One of the worst mistakes in home design and office planning is not appreciating the fact that you need to plan ahead when it comes to electrical outlets.

‘Surely the electrical company will know where to put them?’ you ask…

You’d think so. But…remember when the only plug in the bedroom was behind the bed? And there was nowhere else to put the bed? Yes, of course you do. Maybe not that exact scenario, but one close to it.

If you want the electrical outlets in your home or in your office to be enough, and in all the right places, you need to have a pre-prepared plan.

Planning electrical outlets for the home – the basics:

  • How many electrical outlets?
  • Plug points for what (e.g. TV, appliances, side table lamps, corner lamps, etc.)?
  • Where? You don’t want to have to get extension cords, or have cords showing. You don’t behind doors (room or cupboard), where they can’t be accessed easily, behind large pieces of furniture or under curtains.
  • What about one or two extra ones – in case there’s something you forgot about?

Planning electrical outlets for the office – the basics:
It’s likely that you are moving into an existing building – so the circuit is already there, and there are some outlets.

  • How many do you need (or can) you add? What will the existing circuit support? Will you need to add another electrical network and distribution board?
  • Where will your desks be? Where will you need to have multiple connections? Where will the copy/printer, coffee machine, etc. be? Data points? UPS? You don’t want coils of cords all over the show, or power cord tangles.
  • Are you going green and using effective energy saving globes, these give lower light, so maybe you would like extra outlets in your offices.

Planning your electrical outlets is based on common sense, but you have to put in the time to pin down what’s practical. It’s also essential for the electrician to know your plans before he wires (or rewires): for safety as much as for practicality and efficiency.

Planning your outlets will avoid your need for messy extensions.

South Africa has a new plug standard that is now regulated with all new residential and commercial builds. Whether you are starting a new build or just renovating, please pay attention to the new safety standards. In the long run it will save you money and be safer and more cost effective.