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Distribution board and electric meter (old kind) boxed in

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by Gordsworth, 6 Aug 2017.

  1. Gordsworth

    Gordsworth

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    My circuit breaker/distribution board and old-style electric meter sit near my hall ceiling in the corner, and both are covered/boxed in with wood (painted to match the hall woodwork).

    I can get at the electric meter via a small hinged flap, but to get full access to the circuit breaker board I have to unscrew three screws and take the front panel off the wooden unit boxing it in, which is a bit fiddly.

    Is this a fire hazard? A sparky mumbled something about it being so without explaining why. Is it because:
    1) boxing it in might cause it to catch fire (is so I will just tear off the wooden box)
    2) having to take a few mins to unscrew the front panel if it was smoking/on fire would be less than ideal (if so I can hinge the front panel of the wooden box)

    Any advice?
     
    Last edited: 6 Aug 2017
  2. flameport

    flameport

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    1 - no, the box will not cause fire.
    2 - if it's already on fire, call the fire brigade. Unscrewing it won't help.
     
  3. EFLImpudence

    EFLImpudence

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    Yes, I would do that.

    You seem to be fixated on fire but you are much more likely to need access because the lights have gone out.
     
  4. John D v2.0

    John D v2.0

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    I can't think of any problem that would be caused other then maybe inconvenient access. People even build kitchens around electrical distribution equipment, which is much worse as it can get expensive when an electrician arrives to do some work.
    Nowadays consumer units are supposed to be at a sensible height for use by less able bodied people, but that would only really work in a new build.
    Good point from woody however on how easy it is to unscrew it all when you need to reset the circuit breakers.
     
  5. JohnD

    JohnD

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    you could hang the entire box on French cleats or something, so the whole thing lifts off.

    btw if you ever want to make a light, non-load-bearing, nom-flammable enclosure, you can make it out of plasterboard. Easy to score and snap to shape, and you can fill in any rough joins with plaster. Easy to paint, and you can wallpaper it if you want (pref over silk vinyl emulsion for ease of future stripping)
     
  6. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    Ah, the perfect solution to Amendment 3 - plasterboard CUs (or, per your suggestion, a plastic CU within a plasterboard enclosure) :).

    The Building Regs and the fire brigade to seem to like plasterboard as a means of achieving 'fire resistance'!

    Kind Regards, John
     
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  7. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    It is night time ( no natural light ) and a lamp blows and in doing so trips the lighting MCB in the consumer unit. To reset the MCB you need to find a screw driver to remove the cover to get to the consumer unit. Suggest a torch is kept in a place where it can be found easily in the dark.
     
  8. DIYnot Local

    DIYnot Local

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