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Questions About Adding new Ring Circuits Due to Lack of Plug Sockets in new House

Postby Balcs » Sun Apr 12, 2015 5:12 pm

I've recently bought a 60s house and not only is there a lack of plug sockets (two in the lounge and one in each of the bedrooms), the whole house runs of a single ring circuit.

I want to fix this by adding new sockets to each of the rooms and creating 3 seperate rings (upstairs/downstairs/kitchen), but to keep the costs down I want to run the cable and chase the sockets out myself. I would then get a sparky in to wire up the sockets and connect everything to the consumer unit.

My plan for the downstairs ring is to run 2.5mm T+E cable from the consumer unit to a new socket location, and then onto any other new socket locations and back to the consumer unit. I would run the cable near to any exisiting sockets to enable them to be wired into the new ring when the old ring is switched off and the new one is wired up by the sparky. Same plan goes for upstairs. For the kitchen most of the sockets are on new wiring where the previous owner had the kitchen done a few years ago, so I would run a cable to the first and last socket location in the kitchen and get the sparky to test there is no cross wiring.

My questions are:

1) Would an Electrician be willing to take on the actual connecting of the sockets and the cables to the CU as well as signing it off if he hasn't run the cable?
2) Do I have to notify Building Control if I am only laying the cable and chasing out the sockets?
3) Do the sockets have to be between 450mm and 1200mm or can they stay the same as the existing sockets? I think this only applies to new builds but thought it best to check!
4) I'd also like to have two outdoor sockets (one at the front of the house and one at the back), can these be incorporated into the downstairs ring?

Thanks in advance,
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Postby ericmark » Mon Apr 13, 2015 11:06 am

There is the official on non official route. Some electrician may agree to in theroy employ you to help him and so reduce the costs. This is the unofficial route, in the main they get caught out once and say never again. What happens is they say to house owner do this, this, and this and I will be back a week on Tuesday to wire it in. Come a week on Tuesday it's not ready to be wired and either the electrician does the work you should of done or he sits there twiddling his fingers. Once it happens once they will not do it again so you will be very lucky if you find an electrician willing to allow you to do work. If he does he will want paying day rate so if your not ready he does not lose.

So now official route, You go to the LABC and submit plans for the work you want to do. They ask you for your qualifications and if not good enough they tell you who you must employ to test and inspect you have no option. Every time the inspector visits he charges, if you get things wrong then he has more visits so charges more, if not ready then charges for more visits. In the main you go so far and then say your ready and some time in the next week he will visit.

When complete the LABC issues a completion certificate you don't get a copy of the installation certificate.

In England there are companies which can third party register work. Just like the council you engage them before you start and they tell you what stages they want to visit.

In real terms the LABC is designed to register jobs done by people like me. Fully qualified but not a scheme member. They look at my qualification and give me go ahead and when complete I submit the installation certificate and they may visit and test the odd socket to see if I have been telling the truth but really all they do is make a lot of money to issue a completion certificate.

The third part qualified scheme members are normally a firm employing kitchen fitters or plumbers as well as electricians and the third part allows them to test work done by plumbers and kitchen fitters so their electrician does not need to do the work himself.

So for you it is really either forget the law and just DIY and cross fingers nothing goes wrong. You could get an EICR at the end just to be sure no mistakes but you will not have a completion or compliance certificate and so when selling you can't tell anyone it's been re-wired by you. You just say it was like that when you moved in.

Or you employ an electrician to do the job.

The problem is all the visits from LABC and their appointed inspectors mount up so on top of the cost of rewire you have a £1000 bill for these inspectors.

The half way job is to ask an electrician to do the consumer units and to then extend from that. In England you can't do the consumer unit or bathroom or install new circuits. It has been debated many times with a fully populated consumer unit is every MCB already a circuit if so then you are not fitting new circuits but just extending the old ones.

It would be a case of let the courts decide so if you kill anyone your up the creak without a paddle. But unless your work causes some one injury then know one will know.

The law is different in Wales so where you live matters. The whole idea of Part P was to stop poor installation. You would not believe how many times I find a broken ring or unfused spur from unfused spur and unless tested overload can result. 20A radials would remove the overload problem.

There is a large book of rules. Not all of them obeyed. It states you need a protective device within 3 meters of the supply point and if taken by the letter that means 3 meters is max length for unfused spur. Most people ignore this. Also any fixed appliance over 2kW needs a dedicated supply. Most will for immersion heater and oven but as for washing machine, tumble drier, and dish washer many do provide a dedicated supply.

The hight rules are normally only worried about for new builds. But safe zones is very important. There are so many rules you can fall foul of which have nothing to do with electric. 1/3 rule on drilling beams and the problems if anything has an open flue. Even when and how a bathroom fan is required or wired.

I have a test set costing £750 and the LABC wanted to see it before they would let me start. I am sure a Martindale EZ150 would find most of the faults but it does not give you readings for the installation certificate.

Don't get me wrong I would re-wire my own house but I am not worried about a completion or compliant certificate, if you want those bits of paper. I.e. if you will likely move in the future. Then likely better using a scheme member electrician to do the job.
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