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Moving meters for loo under stairs?

(28 Posts)
herbaceous Fri 26-Oct-12 17:05:44

Hello

This is a rather niche question, I realise, but there may be just the person lurking who can answer my question.

I want to put a loo in under our stairs, and have a builder all lined up. However, our electric and gas meters are in that cupboard. My builder has told me I need to get them moved, and asking the distributor it seems that moving the electric meter alone could cost between £1,000 and £6,000 shock. Naturally, I want to avoid this, but preferably also avoid being electrocuted.

Is it really necessary to move the meters? Can't I box them in, and keep the watery elements of the cloakroom away from the sparky bits of the meter and fuse box?

PigletJohn Fri 26-Oct-12 17:46:58

I expect you are thinking about the regulatons about electric sockets not being allowed in bathrooms, and positioning of switches and things.

These regulations actually relate to a room containing a fixed bath or shower, and distances are measured from them, though there are different regulations for a kitchen.

There are actually no regulations relating to rooms containing sanitary fittings that are not fixed baths or showers (unless the room contains a swimming pool or sauna) so you actually are allowed to have electrical things in a WC.

However all electrical fittings "must be suitable for their location" so must be out of the way of drips and splashes, and I would say, of leaks as well. So you could box them in, with plenty of room around them or a lift-off cupboard since the utility companies have th right to read the meters, fit a new meter, change the company fuse etc whenever they like. "suitable" also means that the door must not bang them, and you should not let clothes or anything pile on top, as electricity meters do get more or less warm at times and can overheat if air cannot circulate round them. Louvred door might suit.

herbaceous Fri 26-Oct-12 17:54:03

Ooh I was hoping you might be around PJ! The meters are rather inconveniently positioned, so I might have to move them a few feet, even if I am going to box them in. But this might not be as expensive as putting them outside.

My builder does seem convinced they need to go outside, however. Can I quote you?? grin

PigletJohn Fri 26-Oct-12 18:09:43

if you want.

I expect he is a general builder and just has a vague idea about bathrooms and electrical fittings. It's a common mistake.

PigletJohn Fri 26-Oct-12 18:11:59

BTW if you say to your utility suppliers "I was wondering if it would be more convenient for your meter readers if the meters were in a cabinet outside the house, would you be interested in moving them?" you may get a different reply. They like to be able to cut you off for non-payment without needing an order to force entry to the house.

SwedishEdith Fri 26-Oct-12 18:12:42

We had to move a gas meter- it cost about £600. Certainly not £6000! If that helps

herbaceous Fri 26-Oct-12 18:50:42

So I can quote your authoritatively, PJ, what can I call you? IYSWIM?

bureni Fri 26-Oct-12 18:56:11

Herb, are you referring to your electric meter only or do you mean the consumer unit/fusebox?

Ponders Fri 26-Oct-12 19:07:31

PJ should change his name to 'justthepersonlurking' wink

herbaceous Fri 26-Oct-12 19:26:23

Bureni, it's the meter and the consumer unit. I'm also a bit afeared that it might be getting on a bit, and they'll make me put in a new fuse box, and/or have the whole house rewired, costing me ££££££.

bureni Fri 26-Oct-12 19:30:23

The quote for £1000 is very reasonable in that case as there is a lot more work involved though your supply authority will have to move your electricity meter as an electrician cannot as everything from the meter back is the property of the supply authority and cannot legally be touched by anyone else.

Mandy21 Fri 26-Oct-12 19:35:00

We have a loo in the space under the stairs - done by the elderly couple who owned the house before us. The electricity meter is in there, as is the consumer unit. We have a traditional 3 bed semi so the space is unbelievably tiny economical - if you were sitting on the loo, your knee would probably touch the basin if you turned round and if you stretched your leg out you could touch the electricity meter with your toe. We're planning an extension and have had builders round who say its cramped but its not dangerous or needs to be remedied.

herbaceous Fri 26-Oct-12 19:35:50

So, does the consumer unit need to be moved out of the cloakroom, rather than the meter (although that would go too, natch)?

bureni Fri 26-Oct-12 19:37:17

It is dangerous and it is also illegal. You need to speak to an qualified electrician not a builder.

bureni Fri 26-Oct-12 19:40:57

Herb, moving the consumer unit is an easy job and would be best upgraded at the same time. if all the outgoing cables are coming down from the upstairs this job is very simple. Do you have an incoming overhead supply or an underground mains cable supply? Moving the meter is a different kettle of fish that would require your supply authority to be involved, rule of thumb dictates any electrical meters/incoming fuses that have seals cannot be touched by the homeowner at all.

herbaceous Fri 26-Oct-12 19:47:50

Ooh, yes, I don't want to do anything illegal, and I don't want the builder to do it himself. I just want to know if moving the meter and/or consumer unit is actually necessary in the first place. If it is, I shall go through all the proper channels.

bureni Fri 26-Oct-12 19:51:31

You can move your consumer unit as this item is your property, this can be done by anyone qualified and competent to do so with no need to contact your supply authority. My other post was to Mandy 21 (x posted)

WithManyTots Fri 26-Oct-12 20:24:14

We almost had ours moved a few years ago. First you need to work out who your DNO (District Network Operator) is. This may not be your supplier, but they should be able to tell you who it is. At the time seemed the the DNO would only move a meter to one of those modern meter cabinets mounted on the front or side of your house, but not the back, unless it was a listed building. We didn't really fancy it, but we contacted them to get a quote to move their bits. The man eventually came out had a look, and promised us a quote. So we waited and waited and waited and waited... Then got bored and just boxed the old unit in.

If you really do need to do this, including relocating a consumer unit, I could see how in total it could cost quite a bit, so 1K to 6K could be a reality..

PigletJohn Fri 26-Oct-12 21:40:57

a map of electricity DNOs

gas networks is mostly BG, though Scotia Gas (trading as Southern Gas in England) own some round here.

However the customer is not expected to know who owns your part of the network, and the supplier (who sends you the bills) is required to pass on any requests to the DNO. IME a short, businesslike letter to the supplier is far more likely to be logged and passed on than a phone call to the no-Help Line who may fob you off.

Pannacotta Fri 26-Oct-12 21:52:15

I would leave them and box them in.
Its fine to have both in your downstairs loo, at least from what I was told by my electrician, who is well up on these things as he also teaches at a local college.

PigletJohn Fri 26-Oct-12 21:56:08

sorry

I mean Gas networks is mostly NG

Can't find a map of the bits they sold.

herbaceous Sat 27-Oct-12 10:10:09

I've already been in touch with UK power, which seems to be our DNO. I have to fill in a form, get a quote, etc, and they said it would be between £1K and £6K. But it's whether it needs doing in the first place...

herbaceous Sat 27-Oct-12 10:24:49

I tried to ask the council's building control office, but was told they only answer questions on Monday mornings, between 9 and 10. Efficient.

PigletJohn Sat 27-Oct-12 10:42:46

If the room does not contain a fixed bath or shower (or a sauna or swimming pool) then you are not required to move it by any electrical regulations.

If you wish to move it for some other reason, you will have to get the DNO to move it at their price.

Pannacotta Sat 27-Oct-12 11:36:22

My electrician said exactgly what Piglet said, ie that is there is no bath or shower then you dont have to move them.
Much less hassle to bix them in IMO. Your buikder is probably being cautious to cover himself.

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