Changing consumer unit


Postby bigwedge » Mon Oct 15, 2007 7:41 pm

We have been advised by the company due to install our kitchen that under Part P regs., because their electrician will be working on the lighting and / or power circuits, we will need a new MCB type consumer unit - the existing one is less than 20 yrs old, but has the rewireable type fuse carriers. Is this correct that it will need replacement?

I've also had a quote from them: after picking myself up off the floor, they reckon that to change to a split-load 8 way (80 or 100 amp) would be £658 inc. vat. This seems excessive to me, so I'm getting some alternative quotes - anyone have a view on this price please?

Thanks.
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Postby BLAKEY1963 » Tue Oct 16, 2007 8:20 am

[quote="bigwedge"]We have been advised by the company due to install our kitchen that under Part P regs., because their electrician will be working on the lighting and / or power circuits, we will need a new MCB type consumer unit - the existing one is less than 20 yrs old, but has the rewireable type fuse carriers. Is this correct that it will need replacement?

I've also had a quote from them: after picking myself up off the floor, they reckon that to change to a split-load 8 way (80 or 100 amp) would be £658 inc. vat. This seems excessive to me, so I'm getting some alternative quotes - anyone have a view on this price please?

Thanks.[/quote]

BIGWEDGE
CAN U ENLIGHTEN ME TO EXACTLY WHAT IS ON YOUR
QUOTATION.
IT DEPENDS AS THE PART P ELECTRICIANS , WHAT THEY
ASSESS NEEDS TO BE DONE TO COMPLY WITH THE CURRENT
REGULATIONS , AND REGISTER YOUR WORK WITH LOCAL
AUTHORITY BUILDING CONTROL.
TO CHANGE A MAINS BOARD CAN BE DAYS WORK INSPECTING AND TESTING AND ISSUEING A FULL 5 PAGE ELECTRICAL
INSTALLATION CERTICATE ALONE.
ON TOP WOULD BE NEARLY ANOTHER DAY GHANGING THE MAINS BOARD.
OR DOES IT JUST SAY ON YOUR QUOTATION.
TO CHANGE MAINS BOARD. ?
OR DOES THE QUOTE INCLUDE THE ALTERATIONS TO THE LIGHTING AND POWER CIRCUITS IN THE KITCHEN. ?
WITH THIS INFOMATION AS A CONTRACTER I CAN THEN COMMENT ON
PRICE
BLAKEY1963
BLAKEY1963
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Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:57 pm


Postby bigwedge » Tue Oct 16, 2007 3:34 pm

Hi Blakey, the price was given by the kitchen installers (they will employ a sub-contractor electrician) and was to replace the consumer unit as specified and test re: part P. It does not include other electrical work relating to the kitchen installation, which is charged separately. They have not given me a detailed quote.

For info, the house is 18 yrs.old.

I was wondering in this situation whether it is necessary to replace the consumer unit at all, as they have said?(although I would like it changed for an MCB type).

Thanks.
bigwedge
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Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 7:32 pm


Postby bigwedge » Tue Oct 16, 2007 7:08 pm

Blakey, I don't have a formal quote, only a figure from the kitchen installer (who will employ a sub-contractor electrician) for supply and install of the consumer unit as described above, "with Part P test carried out as required".

This figure does not include any other electrical work required as part of the kitchen fit (under-cupboard lights etc.) which will be charged separately.

Although I would prefer a new consumer unit, is it actually a requirement under regs. to change it as they are saying?

Many thanks
bigwedge
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Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 7:32 pm


Postby electricman » Tue Oct 16, 2007 9:14 pm

If this quote is just for replacing the consumer unit then yes it is excessive. a 12 way consumer unit costs around £35 and comes with a 100 amp main isolation switch, each MCB (miniature circuit breaker) costs around £4 or £5. RCBO breakers used to supply outside lights, sockets, sheds etc cost around £22 so you can work it out yourself. Any half decend electrician could replace the consumer unit in about one hour. If the quote includes extras like testing the circuits after the work has been done that might explain it, if it does it would take around 2 or 3 hours to do the tests correctly, after which you should get a test certificate. :wink:
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Postby BLAKEY1963 » Tue Oct 16, 2007 11:38 pm

[quote="bigwedge"]Blakey, I don't have a formal quote, only a figure from the kitchen installer (who will employ a sub-contractor electrician) for supply and install of the consumer unit as described above, "with Part P test carried out as required".

This figure does not include any other electrical work required as part of the kitchen fit (under-cupboard lights etc.) which will be charged separately.

Although I would prefer a new consumer unit, is it actually a requirement under regs. to change it as they are saying?

Many thanks[/quote]

BIGWEDGE
RIGHT IF THIS PRICE IS JUST FOR A CONSUMER UNIT
CHANGE AND PART P TESTING PROCEEDURES , WITH REGISTRATION WITH LOCAL AUTHORITY BUILDING CONTROL AND DOES NOT INCLUDE ANY REMEADIAL WORK REQUIRED THEN AS MY MAN IN THE FIELD , ELECTRICMAN CONFIRMS , YES THIS PRICE IS EXCESSIVE .

