Home rewiring projects – what you should know
Posted on 25th June 2021
If you are working on a property renovation or refurbishment project then Building Regulations will probably apply to your wiring work and electrics.
If your electrics aren’t properly installed, they can be a fire hazard and could lead to injury or electrocution. That’s why they have been brought into the Building Regulations under Part P.
Here are some things to think about.
Significant alternations - existing wiring installations aren’t covered, but if you make significant alterations or there are new additions the regulations will apply.
Old wiring - if you are thinking of buying a property that’s more than 25 years old, make sure you have the wiring checked.
If a lot of electrical work is needed your project might not be viable. If a property over this age hasn’t already been rewired it will need to be upgraded to meet current standards.
Project planning - ideally, you should find out whether any rewiring will be needed before you start your project. It can affect floors, walls, and ceilings, so it should be done before any re-plastering or redecorating work takes place.
Remodelling - moving walls, adding extensions, or converting an attic or garage means rewiring will be needed and the consumer unit (fuse box) might need to be replaced to meet the extra electrical needs of your property.
Has your property been rewired?
Look at the exposed parts of the wiring, the electricity meter, and the consumer unit. If there’s an old-fashioned fuse box with white ceramic-style fuses, then the property probably needs to be rewired.
If there are two or more sets of circuits, it can be difficult to know what has been disconnected. This can make electrical work unsafe so complete rewiring will be needed.
Also look for very old electrical fittings, round pin sockets, or a mix of different types of sockets and switches. This would suggest that the property has been partially rewired, especially if there is some surface-mounted wiring on skirting boards and walls.
In contrast, modern electrical installations are wired in grey or white PVCu insulated cable, and a modern consumer unit will have circuit breakers and residual circuit devices (RCDs).
Additional electrical requirements
It’s worth thinking about all the additional requirements we have for mood lighting, surround sound, high-speed WiFi, kitchen appliances and multiple televisions, for example. Planning ahead to think about your requirements now and in the next five, 10 or 15 years could save you a lot of money in the longer term.
Also think about specifying two-way or even three-way switching for hallways and landings and other rooms with more than one main access. For a high-value property, you might also want to add a separate 2amp circuit with separate switching for table and standard lamps in the main living rooms and bedrooms.
Also think about automated lighting, home network cabling, speaker cabling, and other smart home technology that could save you money, as well as being more convenient.
Earth bonding or cross bonding in kitchens and bathrooms is needed to make sure that a fault that causes metal plumbing, baths, taps, radiators, or the boiler casing to become live won’t lead to electrocution. To check, look for metal clamps around copper pipes underneath the sinks or baths with green and yellow striped earth cables attached.
If you plan to do the electrical work yourself you must make a Building Regulations application and arrange to have the work inspected both before and after completion by a qualified electrician.
If you have a home rewiring project in mind, please get in touch.
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