Electrical Appointment

24 02 2012

On Tuesday this week we had our electrical appointment at Studio M with Nathan from the Habitat Group.

A day before the appointment we asked to get a price list of the various selections only to be advised that they had apparently emailed that out 2+ weeks ago.  For some reason it didn’t get to us.  It would have been nice to have received it earlier.  Nevertheless, we did eventually get a copy which we were able to review the night before the appointment.

As part of our preparation for the electrical appointment we set about marking up three copies of A3 printouts of our preliminary contract floor plans.  On each of the three copies respectively we marked up:

  • Light (including downlights) and switch locations (incl. 2-way, 3-way switches).
  • Data points, powerpoints, tv points and external junction boxes.
  • Heating/cooling ducts.

Nathan went through our floorplan with us room by room, starting with the ground floor and captured our requirements using a computer program called Clipspec.  Nathan was great and made the process quite enjoyable.

We were allocated 6 hours for the electrical appointment, but we completed it in under 4.  Our preparation beforehand had really helped and allowed us to be fairly decisive about what we wanted.  Prior to our appointment we had looked at a number of other people’s electrical plans and read a lot of blogs to pick up on other people’s handy hints and ideas. ie. two/three/four way switches, external junction boxes, placement of switches and some slight house plan design challenges that impacted on some of these things too which needed consideration.

Aside from our airconditioning, our lighting was our big ticket item.  In order for our house to meet the 6 star energy rating we can only install either compact fluorescent or LED downlights. The LEDs are more energy efficient and brighter.  The compact fluros are cheaper but take a while to warm up and are not as bright. They can be replaced with halogen bulbs down the track (or after handover) whereas the LEDs need a different transformer.

We are trying to do some research on whether we can get LED bulbs that would work in the compact fluro sockets (any info would be greatly appreciated).  The other big factor is the big price difference between the two – $49 for compact fluros verses $90 for the LEDs but then we have to consider the long term savings as well. These prices are just for the ligths too. The price for adding an additional ceiling light point is $56, so the overall cost to install a downlight is –

  • LED: $146 ($90 + $56)
  • Compact Fluro: $105 ($49 + $56)

so things add up pretty quickly. Hmmm, decisions, decisions.

We have added a lot of double powerpoints throughout the house.  We have positioned the points based on how we think we will furnish the rooms as well as ensuring we have points on either side of each room opening (eg doorways) to give us a bit of flexibilty should we change our minds.   We added a single powerpoint to the broom cupboard in the laundry for a dustbuster and another in the ensuit vanity cupboard  so we can hide things away  (eg electric shaver charger) and keep the benches a bit tidier.

One thing we found quite amusing was in relation to the 6 Star energy rating. We are adding four nice feature lights to our facade but were advised that these will have to be connected to a sensor, an extra $105  dollars later thankyou very much. On the bright side (haha) we think that in actal fact this is probably a good thing from a security point of view.

Much of our thinking has also included future proofing the house. For example, we have included two datapoints (for tv and multimedia device) in pretty much every room where we think we might put a tv at some stage in the future.  All the data cabling is going to terminate to the storeroom under the stairs where we (well Chris) plan to install computer gear, ADSL modem, WiFi and network switches.  We also included a powerpoint and a network connection in the roof for a Wireless Access Point (WAP) to boost the signal on the first floor if needed.

Unfortuantely we haven’t got the details and price for our refrigerative cooling yet as this couldn’t be quoted on the day and has to be done at Habitat Groups’ head office.  Hopefully we get it soon so as it is a BIG ticket item and impacts on our overall budget.  Here’s hoping that it comes in under what we have estimated.

The only remaining selection appointment is to pick our tiles at Beaumont Tiles. Phew, almost there.

We’ll post our electrical plans and selections soon.

C&K

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16 responses

24 02 2012
Ash

I’ve been enjoying your journey so far which is made even better because you are at a similar stage to Mick and I!

The only advice I think I can give on the electrical-front is one that our builder gave us (we also have spent a small fortune on lights!): Only have your builder do things that either can’t be done later (i.e. ground-floor rooms with no roof, or a raked ceiling, above them), or that you need as soon as you move in. It is much cheaper to get your own electrician after hand-over to add extra light points (especially downlights) and power points etc. Mick and I plan on adding extra LED downlights to the upstairs, alfresco and media room after hand-over. Also, after briefly looking into the difference between LED and compact-fluoros, LED’s seem to perform/look better. Also, you may pay less at first for the compacts, but seeing as you plan to replace them, you end up paying again for the replacement fitting and any labour involved in that, and they don’t make it easy given there seems to be no standardisation in the ‘lighting world’…but I’m not an electrician and I certainly understand the necessary compromises when it comes to “upgrades.”

Good luck!

