As Benjamin Franklin said “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
All electrical projects whether they are large or small need careful planning and consideration. If you are able to give concise instructions what your requirements are to your electrical contractor, they will be able to provide a fixed price accurate quotation for the works. This will ultimately mean you are receiving best value from the outset of the project, because the project will be subject to minimum change. We all know that for some contractors change is good because it allows them to increase their margins and maximise profits from the customer when variations are plentiful.
Before you contact an electrical contractor, provide a detailed list of your requirements. A modern property has a myriad of electrical services that may require alteration or extension if you are planning to make changes to it. Things to consider may include the following:
- Are you planning to add additional circuits? Will your consumer unit have sufficient spare ways to facilitate extension? If not, it may have to be changed to a larger one.
- Is your consumer unit a modern type with RCD protection? In general all new circuits will require RCD protection.
- Are extra sockets required? Think about locations carefully, will the proposed new socket outlets clash with furniture or radiators? Do you need extra socket outlets around television positions for DVD players, satellite boxes etc.
- Is power required for additional kitchen appliances? Try and provide your electrical contractor with model numbers so they can check power ratings to ensure existing circuits that may be extended can accommodate electrical loads.
- Do you require additional aerial points? Will your existing aerial and amplifier be able to cope with additional points? Generally cable television modifications need to be carried out by the supplier, i.e. Virgin Media.
- Are additional telephone points or additional lines required?
- Will your security alarm need extension?
- What type of lights do you require and where will switches be positioned. Do you need dimmer switches?
- Is your existing external lighting adequate? What type of external lighting do you require, decorative or security.
- What type of finish will you select on electrical accessories? Metal finishes are likely to be more expensive that plastic.
- Are power supplies required for external buildings, gates, lighting, or socket outlets?
- How will you achieve connection to the internet, wireless or over Cat 5E cables? Large buildings sometimes suffer with poor wireless connectivity.
- Have you any home automation or audio visual systems requirements?
- Are there any electrical heating requirements such as under tile floor heating, or control wiring for a wet central heating system? Do want to provide any extra control over your heating system such as the British Gas “Hive” or the Google “Nest” system.
- Do you require CCTV?
If you do have a plan of your property, it is really useful to place any additional electrical requirements you have based on revised room layouts. Also on these plans, mark furniture and radiator positions. Which way will be doors be hung, critical if you are to position switches correctly.
We all know that change will be likely on all projects as unforeseen items come to light, but forward planning will save the customer money and be less stressful in the long run. Your initial schedule of works should be developed with the help of your electrical contractor during the quotation stage to ensure everything you need is covered in the initial costs.
Please be careful of electrical contractors that are reluctant to price all elements of work at quotation stage. This may mean they are deliberately keeping their costs down to look more competitive against other contractors and present you with additional quotations once they have started with large profit margins built in to them.
Breese and Earle Electrical Services Ltd will always be happy to provide quotations for all elements of works before they commence on site. We will help the customer develop a schedule of works that will form a basic contract between both parties. At the very least, basic drawings will be presented to the customer for approval before we start any work.