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Western Distribution, Building control and too much water.




Sometimes I wonder if this building lark is the right thing to do - both myself and the OH had a disturbed sleep last night.  He was up around 3-4am, unable to sleep and around 5 it was my turn, worrying about the water in the cellar.  And we are just renovating; what will it be like if we get to do our self build - one night without sleep and I'm a very grumpy bear, how will I cope with a couple of years! Maybe I should ask how will the OH cope with a grumpy grizzly bear....


Anyway, yesterday I spoke to Building Control for our area as it has become apparent that we need to make several applications for Building Notices and I wasnt sure when they had to be applied for.  Seems it is before we do any work - does that include removing what was there....??  Opps.  However, a very friendly officer was happy to give me advice. 

For the electrics we need to apply as the OH can only install, being Part P trained but he cannot certify so needs BC to pass the electrics.   Thats a £360 charge. 

If we move the bathroom, that needs another notice but if we decide to leave it as it is and just replace, we dont. 

All the plumbing and new boiler will need a Notice but the chap we are planning to use is a Gas Safe plumber so he can certify his own work.  the OH will be doing most of the labour but the plumber will be checking everything and providing the certification. 

The new windows would need a Notice except the company are FENSA certified so can do it themselves.  And as long as we dont take off all the render, that didnt sound like it needed anything either.  So it sounded like we only need to apply for the Electric work.  Its a shame that the OH cannot certify his own installation but until he is doing more elctrical work, then it just was not worth paying the registration fees as they were more than he was making. 


What a monopoly the electricity providers have.  We had to ask Western Distribution to come and check the earth of the house supply as  the OH cannot touch their side of the electrical supply - ie the black box on the left. 


He had been unable to get a good earth in the Cu so installed an Earhting rod into the corner of the cellar and connected it, (the green/yellow wire on the right) to the CU which worked fine.  For some reason he then arranged for WD to come out to check the incoming earth, which they did.  they used a meter to give a reading (5 seconds work), said it was fine and then changed the fuse from 60 to 80amps.  And that was it - £200 invoice to be sent out for 5 mins work,  They werre unable to install an isolator switch between the incoming suppy and the CU as the OH had hoped so he could safely work on the new installation.  thats not their side of the board - thats the electrcity providers!  They only deal with the left side!    

They completely understood why he would want the isolating switch but could not help.  They suggested he just cut off the wires going into the CU and instal his own Isolator switch between the meter and CU.  But that would mean dealing with live wires unless he pulls their fuse out, which he isnt allowed to do!  Hmm. 


While waiting for Western Distribution to turn up, I checked the cellar and was surprised to see our new Hygrometer showing a humidity of 99% in the front right hand corner of the cellar.  It has always been the wettest area but this time, I could see lots of water drops on the rockwool insulation and the whole area was soaking wet with moulds growing in several areas.  Its odd as the rest of the cellar is dry with no sign of water.  And as we have had no real rain for several weeks, I would have thought the damp would have improved, not got worse.  So now I am wondering where it is coming from.  We were told before buying that there had been a problem with the drains between the house and next door, leaking water into the cellar so Anglian Water had relined the drains.  However, it does not seem to have stopped all the incoming water.  There are no downpipes which could be directing water to that corner of the cellar, so I cant see where it is coming from!  Very strange and something we need to sort out.  My thought is that we need to start digging down alongside that corner of the house to see if there is a problem with the drains.  And ideally before it rains too much so we can see if it really is the drains or something else. ButI dont think we'll be able to get a mini digger in there and as the gas supply runs along there too, I think it will have to be done by hand. Very carefully.  :(


The joys of renovations.^_^




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Sorry to say but you have not yet learned to "work" the system regarding the electrics.


You have sub standard, old, meter tails there, almost certainly cotton covered rubber.  You are responsible for the tails on your side of the meter, the supply co are responsible for the tails between the fuse and the meter.  And for their £200 they could not even be bothered to change them.


What most electricians would have done is pulled the main fuse which just happened not to be sealed *  changed the consumer unit. Fitted new tails between the meter and the consumer unit. Then phoned the electricity company to report a dangerous condition (the sub standard meter tails between the fuse and the meter). The electricity co would attend, replace the tails and re seal everything. Job done for £0 cost.


*Amelie the seal fairy will visit the night before if you ask her nicely.


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Ask more here, BEFORE, and get wise answers, Confucius say........

Comparing a renovation to a new build may be a bit misleading. A new build can be planned, but a renovation can often be Russian roulette. Agreed that a new build may stray off track, but the comparison is night and day IMO.

I'm renovating a lean-to bathroom at the mo, and have gone from a dozen rubble sacks to filling a 4 yard skip. Yay. Oh, and there's more to go. O.o  

if your renovating to sell then ask a few local estate agents about relocating the bathroom and see what the consensus is. ;). Don't provide anything more than the buyers will expect, unless your getting double the difference in return. If your spending £4k on the bathroom 'shift' then you need an £8k return. Pointless endeavour otherwise tbh. 

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+1 or you may find a Lecky who is happy to do the live wire thing.


I don't see why it needs multiple Building Notices, but I do not know that system. Why can't you just put it all on a single one? Once it is submitted you have iirc 3 years to do the work.


One way to proceed with the electrics (full rewire) would be to pay an electrician to do some of the work, with oh doing part (eg running wires but not connecting up), then having the Certification as part of the Lecky's package. Given that you are doing lots of other stuff, it may work, and rewiring a house like yours is only a few (perhaps 3-4 minus the work you do), so may be an attractive option.


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Will pass the comments on.  thanks for the imputs.  And yes, we really should ask here first!  I'll try to remember that, next time.

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It is absolutely all about playing the system. We have been having issues with our electrics, in the fact that 7 houses electrics are all tripping at the same time around 5-7 times a day, SSE still can't work out where the issue is but while they have been it trying to fix the issue for 2+ weeks I have had a phase removed, the temporary meter switched over and the cables moved higher up the pole for free, something that originally they wanted over £1.5k for, just for making sure they had tea/coffee and bacon roles. I have also had all my wiring and appliances tested to check it wasn't us cashing the problem, which it wasn't but the feedback they have was that it was one of the neatest well laid our electrical installs they have seen.

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