom 3

Socket 1 Double, metal 25mm.

Horizontal 0.4º Pass

Vertical 1.8º Pass

Depth 3 – 8mm Fail

Screws LH missing Fail

Pull Fail

Comment Inappropriate installation to lath and plaster wall, secured to timber stud on RH side, nothing to left.

Recommend Re-fit. PVC box attached behind lath and if possible also centred on the stud.

Socket 2 Double, metal 25mm.

Horizontal 0.6º Pass

Vertical 6.5º Fail

Depth 0 – 10mm Fail

Screws Pass

Pull Pass

Comment NA

Recommend Re-fit. Pack to correct depth and vertical alignment.

Socket 3 Double, metal 25mm.

Horizontal 1.0º Pass

Vertical 13.8º Fail

Depth 0 – 25mm Fail

Screws LH RH Fail

Pull Fail

Comment Masonry chased unnecessarily deep for conduit. Why old flat head screw in lower LH corner, no head on RH screw.

Recommend Re-fit. Pack to correct depth and vertical alignment.

Switch 1 Single, metal 25mm.

Horizontal 1.0º Pass

Vertical 0.4º Pass

Depth0 – 3mmPass

Screws Pass

PullPass

Comment Inappropriate installation to lath and plaster wall, secured to timber stud on LH side, nothing to left.

Recommend Re-fit. PVC box attached behind lath.

Pendant Replaced not relocated.

Screws LH RH Fail

Pull Not tested for load.

Comment Located as per previous.

Recommend Timber secured between rafters.

Middle floor: Hall

Socket 1 Double, metal 25mm.

Horizontal NA Fail

Vertical NA Fail

Depth NA Fail

Screws NA Fail

Pull Fail

Comment Failed pull test before the full audit. Skirting board also no longer attached.

Recommend Re-fit.

Switch 1 Single, metal 25mm.

Horizontal 0.0º Pass

Vertical 0.0º Pass

Depth0 – 0mmPass

Screws Pass

PullPass

Comment. Inappropriate installation to lath and plaster, secured to timber stud on RH side, LH side to installed batons.

Recommend Re-fit. PVC box attached behind lath.

Pendant Replaced and relocated.

Screws Pass

Pull Not tested for load.

Comment Not centred to original which may cause unnecessary shadowing on stairs.

Recommend Timber secured between rafters.Ground floor: Study

Sockets 1-6 Refitted by Lime Masons as per original height, 300mm from the floor.

Socket 7 Single, metal 25mm for a telephone socket.

Horizontal 0.0º Pass

Vertical 1.2º Pass

Depth 2 – 5mm Pass

Screws Pass

Pull Pass

Comment Inappropriate installation to lath and plaster wall. Plaster chased not required.

Height 400, is 300mm from top of skirting board.

Recommend Re-fit 300mm from the base of skirting board in line with other sockets in the room. PVC box attached behind lath.

Socket 8 Single, metal 25mm.

Horizontal 0.6º Pass

Vertical 3.2º Pass

Depth 0 – 10mm Fail

Screws Pass

Pull Pass

Comment Inappropriate installation to lath and plaster wall.

Height 400, is 300mm from top of skirting board.

Recommend Re-fit 300mm from the base of skirting board in line with other sockets in the room. PVC box attached behind lath.

Switch 1 Single, PVC 35mm.

Horizontal NA Pass

Vertical NA Pass

Depth NA Pass

Screws Fail

PullFail

Comment Not fitted behind lath.

Recommend Re-fit. PVC box attached behind lath.

Pendant Replaced not relocated.

Screws Pass

Pull Not tested for load.

Comment NA

Recommend Timber secured between rafters.

Ground floor: Lounge

Socket 1 Double. PVC 35mm Fail. Pulled out.

Horizontal NA Pass

Vertical NAº Pass

Depth0 – 0mmPass

Screws Fail

PullFail

Comment Inappropriate installation to lath and plaster. Pulled out, not attached behind lath. Also twisted out of shape.

Recommend Re-fit. PVC box attached behind lath.

Socket 2 Double, metal 25mm.

