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Drilled through an electric cable

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by LadyM, 11 Aug 2018.

  1. LadyM

    LadyM

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    My other half was putting up cupboards in the kitchen and drilled through an electric cable, the trip went and he also got a bit of an electric but luckily is ok.

    I've been trying to get hold of the electrician who originally did the work as it's in an extension which is only about 18 mths old, my worry is that the cable will need replacing and thought it best as he'll know how it's all wired up, but I'm having trouble getting hold of him. Or is that over the top and can the cable be repaired by crimping?

    Also can anyone recommend a good cable detector, we've still got other cupboards to put up and one has a switch underneath the fixings. We completely forgot to check for cable before :(
     
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  3. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    Even 'good'/expensive cable detectors are very unreliable, so one can never rely on them.

    If all the wiring was done recently, all cables should (but no promises!) be in 'safe zones' - vertically or horizontally aligned with visible switches, sockets or other electrical accessories, or within 6 inches of corners of the wall or the ceiling - you therefore should definitely avoid drills/nails/screws/whatever in those places.

    Kind Regards, John
     
  4. john4703

    john4703

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    I completely agree with JohnW2 about safe zones but I was having my kitchen refitted and all the wall units are fitted using screws into the wall close to the ceiling. I was able to tell the kitchen fitter that there were no cables in that safe zone apart from those that ran vertically up to the ceiling from some sockets. It must be a problem fitting units if cables are in the safe zone close to the ceiling.
     
  5. EFLImpudence

    EFLImpudence

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    That's why I think it should be called the "danger zone".
     
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  6. securespark

    securespark

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    "I'll take you right into the Danger Zone...."
     
  7. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    I suppose the problem is that one cable's 'safe zone' is another person's (a human being with drill in hand) 'danger zone'!

    The alternative (converse) terminology would be little, if any, better - since it would then appear to some that it was being suggested that cables should be installed in dangerous places!

    Maybe something like 'cable zone' (or even 'reserved cable zone' or suchlike) would avoid some of those issues?

    Kind Regards, John
     
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  8. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    ... or in the safe zones near corners of walls - I suspect that the person who invented those particular 'safe zones' had never installed wall cabinets in kitchens!

    Kind Regards, John
     
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  9. sparkwright

    sparkwright

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    It the extension has been wired properly, the cable will be in a conduit or capping, and slack cable may be able to be pulled out, and a joint easily made behind the cupboard.

    When wiring up buildings, it is advisable to leave a loop of cable above or below every accessory within the ceiling or floor space to allow for such situations.
     
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  11. flameport

    flameport

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    They are called 'prescribed zones' in the 18th edition, 642.3(iii).
    'safe zones' in the 17th, 611.3(iii).
     
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  12. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    Ah, interesting - I hadn't noticed that (in relation to I&T). Where the zones are actually defined (522.6.202), they are actually not called anything - just 'zones' (and the same in 17th).

    Kind Regards, John
     
  13. LadyM

    LadyM

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    Thanks, the problem we've got is that there is a switch below one of the cupboards pretty close to where the cupboard would be fixed.

    Are any of the detectors more reliable than others?

    I think the cables were clipped in, I don't think they were in conduit, it's a single storey extension with a pitched roof and the cables were run along the corner bit where the roof meets the wall, I don't think there was any extra loops of cable.
     
  14. All cable detectors ive ever used have been next to hopeless. I had a Bosch DMF10 that was just unuseable, it thought my office desk was "live". There is a Bosch wall penetrating radar cable detector, but at over £500 you can probably guess ive never used one.
     
  15. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    I would certainly suggest that you should avoid penetrating the wall anywhere vertically above (or below) the full width of the switch, and similarly sideways - since the cable(s) should be in one of those places.
    I'm sure that some are 'better' than others - but as I and others have said, even the best (or, at least, the best available to anyone who does not have unlimited money to spend) are not reliable enough to be a safe guide to anything.

    If the area is going to be covered by cupboards, anyway, one solution would be to very carefully excavate a small area of the wall (behind where cupboards are going, and in line with where you want to drill) to identify where (if anywhere in the vicinity) any cables actually are.

    Kind Regards, John
     
  16. Adam_151

    Adam_151

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    As a minor side point, I think there is a slight oversight in BS7671, in that a cable is not required to be stricly vertical or horzonal, only that it remains within the defined verical or horzontal zone that it runs in. A double socket could have the cables existing top right of the box, and have them running at quite a ****ed angle towards the left, as long as they do not cross the a verical line running up from the left hand side of the socket. Some kitchen fitters will pull sockets forward and mark with two pencil lines, the 2 inch strip that the cables will run in.
     
  17. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    That's true, but I don't think it's a problem, provided that one regards the 'safe'/'dangerous'/'prescribed'/whatever zone to extend vertically/horizontally across the whole width/height of the accessory.

    If they insisted on 'vertical' and 'horizontal', for a start they would have to specify the allowable tolerance on the angle (would 2° off vertical/horizontal be acceptable?) - and it would also reduce the little bit of flexibility which the present rules allow (particularly with double-width sockets etc).

    On this occasion, I would personally say that I think 'they got it right'.

    Kind Regards, John
     
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