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Discuss Positioning of new consumer units. in the Electrical Wiring, Theories and Regulations area at ElectriciansForums.net

J

JulesHurley

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Recently visited a friend in a new disabled person's flat, and the CU was at ceiling level. We all know that outlets, switches, etc must be position between 450mm to 1200mm from finished floor level. Where are people putting consumer units, and why?

I have started to install CU within the spacings, but have got into a debate with a plumber about the position of a central heating room stat. From what we can see, the recommended height is above the allowed height for disabled.

A wheelchair user has also asked if there is anyway to lower his smoke alarms!!!
 
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andyb

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Arms
Esteemed
On a new installaton the cu should be between 450 & 1200 as you say.
However in the real world you need to deal with clients who pay your wages, I had a job last year where the cu was in the kitchen, the owner wanted the cu higher, so did the builder and the architect. I spoke to the LABC who aggreed with the new height.

Of course the inevitable happened and it was picked up during my NICEIC inspection as a non compliance.
I don’t know what I should of done, but with the builder holding £3000 of my money and the blessing of the LABC I would do it again.
 
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WarrenG

  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3
Part M (New Buildings) states:

'assisting people whose reach is limited to use the dwelling more easily, by locating wall-mounted switches, socket outlets and other equipment at suitable heights, so that they are easily reachable for use'.


As andyb has said NICEIC class Circuit breakers as 'equipment' and therefore the consumer units should also be placed at the levels designated for equipment i.e. between 0.45m - 1.2m.

Hope this helps!

Warren
 
J

JulesHurley

  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #4
Warren,

Thanks for taking the time and posting the regulation.

I am interested in hearing - as above, tales of how installations have succesfully 'breached' the rules.

As above, the client, builder, architect, and LBA were happy with the location, and so why not the NIC. Who has overall control?

As trademen we seem to have a set of rules / regulations to abide to, but there are too many differences.

How do you make smoke alarms accessible?
 
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WarrenG

  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #5
Warren,

Thanks for taking the time and posting the regulation.

I am interested in hearing - as above, tales of how installations have succesfully 'breached' the rules.

As above, the client, builder, architect, and LBA were happy with the location, and so why not the NIC. Who has overall control?

As trademen we seem to have a set of rules / regulations to abide to, but there are too many differences.

How do you make smoke alarms accessible?
Jules the NICEIC (and by the way I'm not a member of their scheme) are really quoting what Part M of the Building Regulations specify.

Section 8 of Approved Document M, which applies to new dwellings, includes the objective of assisting people whose reach is limited to use dwellings more easily by locating wall-mounted switches, socket-outlets and other equipment at suitable heights so they are easily reachable for use. In this respect, Section 8 indicates that a way of satisfying the requirements of Part M of the Building Regulations is to provide switches and socket-outlets for lighting and other equipment in habitable rooms at appropriate heights between 0.45 and 1.2m from finished floor level.

If Building control are happy what can the NICEIC say? However the LABC do attend training course's from the likes of NICEIC & NAPIT.
Its funny that you can put it where you want on a rewire?
 
C

Chappers

  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #6
The contractors who fit out the large complexes at work seem to relish sticking DBs in the hardest to find and reach places imaginable. Some are above false ceilings, and many are 3 to 4 metres from ground level, so you need a ladder to get to them. I don't know whether that's fine for commercial locations, but I do know it makes it a nightmare for us.
 
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Spudnik

  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #7
Commercial and industrial can literally be wherever you like.

Refurbished dwellings can be (sensibly) wherever you like.

New builds need to be at the stated heights.
 
Warren,

Thanks for taking the time and posting the regulation.

I am interested in hearing - as above, tales of how installations have succesfully 'breached' the rules.

As above, the client, builder, architect, and LBA were happy with the location, and so why not the NIC. Who has overall control?

As trademen we seem to have a set of rules / regulations to abide to, but there are too many differences.

How do you make smoke alarms accessible?
smoke alarms need to be ceiling height I'm afraid.I think the only time a wheelchair user needs to go near his smokie is to operate the hush button,get a big stick. As for the location of consumer unit if the builder,etc agree to resiteing the consumer unit,this instruction should be in writing and recorded as a deviation on niceic sheet.
 
C

Captain Kirk

  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #10
Most new installations I have worked on have the consumer unit is sited in the hall garage or a cupboard. I would argue that this is not a habitable room and therefore height restriction is not such an issue.

