Cheap cowboy, or correctly charging PROFESSIONAL. What's the difference?
We live in a nice rented house in Limassol. Over the last couple of years we've had some building issues and had to call our landlord for assistance. Not to generalise too much about the quality and professionalism of local trained tradesmen in Cyprus, (I'm also a Greek Cypriot! But I trained in London where I worked for 25 years as a PROFESSIONAL ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR). But the following two examples has been my consistent experience EVERY TIME when having the landlords various trusted tradesmen in my home to fix things.
Is it just my bad luck of having the following bad experiences? Sadly no, ask around for others experience when calling local electricians, plumbers and builders in Cyprus. There is a serious problem with the lack of training and professionalism with tradesmen in Cyprus.
The day my RCBO main switch failed and needed replacing.
Ironic given this is what I do for a living, but the landlord would not me change it and deduct the cost from the rent, he insisted it had to be done by a relative in the family who was a electrician.
So after many weeks of waiting for the landlords electrician to turn up, I received a telephone call from the electrician asking me how exactly I knew the RCBO was not working? I explained that I am also a fully qualified Cyprus licensed electrician, and of course OWN MY OWN RCD TESTER. He insisted that this was not possible as no one has such meters in Cyprus except for the Electricity Authority of Cyprus. STOP! How can someone claim to be a qualified electrician NOT OWN a RCD test meter? It would be IMPOSSIBLE to carry out electrical repairs and installations without the final testing in accordance with IEE BS 7671. And given that many homes in Cyprus has a RCBO main switch due to the majority of electricity supplies being TT and not TNS. Anyway, after 30 minutes of interrogating my expertise over the phone, he agreed to come out to see the RCBO, but he would first need to find a friend who would lend him a RCD tester!
He arrived a few days later with cigaret in mouth and borrowed RCD tester in hand. He plugged in his meter and to his amazement, the 500ma RCBO would not trip on 1 x current rating within the required time of 300ms. YES, these units can and do go wrong, even new replacements can arrive faulty from the manufacturer. With a bruised ego, he then went off to buy a replacement 500ma RCBO.
He came back and fitted the new RCD. Now to test it, as REQUIRED to regulations, he needed to plug in his borrowed test meter and do another 1 x rated current test...but no, instead he pushed the test button on the RCD and lit another cigaret. He said the job was done and left! It is NOT acceptable to assume a RCD is working correctly from the test button alone, that has little to do with the tripping time at rated current of 500ma. I tested it myself with my own meter after they left and it tested ok at 47ms at 1 x current rating of 500ma.
My objections to this not being a professional and actually a cowboy?