The dangers of rubber insulated electric cables

What electrical dangers lurk in the loft of your new home?  Chartered Surveyor Douglas Snell investigates.  read on....
There is often a very good reason that a Chartered Surveyor will recommend further testing of electrical installations.  A property may be modernised in parts, but dangerous older wiring can remain hidden.
When undertaking a pre-purchase survey on a house or flat a surveyor should, where possible, make observations in respect of the electrical installation.  Although it goes beyond the scope of a Building Survey, House or Flat Purchase Survey to undertake testing, we will make sure that we seek to identify where additional costs may be incurred and more importantly where safety has been compromised, as described by the London Fire Brigade.
When undertaking a Building Survey on a three storey Victorian terraced house in Walthamstow E17 we discovered that much of the fixed wiring in the property was rubber insulated, as opposed to modern domestic that are usually insulated with pvc.    Rubber degrades over time to the extent that it cracks and offers little or no insulation.  The material is also attractive to rodents.  Poorly insulated cables can overheat or short out, leading to a house fire. 
In this instance we were able to identify this potentially dangerous defect and advised our client to seek electrical testing before the exchange of contracts together with obtaining estimates for the replacement of cables and the installation of a modern consumer unit.  This enabled them not to incur unexpected costs and most importantly improved the safety of the property for their family. 

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