Anomalies found in testing of electric installation before sale of home

We’ve become very interested in purchasing a house that has been surveyed by Socobois. They found that they could not access the control box and that it is outside the house, needs a key to open it and the box was too fragile to handle without breaking. The house was originally built in 1947 and rebuilt in the 1980’s.
The question: Since there has been this report, what importance shall we give to it or should we just find an electrician to quote on a fix?

Hello Mel and welcome to the Forum.

In the absence of what the Socobois Report actually says about the electrics, here are my thoughts.

Crazy that the Seller didn’t authorise the box to be opened for inspection during the official Survey by Socobois. Flatblade Screwdriver works well enough.

I’m fairly sure the Electrics of 1980 will meet today’s normes anyway and a “fragile” exterior box does not fill me with confidence that this is a modern set-up.

If Socobois are not able to give a complete survey to confirm/prove that it does conform, you will need to know the cost of ripping out the old and completely redoing the electrics.

Then you can base your “offer price” to allow for that cost.

(What else did Socobois report on … or report that they could not inspect) :thinking::pensive:

I’m no expert, just thinking aloud.

What is their report on the rest of the electrics?

Is it being sold through an agency? It would normally be their responsibility to make suitable arrangements for the legal inspections…
Personally, I’d walk away.

I should have said “I am fairly sure 1980 will NOT meet…”

If you have the time and the inclination, these are very interesting and up-to-date.


with another amendment in 2019

Thanks for the response.
All the other tests were normal with no anomalies although they could not get into the attic space as it has no entry point. We have seen the paid invoices for insulation there, so not worried about that.
The electric norms you refer to require a breaker in the house to cut all power and that is the issue we are dealing with. We do need an electrician in the Lot (46), Frayssinet-Le-Gelat to be specific to look at the electrical system and quote on bringing it up to date.

Or you say to the sellers that you would be interested in buying it subject to the electrics being brought up to date, and if they agree either wait until it’s done or make sure this is clearly part of compromis. There were a couple of small things wrong with our house, and we knew we wouldn’t want to be bothered with getting them fixed when we moved in as many other things to do. So asked sellers to sort them first, which they did as they were keen to get a sale.

Good idea, but seller is adamant about the system being legal, so I think we will give them a coice of either reducing the price to fix the issue or do it themselves. Thanks for the great suggestion.

But if the diagnostics show that it isn’t to normal standards then surely they don’t have a leg to stand on?

I think Jane and I are on the same wavelength. Whether you tune-in too, is up to you. :rofl:

Frankly, the Seller’s refusal to allow access to the Fusebox does not fill me with confidence (no matter what is said).

You could have the provision of a Satisfactory Full Electrical Survey as a Clause Suspensif in the Compromis.

That way, the Box would have to be opened and ALL its secrets (good or bad) revealed. It may well have the obligatory circuit breaker therein - who knows. :thinking:

If the Electrical Survey provided for the Compromis, proved to be Unsatisfactory - then you could (if you wish) pull out of the Purchase (or at least threaten to)

If that situation arose, the Seller might well negotiate - or not - and you make a final decision.

But at least you would have the full facts before Buying.

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Thanks, again, for the thoughtful and practical position to take.

I think Stella’s advice spot on but just to reply to Jane - “not to current Normes” does no necessarily mean illegal as, usually, when standards are updated older installations which conformed to the previous Normes do not need to be updated.

The problems start when new works needs to be done - so I would definitely consider a clause suspensive WRT the electrics, or use it as a bargaining chip on price.

I still half wish I’d insisted our place had the faults listed on the DDT sorted - but only half as I am capable of sorting them myself and mostly have done so, in fact if the seller had just got an electrician to address the very specific issues listed I might have missed a few more serious problems which needed attention.

But properly sorting the last electrical niggles is still on the “TODO” list 5 years later :frowning:

“All the other tests were normal with no anomalies although they could not get into the attic space as it has no entry point. We have seen the paid invoices for insulation there, so not worried about that.”

Just curious to know how the attic was insulated, there being no means of access thereto…:thinking:

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It is apparent from the ceiling in one room that it was opened. The material used is laine de cellulose - Ouateco is the brand

I can’t comment on the box in question - but with regards everything else … the electrics are “legal” if they met the normes when installed. They do not have to conform to the updated Norme - if they did we’d all be re wiring every 5 years. There’s a point of common sense and that’s what the report should tell you - is there a proper earth - is there a working RCD - is the “fusing”/cabling safe - that’s important what years Normes it meets is really irrelevant.

Is the box in question “yours” or the supply companies? The meter belongs to the supply company although obviously you should have access - that then feeds the main trip/feed box which is still the supply company’s kit/responsibility and again you should have access - the electrics" for the house begin at the feeds taken from that box and then to the tableau/fuse board. If its pre tableau then its the electric company you need to talk to not local sparks.


I think we should all start chanting “open the box”, “open the box” - 'cos it’s obvious no-one has a clue what is inside. :rofl:

Indeed :slight_smile:

I’m tempted to ask Mel if there is a meter in the house - if not then presumably the most likely place is the mysterious box.

We might know tomorrow eve and the seller has agreed to produce a problem free test report as well. So we now are pursuing an electrician who can give us the real scoop on the whole house wiring. We’ll keep you up to date.

Thanks to all who participated.

We have a tiny 2nd house - 1 up 1 down - we thought the electrics were OK as the property was revamped in the 70’s.

A friend visited and noticed an innocuous plastic “box on the wall” under the meter, all screwed onto a very smart, thick wooden board. It has one OFF/ON button and a thick black cable comes out of a hole at the bottom of said small box, which wanders around, serving all the house.

Anyway, he paled visibly and advised us to get it seen to without delay. No, not immediately dangerous Stella, just get it done… was how he put it (in French obviously).

Since he is quite high in EDF, we took his advice to heart and OH is in the throes of completely rewiring to current normes and more. All that remains is to invite an Expert and EDF to do the necessary whatever…

phew… Mel - you’ll never know unless you open the box… :relaxed::relaxed:

The mind boggles.

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