Electrical control (Geneva) - what do they check?

Hi all,

Finally about to re-wire the old electrical board with a brand new Schneider board. Really "wired" about doing it this long weekend. All new electrics are ready to be plugged in and I've finished pulling all the lines in the house to the board. Now just need to turn off everything at the main and do all the work fast enough for the food not to defrost while everything is turned off.

Now, two questions:

1) If you buy a house, do you have 1 year or 5 years to have an electrical check of your installation? Assuming you are doing no work to the house and the previous owner hasn't done a check in 20+ years.

2) I intend to build a veranda in the future, there will be just a couple of plugs and a switch - as such I was just going to pull a line to the board and leave it until I have the energy (and planning permission) to build said house extension. Will I need to get another electric check assuming line already pulled? A house extension can hardly be considered major work, just 3 walls, bit of glass and a roof - but given the Geneva authority likes to control everything you do with your house, I would not be surprised they'd like me to conduct a second check for this.

Depending on the answer on above I might do the electric check after the veranda is done, or in a couple of weeks...

Bonus question: the water meter was not in a place I liked, so I moved it 5 meter from where it was currently sitting, right next to the electrical board (just kidding...). I didn't do anything cheeky and link part of my property to by-pass the meter, and this can easily be checked by cutting next to the meter and see if there is water running still somewhere in the property. I put two stop cocks around the meter as I have a water filter I change every three months and don't want to have to empty all the water from the system every time I change said filter... Also the reason why I moved the meter. Any potential issues with the utility company? I don't really see any, but while am here might as well ask!

To answer your questions, 1) it might will be local/canton dependent but to give an idea, here in VD it is every 20 years for a personal residence. Change of ownership triggers it after 5 years. If it is the official inspection, it has to be done by one of the qualifying companies, who is not your local electrician. Afterward any qualified electrician has to be used to fix the outstanding issues found, then they have to do a certification process with the authorities to clear the issues found in the original audit. As I understand, the rules are set out in ordonnance OIBT, which is federal.

But this being Switzerland, and assuming you are not a registered electrician here, I assume there will be issues if you are doing DIY whole house rewiring. To give an example, last electrics check here required some specific labelling of the box, otherwise it was not in compliance. This was the original box, more than 40+ years old and never had any labelling been done. Regs. change, the registered electricians know what needs to be done. Some previous owner did some dangerous DIY wiring, electrician found by accident and was furious as it could of burned the whole house down.

Regarding 2), don't know. But you will need planning permission and as it is livable space with electrics it will increase the taxable space of your place and there will be certain implications.

We just had ours done in SG. Passed with no issues.

Main thing was testing a lot of the sockets with a plug-in tester, seems to have checked responsiveness of the trip switches to earth and non-earth leaks, over-current protection, etc.

I've done a fair bit of wiring myself and it all passed, I was actually more worried about the old stuff in case of loose connections or damaged insulation etc. But I'd already checked and tightened everything I could get to myself when we moved in.

The rest was visual - cracked sockets, loose conduits, state of the main fusebox etc. Our fusebox is original but has current trips for the 10A circuits, fuses for the 3-phase / 15A circuits, and a master RCD for everything.

We had ours done 1 year after we moved- and now it will be every 10 years. They check everything electric and that everything adheres to Swiss standard and local fire safety, etc.

in ZH the official company (not all are allowed to do this) has to come with change of ownership if it was not done in the last 5 years, otherwise if the same owner after 20years.

their checks are not worth anything, sorry to say. We bought a place, the guey had done all the wiring himself (messed up on every single wire in the place, switched the lines, had wrong insulation etc to the extent that it was dangerous) and he still had passed 2 years ago...the electrician we got in for other things had to spend 2 days rewiring everything and we had a lot of out of pocket expenses.

so honestly, I am not a great fan of ppl doing the electricity themselves. and the checks really are for nothing, they literally just use the sockets to see the volts or something and that's it.

The companies doing the inspections are forbidden from doing the repairs. This seems like a “very good idea tm”.

They are all best mates with the guys who do however!

Not with us. They had the apprentice put some blanking plates over exposed junctions in the ceiling in the cellar. Which promptly fell down a few days later...