DIYer planning house rewire

Discussion in 'Electricians' Talk' started by legit, Aug 19, 2004.

  1. legit

    legit New Member


    I'm just about to rewire a property that I've bought ready to let to 3 students - two bedrooms + one bathroom upstairs, extra bedroom + sitting room + kitchen downstairs, garage outside to be let separately - and was hoping one of you proffessionals could spoonfeed me a little advice. I've had one piece of advice already from a local sparkie telling me not to do it, but I'm not going to take him up on that one! Rest assured I know I shouldn't attempt to hook up the new consumer unit to the supply and will get a qualified electrician to come in after me.

    I've bought myself a great little book called the Which book of Wiring and Lighting and am confident about the wiring side of things - eg I've installed new lights in my own house and know what colour wire goes where etc - so its really some of the bigger details I'm not sure about such as how many ring circuits. Here are my questions:

    1. How should I plan my ring circuits? At the moment I believe I will need (MCB) lighting downstairs (including stairwell light), (MCB) lighting upstairs, (RCD) sockets downstairs, (RCD)sockets upstairs, (RCD) garage. Given that I will need interlinked smoke alarms and possibly a burglar alarm is this the best most modern arrangement? The cooker will be gas connected and the shower is mains powered.

    2. Any recommended split load consumer units? To keep things simple I will stick to MK branded. The supply is 100A

    3. As a separate job I'm going to board the loft and it already has insulation so I thought I would nail battons to the joists with gaps in for the perpendicular wiring What's the recommended depth for the battons? Also the cable will obviously need to dart down at some point to feed the upstairs lights - can I just leave a gap in the insulation for this?

    4. For the garage I don't want the renter to leave the light on accidentally because the students would be paying for the electric - is there any device that will automatically cut out after say half an hour?

    5. I'm always on the lookout for ideas to make life easier and so far have found a plug in ceiling rose, wireless doorbell and self adhesive trunking. any other bright ideas?

    All advice appreciated!
  2. gabriel

    gabriel New Member

    Install wiring for a cooker, the advantage with an electric cooker is that you don't have to get an annual gas check done on it...I'm talking student rentals here. Also telephone and CAT 5 ethernet sockets in each room whilst you have the floors up.

    Put a seperate meter in for the garage guy, it will save any possible arguments, especially if he uses a heater or something like that. He will need a socket in the garage surely?

    The circuit arrangement sounds O.K., you will need a seperate circuit for the shower and I would put the garage on a 30A MCB, with a small CU in the garage with an RCD on. To avoid the garage geek having to bother the students if the garage RCD trips in the house.

    Don't bother boarding the loft and certainly don't go for fancy bells and whistles..if it goes wrong you have to come out and fix it...Keep it simple...e.g. don't use motorised valves on the Central heating when you could use a gate valve. Don't use self adhesive trunking, it falls off eventually. You need to do a semi industrial wiring operation for a student rented property, no shortcuts and no innovation. Also a lot of areas in the country require student accomodation to be accredited by the local college/university. This will mean a proper electrical test, to show it complies with current IEE regs. Therefore earth bonding in the bathroom, red and black sleeving on the wires in appropriate places is all essential.
  3. legit

    legit New Member

    Hi gabriel thanks for your reply!

    A little more background: the property may not be for students in the long term as I will possibly rent it to proffessionals (the area is very up and coming but not there yet) and maybe even sell it on at a profit. The long and the short of it is that I want to remain flexible and therefore plan on doing those 'extra' jobs such as kit out the loft.

    Just read in my diy book that it can be a good idea to have a separate circuit for the kitchen, lots of appliances - do you agree with this?

    As for the garage, I'm advertising it as for parking only, so just an FCU for the remote control door rather than a plug (what do you think?) and no other sockets either. So it's just the light that I'm worried about.

    Is that self adhesive trunking **** even for embedding in plaster?

    I've had a visit from local accreditation and they even now insist that I fit a thumb latch lock rather than a key on external doors which is a burglars paradise on french doors. They really are turning the screw since I was last a student!
  4. ban-all-sheds

    ban-all-sheds New Member

    If you're planning to start this soon, then you should have begun your learning a lot earlier. For a rented property, I think the advice from your local sparky was the best you've had so far.

