Buying, selling or running a home – everything you need to know about your home and garden!

Checking the condition of a property’s services

Checking the condition of electrical, gas and plumbing installations is an essential task when it comes to property—whether you’re sizing up a potential purchase, meeting your obligations as a landlord or ensuring your own home is safe and well-maintained.


Electrical installations are a specialised area and tests to verify the condition should only be carried out by a qualified professional. The electricity suppliers recommend that the electrical circuitry in a residence should be checked every five years.

The regulations covering the circuitry are evolving to ensure that the supply in a house is as safe as possible. Before you buy a house an electrical test is advisable and in houses over 15 years old we would recommend that a test is always carried out.

The cost of a full rewire is significant and if this is known before you buy a new home the information will be useful to assist in any negotiations or in the decision-making process.


The presence of rubber or waxed cloth insulation indicates that a rewire is required. These wires are often visible near the meter, on light pendants or within the roof space. Both cloth and rubber insulation to electrical installation are a potential fire hazard and a test is essential.

Very dated wiring is almost certainly going to be a essential repair for a bank or building society; the underwriters may impose retentions or require undertakings.


Current regulations state that plug sockets should be in the walls above the skirting boards. This avoids the potential of fire if the fitting becomes hot when next to timber but also reduces the risk of damage. Sockets in the skirting boards are one sign that the system should be checked.

The fittings should be modern. Any old round-pin or two-pin fitting will tell you a rewire is likely to be required. If the electrical fittings are discoloured, or show signs of overheating, the circuit could be overheating and be a fire risk. Any system that displays these signs should be tested.

Bakelite fittings should have been replaced many years ago. Fittings of this type do not have suitable earths by modern standards and are prone to fracture and general deterioration of the electrical contacts.

Light fittings

Switches, pendants and fittings should be in modern material. Older fittings do not allow for suitable earthing and should be replaced.

Fuse boxes

The fuse box in a home should have circuit breakers and residual current devices. If your fuse box only has fuse wire then we would recommend it be renewed.

Professional body