Wednesday, 18 September 2013

It's Electrifying!

As mentioned last week, we have hit quite a few house renovation milestones recently, a biggy being the completion of the rewire of the main part of the house, along with everything else it was delayed due to my surgery.  

The post title is a little homage to my husbands nephew who is in Grease at the end of the month with the Reading Operatic Society, so hopefully we can make one of the performances to support him, and you know I love a song title pun...Plus I have chills, which are indeed multiplying; now the weather has turned we really must get some radiators plumbed in...anyway, I digress.    

When we moved in, the house was a total death trap, there were old circuits from the 60s, no earth, plugs and lights on the same circuit, exposed wiring outside in all elements, and no RCD protection....You know just how much trouble you are in when your sparky tells you categorically to turn off the sockets before you leave the house...and to remove the socket splitter immediately, so you miss recording your fave programmes on the TiVo as the house will burn down...eek!

It was a long old process as we were living in the house while it was being done, and it could only be livened up once the plastering was completed.  All in all, it took over 6 months start to finish, little bits here and there to fit in with other trades, my op recuperation and the electricians availability, too long really but never mind we got there in the end.  We saved a few pennies by channelling in some of the new boxes and new wiring positions, but it still was quite a few beans to get up to modern standards. 

The first job we had done in February was a new RCD fuse box, this ensures we were not electrocuted if we touched anything, because you weren't sure before if you would live or die drying your hair, out with old 4 gang Bakelite box and in with a 16 gang modern box...




Next job was running all the wires for all of the new circuits, this is disruptive as every room is affected, it was here we realised the entire house was going to need to be plastered, we thought we could get away with the downstairs, but nope not this money pit.  As soon as the SDS drill or chisel touched the plaster to channel a neat groove, the whole wall basically fell off in a huge chunk.

Living with wires (they were dead) hanging out everywhere was a pain in the bum, and it was here we had to wave goodbye to the only original feature left in the house...the hallway coving...it wasn't in great shape, and the corbels and arch had gone long ago, like this here but not so grand to make way for the steel to support the arch between the living and dining rooms...perhaps we'll put them back someday.



Paper shades when we first moved in,
made it a bit more homely

We did the usual and got a couple of quotes, one from a big firm, and one from the electrician our neighbours had used as they were happy with the guy...the guy trading on his own came out cheaper by well over £2000, and that was with a hefty 25% discount from the big firm as my dad works for them...as the one man band had come with a recommendation, we skipped getting more quotes and took the plunge...it seemed like a no brainer.

Now the guy we went with did an average job overall, but there were some snags.  Firstly he was a very messy worker, which in our house that was a bomb site, may seem irrelevant, but it annoyed me A LOT, this might be the "losing control" part...he left bits of snipped wire all over the place, which of course I had to wrestle out of the mutt's mouth, cable clips with nails, same!  Also, he was guilty of quite a common tradesman foible...not getting the dirty work all done in one room all at once, as he went off to another job, we thought he was done, so we cleaned our only liveable room after his visit, changed the bedding and dusted and vacuumed for hours, he came back and made more mess the next day, and walked all over the clean bedding with filthy boots...I made Matthew be there for his next visit.  Now I am not unreasonable, you can stand on my bed, but at least take your shoes off.  Anyway there were a few other things too, some stuff Matthew had to straighten and attach properly, and so on, and a wonky fitting cut into our in our brand new bathroom ceiling **smacks forehead**.  

Some of it I know I am being a crazed perfectionist.  Overall though, it still was bloody great value for money, and now we are safe as houses with a certificate to prove it.  I did become more vocal towards the end, but; and this is probably a mistake, I did not have it all out at the time of each incident, well we live and learn. 

Cost of Work

Labour
New RCD Box Supply & Fitting £420
Remainder of Re-wire £2011.51, paid in instalments as the work was completed

Other
Living Room Light Fittings £250
Bathroom Spotlights £170
Bathroom Sconces £24 for two...Bargain from Ikea
Outside Storm Porch Light £32
Heat & Smoke Detectors £60 approx.
Fancypants Switch Boxes £323.14
Other sundries, basic ceiling roses, white switches and switch boxes £50 approx.

Total so far: £3290.65

Now, this value will increase a little as we are still missing some fancy switch boxes for some sockets, plus we have 4 light fittings to get at some stage for the hallway and landing, and one for the guest bed / office room, we already have one from our old place for the master bedroom.  Plus the kitchen and the back of the property needs to be fully re-designed and fitted out too, but thats for next year when we tackle that beast...Hahaha, almost forgot, the bathroom lighting was spliced into the only one lighting circuit, which had to be disconnected for safety, so we have a battery operated LED wardrobe light for now...that was another £10.  Holy crap...it's the other bits and bobs where this bad boy starts to mount up.  Crazy!

Now, I am keeping quiet about the light fittings, we got some great bargains, so you will see them when we start to reveal decorated rooms, so check back soon!

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