The Cost to Move a Light Switch or Socket

All you need to know about the costs associated with moving a light switch or socket including materials, labour and time frames.

Light Switch Cost

What the job entails

Moving a light switch and/or power socket is something that any of us consider from time to time. Although the socket/switch position was (hopefully) initially set up to be suitable for a wide range of furniture arrangements and lifestyles, things have changed a lot in recent years. Plus of course a lot of people change the layout of their homes by knocking through internal walls or building extensions, so the old power sockets and light switches no longer work for the new layout. If you are looking to move a light switch or socket, then there are a few things to consider when getting a quote. For example, check if the prices include any decorating/plastering required, if all materials are included, and that installing and checking junction boxes will be done as per current regulations. The days of joining a cable to the old light switch and then plastering over it are long gone.

If you do this, then your house insurance could be invalidated and it could also cause problems if noticed when selling your home in the future. When installing a light switch today you must have a junction box, which can be placed at floor level fixed to the skirting or under the floor boards. Either way it has to be accessible which adds to the overall costs. The alternative is to strip the cable out all the way to the previous junction box, but that would cost even more as it would take longer and bump up the labour costs.

Most electricians will arrange for a plasterer to come in and repair the walls after installing a new socket or switch, but do not assume this, always check. Once the plastering work is done the electrician will then finish of the sockets and/or light switches. Moving a light switch or socket is not normally notifiable work under Building Regulations, Part P - as long as it is not in a kitchen or special location (such as a bathroom), but there are exclusions and special circumstances, if in any doubt whatsoever, check with your local Building Control department. But technically, in most instances, you could do this job yourself as a DIY project if you are confident you can do the work safely, but it is not recommended. Each year on average in the UK there are over 12,000 fires caused by faulty electrical work or deteriorating electrical installations!

All electrical work should follow the safety standards in BS 7671 no matter who does the work. The Building Regulations do not restrict who may carry out electrical work, but for all work classed as notifiable under The Building Regulations, it needs to be checked to make sure that it is safe by using an electrician registered with a competent person scheme or by submitting a Building Regulation application to the local building control.

A "Competent Person" is an electrician who is registered by an organisation authorised by the Secretary of State and is able to certify electrical work as is safe without notifying Building Control. The electrician will arrange for you to get a building regulations compliance certificate after the completion of the work and the local authority will also be notified about the work for their own records.

Cost of Moving a Light Switch or Socket Outlet

The average cost to move a single light switch or socket is typically around £100-£150 including materials. It's usually a straightforward job that won't take more than a couple of hours for an experienced electrician to complete.

Electricians will often work in pairs for safety reasons but will also work in pairs simply if the job will take one man for than a couple of days to complete. As such you should expect a labour cost of around £150 per day for one electrician or £250 per day for two. As most electricians charge for a minimum of half a days work it's not economical to have them change just one switch/socket, so if you're planning on making more changes in the future it makes sense to get them all done at once as this will massively reduce the cost per switch/socket.

Below are some estimated costs of hiring an electrician to move, replace or install a light switch or socket. These prices include materials and a quick plaster repair job where required. As you can see, when getting multiple sockets/switches moved or replaced it works out much cheaper per fixture.

Job Description Avg. Cost Duration
Move Light Switch or Socket £150 3-4 hours
Replace like-for-like a Switch or Socket £75 1 hour
Install Additional Switch or Socket £150 2-3 hours
Replace 5 like-for-like Switches or Sockets £100 2-3 hours
Install 5 Additional Switches or Sockets £250 1 day


Cost Breakdown

Individual costs for hiring a sparky to move a light switch or socket - Total Cost: £150

10%

Materials
£15

90%

Tradesmen
£135

0%

Waste Removal
£0

FAQ's

To replace a socket or switch with a "like for like" replacement is a simple job for any electrician, as if putting it in the same location, there is no additional wiring required. However, moving a socket or light switch is more complicated, as this will involve some additional wiring tapping into existing cables and installing a new junction box, plus of course cutting into the wall and some plastering work. Expect to pay around £150-£200 for an electrician to carry out the work. Adding a dimmer switch instead of a conventional light switch is slightly more expensive, but adding fancy chromed switches or sockets is much more expensive.
Adding an additional power socket, called a “spur”, again includes some plaster repair work but is more simple than moving a socket or switch. It's also worth noting that there are limitations on the number of spurs that can be added to a single circuit. Budget for around £150-£180 to get a competent electrician to do the job. Adding a double socket compared to a single socket makes little difference to the price, so you may as well get a double socket fitted! An RCD must be installed for any new socket points but you may already have an RCD depending on how old your fuse box/consumer unit is.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of lucrative opportunities for unscrupulous, unqualified and unskilled electricians in the UK. There is even no statutory requirement for electrical contractors to be qualified at all, so anyone can call themselves an electrical contractor. You need to ensure that you choose an electrician who is not going to leave you living in a potential fire hazard.

It's easy to make an electrical socket or light switch work, anyone can do that - but it's far more difficult to make the circuit work safely! It is advisable to ask any electrician you are considering hiring to provide information about which scheme they belong to and their membership number. You can then check directly with that organisation to make sure they are in fact registered. The organisations which ar authorised run the government competent person schemes for electrical installation work are BRE Certification Ltd, BSI (British Standards Institution), ELECSA Ltd, NAPIT Certification Limited, NICEIC Certification Services Ltd, CORGI and OFTEC.

You should of course also check references from previous customers and compare several quotes before making a decision to let someone come in and work in your home, especially on something as potentially dangerous as the electrical supply. So make sure your electrician is registered, agree a contract with them for the work you require - and stay safe!