Many older homes are upgraded by a re-wire. This ensures that older electrical wiring is up to modern standards and hence should be safer. This is an expensive process where not only wires, but sockets and switches are also changed. It involves a lot of ‘chasing out’ of plasterwork, drilling through joists and rafters and general disruption. Therefore in our opinion it is worth looking at doing the job properly and as few times as possible.
So there are longer term advantages to ensuring that your newly rewired house is up to the task for the next 20 – 30 years. So we would encourage people to think about the following:
If you have a south facing roof, you may be tempted at a later date to put in a photovoltaic (PV) system or a solar thermal one. These require electrical feeds / wiring to work (either to run pumps or to take the generated electricity into your home / the wider grid). So whilst having work done why not allow for two additional wires to go up into the loft space. Each system will also require its own circuit so allow for two circuits when planning / specifying your consumer unit. Note that a PV system will also require a Generation Meter as well, so this will require approx. 150mm by 100mm of space next to the consumer unit as well.
You might also want to allow for changing showers over to electric (as the grid becomes more de-carbonised). This again can be installed and left coiled up ready for use at a later date.
The house might also be extended at a certain date, so again allowing for more circuits (lighting, ring main, shower etc.) is a good idea, as is getting the cabling to where it can be accessed at a convenient time.
Allowing for enough sockets is a common fault in re-wiring. As we use more electrical devices the pressure grows on sockets, so again allow for plenty of these.
You might also want to think about locations of sockets. Having sockets at a higher location on the wall makes them easier to use when we get older, so again think about this.
If you are looking to stay in the house for a long period of time or to retire into then it might be worth thinking about circuits for stairlifts etc. These circuits do not need to be active, but they will reduce stress, disruption and hassle at a later date if the equipment is needed.
With having walls chased out for circuits you might also want to think about putting in conduits for communication links. Again these can be left with draw strings on, or with cabling in situ running to each room.
The last but one suggestion is that you think about a central service area where all the cabling etc can be installed and spurred off from so that you know where all your cabling is in the future and how to access it. Removable floorings / ceilings can assist with maintenance / access as well.
And lastly, we would recommend having a schematic / photos / maps of where all the cabling runs. This will make future occupants (as well as yourself) more aware of where all the cabling is, especially if you have installed additional future-proofing circuits.