BLAKEY1963
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Postby TCSC » Fri Oct 19, 2007 3:33 pm

I stand to be corrected, but I don't think you have to have your consumer unit changed. Re-wireable fuses are still allowed in the current IEE regulations ( the 16th regs). An electrician could recommend that you change to mcbs from re-wireable fuses, but they can not say you have to do it, if your present system is allowed by the 16th regs. This is assuming that there are no faults and your earthing system is performing as it should. However only an electrician would be able to tell you if your installation was working properly, not a kitchen fitting firm.

There is certainly one thing that an electrician could insist you have put in, if they are to be responsible for any work they do for you, and that is an RCD. The 16th regs require that any socket capable of supplying an extension cable out into your garden (ie a socket near a window ) has to be protected by an RCD. If you have a re-wireable fuse, consumer unit, you probably do not have an RCD in it.

I don’t think that £680 is excessive for replacing a consumer unit. It should include labour for testing because it dam well should be tested afterwards. However I’m sure you don’t need me to suggest that you get your own electrician in, unless the kitchen installers can give you some sort of deal with the cost.

There is one more fly in the ointment. The 17th regs come into force sometime next year, so what I have said above may totally change. Many electricians are not quite sure what is going to be in the the 17th regs but it may include the requirement for RCDs on all circuits. I think this is a good thing, incidentally.

Your kitchen is probably costing you several thousand, so the cost of improved wiring will be a small part of that. It is recommended that you have your wiring inspected every 10 years anyway, which I bet you haven’t ( I certainly haven’t) so getting a sparky in to change the box can come out of the money you saved there.
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Postby holdbacktheriver » Sun Oct 21, 2007 9:32 pm

Hi

I read through this thread with interest and I'd just like to relay a story in a similar vein as to what happend to my brother.

He too went to a kitchen co for a new fitted kitchen, just moved into a new house and all that. The CU was quite old, rewirable etc.

They too quoted him £700 plus for a new CU, said the electrican couldn't do the work because of it.

He called me and asked if this was excessive and I told him damn right, i.e new CU only 70-80 pounds with all that he required etc. although he did need a new 6mm cable to his cooker about 3m away...nothing difficult about it though.

He called the kitchen company up and told them he'd find his own electrican as the price was x-cessive.

Got it all done from a local spark for £250, done in a day and half.

The kitchen fitters came and fitted the kitchen....lovely job. What they told him during the fit was that the company only had one job the week before for the electrician they used...his...and they needed a weeks wages for him...guess who was gonna pay them!!!!
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Postby bigwedge » Tue Nov 13, 2007 8:32 pm

Just an update for anyone who's interested - got a local firm to fit a new 8 way split load CU. Cost was £350 plus vat. Job took electrician plus a junior about 3 hours, including about 1.5 hrs testing.

Thanks for all advice.
bigwedge
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Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 7:32 pm


Postby fridspark » Thu Nov 15, 2007 9:21 am

Under the current wiring regualtions you can still use BS3036 rewirable fuses, as long as you have an RCD feeding your ground floor socket then you shouldn't have a problem.
There appears to mixed feed bak here, and I would like to add the following:
Yes the board shouldn't take long than an hour to change but after the boadr has been changed ALL THE CIRCUITS have to TESTED! that's a requirement!
The quote you have been given sounds very expensive for a 12 way split load board inc mcb's etc you would expect to pay around £65+VAT trade (now Mr sparkie is going to put his bit on top as well)
I wouldn't get the kitchen fitters involved with the process CUT out the middle man and get and electrian in that has some sense!
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Postby Kristof » Mon Nov 19, 2007 11:35 am

i'll just add, the labour prices quoted/mentioned above differ, depending where in the UK you are. In london, prices will be a lot different in comparison to small towns
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Postby howmuch » Mon Nov 19, 2007 10:49 pm

I agree with fidspark, all circuits must be tested when replacing a consumer unit. A new unit counts as an alteration of the characteristics of all circuits it supplies, how could anyone possible "upgrade" a consumer unit from rewireables to MCB's and possibly sleep at night without testing to see if the circuits would disconect under fault conditions. WHo knows maybe one day part p will rid the uk of the cowboys.
CUSTOMERS, THE FIRST THING YOU SHOULD ASK IS ABOUT THE CERTIFICATE NOT THE PRICE!

Yeah the quote does sound excessive but if it were in London and were upgrading all the bonding (with the gas and the water meter 5 million miles away ) consumer, test. cert and notification I do start to think that the price could well be pheasible!

I know I know, it's more likely the kitchen firm doing a rip off (the company I used to work for used to charge £600 for a CU and bonding, It's only when you start to work for yourself you realise you don't have to rip people off to earn a living.

Jobs done now so no matter but make sure you get The Certificate. and I don't mean the one from your electrician with the test results, I mean the one from the governing body that says the work has been notified (NIC, NAPIT or ELECSA) Thats the one that matters , (lets face it, anyone can buy a cert book off ebay and fill um out, but you must make sure you get the other one (usually posted to you)
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