27 02 2012
Paul Mooney (@PaulGMooney)

We put light points to the ground floor pretty much everywhere we were going to place a downlight after handover – but then we did ours before the rules changed regarding lighting and didn’t have to fork out the ridiculous price they wanted for even CFL’s!! We’ve been replacing said lights with LED downlights for about $25 each (brother is a sparky so could source the light fitting and LED globes (8w dimmable) at wholesale prices) which was a lot cheaper than M doing it. Upstairs we just left the basic single light point per room as we can wire in more later – and these will be LED as well. We’re putting LED downlights practically everywhere (about 100 all up!)

With light sockets, if the fitting is GU10 (which most halogen down lights are) then the LED globes with GU10 socket are the way to go. Not sure about the CFL lights however I suspect they may also be GU10’s. The GU10 LED’s generally have a built-in transformer and run off 240V, whereas halogen lights have a separate transformer. I think CFL’s also have built in transformer.

We wanted to put the data services cabinet under the stairs as well but at installation time were told it had to go into the garage. Something to do with access but can;t remember the details sorry!

I hope you’re sitting down when you get the AC quote! 🙂 That’s if you’re getting the refrigerated add-on. It’s not cheap, but you won’t be disappointed in it’s performance. We ended up with 23kw Actron refrigerated unit for our 52 squares. We were told it could only cool one zone at a time (upstairs or downstairs) however even on those 38C days it’s kept the whole house cool running both zones!!!!

And lastly, if you’re going to tile your floors DON”T pay the builder to do it. We requested porcelain tiles in the powder room but wanted the same tiles to extend thru entry and kitchen/family room but do this after handover. We went to Beaumonts in Dandenong, and ordered the tiles there and they linked the order to the same batch! Then the same tiler who did the powder room, came back after handover and did our floor tiles, pattern matching to what he did in the powder room. I can give you they’re details if you like as they did a very good job. In the end we got 600mm x 600mm porcelain tiles laid for around what the builder would have charged for the basic ceramic tiles!

Good luck and ler me know if you need anything else!

4 04 2012
Appu

Hi All,
Is 6 star energy rating a must in Victoria? So we can’t use the standard lights which Metricon / Habitat offer if we need to meet 6 start energy rating? Please advise further.
Appu John

4 04 2012
ournolanhome

Hi Appu,

6 star energy rating is a must in Victoria – this came into affect last year. More information on this can be found on this government website

http://www.makeyourhomegreen.vic.gov.au/www/html/1962-introduction.asp?intSiteID=3

Not sure what you mean by ‘standard lights’, but because of the 6 star energy rating requirements, we could not install halogen downlights by the builder as it would not comply.

In regards to downlights you have 3 options:
1. Have Metricon install Compact Fluorescent (CFL) downlights – these are not bright and also take time to warm up when turned on. However, after handover you can replace the CFL light bulbs with halogen ones. I was advised by Habitat Group that you cannot replace these CFLs with LEDs. Not sure why not, as you can get GU10 compatible LEDs that have the transformer built into the globe.

I was also advised by a friend that the CFLs need replacing often, so I wouldn’t recommend CFLs as a long term option.

2. Have Metricon install LEDs. This is quite expensive as it costs $90 per light + $56 for the wiring. On a double story house like ours, we will be having 80 downlights, so this can be very expensive.

3. Have Metricon install standard light battens and then after handover you can replace these with LED downlights (light fitting + LED globe). This is the option we have selected to do.

There are a few other alternative approaches, but the above are the 3 main ones.

Does this answer your question?

Chris

5 04 2012
Appu

Hi Chris,

Thanks a lot for your response.

Do we have any other option other than down lights like Oyster Lights. I had a quick chat with the Habitat electrical consultant and he informed us that if we increase the number of lights in a room then we won’t be able to meet the 6 start energy rating with the normal lights they provide. Kindly advise ?

Thanks in advance

Appu John

8 04 2012
ournolanhome

Appu,

Did Habitat give you a list of their light options? We got a list prior to the electrical appointment and there were some oyster light options. If you didn’t get this, I can email the one we got to you.

I was only advised that they couldn’t do Halogen lights as they are high energy usage. We opted to have normal light battens fitted with the aim to have energy efficient LED downlights installed after handover.

Chris

10 04 2012
Appu

Hi Chris,

Habitat consultant was helpful, however in our conversation we discussed only about down lights ( LED / compact fluorescent). I believe there will be less expensive lighting options with which we will be able to achieve the 6 star energy rating. Also is it difficult to install down light after handover in a double stored house especially ground floor?

Thanks a lot in advance.
Appu John Kandirickel

10 04 2012
ournolanhome

Hi Appu,

The product list provided by Habitat Group had a few other lighting options other than downlights, including oysters and pendants – are these the options you are seeking as they are available and should meet the 6 star rating. Another alternative is just to get the minimal lights done by the builder and/or just get the wiring done now and install lights after handover – you will probably have a wider choice if you do it after handover.

After doing a bit of research and getting in contact with people on forums/blogs and speaking to an electrician, they do suggest it is more difficult to install wiring on the ground floor on double story houses. What we have done is just get the wiring done throughout the house (easier to do now) and we are installing downlights after handover, including downlights on the ground floor. As long as you have the wiring done, installing downlights after handover is possible even on ground floor.

