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Hi all, I am breaking ground on my build (Hooray!) albeit only to connect my temporary builders electricity supply ("TBS"). 

 

UKPN are laying the main up to the boundary of my property (£££ :(). 

 

Is the following quote generally OK for the extra bits that I have to arrange:

  1. Ground mounted meter box, £600 (zero rated for VAT as supply & fit)
  2. Excavate a short length of trench from my plot your boundary to the meter box location (perhaps 2 metres under concrete, 485mm deep), lay duct and backfill with warning tape, form concrete plinth, and fix meter housing £950 (zero rated for VAT) 
  3. Electrical work required to provide the earth and tails: awaiting a quote. How much might I expect this to be?

Any advice appreciated.

 

By the way, does the meter box need to be ground mounted? There is a panel fence there but not much else.

 

 

 

 

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Meter box.  Buy and install your own attached to a post concreted in the ground. WAY cheaper than £600

 

Do ALL the digging on your own land yourself, and lay a duct with a draw string for them to pull their cable through and up into your meter box.

 

By doing the above I save £1000

 

 

Re the earth,  That is normally done at the connection pit for the permanent supply.  But for a building supply you should not use the suppliers earth you should install your own TT earth (an earth rod or rods)  The electrician that connects your site consumer unit and site sockets will be able to bang a rod in for that. Don't ask the DNO to provide the building site earth.

 

Before you commit though what are your plans for the final supply?  Leave it there (as many of us have done) or pay to get it moved into the house?  

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Thanks @PeterW, as always.

 

6 minutes ago, ProDave said:

Before you commit though what are your plans for the final supply?  Leave it there (as many of us have done) or pay to get it moved into the house?  

 

To be honest, I don't have a plan. I am having this TBS supply installed now as UKPN are opening up the road for someone else and I am saving ££ by combining jobs with them. Its a log story but all the saving comes to me, not split with them. 

 

I am putting the TBS just inside the plot behind the entrance gate against the fence. I do know that the service trench when we get around to it will pass directly through this location along the fence and into the house so I think the TBS is well positioned to then either leave it there or relocate it into the house somewhere. Does that make sense?

Edited by Dreadnaught

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Either option is possible,  If you keep the meter there, you have to install a switch fuse and your own steel wire armoured cable into the house to connect to your consumer unit. Or later you can choose to have the supply relocated into the house. for that you will have to pay the DNO to supply the extra cable, do an underground joint and move the supply into the house. You can save money by digging the trench ready for the DNO.

 

Sounds like a good plan to get it in now while the road is open.

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Thanks @ProDave.

 

It now dawns on me that I am bit short of time before UKPN install the supply on 28 March so I need to decide on the meter cabinet/kiosk type and location.

 

Quick question: is it possible to attach a plastic meter cabinet temporarily to a pretty-run-down old fence? 

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Should be okay as long as it is sound.

 

SSE up here are not very fussy if they know it is a temporary supply, I have seen a kitchen cabinet on a post with a bit or roofing felt tacked over it and they put the supply head and meter in that 

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For £1200 my power company did the following:

  1. Created a new supply spur on the boundary of my self build neighbour's plot so no road closure.
  2. * Pulled a cable through 45m of trenched ducting organized my me, this crossed the neighbours plot and mine.
  3. Installed slim (** cavity wall sized) meter box on stilts next to the utility room foundation with enough spare cable to allow the meter box to be eventually lifted as-is into the cavity wall.

* Some of my supply cable runs over ground on the neighbour's plot and will be sunk free or charge by DNO once he has finalized the position of his foundation plan.

** They arrived with a standard fat meterbox for the job but were generous enough to pop back to the depot when I mentioned my plan to lift the meter directly into the cavity wall later.

 

The trenched ducting organized by me was part of a larger job costing £600 which included concrete foundation pour supervision and labour over 2 days, some digger work for a builders water supply and 10m of foul drain across my garden, so call it £150 for the mains trench part of the job.

 

British Gas supplied and fitted the meter free of charge.

 

For £140 an electrician fitted a temporary 2 x RCD fuse box inside the meter box then supplied and connected 40? amp armoured cable to the static caravan. He was working at my other self build neighbour's house so I laid the 25m of armoured cable between meter box through foundation trenches to the static before he started the live connection work each end of the cable.

