Recently when in the local electrical wholesalers we met a pleasant lady asking some unusual questions about electrics. It turned out she was building a new property and was intending to carry out
all the electrical design and installation work herself.
As an electrician, this is the sort of thing that makes you shudder - we've all seen poorly installed and often downright dangerous wiring, with risks ranging from fire to electrocution. But it
raises a fair question - can you, as a non-electrician with some practical skill and motivation, design and wire your own electrical system for your new-build property?
First, we recommend you read our New Build Design & Installation article to understand exactly what's involved.
Then, answer these questions.
- All electrical work carried out in the UK has to be compliant with British Standard BS7671. Do you own it, have you read all 429 fine-print pages, and do you genuinely understand what it
requires of you?
- Are you able to carry out cable capacity calculations - calculating design current and tabulated current?
- Do you understand Reference Methods and can you choose appropriate cabling based on tabulated current and reference methods from the tables in BS7671?
- Do you understand the difference between TN-S, TN-CS and TT installations, do you know which one your property uses, and do you know how they affect the parameters of your design and
- Can you calculate voltage drop using the information provided in BS7671, and do you know what voltage tolerances are permitted for different circuits?
- Do you fully understand the difference between overcurrent and earth leakage fault protection, and Prospective Short Circuit Current and Prospective Fault Current?
- Are you familiar with all aspects of the Building Regulations as they relate to electrical installation, including cable routing, fire detection requirements, accessibility requirements and
- Do you own or have access to an electrical test meter with Low Resistance Ohm-Meter, Insulation Resistance, Fault Current, Short Circuit Current, Earth Loop Impedance and RCD test facilities, and
is it calibrated and compliant with all relevant IEC safety standards?
- Do you know how to use it?
- Are you able to understand and complete all the necessary test and inspection paperwork to submit to Building Control?
If the answer to ALL of these is YES - then this is a starting point to answer whether you might be able to carry out the work yourself.
Otherwise, you'd best call an electrician, as this is what we do for a living!