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Upgrading electrics

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Is This Quote Fair?
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2013yearofthehouse2013yearofthehouse Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Is This Quote Fair?
Have received our first quote (of 3) to upgrade the electrics on a 4 bedroom house, 40 years old and almost everything is original, except a few light and socket covers that have been changed over the years. All socket and light switch covers (except kitchen) are to be changed (to basic white plastic) or upgraded, so that they all match as several different ones are installed at the moment. Plus a few upgrades and modifications we could think of.

Change 7 single sockets to twins £54 each
Change 8 (6 twin, 2 single) socket covers £21 each
Change 5 pendants £18 each
Change 3 switch covers £18 each
Change 3 dimmer covers and change 1 switch to dimmer £48 each
Change a 2 way dimmer cover £54
Change BT master cover £18
BT secondary Socket £18

Living room
2 gang dimmer install 3 core and earth to switch and change back box £90

Toilet
Change fan to low profile timer fan £60

Kitchen
Single socket in cupboard £45

Install smoke detector on landing £90

Install heat detector in hallway £102

Under stairs cupboard
Change from switch to pull switch £25
Renew wiring £25

Renew consumer unit £540
Upgrade main earth bond £30
Upgrade gas bond £27

Total is about £2000


The secondary BT socket is a new installation in the room on the floor above where the existing master socket is, with new wiring to go up through the garage, but I'm not sure if this is included (would be pointless without it obviously) as it doesn't seem to be reflected in the price.

The £90 for the living room I think is to split 2 lights, that currently operate at the same time, so that they work independently. Also, one of them is currently broken, so I think that would include fixing it.

The new socket in the kitchen involves wiring from a socket on opposite side of room, so down tiles, under cabinets and sink, about 2 metres. This is a necessary temporary measure, but everything else will just be left until the whole room can be done in one go (in a few years maybe).

Under stairs cupboard light seems to be a diy job by previous owners using apparently a 1950s light switch, so electrician suggests changing all of it.

I think the consumer unit price includes moving it down the wall about a metre, as it is currently right up against the garage ceiling, so electrician suggested it's safer to be able to reach it without needing a ladder. Not sure what additional info I should be asking about for the consumer unit. I was quite surprised to find it only has 4 circuits, having mostly read posts on here about 10 way consumer units. Silly questions time: what difference does it actually make to have 10 rather than 4? Should I have more? Can they be added?

Does this seem reasonable or expensive? Have had 3 electricians round to quote and none have mentioned re-wiring. Would this be something I should get them to check? I guess I thought with 40 year old electrics that they would suggest having a full safety check/report.

Is there anything else worth doing (or in fact not worth doing)? Maybe adding extra sockets? Basically, we want to plaster/decorate without having to worry about needing to make holes in the walls at a later date and it will have been a waste of money.

Thanks

Replies

  • closedclosed Forumite
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    some of that is easy diy if you want to save some money
    !!
    > . !!!! ----> .
  • fluffpotfluffpot Forumite
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    If none of your electricians have suggested having a full test and inspect (called an EICR - Electrical Installation Condition Report) before any work starts then I would be a bit worried.
    Either, they don't really know their job OR they are being a bit sneaky and you could end up with a big bill at the end when all or part needs to be rewired.

    If the electrics are 40 years old, they might be OK, but equally they might not. I would insist on getting them tested as the first step. If you only have 4 circuits this will take less than a day. If there are any problems or rewiring required at least you can get a price (or two) before work gets started.

    The prices quoted above seem about right to me.

    If you are in any doubt, get those extra sockets added now, as it will be cheaper and all the plastering/redecorating can be done now.

    A 10 way dual split board is about the smallest you can get and I bet you don't just have 4 circuits, some will be doubled up, so at least these can be separated. Plus you have spare capacity should you need anything in the future (double oven, electric shower, garden electrics etc)

    Hope this helps
  • 2013yearofthehouse2013yearofthehouse Forumite
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    fluffpot wrote: »
    If none of your electricians have suggested having a full test and inspect (called an EICR - Electrical Installation Condition Report) before any work starts then I would be a bit worried.
    Either, they don't really know their job OR they are being a bit sneaky and you could end up with a big bill at the end when all or part needs to be rewired.

    If the electrics are 40 years old, they might be OK, but equally they might not. I would insist on getting them tested as the first step. If you only have 4 circuits this will take less than a day. If there are any problems or rewiring required at least you can get a price (or two) before work gets started.

    The prices quoted above seem about right to me.

    If you are in any doubt, get those extra sockets added now, as it will be cheaper and all the plastering/redecorating can be done now.

    A 10 way dual split board is about the smallest you can get and I bet you don't just have 4 circuits, some will be doubled up, so at least these can be separated. Plus you have spare capacity should you need anything in the future (double oven, electric shower, garden electrics etc)

    Hope this helps

    Thanks very much for your reply :)

    That's what I was worried about, that they would be checking wiring as they went along and then would "suddenly" find that lots more needs replacing.

    With regard to the extra sockets, should I expect them to be not much more than £45 (since that's how much the kitchen one has been quoted as)? The two I can think of, as being most likely, would be about 3-4 metres away from where the nearest sockets are. Not sure if this is something standard you could answer or if only an electrician seeing the actual location could answer this (obviously I'll be asking them too)? Is it ok to just leave any chasing unplastered, so that could be done later on instead?

