Well actually this is my first post on the subject, but my searches
did not find answers to my queries. Be warned, this is a relatively
long post, so if you need the loo then go now and if you are in a rush
then don't bother reading this....
I'm in the process of some major DIY work around my house, I have
ceilings down, busy plastering walls and putting in some simple
plumbing for a new toilet and other. In the process I have been
looking up at the upstairs wiring from underneath, and poking around
finally tracing all my wiring circuits.
Naturally I have come to conclusion that in 135+ years the wiring has
evolved into "a right bloody mess" (yes, I know its not going to be
all that time). Rings have been added to and spurred to death. Some of
the wiring is archaic. There are numerous examples of non BS7671
compliance to the modern versions that might of been ok back then, and
no doubt are not placing me in imminent danger - but I would like
removed and replaced.
So a staged rewire is called for - since I have such splendid access
to large parts of my house I can put in new circuits and then remove
the old. If I do this circuit by circuit then I should be able to
manage the transition in a week off work.
Which brings me to our old favorite discussion of Part P. I have
lurked around enough to know this is an emotive subject.
I am not by my nature inclined to rush into things - I have had a
month or two to think about this. I have in that time acquired off
eBay and other net sources full NICEIC docs, IEE onsite/testing, two
complete fixed installation training course, complete 7671 and other
misc matieral. I have also acquired a almost full suite of test
equipment (ok, some of it is outside calibration by a year or so) and
done a complete test run on one of the existing circuits (which it all
passed, apart from a single polarity fault). Its amazing what you can
pick up on the internet these days. I have also, on paper, been
designing the new circuits I want, the changes required to the
consumer unit, where conduit is required and so forth. I have also
already added in some missing bonding. In a few more weeks of reading
and research I will count myself ready to actually do some real work
on the house.
Yes, I know house wiring is not complicated - some of the newer parts
of my mess I did myself before Part P came into force. But I can
appreciate now - I did not before I read all the documentation - that
it is not a simple as I once thought, and there are many pitfalls that
can turn a safe installation into a dangerous one. I will gladly eat
some humble pie and my metaphorical hat for some of my more virulent
anti Part P rantings years ago.
Anyhow, now I am trying to legally - and I stress the point legally -
rewire sections of my house. I am not interested in dropping in some
pre Part P non harmonized wires in a wall and pretending it was done
in 2003. I am not interested in a potentially unsafe installation. I
am ONLY interested in wiring that meets 7671, is certified as tested
by an approved person and is signed of by building control. I have
already put in for a building notice for a staged rewiring. I need
legal cover on this to keep my house insurance legit, and frankly I
would want it for my peace of mind as well.
I added the other background information, just so people would
(hopefully) get the idea that I am not blundering blindly into
dangerous waters without carrying out as much research as I can.
These are my options as I see them.
1. chase out, remove boards, cut box holes and in every way prepare
the groundwork for each circuit and then get an approved person out to
fit and test. This has the advantage of getting certification for
design and installation as well as testing.
2. as above, then fit the circuit and test it all myself before
commissioning it. I then get the work inspected for 7671 and use the
test certificate to close of the building notice - building control
are happy with this (several long conversations with them). they will
not test wiring, they are only interested in any changes I make to the
material fabric of the building. I do this circuit by circuit.
3. as above for all circuits one by one and then get them all tested
simultaneously. probably the cheapest of all, but means I will be
running my house on formally untested wiring for a week or so.
Does anybody have any comments?
I think a good compromise is to wire up a simple circuit, then test
that to gain confidence and gain feedback from the chosen approved
contractor before tackling the rest. I intend that all chases will be
covered with a plastering duct nailed to the wall until the work is
certified - only then will I fill and plaster. Does this sound
7671 has another few items of note for me - there are some
requirements for complete rewires or major works (like mains smokes,
heat detectors) that I assume I now need to add a few new circuits
A big problem I have is under the ground floor, I need to buy a cavity
access kit to get though the TnG flooring. The floor is suspended over
the original concrete shop floor (think concrete, 8 inches of air then
joists then floor). I cannot remove the floor and the cavity access
kit will give me a few little 7" holes to feed wires through. My first
thought was to use MI or armoured cable (in case rodents ever get
under the floor) and then feed enough through so the cables lie along
the old concrete shop floor. This will be expensive - but it would
support the cable and prevent the classic fire risk of rats eating
thermoplastic*, can anybody advise if this is a good idea? (the
current solution has wiring behind skirting boards not designed for
the job, and has to go - I deactivated that circuit already).
*I don't think I have rats, or any other rodent. In any case running
over concrete there is very little fire risk. But why take the chance?
peace of mind is cheap at the cost of better cable.
I need a new consumer unit, and even though there is a rather large
isolation switch between the tails and my consumer unit - I am not
doing this job. I know enough not to venture where my confidence is
not absolute. The existing one does not support a split RCD layout to
separate the circuits as advised by 7671 - or it might do and I only
need to rearrange and fit RCDs, I'll take advice on this one.
Lastly I need a competent person to inspect. As far I am aware there
are two tiers - competent people and full certified body approved like
the NICEIC. What is the minimum I should look for in terms of who to
If anybody has any comment then please let me know, I am open to all
advice and comment. Any sparkys out there - your comments advice would
be invaluable, after all you do this stuff for your job. I don't, and
believe me I am aware of that.
I have noticed two attitudes I find puzzling in my research, maybe
this will sound familiar to some of you. Firstly the building control
attitude - they are simply not interested at all. The duty surveyor I
last spoke to more or less told me that everybody just made changes
and ignored part P, this I find incredible as it implies that many of
them have not read the T&C on their building insurance - or have no
insurance. More to the point, for building control to insinuate this
implies they find the whol thing to be a waste of time, they certainly
don't seem overly interested in the job. As long as I proffer
inspection certificates they they are happy, its not even certain that
they will ever inspect the job before completion.
The trade attitude is noticeable as well. There seems a total absolute
certainty that any DIY electrical work is a disaster area and we
(DIYers) should not be trusted with our own electric tooth brushes. I
found, frankly, the attitude of some trades people to be insulting. I
am definitely not tarring all trades people with the same brush, some
have been incredibly helpful and polite - but others have been
amazingly rude. The same attitude can be found in much of the trade
paperwork and instructions/documentation (of which I have alot now).
Is this generic? I can understand that there are some appallingly bad
DIYers out there - but there are also others who are exacting master
craftsmen in their own right. Has anybody else noticed this?
Back to continuing my research - if anybody has read this far or added
helpful comments then my grateful thanks. And if anybody can recommend
a NICEIC approved contractor who is willing to inspect in
- posted 12 years ago