Anyone here (or their dp) an electrician?

(7 Posts)
moisturiser Tue 29-Jan-13 17:12:56

I had my house re-wired recently, the guys who did it did a great job (I thought), really hard working, went above and beyond.

I'm not having plasterers in to quote patching the holes in the walls and the last 2 have gone 'eek that's not done well.'

There are 2 issues. First of all not all the wires have plastic caps on them. Now I'm not sure if this is a serious issue, they're saying they have to be there by regulation to prevent any lime in the plaster eating into the wires over 5-10 years, but another forum says this isn't regulation, they just need protecting and clipping (they are clipped and have RCD protection).

The second issue is that apparently the wires aren't deep enough. The render has been drilled into but not the brick and the plasterer said that he would refuse to plaster it because there will either be bumps or the plaster will crack when it dries. He's saying to insist the electricians come back and drill in further (which I've contacted them to ask them to do but dreading more work being done tbh).

I just have no idea who to believe at present, the electricians saying 'no plastic capping needed' (and they might say too the wires are deep enough) or the 2 plasterers saying plastic capping definitely needed by law and wires not nearly deep enough.

I have found this thread online here but it seems to be a grey area so I'm even more confused.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. The re-wire was a lot of money so I want it to be done properly.

moisturiser Tue 29-Jan-13 17:13:24

I'm now having, obviously

moisturiser Tue 29-Jan-13 17:14:12

Oh and (sorry!) the render is very thin in this house, so when I say the brick hasn't been drilled into, it's very shallow indeed.

lalalonglegs Tue 29-Jan-13 17:26:40

Was your electrician self-certified or did an inspector sign off his work? Either way, at the end you should have got a NICEIC cert saying the work was competent. If you feel it may fall short, you can contact the NICEIC and talk it through with them - I've never had to deal with them but when I had a problem with a gas installation some years ago, a man from Corgi came to check, I imagine it would be a similar deal with NICEIC.

PipeDreams Tue 29-Jan-13 17:27:34

I'm not an electrician but hopefully this helps;

The protection that is being referred to is mechanical protection i.e. positioned in a way that will prevent damage, not electrical protection.

The plasterer is trying to help. He is not going to be happy with the finished job (or it will not stay stuck) therefore there's no point him doing it.

Someone (whether it's the original electricians or not) needs to chase the cables further into the brickwork.

The electricians are the ones that will sign the wiring off so I'd be inclined to believe them with regards to the wiring regulations..

Hope that helps! Dennis

PigletJohn Tue 29-Jan-13 18:15:07

the only real purpose that plastic capping serves, is to prevent the plasterers nicking the cable with their trowels. It does not provide any protection against nails or drills.

plasterers usually say they take great care of their trowels, and would not risk damaging the edge by nicking cables.

like you say, however it sounds like the plaster is too thin in your house. It is typically about 18mm to 25mm thick (thicker in older houses) unless on plasterboard. Putting capping on would require still more depth. Ordinary T&E in the sizes used in houses will easily fit. Conduit sometimes won't.

Where plaster is thin, the cable clips will show through the plaster more than the cable, as they project above it. I have sometimes used builders adhesive to hold the cable tight to the wall and then pulled the clips out. However this is rather labour intensive.

Did the electricians chase right through the plaster so that the brick surface is exposed? That's usually all that's necessary. If they didn't, they should have done. If they did, then IMO they should have drawn your attention to the problem of thin plaster. It is much more work to chase into brickwork than into plaster, and much much much dustier. Lightweight concrete blocks (greyish white) are easy.

I have known electricians pay the plasterers to skim extra depth of plaster onto a wall to hide the cables but this is very unusual. They did it to save themselves the trouble of chasing the walls deeper, on a fixed-price contract.

Not sure who is reponsible for the cost of the extra work, might be you, might be the electricians. Won't be the plasterers. The electricians might say they had priced for normal plaster depth. It would have been much better if they had pointed it out and agreed a reasonable extra cost, which IMO would have been the cheapest way to deal with it. The depth of plaster will be a cosmetic matter which will not affect the compliance and safety of the electrical installation.

In your position I would ask the plasterers what they would charge to skim an extra depth of plaster onto the walls. It is usually a few hundred pounds per room down here. They might be able to get away with just doing the worst parts. I would not be happy with bits of cable of clips grinning through the surface.

Is it old plasterwork, or a new build or recent extension?

moisturiser Mon 04-Feb-13 16:05:41

I'm so sorry, I completely forgot I posted here! It has been a bit stressful recently.

Thank you so much for all your advice. Very useful.

It's a 1950s house piglet, they do seem to have got down to the brickwork, but because the plaster is so thin it's not enough.

I contacted the electrician and mentioned that the plasterer felt their plastering would crack, and the electrician is being absolutely great - they're coming back out to drill deeper. It is only a few places so hopefully won't take them long. I'm still a bit confused as to why one guy was saying the lime in the plaster might eat into the cables without the plastic capping, but for the moment everything is good and I'm happy for them not to be capped. An electrician I spoke to (not involved) said if it was to protect against the lime there'd be no point because the capping only covers most of the cables only; there's still quite a big surface area of cable that is exposed.

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