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.