Chris

9 02 2013
ev

Great blog. Can I ask how much each data point was? I’ve got my electrical appointment with M in a few weeks! Many thanks. Ev

9 02 2013
ournolanhome

Hi Ev,

Each data point was $146 – this was for CAT6 cables. I think it was cheaper for CAT5. This includes running the cable to a central location. We are having all our data wired to under the stairs. I have also installed an ADSL/phone connection under the stairs as I plan to have the ADSL modem and routers etc go there. Another option is to wire them to a linen cupboard. We did’t want all the gear sitting in the study and cluterring up the room.

I had 15 data points put in for a total of $2,190.

Good luck with your apppointment.

Chris

9 02 2013
ev

Thanks Chris. And for such a speedy response! Worth doing, I reckon. Do you think I could i set up my garage (a shelf at least) as the cable termination point? Router switch box etc in there?

9 02 2013
ournolanhome

Hi Ev,

Yes its worth doing – its easier now to do the cabling than later when the plaster is in.

From a installation point of view I couldn’t see why not to terminate in the garage. I guess the most simplest position would be along the wall where there is frame and plaster between the house and garage.

Being in the garage, other considerations is whether it gets too dusty/dirty? And is it secure enough location?

22 02 2013
Simon

Hey there, had a read of your blog, and very informative! (nice blog page layout too). We’re just starting the Metricon process for a Duxton 39 in Eastern burbs of Melbourne, just trying to get to contract stage, so great to find someone a bit ahead of us in the process.
I’ll try to refrain from asking you a thousand questions 🙂 but I was wondering if you’d mind sharing some of the electrical costings? I too am planning on putting a fair bit of cabling in, even more if I can get on site at some stage, but it seems difficult to get much detail from Metricon at this stage.
Anyway, best of luck with the build, sure you’ll end up with a beautiful house!
Cheers,

Simon.

23 02 2013
ournolanhome

Hi Simon,

The Duxton – that is a nice house. We were thinking of the Duxton at one stage and was a consideration if we had issues with the Nolan fitting on our block as its narrower. The Duxton facade options are very nice too. We recently went to the newly opened Duxton display home in Melbourne. We liked the upstair leisure room at the front connecting to the balcony. The master bedroom on the ground floor would be convenient too when we get older (or we can install an elevator hahaha).

In regards to the electrical costings, we just created a new post – seems to be a common question. The post can be read here. Hope this post helps.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to drop us a note. We don’t mind questions – we have learned a lot through the building process and if it helps others, that’s great.

Good luck!

C&K

25 02 2013
Simon

Thanks Chris, that’s very helpful!
Yep, the Duxton is a good fit for our block (bit smaller than yours I think), but we love the layout. We’re going to make some changes, but the general design suits us well. Been playing around with some wiring plans, but really wanted to see some prices to help, so this is great.
A simple question maybe, but what is a $134 digital TV point, as opposed to the $101 regular TV point?? Is it the same type coax cable, just a new run with F connector?
And is the foxtel point a dual coax run? Where does it terminate?
I was thinking of some wall conduits, but $290 seems very pricey for a plastic pipe!? Any ideas if that is for a certain length?
Really hoping we can get in during build and put some extras in. I know they say no (they have to legally) but I’m guessing a dual cat6 run will cost me 2x a single, which is just criminal to charge. A single point in most rooms may have to do then, with a switch on the end as required
I’m also planning to bring back all the cabling to under the stairs, and have most of the network gear in there. Hoping its cool enough in summer!?
I saw some rough prices from 2012 for speaker wiring also, and that was insane too, so might be leaving that for later (upstairs only then). Have you left any electrical work for post handover?
Thanks again for the reply and post!
Cheers,

Simon.

26 02 2013
ournolanhome

Hi Simon,

I didn’t look into the digital TV point. But I would have thought the Digital TV point would use a digital coaxial vs the regular TV point which would be analog.

We don’t watch Foxtel so we didn’t go down that path.

Yes, $290 is pricy for a conduit, but we only needed one and thought we would do it now so we don’t have to worry about it later – so paying for the convenience. We positioned the top plate about 1300mm above floor level but it can be higher (which means the conduit will be longer).

In regards to getting in during build and putting some extras in, I know some people have had some luck doing that whilst others didn’t. But you won’t know that until the build starts as this depends on the Site Manager that gets assigned to your job. I know some people tried sneaking on site and hiding stuff in the wall cavities just before the plaster went in. You just need to take notice where everything is so you know where to cut into the wall later. Again you might not have luck doing this. In the end we thought the convenience of doing it now is worth the extra and if there are any issues, Metricon will need to have it fixed.

I think under the stairs will be cool enough to have all the gear – been to other people’s house and their under the stairs is noticeably cooler than the room temperature.

In regards to electrical work post handover, the only one is putting in LED downlights – so we are just having standard light fittings put in and will organise our own electrician to install.

We didn’t do any audio cabling. I think if we do, it will be connecting up some speakers to the outside alfresco area.

C&K

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