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The cost to change a consumer unit (fuse box)

A 50plus guide to the cost of maintenance and repair work

0845 22 50 495 or one of our local numbers
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What are we talking about? How long does it typically take to replace a consumer unit of fuse box?
Typical time 8hrs, excluding any fault finding for a standard e.g. 10 way unit
Dependencies The power will be off for most of the day. Freezers will be fine if closed. Temporary lighting may be required in the winter.
Questions to ask We usually need to inspect the existing installation (or see a photograph of the existing fuse box or consumer unit) as the space available can vary considerably. Knowing the size of the property helps
Comments

Replacing a consumer unit (or fuse box as the devices were previously known) can only be undertaken by a competent person. The work comes under Part P of the Building Regulations and must be certified and registered with Building Control. In order for the installation to be certified the installer must undertake a series of checks and test including:

  • ensuring the earthing including the equipotential bonding is to a suitable standard. This means the main earth and the earths to the gas and water
  • the installation as a whole including the wiring connected to the consumer unit is of a suitable standard. The installer effectively inherits what has gone before. Problems with ring mains, spurs on spurs and other issues can show up during the test and inspection phase.

The IEE 17th Edition (BS7671) came into effect in 2008. The main change at the consumer unit is caused by the requirement that cables in walls typically need to be RCD protected. As a result most 17th Edition most consumer units have two RCD's to ensure not everything trips at once. There are other solutions including RCBO's (circuit breakers and RCDs incorporated in a single unit) but these tend to cost more.

The person carrying out the works may need to arrange temporary lighting. If the consumer unit is in an awkward place e.g. high up on the wall under a ceiling then the work may take longer. If it's under the stairs remember to clear out the cupboard!

For a pictorial view of equipotential bonding and consumer units click here).

 

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