We want to get our electricity meter moved from above the door at one
end of our house to next to our new back door when we get our extension
Southern Electric have sent out a form to fill in which has the
"The metering equipment and your fuse box should be located about 1.2m
from floor level and cannot be re-sited to a damp or exposed situation,
a bedroom, bathroom, toilet, shower room, near heating or laundry
appliances or a gas meter (unless in a separate kiosk) or under or
adjacent to a sink and must be accessible to enable safety inspections
to be carried out without removing fixtures"
Now this has put a bit of a spanner in the works because we wanted to
put the consumer unit on the wall above where the washing machine is
going. There also isn't another very good place to put it: the door
opens into a utility/laundry and the only other possible place is over a
sink. We want to squeeze the gas boiler in there as well. In addition,
1.2m seems very low off the ground.
Does anyone know what the current wiring regs actually say for siting
I suspect the 1.2m figure comes from the general principle of sections
4.30 and 8.3 of part M of the Building Regulations, but I emphasise
that's just speculation on my part.
This would be to ensure that people with limited mobility and/or sight
can get reasonably comfortable access to the consumer unit and be able
to read the electricity meter.
I reckon 1.2m is an approximation, I would say that above the sink is a
definite no no, and just site it above the washing machine in it's own
purpose built kiosk (cupboard) satisfying the distance to gas concern and
prevention of water splashes or leaks events. Then make sure that the room
is well ventilated and that any dryers you have are securely vented out of
the room to prevent condensation building up.
I have a condenser dryer, but you do have to keep the filters clean and
empty the filler tank quite regularly to prevent moisture leakage.
Please be aware that this information is only my opinion and I am not an
approved electrician. But hopefully someone who is will agree, as you stated
that this is the only reasonable space to install the CU without incurring
additional costs siting elsewhere.
Thanks for that (and to everyone else who replied).
I've had a word with Southern Electric now, they are happy with having
the consumer unit located above a washing machine. So the problem was
just that the wording on the form they sent out was unclear and above
and beyond the wiring regs.
Not a great deal, specifically.
Non specifically: ideally it will be "accessible" and in a position suitable
for the equipment. Under a sink would be bad, due to the risk of water.
You shouldn't have to faff or remove fixtures to isolate a circuit in an
emergency. Excessive grease fumes or steam isn't good for the little
Part M would have it at the heights they mention, but if you're not bound by
Part M requirements, then ignore it.
But over the washing machine sounds fine. I think Southern are more worried
about where their meter is going, which I presume will be on the other side
of the wall, outside, in a box? They usually want the next fuse/isolator
within 2m-4m of their meter.
It's a case of being reasonably practical.
Mine's going over a doorway, 2.2m high, because it's either that, or halfway
up the stairs (less good) or me running 25mm2 armoured cable round the
house to the next sensible position, and I discounted that as that sort of
cable's a ****** to work with.
At least, should I ever become knackered enough to be in a wheelchair, I can
still poke the RCBOs with a stick.
I don't know the answer to the OP's question, but the above paragraph made
me smile more than somewhat.
The council house in which I was brought up was built in the early 1930's -
originally without electricity. It originally had an L-shaped kitchen, with
a bath in one leg of the L (subsequently partitioned off into a separate
room before I was born). When electricity came to the village, the
meter/fusebox was installed high up on the wall immediately over the bath -
so that you could touch it if you stood up in the bath!
In my current house - built in the 1960's - the gas and electricity meters
were installed side by side on the inside wall of the garage (not readable
from outside) with nothing separating them. When the garage was converted
into a dining room (before I bought the house) a full-height cupboard was
built round them to hide them. When I did a refurb on the dining room, I
reduced the size of this cupboard and - because someone had told me that
elctricity and gas meters shouldn't be in the same compartment - I put a
board down the centre of the cupboard to separate the meters, but the two
compartments are not hermetically sealed from each other. Numerous meter
readers - for both gas and electricity - have come and done their stuff, and
the gas main has been lined with plastic pipe, and no-one has ever commented
on the proximity of the meters.
Safety is obviously important, and no-one in their right mind would nowadays
advocate siting an electricity meter in reach of someone standing in a bath
of water - but I suspect that, as in many other areas, the current regs have
gone somewhat OTT!
There seems to be some confusion between consumer unit (the subject of
your post) and meter (the subject of SE's form). Does SE's "fuse box"
refer to the "consumer unit" or the main fuse that is usually co-
located with the meter?
Elsewhere in the documents they sent me, it says "Please note that the
quotation will not include the cost of moving your main fuses (fuse box
/ consumer unit) or wiring and you must consult a Registered Electrical
Contractor to do this."
So I think that "fuse box" means the consumer unit.
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