    Here's where I'm going to sound really clueless again (if I haven't already), sorry! What do you mean by the circuits being doubled up? Two of the electricians said the 4 circuits were likely cooker, sockets and 2 for lights, is that not right? Are you saying the new board will have to have 10, as that's the smallest you can buy, but that we probably do have 5-8 circuits, so 5-8 of them will be in use, with a few spare? We don't have any outside electrics, but we do have an electric shower (I think it's a power shower with electric pump in the airing cupboard).

    Thanks again :)
  • MyserMyser Forumite
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    Adding additional sockets near other sockets will depend on the loading of the circuit the existing sockets are on.

    To understand what a circuit is, below is a diagram showing a ring main circuit for sockets, a radial circuit for sockets, a dedicated circuit for a cooker and a radial circuit for lighting:


    BasicWiringLayout.gif

    You may have multiple circuits on a single fuse at present. Each individual circuit should ideally be on its own circuit breaker.
    If my post hasn't helped you, then don't click the 'Thanks' button! ;)
  • MyserMyser Forumite
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    Also, with regards to changing your BT main socket - be careful as it is BT Openreach's property and under the terms and conditions of your telephone provider, you or any electrician cannot tamper with it.

    If it is a new style NTE5, you can remove the lower half to add an extension or an xDSL faceplate.

    Any other modifications or moving the main BT socket require a BT Openreach visit.
    If my post hasn't helped you, then don't click the 'Thanks' button! ;)
  • edited 12 October 2013 at 9:36PM
    2013yearofthehouse2013yearofthehouse Forumite
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    edited 12 October 2013 at 9:36PM
    Myser wrote: »
    Also, with regards to changing your BT main socket - be careful as it is BT Openreach's property and under the terms and conditions of your telephone provider, you or any electrician cannot tamper with it.

    If it is a new style NTE5, you can remove the lower half to add an extension or an xDSL faceplate.

    Any other modifications or moving the main BT socket require a BT Openreach visit.

    Ah right, yeah wasn't too sure about this.

    Basically, there's the original old "GPO" main socket (well no socket, just a blank faceplate) right by the front door and then an extension about 2 metres further down the hall, which we have the telephone and internet plugged in to, then another extension (which we don't use so we want to remove) from that going along the skirting up the stairs, over 2 doorways and into the master bedroom. This means having two old yellow faceplates, a filter and two lots of cables down the hall, with the telephone on the stairs (as well as it being plugged into the power socket in the hall) - all a bit of a fussy mess in an otherwise empty white hallway.

    We don't use the extension in the master bedroom, but would like one in the study for the internet to avoid having the cable going down the hall and up the stairs. Electrician suggested that if we put an extension socket in the study (wired through the garage, rather than along the skirting), we could use it for both internet and telephone, which would mean not needing the extension in the hallway. He would remove the extension in the hallway and replace the GPO faceplate, so we would have nothing plugged in, making the hallway and stairs, cable and plug free, with one new white faceplate.

    Does that make sense? Are we allowed to do that? If not, how else could we do it, please? Are you not supposed to change the main socket at all? Not even to change to a new white faceplate?

    Would it be best to leave the old GPO faceplate and just change the cover for the hallway extension, thereby leaving it as an extra socket? Or can the GPO faceplate be changed to a socket instead?

    Oh dear, I think i've even confused myself trying to explain it, sorry!
  • MyserMyser Forumite
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    If you don't have an NTE5 socket, you can ask your telephone provider to have one fitted - there may be a charge for this:

    image.php?type=P&id=16150

    Your telephone provider will instruct BT Openreach to carry out the work; even if you are with BT for your telephone line.

    Bear in mind that if you opt for fibre broadband in the future, the router would be connected to the NTE5 via a VDSL faceplate by the installer. So you may want to ask for the NTE5 to be installed in the study.

    Once the NTE5 is in place, you or your electrician can then add additional extensions without breaking any terms and conditions.
    If my post hasn't helped you, then don't click the 'Thanks' button! ;)
  • edited 17 October 2013 at 2:38PM
    2013yearofthehouse2013yearofthehouse Forumite
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    edited 17 October 2013 at 2:38PM
    Thanks very much, we'll have a rethink on the telephone/internet then.


    I'm going to ring a couple of different electricians and ask about the EICR though I think. Should they need to visit the house to quote first or do they tend to be a set fee that they can give me over the phone? Well, presumably I should still need to get their price in writing before hiring them?


    In the meantime, had another quote through. It doesn't include quite as much as the first, so is comparable to about £1700 out of the £2000 of the first quote. This company didn't mention moving the fusebox lower, but they did mention moving the garage light switch from the house hallway to inside the garage (we have no internal door to the garage, so they thought this was a good idea).

    Replace existing fuse board in garage and fit new meter tails
    Replace main earth bonding wires to electricity incoming connection
    gas pipe at meter position
    Water pipe at incoming stopcock
    Replace all existing 13 amp twin switch sockets
    Replace existing single 13 amp points with twin switch sockets
    Replace all existing plate switches/dimmers
    Replace all existing pendants
    Wire 13 amp point for washing machine under worktop
    Supply and fit replacement extractor fan to ground floor toilet
    Wire new telephone cable to study first floor
    Reposition switch to garage light

    Fully test wiring system and provide 17th edition certificate for the electrical installation

    Materials cost £415
    Labour 3 days x 2 persons £816
    Total £1231


    It's obviously been priced differently, so is harder to compare, but total price is almost £500 lower. If the first quotes prices were considered about right, does that make this one too low?

    Thanks :)
  • fluffpotfluffpot Forumite
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    Gut instinct is also worth considering as well as price- afte rall these people will be working in your home and you will need to deal with them on a daily basis

    Good luck
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