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Old 19.03.2009, 09:33
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Electrical Issues In My Apartment, What Minimum Standard Must the Wiring be at Here

Hi Everyone,

Last night a light switch in my apartment broke, I was thinking simple job Ill open it and see whats wrong maybe buy a new one and replace it myself it will only take a few minutes and cost a few Chf. By the way I'm an EE who works with three phase on a daily basis so I know what im doing so dont worry about my safety.

I first went looking for the isolator, NO isolator switch in my aparment, checked the hallway where I found the fuse box but there was no way to shut down power to my apartment, just hard wired straight to the a small junction box outside my door.

Now the fuse box easily dates from the 1960's, no MCBs no RCD no ELCB just screw in ceramic fuse holders which anyone who works with electricity will tell you do nothing to stop death by electrocution. The lack of an ELCB means there is potentially no protection for equipment in the event that the live wire comes in contact with, for example, the metal housing of your cooker and by the looks of things the earthing isnt so good so the fuse probably wont blow out.

Nothing has been updated in many years I can tell this just by looking at the fittings in the apartment and the fact that there is no means to shut the power off is a very dangerous thing in the event of a fault.

What swiss standards must a dwelling conform to in order for it to be deemed electrically safe.

By the looks of things the required work will run into several hundred if not thousand Chf (New electrical supply box all new fittings etc. and routing of new wiring with earth wire included and sign off) if it were to be taken to EU sandards.

So far as I can tell my place does not conform to any sort of standard when you really get in there and see how it was put together.

At the end of the day it will be up to me to discuss with the gerance or the custodian to figure out who covers the cost but does anyone here have any experience with this sort of thing in terms of how it should be done?

Rgds

John
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Old 19.03.2009, 10:06
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Re: Electrical Issues In My Apartment, What Minimum Standard Must the Wiring be at He

Ah Crap,

How did this end up in the Introduction section... Sorry folks...
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Old 19.03.2009, 10:39
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Re: Electrical Issues In My Apartment, What Minimum Standard Must the Wiring be at He

Reading it reminds me discussion from last year about the fuses. I am a qualified Electrical Engineer as well who used to work with three-phase systems and protection devices. Most of my jobs I used to do back in South Africa though. Believe me even there it looks better as one of the New World country and they use modern stuff.

Anyway, in my first months of stay here I was wrong on the other thread about the fact that the fuses are used in houses This was also something that made me shocked and I couldn't believe...

Afew months ago I had a light fixing job in one of those old bulidings from early 1950's. When I opened up the DB I couldnt believe how many hardwired fuses where there instead of CB and EL and no description on the DB itself where is what??? We had to undo the Fuses until we found the right one and even then I double-checked using multimeter to find out if it was correct as the marks where nowhere to be near. Sheer irony and crap!!! The cables inside these houses have cracked insulation which is another bullshit and as soon as you get the connector block right I wouldn't even want to touch it twice! It is a little bit better in buildings from 70's as they are already equipped with modern protection devices. And imagine the flats in these apartments go for over CHF1000 plus

Most of the things are great here but this is something that I discovered about savvy Switzerland, like you say it would probably cost them so much to change the infrastrucure. We pay hell a lot for the rent but there is not always much done on landlord or municipality side about renovating them
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Old 19.03.2009, 14:38
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Re: Electrical Issues In My Apartment, What Minimum Standard Must the Wiring be at He

A visiting electrician friend went around my flat in dismay at the shocking standard compared to home, we do have a trip switch fuse board though, very modern... over the sink in the toilet!!!
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Old 19.03.2009, 15:37
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Re: Electrical Issues In My Apartment, What Minimum Standard Must the Wiring be at He

We moved into a new-build and the quality of the electrical wiring was shocking.

Most of the light switches were wired up incorrectly and the room thermostats didn't even have mains power wired to them.
Another thermostat was fitted to the wrong rooms heating pipes.

The biggest problem was trying to convince the electrician that somethingwas actually wrong.

I tried to explain all this to the electrician but he didn't understand what was wrong and in the end I re-wired it myself with temporary wiring which at least showed him where he had gone wrong.

I knew we were going to have problems with his work when we discovered that all the door bells were wired to the wrong flats.
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Old 21.03.2009, 09:10
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Re: Electrical Issues In My Apartment, What Minimum Standard Must the Wiring be at He

Not knowing what country you are from, you have to remember that each country's standards vary a bit. Most places I have heard about, there are no rules which "force" someone to upgrade unless there is a potential for fire or serious danger. Then you have to think also what person wired the place and who has been playing around inside that shouldn't be who don't know the local code rules (concierge)...
best thing to do if you are concerned is call the electrical provider in your area (not an electrican) and have them aware of your concerns.. (EEF in Fribourg)
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Old 21.03.2009, 11:16
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Re: Electrical Issues In My Apartment, What Minimum Standard Must the Wiring be at He

Indeed, as I understand it (in some cantons), a house does not require an electrical inspection unless it is sold.

So if the house was built 40 years ago and still owned by the same person / organisation, then there may possibly have never been an electrical safety inspection...

But if you have any concerns, ring the local power co and ask to speak to a person responsible for electrical safety and inspections, and ask them if they do (free) safety checks.

Most power companys are quite hot on electrical safety
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Old 21.03.2009, 11:30
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Re: Electrical Issues In My Apartment, What Minimum Standard Must the Wiring be at He

When we renovated our house, we were required to have a Gemeinde-approved electrician inspect the wiring (old and new), and issue a safety certificate. The certificate is good for 20 years.

I'm not sure if the sale/purchase of the house triggered the need for a new certificate, or if expiration of the old one (co-incidentally the house was 20 years old) was the trigger.

In any event, we had the inspection done. Apparently the inspector forgot to file the certificate with the Gemeinde, because 5 years later we got a letter from the nice folks at the building department, wondering if we had done the necessary, and suggesting that we would be fined if not. So they do check up on these things. (We toddled down with our copy of the certificate, and everyone is happy now.)

I would assume, though, that regulation varies by canton/Gemeinde.
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Old 21.03.2009, 12:09
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Re: Electrical Issues In My Apartment, What Minimum Standard Must the Wiring be at He

[quote=jcavanagh;421712]
Nothing has been updated in many years I can tell this just by looking at the fittings in the apartment and the fact that there is no means to shut the power off is a very dangerous thing in the event of a fault.

What swiss standards must a dwelling conform to in order for it to be deemed electrically safe.[/quote

I'm so glad you opened up discussion on this topic. I'm 100% clueless about electrics and even I can tell they're - erm - old fashioned in my apartment.

What I find most worrying is you can have a building from, say, the 1930's which has never had the electrics updated but nowadays each household has so much more in the way of electrical stuff with e.g. computers, televisions, set top 'boxes' to recieve & decrypt channels, mobile phone chargers ... the list goes on. This is all plugged into circuitry that was built to support maybe one 'wireless' set and one 'gramophone'.
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