Electrics question

Quick question for any sparkies out there. Been to view a house and got the impression that the electrics might need updating, but I know nothing about that kind of thing. It was purely based on the plug sockets looking a little old-fashioned, there not being as many of them as I would like, and my gut feeling that the arrangement in the cupboard looks a bit dated.

Here are a couple of pictures. Any ideas? 4 bedroom semi, seemingly normal electrical demand.

I've had quotes of £110 inc VAT for a sparkie to do a full electrical survey, but don't know if I'm being alarmist.


Doesn't look too bad to be honest.
(Anorak mode on)The board has MCBs, looks like it's wired in PVC cable and judging by the amount of earth wires coming out of the board, it looks as if the water/gas/oil pipes are all earthed.
Obviously hard to tell without taking the lid off and having a look around, but it looks in fairly good order.
The only thing that stands out to me is that the fuseboard has a main switch in it rather than a trip (RCD). I'd get that sorted out, especially if the house has a shower.
Your best bet is to get someone to change the main switch to an RCD and give the place the once over. The black bit at the bottom right of the photo is the Electricity Boards cut out (main fuse). All this does is protect the wires between the incoming supply and your board. Quite often these have been there for years and look a bit dated. Nothing to worry about though. (Anorak mode off)
Fcuk me...I'm boring myself now....(been a sparky for 21 years now)
Hope this helps.


Kit Reviewer
the figure quoted is fair for an inspection. You need to take a closer picture of the suppliers supply but it looks like its a TT system.....No earth, relying on the water mains, but these are now a plastic mains. Pay for the inspection if NAPIT approved or other as they will recommend changing MCB's (on you distribution board..in white cabinet) to RCBO's to make it compliant and safe.


Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Looks identical to the set up I've got in my gaff which is all in date, we had a sparky round recently to do put some spotlights in our kitchen and nothing was mentioned about it being old or dated.

If the plug sockets/light switches bother you, just change them, they are pretty cheap and a piece of piss to change, just don't get the wires mixed up!
Gut feeling here (done plenty of wiring, but not officially qualified!) ... looks solid, just not as neat and squared away as I'd like to see (or rather not see). Having a survey done is never a bad idea. £110 is peanuts compared to the price of a house.
7 mcb's seems a bit low for a 4 bed house, if you have an en-suite shower, electric cooker, downstairs shower, power to garage etc more will be needed, always useful to have a spare as well.
Gut feeling here (done plenty of wiring, but not officially qualified!) ... looks solid, just not as neat and squared away as I'd like to see (or rather not see). Having a survey done is never a bad idea. £110 is peanuts compared to the price of a house.
I always think like that, then picture myself in an off license with £110 in crisp notes, and think 'ah bugger it, the bloke on ARRSE said it looked tickedy-boo!"

Moments later I'm pushing a shopping trolley full of lager back to my squalid abode.
It could be the photo, but it looks as if there is only 2 twin and earth cables comming out of the box!
A lot of cables missing!
And if that telephone cable continues parallel and adjacent to the power cables for any distance you may have trouble getting any sensible internet speed.
I'm not a sparky (God forbid) but the set-up looks a little odd. I can't work out why someone has half-sealed the cables into the top of the big black box (main isolator?) and why there are only two cables coming out of the fuse box.

Like I say, it's not my field of expertise, but shouldn't there be lighting and power cables for each ring, with one ring on each floor? So, at least four cables and probably more, such as the cooker and shower cables.

The fuse box is bent, as you'll notice by the gap between it and the door along the top edge. Has it been tampered with?
Get the place inspected by a qualified electrician (NICEIC Registered). At work we would be looking for the individual to hold City & Guilds 2382.10 (BS 7671: 2008) and City and Guilds 2391-10 (Certificate in Test & Inspect) as well as their normal leccy qualificatons. Oh and cos it's house bashing they will need Part P.

The dis board is pretty old, and from the err cheaper end of the market as well. tbh the work looks a bit DIY, in fact it looks very DIY.

Does not appear to be a TT installation from what I can make out, if you look at the cut out it appears to either have a SWA-PVC or most likely a SWA Lead Sheafed cable with an earth clamp on it.

RCD would be required to protect the board and some of the outgoing crcuits. Better to fit a split board, probably better to just rewire the place! Knock about 5k off the asking price cos of the electrics.
Cheers guys, some useful advice there (if confusing and seemingly contradictory at times!!).

Have decided to lick my fingers, stick them in the sockets to test, and then pay a sparkie for a proper survey. As someone said - £110 is **** all compared to the cost of the house.

Thanks again!


Kit Reviewer
You can use a NAPIT member too. I am a qualified inspector/tester and would carry out a complete inspection and provide you with a report as well as explain what is required.

I posted earlier, but to clarify:

The black 'box' is the suppliers main isolation with a sealed fuse. The big cables are 'tales' to the meter and the meter to your distribution board.

The system does look like a TT but you would need to take a pic of the supply cable up to the box. Basically, no earth supplied and earth (Ze) is obtained from the water pipe (mainly) and gas. If so, the test will require earth rods to be used as water pipes that have been updated are no plastic.

The biggest thing is the lack of RCD protection: That saves your life. An MCB simply saves the cable going up in smoke. Therefore, I would recommend that you upgrade the MCB's to RCBO's as it is the best solution, especially if it is a TT System. You could install an RCD using a Henley Block, but its not what I would do.

PM me if you have any other questions

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