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Bricks and Brass • View topic - cottage rewiring job.

cottage rewiring job.

Forum for discussing period houses.

cottage rewiring job.

Postby Simon73 » Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:29 pm

I have a conundrum.
My electrical survey has highlighted a few issues. The main one being the lighting. None of the light fixtures have been earthed and to get a certificate it will need to be rectified.
The cottage dates back to 1650 and was 'renovated' in the 1970's and then again in the mid 80's. The original walls were brick and wattle and daub but the work done in the 70's and 80's utilised cement and modern plaster. The lower floors look to be mostly brick rendered with a mixture of lime mortar and cement. The upper floor looks to be the original wattle and daub throughout with modern plaster and paint medium internally with a concrete render externally. Shocking I know but it seems nobody paid any attention to the eco system of an old house back in the 70's/80's.
It's difficult to know where one stops and the other begins to be honest. Some of the paint and plaster has chipped away in one of the bedrooms and has exposed old straw weave and daub that is crumbling and very brittle. This worries me greatly as to what may happen if I start digging around to expose the lighting wire.
The conservation officer has asked for annotated floor plans to describe the work that will be undertaken but believes that the work can be agreed through exchange of letters.
My conundrum is, if I have to dig out the existing wiring to put it right what materials should I be using to patch it up? Traditional or modern? My heart tells me traditional but it feels almost pointless at this point. Imagine 70% of the Mona Lisa was restored using crayons in the 70's and you get tasked with more restoration 40 years on. Would you continue to use crayons or touch up the remaining 30% with the original medium?
My guess is I'll have to settle for visible wiring upstairs as I dont want to make things worse but downstairs will no doubt not affect the original walls too much as what will be removed to expose the wires will be 20thC renders.

Thoughts?
Simon73
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Re: cottage rewiring job.

Postby James » Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:57 pm

to get a certificate it will need to be rectified


What sort of certificate? Who wants it? Why do you need it? (Changes in building regulations are not retrospective.)

You don't need to earth plastic fittings. If you want metal fittings, then all you need to do is to run an earth wire to the ceiling rose. You don't need to have an earth wire at the light switch unless you want metal fittings.


I wouldn't worry about modern plaster anywhere other than in a basement - nobody else does... even the Spitalfields trust!
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Re: cottage rewiring job.

Postby Simon73 » Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:12 pm

Hi James,
I had to have an electrical survey carried out for the benefit of the insurers due to the property being thatched.
I'd assumed the whole point of a survey was to highlight issues and rectify them and that as a result of bringing my electrics kicking and screaming into the wonderfully modern age we find ourselves living in that I would receive a certificate to say that I am safe as houses (pardon the pun) and the insurers would be able to sleep soundly in their beds knowing I'm not going to burn my house down and cause them to have to pay out money (not that they would if they found that I hadn't done exactly what they asked gawld bless 'em)

As my light switches and fixtures are metal I guess this was the reason it was highlighted.

As it turns out the lower floor is pretty much all cement and modern plaster so aside from the fear of damp, crumbling bricks and rotting wood it's not going to cause too much bother.
I do find it odd that although the conservation officer knows it's all modern rendering he still requires the work to be outlined with annotated floor plans and would prefer external trunking to burying wires in the wall.
Upstairs is all wattle and daub so needs a more subtle approach.
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