As part of our promise to deliver outstanding renovations and custom homes on the Mornington Peninsula, we engage the services of experienced and detail-orientated contractors. One such company is Want a Sparky, which services the Peninsula and South East of Melbourne.
Glenco Building Group builder, Glenn, sat down with Want a Sparky’s Director and Project Manager, Trent, recently to find out more about how they approach the electrical process when building your home.
What’s the process when considering electrical work in a home?
Glenn: During the design and build process, we like to customise an electrical plan to suit the clients, considering their design and how they are going to live in their home, both internally and externally. We will incorporate and integrate lighting into joinery, look at cable management options and consider feature pendant lighting.
Trent: Agreed. Things have to look good but also be practical, so it’s always best to sit down and properly plan your power and lighting requirements. You need to think about how you spend your everyday at home and what habits are affected by elements like switches and lighting.
For example, do you tend to read or watch TV in bed before sleeping? A fan and light switch near the bed means not having to get up to turn the main light off. Does your household have lots of electrical equipment that charges through USB port? Then why not consider installing ports in easy-to-access power points? This doesn’t just apply to the interior. Elements like path and outdoor lighting can go a long way in ensuring your home’s security and your family’s safety.
One of the most important parts of the building process is the rough-in, where all the cables have been installed, but none of the final parts, like switches, are attached. What are the benefits of taking the time to do this?
Glenn: It’s absolutely crucial for spatial planning and functionality and the perfect time to consider any upgrades and additions. It’s why we always offer an on-site walkthrough meeting with our clients prior to our contractors completing rough-ins – it’s the final step before the finishing touches so we want to make sure everyone is happy.
Trent: The rough-in stage allows us to fully understand what products you are using so we can best place the cables for their intended purpose. Heights and positions are crucial for all switches and wall lights and can make a huge difference to your end comfort levels.
It’s also important to know what pendant lights are being used so we know to batten them out for weight requirements. We also need to know what type of cable is required as some of the pendants are now 12V, a result of the new LED products on the market.
In this day and age, energy efficiency is almost considered standard. What does this mean in terms of electrical installation?
Glenn: Traditional lighting technology is definitely on the way out – it’s expensive and has a negative environmental impact. Therefore, in all our design and build and renovation projects, we aim to create a design that’s as energy efficient as possible. Before we even look at the electrical plan, we make sure the overall plan emphasizes natural light, reducing the need for artificial lighting altogether.
Other overall design features include zone heating and cooling and double-glazed windows, which assist in reducing heating and cooling costs.
Trent: We only use energy-efficient products. All our lighting is 100% LED and we install sensors in areas where it’s easy to leave the lights on, such as powder rooms and walk-in robes. Other ways to help reduce your carbon footprint is to install rooftop solar, allow for battery systems and install electric vehicle charge points. We are going to see a dramatic change in the next 10 years in these areas – it makes sense to at least set your new home up to provision for these items.
Do you approach electrical plans for renovations differently than when building new?
Glenn: Yes. For renovations, we need to consider potentially upgrading the home’s switchboard and rewiring. This can often be a larger job than in a custom home, as it requires removing the existing wiring and then installing something new. In some cases, there are dangerous electrical hazards that may not have been obvious. This can add additional costs and time requirements.
People often remain in their homes while renovating, which can add a secondary difficulty to electrical work, as we need to make sure no-one is going to accidentally hurt themselves. At the end of the day, safety is absolutely paramount and we always make sure that your family and home is protected at every stage.
Trent: Major home transformations can often be harder than installing new, as you have to figure out what is already there before designing something new. As Glenn mentioned, you may have to upgrade the switchboard, separate circuits and transfer power lines from overhead to underground.
One of the most common changes in a renovation is moving over from single to three-phase power. Three-phase helps balance loads for the power company and is more efficient when it comes to heating and cooling. Choosing three-phase is especially important when considering the high load of your appliances – it’s essentially futureproofing your home.
What’s your go-to switch range and why?
Glenn: We love Clipsal and their Iconic range. It’s easy to customise to suit your needs with multiple functions, a ‘skin’ you can easily change and LED backlight for those times you’re fumbling around for the switch!
Trent: We’ve also found Clipsal Iconicis one of the best ways to futureproof your home. Along with the transferable skin (which you can do sans electrician) and multi-functionality, it has the potential for smart-home integration after the build with wireless technology. However, it’s not just the look and feel that’s important – in order to protect the little ones’ fingers from shocks, every power outlets features safety shutters. It’s this type of thinking that makes it so popular!
This sounds very high-tech. What else can we expect to see in the future of residential electrical work?
Trent: As I mentioned earlier, the biggest movement we’re going to see is a shift to electric vehicles and as such, the requirement for electric vehicle chargers. I think this is going to be a huge area of focus over the next decade.
Electricity is an essential part of any home build, but especially so as there is so much room for error. If your chosen contractor isn’t on the ball, there is a risk that your home will fault and the safety of your family will be compromised. This is why we choose to work with Trent and his team – with their expertise and attention to detail, you can rest easy knowing your home’s electrical networks are as good as they can be. Get in touch with the expert crew at Want a Sparky today.
Should you be thinking about a custom home build or renovation, get in touch with the friendly team at Glenco Building Group. We’d be more than happy to answer any questions you have on building your dream home.