just looking at clearances on sockets, and space needed for cable to go down
beneath the plug then bend.
Looking at it, I realised that things would be much easier if the socket was
the other way up - so the cable exited up the wall.
Taking it one step further there must be instances where a socket on its
side would make access easier.
So is there any major safety reason why plugs have the earth pin at the top
and the live/neutral at the bottom?
Reminds me of a job i was on once :-)
A house was being completely refurbed and the plumbers and electrics all
went in to the kitchen and did their thing ... usual scenario ........
bottom of boxes 1060mm from the floor ...... no one told them that there was
plans to screed the floor 4" and then lay quarry tiles before the units went
in ...... sockets ended up almost resting on the worksurface ..... the
electrician decided to put the sockets in upside down because, otherwise
there would have been no room for the cable, and told the client that it was
a new UK regulation.
It wouldn't be a problem if we weren't putting a desk with a metal foot up
against the wall where the socket is going.
As the cable is going directly upwards, then through a hole in the back of
the desk, it seemed more practical to have the plug with the cable emerging
Turning the plug round if/when we move the desk is not a problem.
IIRC (and a quick Google didn't give an answer) sockets are supposed to be
quite high up the wall to assist disabled access.
Anyone got the curent min/max height?
This is not regulation, it's only guidelines to work by. New public
buildings must be freely accessible by the disabled, both in its entry and
exit doors and the other facilities it offers, or the builder can be fined
rather a lot of money, so rather than go for a fine, the builders are
following guidelines which tell them what people with disabilities need.
If it was a general regulation that all new house builds were to have
wheelchair access, then they wouldn't be able to use staircases to get to
houses higher up in a block of flats. So the height of sockets is still
only a requirement on new builds so they can be occupied and used by a
person with a disability if needed, without the need to remodel or alter it.
Question is, after you have your nice shiny new-build or material extension
according to Regs, is there anything to stop you retro-fitting all the
sockets back to a normal height to suit the decor/normal usage?
email me at
richard at olifant d-ot co do-t uk
New building regs state the height of sockets and switches in dwellings to be
installed so that all persons including those whose reach is impaired can
easilly use them. A way of satisfying the regs is to install them between 450
mm and 1200mm. The regs do not apply to kitchens or garages but specifically
only to rooms that visitors would normally use.
This is for new builds and as far as I know, extensions can be left at the old
height. It would look rather silly in an extended living room to have 4 sockets
at 6 inches and 4 at 18 inches
Number one son, in a brand new ground floor flat (Very North Sctland) has
most of his sockets mounted about 6 to 8 inches from the floor. No where
near the 450 to 1200mm mentioned above.
In older properties this is the norm' but newer legislation is allowing for
disability in the height requirements, making for ease of use by people in
wheelchairs or who have difficulty in bending down. You're also getting
older and might find that one day, you to would like to be able to plug in
your tele' without having to bend over to far and aggravate your arthritis.
The younger maid used to do all these jobs in days of yore'. :-))
How many appliances do you actually plug and unplug?
The black and deceker. Ok so granny camn do her won filings.
The vacum ckleaner. Mmm. If she can';t get out of teh effin wheelchair
teh vacuum cleaner seems a bit strange
The iron. Ditto.
Her hair curlers. Ok she camn do that in teh kitchen where the sockets
are hogher can't she.
Its boloocks. 99% of sockets are either never used, or never unplugged
What is the most comkon thing after a vacuum cleaner, iron or hairdryer
that nees unplugging.
Light bulbs. Shame they didn't make THOSE between 450m and 1200mm. :-)
So you think people in wheelchairs don't iron their clothes or use vacuum
cleaners ? My mother was wheelchair bound after an accident and still went
about her normal life of ironing the clothes and vacuuming the house. We
lifted all the sockets, and put new ones in, so she could reach them easier.
I think after you've seen how someone in a wheelchair can be just as
independent as everyone else, then you'll realise how stupid your last reply
OK, they might not find it too difficult to bend over and plug something in,
but doing this all the time can cause more injury and discomfort to the
person than is really necessary in everyday life. So isn't it easier to
make small adjustments right at the start ? It make the things we use
everyday to make it easier and more comfortable for everyone to use.
I think you might look back one day and say to yourself, boy, I could've
done with lifting these sockets a bit higher up the wall when I had the
chance. Everyone gets older and finds it more difficult to bend or stoop to
plug the iron in the wall socket, so why not do it right at the start of the
build ? That way, everyone can use them without discomfort.
When I stop and think about it, after we did the remodelling for my Mum, we
all found things were easier to get at and use, so why didn't we have it
like that in the beginning ? Weird. :-))
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