5 Non-Obvious Reasons Why Rewiring A House Is A Big Job

Whenever I sit down to write these posts I often turn to my girlfriend (who isn’t an electrician by the way) to get her take on these topics from the other side of the coin. As professionals in any field, we can overlook the details that are super important but we kind of overlook that fact that most people don’t know.

If rewiring a house is a big job, is one of these situations. Whilst we were discussing, I realised there are loads of non-obvious things to be aware of that non-professionals probably don’t know. These factors make the process a lot smoother and prevent what should be a relatively straightforward process from turning into a major job you wished you never started. By knowing the reasons why rewiring a house is a big job, homeowners can take steps to turn a mountain-sized project into a molehill-sized one.

If not careful, rewiring a house can turn into a major project
If not careful, rewiring a house can turn into a major project

The 5 often overlooked reasons why rewiring a house is a big job are:

  • Decisions Decisions Decisions
  • So Much Shopping
  • Delays
  • Project Manage
  • Leaning Time is Decorating Time

We’ll take a look at these topics in a touch more detail below so readers can fully prepare and make sure they have control at all times

Decisions Decisions Decisions

One of the major factors why rewiring a house turns into such a big job for the homeowners is the sheer volume of decisions they need to make during the project. Readers may be sat thinking, “I won’t need to make decisions – my electrician will sort it all out” but this is exactly the kind of thinking that leads to the surprise.

Any good electrician isn’t going to bore you with mundane questions that they can figure out for themselves but when it comes to selecting the type of light fittings, socket outlets, switch type, type of shower, positioning of outlets, etc the choices really are endless and one that homeowners will want to have the final say on.

The decisions about electrical items are a question of personal taste, for example, would you like white plastic outlets, silver, or perhaps brushed metal? These are choices that the homeowner needs to make and the number of decisions needing to be made come thick and fast. If you’re the kind of person that likes to take time to mull over every decision carefully, it’s probably wise to start planning well in advance.

So Much Shopping

Once all the decisions have been made it is then time to start the mundane task of sourcing and buying the items from the various stores. This opens up its own problems, with out-of-stock items, delayed delivery schedules, and surprisingly hefty price tags all resulting in compromises needing to be made left, right and centre.

Electricians are usually perfectly happy to collect basic items from wholesalers. If the homeowner decides that they want basic pendant lighting and standard white plastic sockets the electrician can often collect these with no problem. If like the majority of homeowners, more bespoke items are required, it is down to the homeowner to source these, ensuring they arrive in time.


Delays are part and parcel of the construction game and try hard as everyone might (especially with huge financial penalties on the line in the case of major construction sites) delays are still common. It only takes a homeowner to get their heart set on a certain type of smart socket, but that socket type has a one-week lead time for delivery, and all of a sudden we risk delaying the project.

In my experience not having items available or decisions being made quick enough is one of the major factors in delaying projects which in turn makes the rewiring a bigger job than it ought to be. A well-planned out project with a homeowner who is on the ball making quick decisions and sourcing items quickly will make it all run much smoother.

Project Manage

Even if planning to move in with friends and family for the duration of the work, the amount of project management required by the homeowner can catch a lot of people out. Tradesmen are notorious for having mixed feelings towards each other (in a jovial type way of course). This is due to the fact that on nearly every construction project each trade wants to be working in the same corner at the same time.

Depending on the agreement with the electrician or principal contractor, it may be a requirement for the homeowner to don their project manager hat and liaise with the trades regarding topics such as when can the plumbers get in to install the new bathroom, or how to keep the plasterers happy who have booked the day to come in but the room isn’t ready and the electricians are holding them up.

Getting the electrician to organise the whole project can be a life saver but it can also cost more as the electrical company usually charge extra cost for the extra work of organising everyone.

Leaning Time is Decorating Time

I wrote a whole article on the topic of decorating after a rewire that I shall link here as the redecoration work required can be a longer project than the rewire. Electricians can usually get in and out of a property relatively quickly, as can professional painters and decorators.

However, many homeowners understandably choose to save costs and carry out the redecoration work themselves. This is admirable, and some homes have a wonderful finish from DIY painters, but the time required to do this should not be underestimated.

After finishing work for the day there are usually only a few hours left once the house chores are done to actually pick up a paintbrush and set to work. Often redecoration projects run on and on and whenever the homeowners sit on the couch to enjoy some well-earned rest, there is the nagging feeling in the background that they should be cracking on with the painting.

Final Thoughts

It’s also worth remembering that a rewire is a lot easier carried out with pets removed from the home. Depending on how adventurous our furry friends are will have an impact on how disruptive this is.

This post was intended as a relatively lighthearted look to answer the question, is rewiring a house a big job? Although these are reasons that may not be obvious at first, airing them gives homeowners a good chance to plan in advance and make early decisions that can result in a much smoother project. The smoother the project goes the smaller the rewiring job becomes.

Dave Nicholas

I have worked as a professional electrician for many years and like to use my experience to help others in any little way I can.

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