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UK law on wiring up your own house with CAT-5?

Last response: in Networking
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November 18, 2012 12:31:03 AM

Hi,
I'm moving soon, and the room we choose in the new house as a study, and the room where the internet cable comes in, may be in two very different places... I doubt WiFi would provide high speeds through that house's walls (maybe if I had a more directional antenna but I also have my doubts about this). So I'm looking at the possibility of putting CAT5 wiring in the house, securely fitted onto the walls. I have access to the tools and the skills required to do this, so why not do it myself? It's more secure than WiFi anyway, in many obvious respects.

I saw a Lifehacker Australia article on wiring up a house with CAT-5, and apparently, it's illegal to do permanent wiring if you don't have a permit. In Australia. I can see the danger with mains wires, but with CAT5, I really don't see a problem if it doesn't come into contact with anything nasty and obvious things like that.

So, with the UK having built a nice stereotype internationally as a place with many health and safety laws, I think there is a high likelihood of the UK having a similar law like this. Is it legal to do this yourself? Has anyone done this in the past?
You won't be held liable for any advice you give.

Thanks in advance.

More about : law wiring house cat

November 18, 2012 12:37:06 AM

Not being able to edit is annoying.
I wanted to add one thing. I say that "I have access to the tools and the skills required to do this", but I don't have any qualifications to prove it. Only experience from another country, where doing this is possible.
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November 25, 2012 7:14:16 AM

I don't see why it would be illegal in aus it probably just falls under their permit laws when it shouldn't need too, you can do phone lines in to the bt face plate if its an NTE5 so not that different some just use cat5 anyway.

And i can edit is their a time limit here?
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November 25, 2012 10:00:23 AM

Ah, thanks for your opinion.

maybe it has something to do with the amount of posts I've made.
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November 25, 2012 11:34:14 AM

This gets very hard to say and in the US it even depends on the city.

There are certain standards that you must follow to meet the electrical codes that vary a little from country to country. Low voltage stuff has the least restrictions allowing things like cable splices in walls without boxes. Meeting the standard is actually the easy part.

The problem comes who can do the work this is not part of the national codes it is unique to cities.

In many cases there is a exception that allows the owner of a residential building ie house to do any electrical work themselves. Even in commercial buildings many times there are exceptions for low voltage cable that allows a non electrician to run them.

The next problem is if you need a permit. This is mostly a money grab by the city. They many times even after you pay the permit fee will refuse to come out and inspect the work...and that inspection is what the fee is suppose to be for.

Most the cities you have huge problems with have a large union population. There was a case in a Massachusetts city that said a painter could not remove the plastic front plates on a outlet box. you had to pay a electrician to come in and remove them and pay them again to reinstall them.

The best bet is to do the work correctly but tell no one. First few cites keep good enough records to know what you had permission to install and what you did not.
Mostly the risk is if you go to sell the property and you did not do the work correctly the inspector hired by the buyer will make you correct the work and this time you will be forced to use a licensed electrician.
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November 25, 2012 11:54:50 AM

That sucks... every person in bureaucracy bends regulations to suit their own whims. There are cases of things like that happening over here too. For example, to fix a heating system in my current house (renting), all that was needed to be done was to adjust one valve which sits on the boiler. But no, the owners had to waste money to get someone out here and adjust it for us :V

Here in the UK, laws like that are usually consistent over whole constituent countries (England and Wales are usually together, and then Scotland, and Northern Ireland) instead of cities.

Thanks for the reply.
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November 30, 2012 10:10:53 PM

Best answer selected by BurritoBazooka.
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October 21, 2013 3:43:33 AM

Here across the pond in the USA, most code restrictions regarding networking cables in walls are restricted to use of plenum-insulated cables as opposed to PVC due to poisonous outgassing in the event of a fire. I'm guessing that almost all the networking cable for sale in the UK is plenum to begin with, due to RHOI requirements that are in force throughout the EU. It doesn't hurt to ask any acquaintance you might have who is involved in contracting or construction, as they would be most familiar with code restrictions in your area.
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October 21, 2013 7:18:46 AM

Houndsteeth said:
Here across the pond in the USA, most code restrictions regarding networking cables in walls are restricted to use of plenum-insulated cables as opposed to PVC due to poisonous outgassing in the event of a fire. I'm guessing that almost all the networking cable for sale in the UK is plenum to begin with, due to RHOI requirements that are in force throughout the EU. It doesn't hurt to ask any acquaintance you might have who is involved in contracting or construction, as they would be most familiar with code restrictions in your area.


In the US plenum rated cable is made to run inside of a plenum AKA air conditioning and ventilated systems not in every intance inside a home. If you own your own home or in the case of being a renter with having the landlords permission and do not charge them then there is no permit or specialized training required.

Riser is for running in the attic and in the interior walls.
Plenum is a must for when runs must go through an A/C duct
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