Of course we are restricted by where the supply authorities cut out is, to limit the length on the meter tails, unless you install a sub main.
 
Hi

As for the smoke alarms, they do need to be mounted on the ceiling. However EI electronics (Aico) do mains interlinked models that can be connected to a testing unit as part of the main installation. This unit is about the same size as a light switch but allows you to locate units in alarm, test units and hush the system.

This test unit can be mounted between 450mm and 1200mm thus complying with the regs.

They even do an radio base unit so units do not need to be linked by cable. (Just fed from a suitable supply).

These are not cheep, but you can get them on ebay for reasonable money.

I am in the process of fitting 5 of the radio linked ones into my house.

Colin
 
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WarrenG

  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #12
Interesting - thanks for that input ;)
 
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Guest123

  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #13
Hey.

In addition to what nightrider said, whenever we do a local authority rewire they specify to fit the aico smoke detector switches at 1200mm to top, even though it's not in properties designed for disabled persons i.e no stairlifts, ramps disabled toilet etc.

Different authorities have different requirements I suppose.
 
Hey.

In addition to what nightrider said, whenever we do a local authority rewire they specify to fit the aico smoke detector switches at 1200mm to top, even though it's not in properties designed for disabled persons i.e no stairlifts, ramps disabled toilet etc.

Different authorities have different requirements I suppose.
I thought 1200 was the standard height for all switches now?sockets 450.(apart from wheelchair users height of 1000) Set by building control. I could be wrong though.And roomstats I think they might be an exception as they should be at a particular height to sense the heat correctly.
 
G

Guest123

  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #15
The 1200 - 450 zone is only enforceable on new builds.

On existing refurbishments you can replace like for like but I would use a little common sense i.e if the db is at floor level in the back of the understairs cupboard then I would move it.
 
The 1200 - 450 zone is only enforceable on new builds.

On existing refurbishments you can replace like for like but I would use a little common sense i.e if the db is at floor level in the back of the understairs cupboard then I would move it.
shows how much domestic work I do these days-:eek::eek:
 
D

daver

  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #17
This country has just gone mad with its regulations. If the consumer unit trips, it generally has a reason to do so.
The disabled person, and by the way, I am, Understand that it can kill you and will take precautions.

My 4 year old, can now reach a new reg 1.2m consumer unit, pull out a blanking plate and have a good old poke around with grandmas knitting needle.
At what age will she understand electricity.

Just having my 2 pennies worth
 
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WarrenG

  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #18
This country has just gone mad with its regulations. If the consumer unit trips, it generally has a reason to do so.
The disabled person, and by the way, I am, Understand that it can kill you and will take precautions.

My 4 year old, can now reach a new reg 1.2m consumer unit, pull out a blanking plate and have a good old poke around with grandmas knitting needle.
At what age will she understand electricity.

Just having my 2 pennies worth
Totally agree with you there Daver and I'm sure I'm not the only spark on here.

It is exactly the same with light switches at that height - on and off, off and on, on and off can't be good but who are we to use common sense we are only qualified electricians? :(
 
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sparkymaz

  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #19
Totally agree with you there Daver and I'm sure I'm not the only spark on here.

It is exactly the same with light switches at that height - on and off, off and on, on and off can't be good but who are we to use common sense we are only qualified electricians? :(
agree to. I think id be more worried about a childs safety rather than what the nic are gonna say. I read somewhere that this should be taken into account anyway. This may have been in the electricity at work regs, so does this apply in a new domestic dwelling?
 
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daver

  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #20
Apparently it will apply to all new build.
Now here is another:-
Most new build I work on, have the C/U in the garage.
The height of the handle on most up and over garage doors is above 1.2m
Taking the person in the wheelchair who has just tripped the 17th edition board and knocked off the ground floor lights.

They now have to negotiate the front door, open a garage door, negotiate the junk in the garage to get the rcd reset. All in the dark.

Or do those nice new 17th edition boards take pride of place in the middle of our living room wall with the plasma TV.

Sparkymaz. It would be interesting to find that article on using common sense. But at the same time, you would never know who was buying the new house. Disabled person or family with 2 kids.

Legislation that has been rushed through and not thought about, just to bring us in line with europe.

Dave
 
This country has just gone mad with its regulations. If the consumer unit trips, it generally has a reason to do so.
The disabled person, and by the way, I am, Understand that it can kill you and will take precautions.

My 4 year old, can now reach a new reg 1.2m consumer unit, pull out a blanking plate and have a good old poke around with grandmas knitting needle.
At what age will she understand electricity.

