Why would I need to rewire?
If a property has not been rewired within the last 15 years or so, there is a possibility that much of the existing wiring will require upgrading to bring it in line with current standards.
If you are considering major refurbishments that constitute a material alteration as defined in Part 2 of The Building Regulations 2010, there is a strong likelihood of needing a replacement consumer unit (fuse box) as well as substantial, if not full, rewiring.
Extensions and conversions comprise new work, and must therefore meet the Part P: Electrical Safety guidelines in full. In addition, all existing wiring needs to be brought up to standard to ensure that the additional load created by the new work can be handled safely and that cross bonding and earthing requirements are met.
We can generally tell whether a house or flat has been recently rewired by inspecting the consumer unit, electricity metre and any exposed areas. If you are looking at buying property, it is often a good idea to have these inspections made to avoid unexpected surprises. A house with an outdated fuse box, for example, or with a mixture of sockets and switches or surface-mounted wiring, may well require a complete rewiring.
Signs that a rewire may be necessary:
- New works
- Refurbishments constituting a material alteration
- An outdated fuse box/consumer unit
- A mixture of styles of switches and sockets
- Surface-mounted wiring
- Non-PVCu-insulated wiring (particularly rubber, fabric or lead-insulated wiring)
- Old-style round pin sockets and dolly switches
A qualified electrician can provide an inspection and survey to ascertain the extent of the rewiring necessary. A full survey and report may well save you money in the long time and allow you to budget more accurately.
Costs of rewiring differ depending on the size of the property in question and amount of remedial decoration work required. For this reason, it can pay to get the advice of an electrician as early in refurbishment works as possible. Rewiring during the first-fix stage will ensure that other work does not need redoing and that the electrician can access all areas necessary without difficulty.
For more information, see the wiring pages at Homebuilding and Renovating.