I’ve recognised over the years the reasons why tension and conflict occur during a new build or renovation, in particular the electrical installation portion of course, but many of these principles can be considered when dealing with the other trades. Builders, clients and us electricians can all all suffer when any of the following occur:

  1. The price blows out to more than was expected or quoted
  2. Items don’t get installed that were asked for
  3. Items don’t work
  4. The job stalls as we aren’t completed in time for the next trade to follow (usually the plasterer), causing a domino effect all the way through the trades causing the builder grief, the following trades and the client who’s bearing the holding costs and or the builder bearing late fees

Common causes:

  1. Client is unclear on what they want from the electrical installation and they are either not offered or not prepared to pay someone to assist in the design process
  2. As a result, unclear instructions are given to the electrician from the beginning
  3. cables don’t get pulled through by plasterers when they say they will
  4. Electrician can’t find cables that have been moved by insulation installers or plasterers during fitting of gyprock. Often left in wall cavities or inaccessible roof voids
  5. Cables get damaged during fixing of the gyprock
  6. All items including variations are not documented and clearly marked on the plan
  7. Plasterers indicate they will pull all cables out for the electrician, go but it never quite happens in reality
  8. Electrician marks the floor but the marks get worn off or covered over after he has left

What I recommend as possible solutions to help avoid these issues:

  1. Verify with the electrician before sheeting that all is complete. Don’t just get the plasterer in. A good electrician will then:
  • Verify wiring is as per the plans you have provided (not verbal instructions)
  • Fix cables into position at critical locations so they avoid being damaged and can be retrieved easily at cut out stage
  • Tape grouped cabling together
  • Verify cabling is not PRONE to get damaged where we have installed it. Examples being roofing screws, gyprock fixing screws, underground wiring
  1. Mark up a plan indicating locations of ALL critical point locations. Critical locations include:
  • Where height above FFL is critical or abnormal
  • Where downlights are going to avoid drilling into the structure
  • Areas that won’t be able to access when sheeting is fitted (ie. non accessible roof wall and sub floor spaces)
  • Where points marked on floor are likely to get worn off or covered over
  1. Electrician to cross check the plans to ensure all wiring in place. While he’s at it, the electrician could mark the floor as a quick reference to get the majority of cables pulled through on the fly during the cut out stage.
  1. Electrician to advise the builder he’s completed the rough in stage and emphasise to the builder, the need to avoid having the cabling disturbed or damaged by other trades such as insulation and plaster installers. If it does get damaged or needs relocating, tell the electrician immediately whilst he can access and address it.
  1. If possible, have the electrician on site whilst sheeting is occurring to pull through and cut out cables as the sheets go on. This can avoid a lot of problems.
  1. If after all that something does get missed, the marked up plans are there to refer to avoiding cutting gaping holes in plaster to retrieve or rectify cabling issues.

These suggestions serve to provide the following ideal outcomes:

  • All cables are retrieved the first time avoiding lost time trying to find them
  • Holes are cut in plaster only where they should be avoiding more work for plasterers and painters
  • Electrical installation works the way it was intended to without faults being found after gyprock fitted or down the track when the customer has moved in.

Hope that helps. Of course if you use Reefcosa Electrical, we ensure all this occurs.

Dean Kenway