If you are considering renovating, the idea of what happens with the lights and power during that process has either not yet crossed your mind, or perhaps seems a little overwhelming as you realize it is more than just choosing the perfect light fittings!

In this blog, we will look at the various stages of an electrical installation and the relationship between yourself and your electrical contractor throughout your renovation. When you renovate a house, it’s all about the PLANNING! Getting advice from a professional electrical contractor on the best way to incorporate your ideas with the wiring necessities BEFORE you renovate is paramount to the success of the end result.

As a newbie to the renovation scene myself, the two most important tips I have been given so far from other renovators, the electricians I work with and the internet are:

  1. Involve your electrical contractor early in the planning stage. You need to know if your vision will work before you knock down walls, right?
  2. You don’t need to use your builder’s electrician. This could actually save you money as the cost is not being marked up by the builder using his own subcontractors.

You have important electrical renovation decisions to make, so in order to ensure a good plan for your home’s electrical design and functionality, the following are other important factors to consider:

  • Make a list of all your electrical appliances and where they will be located so that you will be ready when the electrician meets with you to plan your layout
  • Consider your switches and power points. Will you need extra? Where do you want them? What colours/styles etc.? Your electrician can advise on the best placement once you have decided on how many you need, especially for wet areas.
  • Consider your lighting plan – the number of lights you want, e.g. wall lights to highlight paintings, under bench lighting in your kitchen, outdoor security lights etc.
  • Which lights do you want to keep and reuse?
  • Ask your electrician about green energy lighting.
  • The electrician can supply the general lights, but you should choose decorative or display lighting. Research light fittings so you don’t buy in a panic and are happy with your purchase.
  • Buy good quality light fittings… ask your electrician for advice!
  • Make sure you give the electrician plenty of notice for when the builder or other trades are moving things to allow access for rewiring, e.g. when the roof is removed is a critical time for wiring to be installed.
  • Decide if you want to include home automation in your renovation, e.g. lighting, alarms, blinds
  • Plan your computer usage and how you will want each computer to be networked and the position of the main router and server.

Now the planning is done, the materials have been ordered and you have a start date that works for everyone. What happens next? Rough in. To rough- in means to lay the electrical wiring through the studs and into the boxes, without making the final connections, so light switches, outlets, etc. would not be attached. At this stage walls, ceilings, etc. are not up. However a building rough-in is not the same as a creative rough layout or draft. The latter implies that changes are expected, whereas a building rough-in assumes that all of the work is done to specification and that no changes will be made, aside from minor ones.

If you haven’t consulted your electrical contractor prior to rough-in, then be prepared for lots of questions.
With so much going on during a renovation it is important to be organized and follow the progress closely to avoid any irreversible surprises. You really want to look for an electrical contractor that will be able to minimize your stress!

As with any tradesman, you will want someone who shows up on time, is well presented, professional and carries out your job with care and skill. A little innovation and use of quality systems wouldn’t go astray either! In the next issue, part two will look at the fitting off and the testing of your electrical installations.