Carrying out a rewire will require a large amount of disruption to the main fabric of a property. It is likely that all switches, fittings, sockets and the consumer unit will be replaced and require new wiring. A total rewire will involve two stages of working; first fix and second fix. All first fix work will take place before plastering work and, usually, at the same time as any central heating and plumbing work. This is to ensure all cabling is hidden so the installation will involve lifting the floor coverings and floorboards and possibly the skirting boards too, chasing out channels in the walls and possibly in some ceilings that are inaccessible from above.
As well as installing new cabling, first fix stage may involve fitting new back boxes for all sockets and switches. In addition to rewiring for all power and lighting circuits, it is a good opportunity to rewire for modern central heating controls, alarms, smoke detectors and doorbells, to add outdoor lighting and sockets, and to rewire the telephones and television aerial sockets. It is also worth redesigning the wiring plan for sockets and switches to make sure it meets your needs and those of modern house buyers. Think about specifying two-way or even three-way switching for hallways and landings and other rooms with more than one main access. For a high-value property, consider adding a separate circuit with separate switching for table and standard lamps in the main living rooms and principal bedrooms.
It may also be worth considering adding automated lighting, home network cablings, speaker cabling and other modern technology. Second fix Once the first fix stage has been completed, the property can be re-plastered or the walls and ceilings filled and made good, and the flooring replaced. The second fix work can then proceed fitting sockets and switch plates, light fittings, the consumer unit and wiring any electric fans, cookers, extractor hoods, electric showers and the immersion heater, if there is a hot water storage cylinder. Partial rewire A full rewire can be avoided, providing the existing cabling is sound and able to carry any additional loads. It also may be possible to upgrade it by adding a modern consumer unit and upgrading the earthing and bonding.
Having a full rewire will bring the electrical installation in your property up-to-date with the latest wiring regulations. It will also give you the opportunity to modernise your home with a new consumer unit containing residual current devices (RCDs) and circuit breakers, additional sockets to suit your needs (including USB sockets should you so wish) and the most up-to-date, modern wiring available. It can also be costly and we recommend that you get at least three quotes before arranging for an electrician to carry out a full rewire – as the prices quoted could be markedly different. However, please be aware that the lowest cost does not always mean the best job – so do your research carefully and maybe look at examples of other rewires carried out by the firm you choose to go with.
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