House revamp, total rewire to include AV and data cable runs... advice sought

I'm renovating and improving a typical 3-bed-semi, in North London.
The property has been gutted and stripped back to brick, internal walls have been moved around and an extension is being added to the rear. The whole place will be rewired and new plumbing is going in, including re-siting of the boiler and consumer unit, after which everything will be freshly re-plastered and decorated.
It's not a huge dwelling but we are looking to do the best we can for the budget we have, which is fairly reasonable for the type of property in question.
In conjunction with the 'mains power' and 'lighting' circuits rewire, throughout the house, I want to take advantage of the opportunity of having the walls "bare", to also install hard-wiring for AV, computer data, telephony and security alarm networks, to every part of the house.
Whilst the budget may not stretch far enough, at present, to give me everything I'd like, component-wise, in the pursuit of the perfect AV experience, I am determined to 'future-proof' the installation as much as I can, now, in terms of 'buried' cable, to avoid having to 'surface- run' cables, at a later date, as the services get upgraded. For example, the 4 flatscreen TVs that are being installed (2 up and 2 down) will, for now, need to receive and control feeds from the central entertainment system(s) located in the rear living room (Sky digital/plus/HD, analog TV, DVD player, Hi-Fi etc); Eventually, each of these TVs will get their own Sky digi-boxes, as part of a Sky Multi- room set-up, in HD, whilst still being able to receive sources from the central entertainment system.
Likewise, all rooms in the house will have RJ45 and RJ11 wall plates for ethernet computer networking, broadband internet access and telephony, as a 'fail-safe' backup to the Wi-Fi network and DECT cordless phone systems that will be present (although these will use 'off-the-shelf' components and will not be a 'designed' system.
Hardwiring also needs to be installed for a security alarm system, which may or may not be connected to a central monitoring service.
Obviously, a multi-service system such as the above, initially suggests numerous runs of different types of cabling, each specific to the signal being transmitted from point to point, i.e. co-ax, satellite cable, bell wire, CAT5 etc.
Then I saw this... http://www.bluedelta.co.uk/milestone_system.htm which claims to provide distribution of all AV feeds, over a CAT5 network, to multiple remote slaves. It also supports remote IR control over the source components, wherever they are located. It has left me wondering how much of the installation can be done using CAT5 alone? I can understand the 'slaves' accessing and controlling the 'master' feeds, but how would it deal with Sky plus/multiroom/HD at each of the 4 locations? Do I run multiple satellite cables to each location (1 for digi, 1 for Plus and 1 for HD) and put the digi-box at that point, or do I put all the digi-boxes, for each room, in a stack, in the same central location and then feed their signals out over the CAT5 network via the Milestone 2.0 system? Does Milestone need its own CAT5 network or can it share it with other data systems, i.e. broadband, ethernet, alarm system etc?
I emailed BlueDelta (creators of Milestone) with these questions about a week ago, but have yet to hear back.
So, does anyone here have any experience with this system and/or help, advice and suggestions that could aid me in my quest?
Many thanks, Dean
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think this was written just for you: http://www.wiki.diyfaq.org.uk/index.php?title=Low_Voltage_Wiring
NT
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Don't forget mains-powered interconnected smoke alarms (heat alarm in kitchen).
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"rrh" wrote

Heat alarm in garage also, if garage is connected or integral. Route interconnecting cable away from fluorescents. Power the alarms from low usage, no-spike ring main (avoid boilers, fridges, freezers and other heavy users), not lighting circuit.
Phil
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There's no garage, but thanks all the same and that's useful info about sources of interference. The number of ring mains and ways on the board is also something I'm tackling right now and, of course, by the end of this month, it will all have to be RCD protected, which I personally think is wrong for lighting circuits.
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"deano" wrote

Why all RCD? Can't you install a split box? I am not an electrician! Is your earth arrangement such that everything has to be RCD protected? The info on alarms was from experience but is covered quited well in this months Professional Electrician if you can lay hands on a copy.
Phil
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TheScullster coughed up some electrons that declared:

I may be wrong, but I believe the current thinking is that fire alarms *should* be on the lighting circuit, on the grounds that you are more likely to notice a lighting circuit failure.
This may possibly be affected by the type of backup battery in the alarms?
Cheers
Tim
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Thanks for the reminder.
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On Wed, 11 Jun 2008 14:27:34 -0700, deano wrote:

Have a look at what office blocks do with 'soak wiring' with cat-5 or cat-6. Basically while it's easy you install *lots* of cat-5. I've yet to see a place that's got too much - even an office with 4 RJ-45s every 2m ran out eventually.
Use wired cat-5 for all static PCs (laptops are usually OK on wireless) as the speed and connection quality over wired still beats wireless hands down - remember you probably won't only have 4Mb/s broadband going along them but may well eventually end up with a home media server sending Gigabytes to various different PCs at the same time.
You can get all sorts of converters for RJ-45s with Cat-5, called baluns, which turn them into RJ-11s or BT 631(?) sockets for standard phones if you want.
At a pinch cat-5 can also be used for CCTV, audio etc etc. But basically if you're technically switched on (and from the sound of that entertainment setup, you are) then you'll need lots of wires.
If it was me I'd try and have data trunking with plenty of space installed rather than just hoping there's enough cat-5 buried in the walls. And make sure they don't mix data and mains in the same trunk.
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PCPaul wrote:

<snip>
Use cat-6. That gives you gigabit, which you're bond to need in a couple of years.
But the killer is that *whatever* you do it isn't going to be right for long. Maybe you should put optic fibres in - but which sort?
I suggest you bury ducts in the walls that you can feed whatever cable you need into later without demolishing the whole house. Separate ones for mains and LV too, it keeps BT happy.
Andy
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Andy Champ coughed up some electrons that declared:

5e is good enough for gig to 100m and much easier to work with. 6a is good for 10gig - is that what you meant?

If you can get some Cat 7, you might manage 100gbit/s by about 2013. If you can find anything to drive it at wire speed...

I think that's the way to go. Oval conduit should be fine - keep the joints bewtixt the backbox and conduit clear of plaster and you can pull and replace with relative ease. Seriously, if one decides to relocate the HIFI, it could be very convenient to yank out the Cat 5/6/7 if only to drop some loudspeaker cable or an aerial feed in.
Cheers
Tim
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Tim S wrote:

No, it isn't. I was wrong. I'm not up on this modern stuff, I remember 10base5 - and that *was* a challenge to handle.
Andy
(BTW according to Wikipedia, gigabit was designed to run on plain cat5. You might not need 5e)
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Andy Champ coughed up some electrons that declared:

I remember the vampire taps - but never had the "pleasure" of doing one.

That's the funny thing. 5 and 5e are basically the same design of cable, but 5e's tested to, and passes, a higher spec. Come to think of it, a fair bit of my house is done in Cat 5 and it's running gig. Usually it works as you say, but in a commercial setting (ie paying lots of money) you would always insist on the correct standard.
Cheers
Tim
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http://www.wiki.diyfaq.org.uk/index.php?title=Audio_distribution
NT
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