    Before you do anything, you do need to find an electrician who will be prepared to come in after you've done the work and connect up the CU. If you do it all yourself, including the CU, then just like anybody else you can have an electrician carry out a PIR, but if you want one to become complicit in your installation, find an amenable one first.
  5. ban-all-sheds

    ban-all-sheds New Member

    PS - why on earth would you want to use trunking embedded in plaster?
  6. dingbat

    dingbat New Member

    I'd have to concur with b-a-s here. If you asked me to test and commission your installation I'd want to see all cable runs before you covered them up and I'd need to inspect every single accessory. This would probably entail several visits, to check your work as you went along. It could end up costing you as much as if I'd done it all myself. To the regulations.

    To be honest, I'm not even sure I'd want the job unless you could convince me up front that you were competent. (And your quest for knowledge is, so far, unconvincing!)
  7. legit

    legit New Member

    Believe me it's not a task I'm taking lightly! I've read lots of literature including that book I mentioned and undertaken quite a few mini projects as well over a lengthy period of time and don't feel I could be better prepared for an enthusiast. Take your point about finding an 'amenable' sparkie, that's now high on my task list.
  8. legit

    legit New Member

    Dingbat, this wasn't just a whim that occurred to me this morning - how would an ameteur convince you they were competent anyway? As far as I can tell the actual rewiring part of this particular job counts for about 10% whereas the bulk of the work is chasing out, drilling etc. In fact scrub chasing out, because I've already stripped back the plaster to the masonary, so there would be no problem for the inspector seeing all the cable runs.
  9. Bright Spark

    Bright Spark New Member

    Dear G.

    Your methodology is fine but are you up to date with IEE regs on colours?
  10. Bright Spark

    Bright Spark New Member

    Superb reply!!!!!
  11. legit

    legit New Member

    G? Is this post to me?
    The only regulation on colours that I know of is changing over to European standards for fixed wiring, eg brown live, blue neutral. Is this what you're getting at?
  12. legit

    legit New Member

    G = Gabrielle? Little confused!!
  13. Bright Spark

    Bright Spark New Member

    Your enthusiasm is unquestionable, your tenacity is obvious and you are probably a nice guy or girl however, it is perfectly ok to add a socket to you existing installation or even go as far as changing a fuse in a plug HOWEVER,for ANY installation that will provide an electrical installation intended for public use all be it short term or long term rental has 3 requirements;

    1. Safety to BS 7671

    2. The installer or person confirming the safety of the installation is competent (In May 2003 the Government announced that it would introduce a new Part to the Building Regulations, The Competent Persons Part).

    3. Confirmation that the installation is safe for use by the public.

    I'm sure you want to comply with all of the above and adhere to both local and national building and legal requirements however, I strongly suggest that you employ a qualified electrician to carry out the proposed work as any failure in safety now will later on result in a legal claim.

    You are obviously smart, now be clever!!! elmpoy a PROFESSIONAL!
  14. Bright Spark

    Bright Spark New Member


    This was a reply from me 'Bright Spark' read on....
  15. ban-all-sheds

    ban-all-sheds New Member

    Actually, BS, that's BS.

    There are no extra laws, rules or regulations that apply to the installations in rented property, only to the appliances.

    And until 01/01/05, Part P does not apply.

    Letting agents, and colleges looking for student accommodation will want to see a PIR, but not a Design & Install Cert.
  16. Damocles

    Damocles New Member

    So get it done this year, which I imagine you are keen to do anyway. As to cable colours, if you havn't read it elsewhere, red and black are being replaced, but its perfectly ok to still use them now.
  17. legit

    legit New Member

    Decided to add an extra circuit for the kitchen after all and go down to my local electrical shop for a consumer unit. As for the batons for the loft boards, 1 inch depth seems plenty to me to protect the cables and keep them clear of the rockwool. Still don't know about the cutout timer for the garage lights, but it's not urgent.

    Thanks guys for your time and admonishments, now I must go and put up the mounting boxes. Without doubt I am finding this the most difficult part - eg will the toaster go there or there and where will the best position for the TV be?
  18. Dr Who

    Dr Who New Member

    As your property is not a new build part M of the building regs does not strictly apply....The part that states that sockets need to be at least 450mm above the floor and light switches must not be more than 1200mm from the floor etc.

    I don't know whether you know about these requirements or have considered them as an option? As you are letting the property out you may want to still consider these requirements as you may get enquiries from disabled students?

    Just a thought!

    Dr Who
  19. ban-all-sheds

    ban-all-sheds New Member

  20. Tangoman

    Tangoman Well-Known Member

    A fluorescent tube in the garage will consume so little energy that even left on permanently would cost the students very little.


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