 

So all told a live temporary socket next to the meterbox at the house wall would have been about £1200 (DNO) + £150(Trench & Ducting) + £80 (Fit RCDs and earthing pin).

 

 

Edited by epsilonGreedy
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Thanks @ProDave

 

The builder who gave the quotes above proposed a rather plush-looking Ground-mounted meter box for £600.

 

I think all I need is a surface-mounted meter box for about £50 attached somehow to the old fence. Does that sound right?

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2 minutes ago, Dreadnaught said:

I think all I need is a surface-mounted meter box for about £50 attached somehow to the old fence. Does that sound right?

 

 

£50 ! That must be a posh meter box made from certified locally sourced recycled plastic?

 

These cavity wall boxes are pretty flimsy when on stilts but that is what the DNO provided as part of the £1200 connection.

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Now I have noticed something that is confusing me.  

 

In the document from UKPN that accompanied my quote called "YOUR TO DO LIST, What you need to do to get connected" it does specify a £600 GRP cabinet, as shown below. Why do they say that?

 

image.thumb.png.2881476a53bf96177742ce7652e34adb.png

 

image.thumb.png.b893a0bab9f2a6376191aca651936fdc.png

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20 minutes ago, Dreadnaught said:

It now dawns on me that I am bit short of time before UKPN install the supply on 28 March so I need to decide on the meter cabinet/kiosk type and location.

 

Quick question: is it possible to attach a plastic meter cabinet temporarily to a pretty-run-down old fence?

 

 

The ideal (cheapest) sequence of events is to get the foundations dug and the concrete poured, then schedule the DNO power grid hook-up bringing the meterbox right up to the wall near its final cavity wall mounting position. With careful positioning of the meterbox on stilts there will be enough spare cable to lift the meter directly into the wall without further £ bills.

 

Buildhubbers with larger plots seem to favour a dedicated services meter housing near the plot boundary and then total control over subsequent services re routing within the plot as the build progresses.

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@ProDave mentions DNOs not being fussy, equally though the opposite can apply.  The only way you can find out what will be accepted is by speaking to your DNO.  Everyone can say what they did but it may be about as much use as a chocolate teapot to you if your DNO won't accept it. 

 

FWIW I built a permanent kiosk - but the DNO gave specific instructions on what is acceptable - even going so far as to sending me a CAD drawing of an acceptable design!

 

You're looking at the best part of £2000 as is....I'd say that's a bargain compared to bills some get stung with.  I'm sure I've seen 21k banded about on here by someone.

 

Speak to the DNO.  Not sure how yours works, I had an engineer I could contact - very helpful chap.

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If all that is on top of the cost of the connection, then I would do as @ProDave advised and go with a temporary housing. You can get them cheap enough and then mount it into a wall or feature later behind the gates. It’s all in your control then. 

 

Why are you having to dig under concrete out of interest ..?

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Prompted by @LA3222, I am going to try and speak to UKPN and check if they will allow me to put a normal, cheap meter box on the fence. Sadly there is no wall near that location otherwise I would attach to that.

 

Interestingly a search of google did not reveal a single picture of a meter cabinet attached to a fence, which makes me wonder if it's forbidden. I even checked building regs but it does not comment on it, I am guessing because it falls within the remit of the DNO.

 

2 minutes ago, PeterW said:

If all that is on top of the cost of the connection

 

It is sadly, yes. Interestingly I wont know how much the connection part will cost until UKPN process the refund for the combined work after its all done. I am hoping it wont be enormous. I have paid the full price now and looking forward to some of it coming back.

 

2 minutes ago, PeterW said:

Why are you having to dig under concrete out of interest ..?

 

The (unclaimed) access road has a concrete surface.

 

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Right .... and you’ve got to cut and dig through it ..?? 

 

What about anyone needing temporary access when it’s open ..?

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3 minutes ago, PeterW said:

Right .... and you’ve got to cut and dig through it ..?

 

Yes, I think so. Although it is slightly unclear exactly where the UKPN part ends and my party of the trenching starts.

 

3 minutes ago, PeterW said:

What about anyone needing temporary access when it’s open ..?

 

To that access road you mean. Yes, fortunately the other party having a connection at the same time is taking care of that, to my great relief. His building is much larger (a boathouse) and he is having a three-phase connection. One neighbour in particular is being greatly inconvenienced and I am not looking forward to his reaction.

