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Thread: New Installation Questions

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    New Member Simon123's Avatar
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    Question New Installation Questions

    Long time lurker on these forums, especially this sub forum, and finally time to post.

    Some background: always just an avid DIYer, and keen to know more about everything. Jack of all trades, master of none. But busy building a house, and as things go, my confidence in the builder and his sub-contractors is slowly disappearing. Covid jammed a hold on things, and I decided to dig into quotes etc, as it's become a bit of a nightmare. I'm currently pouring over the electrical stuff, as they've just finished the roof and this is next. I'm 100% sure that it's simply the cheapest "electrician" that the builder can get and in our site visit this morning I left feeling like I was certainly going to have issues later. I just went through the COC on my current place when I sold it, and couldn't believe that despite changing nothing in the 5 years I owned the house I had dozens of changes at R24k due to get the COC for sale. Definitely some bad apples ruining my faith.

    No electrician here, but have a few questions and would love any assistance.

    • I see on the quote they have 10A and 20A breakers for plugs and lights. After reading on here for ages, I asked some questions. Apparently the lights and stove dont go onto Earth Leakage (Gas Stove, with electric oven, but oven has dedicated connector)? And he said they are C-Curve breakers? No idea what this is, but it's on quote. My googling says we need B-Curve?
    • Whilst on the DB, I saw there were minimal 20A breakers for plugs, and he said they can connect up to 7 plugs to one breaker? I realise none are at max load, but is this correct? Does the cable just run from one plug to the next? No idea what he meant, and when asked just said "that's how it's done".
    • On the quote there is a mention of blue cable? I've always thought the colours are red / black / green/yellow? I see all lighting has 1.5mm cable quoted and plugs 2,5mm and stove / geyser is 6mm. Not sure again if this is correct, seems right, but who knows what he'll actually use.
    • I use LED intelligent Philips Hue GU10 bulbs in downlighters, must I insist the fitting is earthed? All ceilings in the house are 2,5m high. The connection would be 220V I assume as that's what the bulbs need.


    Thanks, I really appreciate your assistance. There are other things like earth spike and things he just fobbed off when I asked, but thought I'd not push my luck as a total newbie. I'm just considering getting a few facts from experts before I approach my builder tomorrow and ask them to try change electrician, or remove this part from the quote and let me hire someone I trust / have confidence in.

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    The fact that you didnt do anything to the electrical installation for the past 5 years doesnt make it reasonably safe.

    I had situation where one of my customers purchased a house ...she was concerned about the COC issued ... it was noted that the COC was illegal and there was thousands of rands worth of repairs ... I informed her that she needed to contact the previous owner and stop the transfer ... she decided not to do anything about it ... she was also not prepared to spend the money required to fix the illegal stuff... years later she moved away from SA and contacted me to issue a COC ... i reminded her about the list ... I then became a wanker who ripped her off and stole her money etc etc etc ... blah blah blah ... same ol same ol bullshyte.

    She asked me why i had not repaired all the problem ... the answer is simple ... i have no authourity to go about repairing stuff without the customers consent ...thanks godness the rules have changed and it is the property ownere responsiblity to make sure your electrical installtion is up to standard.

    anyway moving on ...

    Customer want the cheapest quote ... they get the cheapest constractors ... its that simple.

    Smart people use contractors who get work via word of mouth.

    lights 10 amp mcb ... 1,5 mm wire

    plugs 20 amp mcb ... 2.5 mm wire

    geyser 20 amp mcb ... 2.5 mm wire (unless you are installing a geyser bigger than 4 kw)

    stove 30 amp macb with 4 mm wire (if only the oven is electrical)

    The amount of points per circuit boils down to planning ... if you are building your own house ...then it is easier ... if you are installing a dishwasher and washing machine and tumble drier ... then having 1 circuit feeding the kitchen is not the smartest idea.

    If the lights have exposed metal parts ... no matter how high they are or what make they are it is just smarter to earth the metal.

    There a few guys on this forum who will be able to share some good advice ... i am sure they will respond soon.
    Comments are based on opinion...not always facts....that's why people use an alias.

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    Simon123 (22-Jun-20)

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    New Member Simon123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ians View Post
    The fact that you didnt do anything to the electrical installation for the past 5 years doesnt make it reasonably safe.

    I had situation where one of my customers purchased a house ...she was concerned about the COC issued ... it was noted that the COC was illegal and there was thousands of rands worth of repairs ... I informed her that she needed to contact the previous owner and stop the transfer ... she decided not to do anything about it ... she was also not prepared to spend the money required to fix the illegal stuff... years later she moved away from SA and contacted me to issue a COC ... i reminded her about the list ... I then became a wanker who ripped her off and stole her money etc etc etc ... blah blah blah ... same ol same ol bullshyte.

    She asked me why i had not repaired all the problem ... the answer is simple ... i have no authourity to go about repairing stuff without the customers consent ...thanks godness the rules have changed and it is the property ownere responsiblity to make sure your electrical installtion is up to standard.
    Exactly. It just shows the original COC should never have been issued due to faults. Anyway, I paid, got it from the company who did the repairs and the transfer proceeded perfectly. Infact the new owner even called me to ask why I replaced some of the switches with new ones and seemed impressed. haha.


