Saturday, 23 July 2011

Electrical Selection

Well this had to be the most lacklustre appointment so far (apart from the site costs at the Preliminary Contract appointment).

We went to the appointment well organised, with our own pencilled plan & spreadsheet of all the costs from the price list sent through when our appointment was booked the week before. However, the final result was a very pared down version of what we'd chosen at home. From the outset the consultant pointed out that our house has to be 6 star rated, which means all external lighting has to be on sensors. This added a $366 single item to our bill. I have since queried M to find out whether we will be credited this cost, as at our Preliminary contract meeting they pointed out the house design is only 5 star and they would provide items to get it upgraded at their cost (although the example given was possible double glazing of some windows). Hopefully they'll come through on this one...

The next issue was any down lights we want dimmers on have to be LEDs because compact fluro down lights don't work with dimmers. At about $90 per LED downlight plus $56 for wiring the thing, I couldn't stomach it. Our main priority is getting power points where you need them as it's painful running wires down walls post build. An additional 24 power points came in just under $1000.

The extra powerpoints and a few external lights at the front for security, and at the back so I don't kill myself getting clothes off the line in the dark (yes, in Summer I often forget the clothes are on the line till I'm ready to go to bed!) and it all of a sudden got quite expensive. We had to have 1 extra light circuit and 3 extra power circuits and an upgrade to the meter box, which consumed all the remaining electrical budget, adding an unexpected $1200. So we got drastic and left all internal lights standard.

After getting home Paul realised the internal switchboard location wasn't marked on the plan. I emailed the consultancy and asked the question. The response was that the standard plan didn't have one. All circuits are wired to the external meter box. Every house and apartment I've ever lived in (in total about 10 different places) have had an internal switchboard. I just took it for granted that it was standard! Imagine having to go out in the dark/rain, etc. to reset your safety switch. Needless to say I asked whether it was an option and it was for $970. Given the upgraded meter box is $500 we were happy to ditch that and pay extra for the internal switchboard.

So a grand total of over $4000 and that's with dodgy baton lighting with white plastic cowl shades and no wiring for our home theatre system. :(

Another disappointment on the day is that we have to wait who knows how long for a hydronic heating quote. I asked when we booked the electrical appointment whether we'd be covering the hydronic heating and was told it would be discussed but was done by another third party, as is refrig aircon. On the day the consultant said they would send the plans to the hydronic company for quote, but they couldn't say how long it would take. I wish they'd sent the plans when I first asked the question 2 weeks ago. There was absolutely no reason why it couldn't, given there was no information gathered at the electrical consultation (e.g heated towel rails to bathroom & ensuite). I'm a bit worried because this is a huge cost ($12k for my last house) and I don't want to go to the contract meeting without the cost known. Our CSC said he would send the updated plans & spec 2 days before the meeting, but if there's still unknown costs in there we'll be rescheduling to a later date.

Think I'll take it upon myself to call the hydronic company on Monday and just check they've actually received a request for quote...


  1. Great blog. I'm frantically reading them all. Can I ask with your lighting, can you just get M to give you a hole and connection, then go elsewhere for the bulk of the lighting? Many thanks. My electrical appointment is coming up. Regards Ev

    1. Hi E, yes you have the choice of getting M to just install wiring to locations you want and they will fit off a standard baton fixing. Then you can buy your own fittings and get your electrician to replace the batons after handover. Other people have managed to arrange with their Site Manager to get their fittings installed during build, but we didn't know the implications of theft or damage so we didn't risk it.

      Good luck with the appointment - the costs quickly add up!