Edited by Dreadnaught

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16 minutes ago, Dreadnaught said:

 

Interestingly a search of google did not reveal a single picture of a meter cabinet attached to a fence, which makes me wonder if it's forbidden. I even checked building regs but it does not comment on it, I am guessing because it falls within the remit of the DNO.

 

 

Like ours:

 

Meter-box-wiring.jpg

 

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2 minutes ago, JSHarris said:

Like ours

 

Oh interesting. Jeremy, did your DNO bat-an-eyelid when they saw yours attached to the fence?

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1 minute ago, Dreadnaught said:

 

Oh interesting. Jeremy, did your DNO bat-an-eyelid when they saw yours attached to the fence?

 

 

No, not at all.  The only thing they were very insistent about was that I had to TT the installation, as it was a temporary building supply (the caravan box under the meter cabinet that has a Commando socket).  As soon as we'd finished the build and wired the house I just moved the CPC from the earth electrode and connected it to the terminal on their head, so it's now TN-C-S.

 

The house supply is a long run of 25mm² 3 core SWA, protected by the big switch fuse at the top.  The fence has since been turned into a screen for our wheelie bins, with the meter cabinet still there on the other side (it looks a lot tidier now, with the ground level built up and landscaped):

 

5954d6a013bff_Binscreen.thumb.JPG.3ba336e092fdd42c9973724770fab206.JPG

 

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1 minute ago, JSHarris said:

No, not at all. 

 

Thank you. Right, that gives me hope. If you don't mind, I will use the photo of your cabinet to show UKPN what I plan to do and ask them to pre-approve it, just in case on-the-day they turn up and throw a wobbly.

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With my temporary supply I hung a cavity box on two round fence posts within a metre of the garage wall it was going to be put in, when the garage was built I moved the whole meter box into the hole left in the garage wall and got my electrician to connect it up 👍, I also did all the digging on site, they just left  me a roll of hazard tape to put above the cable when I back filled the trench .

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12 minutes ago, Dreadnaught said:

 

Thank you. Right, that gives me hope. If you don't mind, I will use the photo of your cabinet to show UKPN what I plan to do and ask them to pre-approve it, just in case on-the-day they turn up and throw a wobbly.

 

The only thing they might (rightfully) quibble about is having stuff other than their meter in the meter box.  Strictly speaking you're only supposed to fit stuff like an earth block, Henley and perhaps a fused isolator inside the meter cabinet, so my small consumer unit and additional cables are a bit naughty.  I'm in the process of tidying my cabinet up, by adding a stainless enclosure where the caravan hook up point is, removing the small garage CU that's in the meter box and fitting a new CU inside the stainless box to feed all the external stuff.  Rather usefully, I was chatting about doing this to the chap that changed our meter for an E7 one, and he "accidentally" left some unused fuse seals behind...

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3 hours ago, Dreadnaught said:

Hi all, I am breaking ground on my build (Hooray!) albeit only to connect my temporary builders electricity supply ("TBS"). 

 

UKPN are laying the main up to the boundary of my property (£££ :(). 

 

Is the following quote generally OK for the extra bits that I have to arrange:

  1. Ground mounted meter box, £600 (zero rated for VAT as supply & fit)
  2. Excavate a short length of trench from my plot your boundary to the meter box location (perhaps 2 metres under concrete, 485mm deep), lay duct and backfill with warning tape, form concrete plinth, and fix meter housing £950 (zero rated for VAT) 
  3. Electrical work required to provide the earth and tails: awaiting a quote. How much might I expect this to be?

Any advice appreciated.

 

By the way, does the meter box need to be ground mounted? There is a panel fence there but not much else.

 

 

 

 

The TBS doesn't need to be in a fancy £600 meter box - you could rattle together a small enclosure from just about anything lying about - it just wants to be solid enough it won't blow away and rainproof.

 

Often a 4x4 fence post, concreted in securely with a piece of plywood screwed to it as a backer and an IP rated enclosure big enough to contain all the bits would be fine. Or get a sheet of ply and knock up a simple box with a door and shed roofing felt over it. 

 

Look about, you may even be able to re-purpose something, crying out loud now I think about it for £200 you could get a cheap shed!

 

 

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