Horizontal 0.4º Pass

Vertical 3.1º Pass

Depth3 – 9mmFail

Screws LH missing Fail

PullFail

Comment Inappropriate installation to lath and plaster. Moves on LH side, not attached behind lath.

Recommend Re-fit. PVC box attached behind lath, repair lath.

Socket 3 Single, PVC 35mm. 5-amp.

Horizontal NAº Pass

Vertical NAº Pass

Depth0 – 0mmPass

Screws NA

PullFail

Comment Inappropriate installation to lath and plaster. Pulled out, not attached behind lath.

Recommend Re-fit. PVC box attached behind lath.

Socket 4 – 6 Refitted by Lime Masons as per original height, 300mm from the floor, (No.6 communications, 1150mm)

Socket 7 Double, metal 25mm.

Horizontal 0.8º Pass

Vertical 3.4º Fail

Depth 0 – 6mm Fail

Screws Pass

PullPass

Comment Masonry chased unnecessarily deep for conduit, major structural point weakened.

Recommend Re-fit. Pack level.

Switch 1 Single, PVC 35mm.

Horizontal NA Pass

Vertical NA Pass

Depth NA Pass

Screws RH Fail

Pull Pass

Comment Moves on RH side, not attached behind lath.

Recommend Re-fit. Repair lath.

Pendant Replaced not relocated.

Screws Pass

Pull Not tested for load.

Comment NA

Recommend Timber secured between rafters.

Switch 2 Single, metal 25mm, for outside security light.

NA Refitted by masons.

Comment Located at eye level, client request relocating.

Recommend Install twin singles, fused spur and switch.

Ground floor: Hall

Socket 1 Single, metal 25mm for a telephone socket.

Horizontal 0.0º Pass

Vertical 3.3º Fail

Depth 5 -13mm Fail

Screws LH Fail

Pull Pass

Comment Masonry chased unnecessarily deep for conduit, major structural point weakened.

Not in line with adjoining socket.

Recommend Re-fit.

Socket 2 Double, metal 25mm. Fail, L/H screw not tight, unnecessary chasing.

Horizontal 0.1º Pass

Vertical 1.2º Pass

Depth 6 – 9mm Fail

Screws Pass

Comment Masonry chased unnecessarily deep for conduit, major structural point weakened.

Not in line with adjoining socket.

Recommend Re-fit.

Switch 1 Single, PVC 35mm, entrance.

Horizontal NA Pass

Vertical NA Pass

Depth NA Pass

Screws Fail

PullFail

Comment Not fitted behind lath.

Recommend Re-fit. PVC box attached behind lath.

Pendant 1 Replaced not relocated, entrance.

Screws Pass

Pull Not tested for load

Comment NA

Recommend Timber secured between rafters.

Switch 2 Single PVC 35mm, entrance and hall.

Horizontal NA Pass

Vertical NA Pass

Depth NA Pass

Screws NA Pass

PullPass

Comment Fitted to plasterboard, now removed.

Recommend Re-fit. PVC box attached behind lath when new lath wall is installed.

Pendant 2 Replaced and relocated entrance and hall.

Screws Pass

Pull Not tested for load

Comment Not centred to original which may cause unnecessary shadowing on stairs.

Recommend Timber secured between rafters.

Switch 3 Single, metal 25mm, hall and kitchen stairs.

Horizontal NA Pass

Vertical NA Pass

Depth NA Pass

Screws NA Pass

Pull Pass

Comment Wall chased unnecessary, metal screws with large washers problematic with lime plaster.

Recommend Remove screws that secure conduit, If necessary tack using expanding foam applicator gun.

Pendant 3 Removed not replaced, to be wall mounted under stairs.

ScrewsNA

Pull NA

Comment. Surface mounted cable unnecessarily removed and replaced with a cable running through half landing. A whole board has been cut in two in a high traffic area rather than chased into the ceiling from beneath or left surface mounted.

Recommend Remove cable from half landing, Re-fit under stair light surface mounted cables.

Lower ground floor: Kitchen, Larder and Utility

Not a full audit, general observation.

Outdoor socket omitted – cable can be brought down exterior from loft void.

Kitchen spotlights. Not fire checked.

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