Hi there... I moved into a 1930's flat last year & am just about to have the lounge walls plaster skimmed... there are some fairly old chunky double plug sockets on the walls that I'd like replacing with the new flatter plug sockets... any idea how much this kind of thing should cost as I'm on such a tight budget & have so much to do in the place...
Depends on date if you get it done before 1st July then not too bad but from the 1st it may require the consumer unit to also be changed so could be looking at Â£500 plus but so much will depend on general condition of existing wiring to give and real figures could be completely wrong. 1930's one would hope it had been rewired a few times since then. If not then it should be.
what is a "consumer unit" & why from the 1st July might I require a new one? I don't know if any re-wiring has been done since the 1930's... the main wiring of the flat is currently exposed in places as I have removed skirting boards in the lounge... it's a thick white casing... a friend said that it should be grey, if it had been re-wired...? Condition of existing white wiring seems excellent... ???
On the 1st July 2008 a new set of regulations comes into force. Although houses will not be required to change what they have to comply anything new will have to comply so the new socket will need any buried cables at less than 50mm deep and not from the list of cables which have some protection against people knocking nails in them and getting a shock will need to be protected at the source with a 30ma residual current device (RCD) and the old fuse boxes (Consumer units) will not accommodate these devices. Back in the 1930â€™s we had rubber insulated cable and 5 and 15 amp round pin sockets often of different standards which could not be easily interchanged also often two supplies one for lights and one for power during the second world war it was realised there would be a major house rebuilding program once it was completed and some form of standardisation would be required. From this we got the 13 amp plug with integral fuse and also the ring main designed to save on cable and hence copper used. The original twin wire flat cable would have been lead covered and the plastic cable was made to look the same. White or Grey (There was also some black mainly rubber) as time went on White was used for high temperature cable (90Â°C) and Grey normal (70Â°C) as a result colour alone does not mean much but it is very likely the wiring dates back to 1950â€™s as long as the cables as plastic rather than rubber and have not been overloaded they could be still OK. But the DIY and rough electricians have for years fitted spurs from spurs and have over stressed parts of the systems as a result and left houses in a way it is surprising there have not been more fires. The first attempt to cure this problem was the recommendation that all houses should have the electrics checked every 10 years or on change of occupant. Rented houses do seem to get this done but private houses often are never checked even when bought and sold. Although there is still nothing to make people get there houses checked in 2004 Part P came into existent and required that many electrical jobs in the house should be controlled but the Local Authorities Building Control (LABC) there is a link to Part P in Projects section. As a result of Part P electricians now must follow the rules found in BS 7671:2008 (17th Edition) more closely as all their work is checked which has stopped spurs on spurs etc. But has also increased the cost of any electrical work. No such thing as just add a socket now even for such a small job a minor works certificate has to be raised and all the safety tests done on the whole circuit not just the socket itself. This needs Â£750 of test equipment and extra time to do all these tests. It has of course created a market for the cow boys who will not do these tests and under cut the genuine trades man and they will even tell the customer what they are doing so the customer will not report them if there is bad workmanship for fear of getting into trouble themselves as it is the house holders responsibility to comply with Part P. I am not by the way Part P registered I was always an industrial electrician. There are two ways to do work under Part P either tell LABC before the work starts and pay a fee or use a Part P registered electrician. Not all work comes under Part P but where the original job highlights further work that is required what was originally thought not to be Part P work can become Part P work. There is a provision where emergency work can be notified to the LABC after it is done but must be far better to get a registered electrician to start with.
The job you are talking about would not normally come under Part P but one thing Part P does is ensure only competent electricians can become registered, there is always the chance someone can slip the net but you are much safer in general using a registered electrician. But of course this registration costs them money which means they will charge you more.
I hope this answers your questions if you want more advice feel free to ask.
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