Does my wiring need testing, and do I have to have it done?

Installations should be inspected, tested and a report produced, at change of occupancy (buying,
selling, or rental), change of use, or at least once every:

10 years for houses and flats.
-5 years for shops and some other commercial premises.
-More frequently for places like caravans, caravan parks, factories, etc.

The report is invaluable for the safety of people using the system, and for buying, selling or rental
of the property. It is also essential for compliance with things like insurance, employment law, fire
regulations, and risk assessments. If you don’t have one, or the one you have is out of date, then you need to have one produced.

Why does the gas and water pipework need connecting to the electrical system?

This is called ‘main protective bonding’. It is an essential part of the electrical safety of the property, and provides some of the protection required in the event of a fault. It’s connection must be verified whenever work is carried out on the electrical installation, and any problems with it must be rectified as part of the addition / alteration.

What is an RCD?

An RCD (residual current device) is a protective device that cuts off the power in the event of a fault on the system. The Wiring Regulations now require almost every section of an electrical installation to have these fitted somewhere. The easiest way to provide this protection is to fit a consumer unit (or fusebox) that has RCD protection built in. Used in conjunction with MCB’s (miniature circuit breakers) for each circuit, properly and correctly labelled so you know exactly what is connected to each one, the system will be as safe and simple to use as it can be.

Will the electrical work be disruptive and make a mess?

Some electrical work requires lifting carpets and floorboards, chasing out channels in plaster, drilling, noise, dust etc – none of which is very pleasant in your clean home or tidy workplace. We are well aware of the need to keep disturbance and mess to an absolute minimum. We’ll make sure it’s convenient before we switch off to safely work on the system, and we’ll make plenty of use of our dust sheets, floor protectors and hoovers. Everything will be clean and tidy when we’re finished, and all furniture will be moved and put back by us as necessary. A tidy workplace is safer for everyone, keeps the customer happier, and makes sure we have less to do at the end of the job! If we make the mess, we’ll clear it up!

Do older properties always need a complete rewire?

No. We regularly go to properties where the wiring was done years ago, but because it was done well, and any alterations or additions have been done properly, it’s still all perfectly safe.

On the other hand, we also go to recently done jobs, where electrical work has been carried out badly, sometimes dangerously, and have to tell the customer that it simply isn’t safe, and sometimes needs re­doing. It’s important to use someone competent, who will do the work properly, and provide all necessary paperwork, certificates, and warranties that are available.

Should I have smoke alarms?

Larger electrical jobs, such as rewires and loft conversions, require smoke and heat detectors to be fitted as standard, at the same time as the rest of the work. These need to be connected to the electrical system, so free standing battery ones, although undoubtedly better than nothing, do not comply. We install alarms that are mains powered, with battery back­up, that are all linked. In the event of fire anywhere in the property, all alarms will sound throughout, and everyone will have the earliest possible warning of the danger.