    Quote Originally Posted by ians View Post

    The amount of points per circuit boils down to planning ... if you are building your own house ...then it is easier ... if you are installing a dishwasher and washing machine and tumble drier ... then having 1 circuit feeding the kitchen is not the smartest idea.

    If the lights have exposed metal parts ... no matter how high they are or what make they are it is just smarter to earth the metal.

    There a few guys on this forum who will be able to share some good advice ... i am sure they will respond soon.
    Yep, new house, so this makes sense. Especially explaining high-load appliances on the same circuit. So in effect the wire can just run from one plug, and then out and to the next? Wow.

    Appreciate all the advice. Am only building once and want to get the work done properly. as I've paid for this part (to the builder, who subbed in the electrician to start next week) I want to either cancel or get refunded - just not comfortable, but need to know what I'm talking about when arguing! haha.


    Unrelated to electricity: subbed in plumber by builder was useless. Cheapest no-body. Red flags everywhere, so doubting electrician too.

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    Hi Simon
    See Ians has answered the majority of your concerns but to add to them.
    If your contractor is an ECA member you will have a bit more recourse with regards to faulty workmanship but you still need to watch the loading of plug circuits.
    Without knowing the size of the installation or qty of plug and light points .
    You could wire the complete house on 1 plug circuit and argue your way out of the problems that will occur using SANS as support.

    Bedrooms, passages, lounge etc draw very little in day to day use except heaters during winter - Your estimate load on a plug circuit should not exceed the 20 amps .
    Kitchen and laundry are the biggest problem areas for tripping and it is best to split into a least 3 circuits
    We also recommend installing 3 earth leakage ( depending on size , maybe 2 ) units to avoid nuisance tripping especially now that geyser need to be on earth leakage.
    I would also recommend that the plugs going to the TV,DSTV,Netflix box, Modem , alarm system are wired on one circuit so that it is easy to fit an inverter at a later stage if it is not being done immediately.
    Likewise with a light circuit that can have a reduced load and be used on the inverter.

    The query over what I assume is blue house wire - Any color besides black and green/yellow can be used for a live wire.If we tubing we use blue for strappers on two way circuits and white for switch wires

    The earthing is a municipal job and should come along with your supply - There should be no need for an earth spike .With that said there is no problem in installing your own earth spike as an added protection - I have not put an earth spike on my own property.

    With all that has been said and will still get added - The Electrician was asked to supply a price to the builder based on a drawing he received- Reading between the lines there was no specification and he priced what he thought would work but also needed to make sure that he was the lowest price so he could secure the work.
    I always say , I can do whatever you want , it just costs extra.

    He priced the Golf and now that he is on site everyone is expecting an Audi to be delivered.

    This is the problem when pricing is asked without proper specifications - Rather negotiate a price based on what your requirements are

    I have no idea how small or big your electrical contractor is but generally people skills are not high on Electrical contractors agendas and so when the owner starts second guessing every move the guys can come across as arrogant. He may be an excellent Electrical contractor.

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    Simon123 (23-Jun-20)

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    Quote Originally Posted by GCE View Post
    Hi Simon
    See Ians has answered the majority of your concerns but to add to them.
    If your contractor is an ECA member you will have a bit more recourse with regards to faulty workmanship but you still need to watch the loading of plug circuits.
    I am not sure, I will ask if he is an ECA member.

    Quote Originally Posted by GCE View Post
    Without knowing the size of the installation or qty of plug and light points .
    You could wire the complete house on 1 plug circuit and argue your way out of the problems that will occur using SANS as support.
    Bedrooms, passages, lounge etc draw very little in day to day use except heaters during winter - Your estimate load on a plug circuit should not exceed the 20 amps .
    Kitchen and laundry are the biggest problem areas for tripping and it is best to split into a least 3 circuits
    We also recommend installing 3 earth leakage ( depending on size , maybe 2 ) units to avoid nuisance tripping especially now that geyser need to be on earth leakage.
    I would also recommend that the plugs going to the TV,DSTV,Netflix box, Modem , alarm system are wired on one circuit so that it is easy to fit an inverter at a later stage if it is not being done immediately.
    Likewise with a light circuit that can have a reduced load and be used on the inverter.
    There are 8 plug circuits if I count the 20A breakers on the quote. Only one earth leakage though. Should I ask the geyser to be on it's own one (at increased cost I do realise)?

    I didn't think of some plugs being on an inverter. Can all of this be in the same DB? Or will I need a second DB?

    Quote Originally Posted by GCE View Post
    The query over what I assume is blue house wire - Any color besides black and green/yellow can be used for a live wire.If we tubing we use blue for strappers on two way circuits and white for switch wires
    oard.
    The earthing is a municipal job and should come along with your supply - There should be no need for an earth spike .With that said there is no problem in installing your own earth spike as an added protection - I have not put an earth spike on my own property.
    So perhaps the blue is for the two two-way light switches. Thanks. Assume rest is all then black / red / yellow setup.

