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if the man who replaced my windows knackered my wiring what do I do?

(19 Posts)
hatwoman Mon 06-Jun-11 18:51:20

we had some windows replaced on saturday - at the same time the lights on the top floor stopped working.

we had an electrician in and he roughly located the problem. so he could burrow aroung in the ceiling (would involve removing some wood panelling) to locate it more specifically - and mend it (possibly leaving the ceiling in a bit of a mess)

If the problem was caused by the window man then it's possible it could be more easily accessed by removing the window - but that would be a right pita as only window man can do that - and the electrician would need to be there at the same time to mend the wiring. and if removing the window failed to reveal the problem window man would want paying for his time. window man denies it could have anything to do with him. (and it may, in fact, not - at this stage we can't tell)

any ideas what we should do? do we just get the electrician to do what needs doing - and, if it transpires taht the problem was caused by the window man chase him for the money (I am thinking it wil be v. difficult to get it back - but surely if he put a nail though our wires he bares the cost, not us?)

any thoughts v welcom.

teta Mon 06-Jun-11 20:09:39

I don't think he can be held responsible.Unless you gave him a map of all the wiring and he knew where to avoid.

DisparityCausesInstability Mon 06-Jun-11 20:36:21

Why did you have wires around window frame? Was their a socket or light switch above or below which would have suggested caution?
If there wasn't I think you are on shakey ground - wiring should be completed according to convention to avoid situations like these.

hatwoman Mon 06-Jun-11 22:56:38

I don't know how close the wiring is, nor, as per op, if the fact there's a problem is anything to do with the window man - it may be coincidence.

re location of wiring - it's an old house - 200 years, with, as in most old houses, many changes/additions/updates along the way.

but surely it's part of his job to make sure he doesn't skewer a wire, in the process of repacing a window. (not saying he did, just that if he did surely he shouldn't have iyswim)

DisparityCausesInstability Mon 06-Jun-11 23:09:04

It sounds like your house needs to be re-wired. Even old houses should have modern electrics.

conculainey Tue 07-Jun-11 14:00:40

I would doubt that replacing windows would have any effect on your electrics, how old is your electrical wiring and is it pvc cable or rubber?

PigletJohn Tue 07-Jun-11 14:12:21

There should not be electric cables nailed to a window frame, so unless he drilled or chiselled holes in the wall directly above, below or to the side of an electrical accessory such as a switch or socket, I doubt you can blame him.

If you have an old house it is much more likely that a loose connection got shaken about. Again this is not his fault, sorry. However it is one of the reasons why you are not supposed to have connections or junction boxes hidden inside walls or under floors where they can't be seen, inspected and maintained.

conculainey asks good questions.

PigletJohn Tue 07-Jun-11 14:15:19

p.s. when some lights stop working, it is most often because a loose wire in a ceiling rose has fallen out, or burnt away due to a pre-existing poor connection. Usually you can find and fix it by looking in two or more ceiling roses. In modern wiring this is very easy to do and does not entail taking ceilings down or panelling off.

hatwoman Thu 09-Jun-11 14:11:48

just in case you're remotely interested in my leccy saga.

it seems almost certain that it was the window installation that causedthe problem. the wire that is knackered runs inside an internal wall for about 2 metres, possibly even less. the window in question (a velux window in the roof) is right next to said wall - ie the nails (or whatever bits and pieces are used) holding the window in place go into said wall.

whether it was reasonable of the window man to assume there were no wires there (he never asked about wiring), or whether its reasonable of someone paying someone to install a window to think they would check is a different question. thinking about it, if he had looked at all at light switches it would have been obvious that there was a wire buried in that wall somewhere.

the house doesn't need rewiring. I know that because we only bought it a month ago, because it has been rewired recently, and in terms of safety the wiring is fine.

ThisIsANiceCage Thu 09-Jun-11 14:17:50

<<sigh>> If you ever find an answer to this, other than Pay More Money, I want to hear it too.

I used to think this song was funny. Now I just curl in the corner and sob.

GnomeDePlume Thu 09-Jun-11 20:33:32

I have asked DH (a proper grown up Part P electrician). He said:

- Cable in the wall should be in a prescribed zone (horizontally or vertically from a recogniseable switch/socket) or in the corners of the room.
- If not in this zone the cable should be buried to a depth of 50mm, be armoured cable or in metal conduit.
- If the window man had hit a cable a fuse would have normally have blown (plus you would have heard a bang and a scream from the window man)

If the cable was in the prescribed zone (see above) then the window man is at fault but if not then the cable wasnt protected suitably and the window man could have had a claim against you!

hatwoman Thu 09-Jun-11 21:32:48

thanks gnome - that all seems fair enough and clear. very helpful. the conversion of the loft space probably took place in the 70s - so it's possible that its precise location falls outside the parameters you describe

hatwoman Thu 09-Jun-11 21:36:43

actually, thinking about the space in question, it's hard to know what the prescribed zone would be. it's a loft space and teh wall in question is parallel with the gable end - and shaped like a gable end - there is hardly any horizontal space from the switch before it hits the join with the roof. think we'll just have to chalk it up to experience (haven't seen the bill yet though!)

GnomeDePlume Thu 09-Jun-11 21:48:03

DH said that your electrician should be able to do a repair (replace like with like) without having to upgrade the system.

If your fusebox (consumer unit) doesnt have RCDs then DH recommends that this is upgraded to protect you in case there is other wiring in the house which might be vulnerable. So long as the wiring is essentially sound this would be a good compromise and give you an added degree of protection. Now that you have had one experience of less than safe wiring this might be a sound move.

GnomeDePlume Thu 09-Jun-11 21:58:55

The latest building regs would insist that whether in a ceiling or a wall that the cable is protected from being damaged. In a ceiling the cable should be attached to joists well out of the way.

Your system is not unsafe as it stands it is just that as soon as you make a change of any sort (eg changing a window or banging in a nail to hang a picture) there is risk of hidden cables. It was this sort of thing that Part P of the building regs was brought in to cover. Prior to this homeowners were dependant on good practice being applied.

hatwoman Thu 09-Jun-11 22:36:05

thanks again gnome - the fusebox is pretty new and was last checked in april (just before we bought the house). and it did what it should when whatever happened happened (iyswim - ie it served its purpose and avoided anything horrible happening).

the electrician has actually been able to make the culprit wire redundant and run a new one from another ..erm... thingummy.

but yes, we are now aware that the wiring may not be located in the best places - a risk I guess with any house wired up before the regs you speak of came into force.

the problem with old houses is not the age per se - its the improvements along the way. ours has been vamped up/extended in teh 70s and 00s and, possibly 50s too.

thanks again to you and dh

GnomeDePlume Thu 09-Jun-11 22:40:17

You are very welcome.

conculainey Thu 09-Jun-11 22:40:46

Op, do you have a rcd (it is a switch in your fuse board or fuse board area that has a test switch) in your home and also do you have an electric shower, its of topic I know but important.

conculainey Thu 09-Jun-11 22:41:44

Sorry, cross posted^^^

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