Just having my 2 pennies worth
maybe the consumer units should come with a lockable cover,but I suppose that wouldn't prevent your little darling sticking her knitting
needles into a soctet outlet
 

ian.settle1

-
Mentor
Arms
Recently visited a friend in a new disabled person's flat, and the CU was at ceiling level. We all know that outlets, switches, etc must be position between 450mm to 1200mm from finished floor level. Where are people putting consumer units, and why?

I have started to install CU within the spacings, but have got into a debate with a plumber about the position of a central heating room stat. From what we can see, the recommended height is above the allowed height for disabled.

A wheelchair user has also asked if there is anyway to lower his smoke alarms!!!
Ask the wheelchair user to ask the smoke if they have a fire to be nice enough to not go up to the ceiling but stay down low so as it can set off smoke alarms at a lower height:eek:

Does the wheelchair user not realise that the reason why they are on the ceiling and not lower down or do they think that because they are disabled that a fire will take into account they are disabled when the happens to be one? I think not.
 
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sparkymaz

  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #23
Sparkymaz. It would be interesting to find that article on using common sense. But at the same time, you would never know who was buying the new house. Disabled person or family with 2 kids.

Legislation that has been rushed through and not thought about, just to bring us in line with europe.

Dave
well i will be scanning through it again in the next week or so so will post exact wording when i can. I did think at the time it was quite contradictory. As far as not knowing who was buying the house? i would go for safety over convenience every time. I know a disables person may be left in the dark, but if an rcd does trip on an dual rcd board, then there should still be some sockets on where the lights arent. just plug in a lamp lol!!!!!!!
 
K

kiwisparks

  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #24
brooms and smoke alarms!! Aico have a new product I have had installed in a number of locations,for those that dont have brooms,aged, disabled etc
Ei 152 remote test & hush switch, fitted at normal switch level...aico.co.uk
 
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wet string

  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #25
if you are replacing a equipment ie con unit then it may be fitted in existing location new builds must comply with updated regs, i replaced a cu with a new 17th dual rcd type the client was aged and couldnt reach to test rcd or reset so at their request i returned and lowered it to 1200mm as new regs, this was an extra tho, cos we all know what fun moving cu' s are,as to smoke alarms ...fit the wireless type then they can be controlled .tested,reset by a remote controller..only answer really:cool:
 
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sparkymaz

  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #26
The building regs state these heights (450-1200) are to be used for electrical accessories. I have just had my elecsa part p assessment(which i passed) and he agreed that 'accessories' mean sockets,, switches etc. not the consumer unit itself. Its complete madness to be compulsary to put a cu at these heights. I will never do unless I have been asked to do so, or the cu is in a cupboard or whatever.

As stated in previous replies, safety over convenience every time
 
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wet string

  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #27
it is unsafe if old people or disableds are plunged into darkness possibly with no heating and they cant reach the cu to reset it/turn off the offending circuit, kids will be kids tho, i had this arguement thrown at me when i fiitted a smoke on a low ceiling. "my kids can reach that". ....yeh, also light fittings, socket outlets,electric cookers,deep fat fryers, the list is endless, all knitting needles in the 18th ed are to have max 2mm exposed and be fully insulated and fused,:D
 
it is unsafe if old people or disableds are plunged into darkness possibly with no heating and they cant reach the cu to reset it/turn off the offending circuit, kids will be kids tho, i had this arguement thrown at me when i fiitted a smoke on a low ceiling. "my kids can reach that". ....yeh, also light fittings, socket outlets,electric cookers,deep fat fryers, the list is endless, all knitting needles in the 18th ed are to have max 2mm exposed and be fully insulated and fused

LOL great idea that with the knitting needles.
I seen a remote reset for rcds the other day in that gewiss catelogue.
 
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Spudnik

  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #29
The building regs state these heights (450-1200) are to be used for electrical accessories. I have just had my elecsa part p assessment(which i passed) and he agreed that 'accessories' mean sockets,, switches etc. not the consumer unit itself.
Thats interesting because on my Elecsa assessment, i was asked where the CU was going on a new build at the time.

He stated that the height should be inline with new build regs and be no more than 1200 above ffl.
 
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wet string

  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #30
how many swiches in a cu then;)

ooops swiTches:eek:
 
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randyrat

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  • #32
If you read the regs, it appears that you only need to site units at the given heights ON A NEW BUILD....not an addition to or an alteration to an existing build.....
 

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