How a simple job can turn into a major expense

A new client called us to get an extra power point installed in their garage.

On checking their switchboard we found they had an old fuse board in poor condition, with no circuit breakers or safety switches.

Regulations require that all new power points are protected by a safety switch. In this case there was just no way to fit a safety switch to the existing board.   Before any new power points could be installed the entire switchboard would need to be replaced.

Our quote to install a new circuit breaker switchboard with earth-leakage protection (safety switches) and to install the additional power point was around $800.

There are great benefits to getting rid of your old fuses and fitting safety switches, but obviously this was a much greater investment than the client was expecting.

There are other potential complications once you start altering major parts of your electrical installation.
Making changes to components such as switchboards triggers the requirement for other parts of the installation to comply with current standards.

For example if your existing switchboard and power meters are at the back of the house and you wish to make alterations, you will be required to relocate the meters to the front of the house. This is to ensure that meter readers have easy access to the meters.

Moving your meters will mean alterations to your sub-mains cables or mains cables.
Any alterations to your mains cables could trigger the requirement to relocate your point of attachment, and even replace the mains cables.

Relocating your switchboard also means having to extend all the existing circuits to the new switchboard position.
If the wiring in your home is not up to scratch then those existing circuits may need to be replaced as well.

What started out as a job to install one new power point has suddenly snowballed into a full-blown rewire with new mains cables and switchboard. The cost has ballooned from maybe $200 to over $7,000!

This is why you should talk to an electrical contractor while you are still in the planning stages of any building or renovation project.

What’s the difference between and electrician and an electrical contractor?

When you make alterations to your electrical installation, one thing can lead to another and you can find yourself on the slippery slope to major electrical costs.  Proper advice and planning before any work commences will prevent unexpected surprises.

If all you really want is that one extra power point in your garage and you aren’t currently ready for a rewire or new switchboard, there is a much cheaper alternative that could get you out of trouble.

It may be possible to install an RCD protected power point and bypass the requirements to make other upgrades.  It’s a slightly higher investment than a standard power point but it could be a way to get what you want without spending thousands.

Click here to see our article on RCD protected power points.


For a free quote and advice on all new power point installations phone Mance Electrical on 6331 4711

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