    Didn't know that municipal was earth supply, I saw some armoured cable (dont have quote infront of me) on the quotation, and it looked like it was boundary box to DB board.


    Quote Originally Posted by GCE View Post
    With all that has been said and will still get added - The Electrician was asked to supply a price to the builder based on a drawing he received- Reading between the lines there was no specification and he priced what he thought would work but also needed to make sure that he was the lowest price so he could secure the work.
    I always say , I can do whatever you want , it just costs extra.

    He priced the Golf and now that he is on site everyone is expecting an Audi to be delivered.

    This is the problem when pricing is asked without proper specifications - Rather negotiate a price based on what your requirements are

    I have no idea how small or big your electrical contractor is but generally people skills are not high on Electrical contractors agendas and so when the owner starts second guessing every move the guys can come across as arrogant. He may be an excellent Electrical contractor.
    As I'm learning with my builder - the cheapest sub contractor is called. We did do a detailed layout of plugs / switches (I purchased all the sockets / switches I wanted as we wanted a specific look) the rest was for them to do. We also purchased all the light fixtures we wanted. This was clearly laid out in a "what goes where" drawing before we even broke ground.

    Certainly dont want to be a shadow to him, but based on the experience so far, it's been less than ideal. I'll go in in better faith today, I just dont want to have to worry things are not done properly.

    Thanks again, the information here is truly appreciated.

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    The most difficult problem to trace are in the foundation ... make sure you check and recheck ...when pipes are installed ...glued and secured to the structure.

    I am not an ECA member (dont believe for a second that just because a van has an ECA hand of safety on it that the contracotrs pays attention to detail) all my work is generated via word of mouth or customers visiting site i am busy working on ... rather find an electrician who has a good name around town ... i would look for an old school semi retired or retired sparkie to over see the installation.

    Once the tiles are installed ... fault finding and repairs become a nightmare.
    Comments are based on opinion...not always facts....that's why people use an alias.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon123 View Post
    There are 8 plug circuits if I count the 20A breakers on the quote. Only one earth leakage though. Should I ask the geyser to be on it's own one (at increased cost I do realise)?
    An alternative is to ask for an isolator for the geyser circuit to be installed in the db. It is more cost efficient than installing a separate earth leakage unit for the geyser circuit. If you get nuisance tripping from the geyser circuit, there is an isolator handy right there to get the rest of the circuits back up until you get the cause of the problem on the geyser circuit solved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    An alternative is to ask for an isolator for the geyser circuit to be installed in the db. It is more cost efficient than installing a separate earth leakage unit for the geyser circuit. If you get nuisance tripping from the geyser circuit, there is an isolator handy right there to get the rest of the circuits back up until you get the cause of the problem on the geyser circuit solved.

    Thanks. I will ask for this.

    Had a long chat with builder, and he said the guy should definitely be okay, and just is a pain to deal with. I'm happy to deal with difficult people, as long as I know things are being done properly.

    I'll post an update as soon as it all starts next week.

    Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon123 View Post
    Thanks. I will ask for this.

    Had a long chat with builder, and he said the guy should definitely be okay, and just is a pain to deal with. I'm happy to deal with difficult people, as long as I know things are being done properly.

    I'll post an update as soon as it all starts next week.

    Thanks!
    A word of advice ... there are never too many plugs in a room ... if you are installing conduit ... go wild and fit as many points as possible ...even if you just fit blank covers for now ... it could be used at a later stage for network points ... plug points you name it ... once the walls are plastered and painted it is very didficult to chase and patch without noticing the repair.

    If you chase the wall fit 2 pipes and 2 boxes next to each other it should be minimul additional cost to fit and additional pipe and box.

    If you want all your boxes to be straight ...make a frame for the boxes ...screw them to the frame and use a laser level use a piece of 18 mm plywood as a spacer ...will give you a little extra depth for the boxes ... use a laser level ... screw all the frames to the wall so that they are all exactly the same height throughout the house ... position the laser in the middle of the house on a tripod ... you can use the level and pull chalk line as reference ... then you know everything is the same height and level ... counter tops ... cupboards ... plugs light switches everything.
    Comments are based on opinion...not always facts....that's why people use an alias.

  12. Thanks given for this post:

    Simon123 (25-Jun-20)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon123 View Post
    There are 8 plug circuits if I count the 20A breakers on the quote. Only one earth leakage though. Should I ask the geyser to be on it's own one (at increased cost I do realise)?

    I didn't think of some plugs being on an inverter. Can all of this be in the same DB? Or will I need a second DB?
    .
    In my opinion a 2nd and 3rd earth leakage is worth the money .Every appliance has a leakage to earth - the accumulation of appliances can be enough to trip the earth leakage unit without any actual faults present .To me there is nothing worse than intermittent tripping of a unit - I installed 5 in my own home.
    Putting the geyser on a double pole as Dave mentioned is also worth the extra expense .

    A 2nd DB is not a must but the cost involved in having a little 12 way DB fitted are minimal and it separates circuits and supplies and is best practice

  14. Thanks given for this post:

    Simon123 (25-Jun-20)

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