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A socket in our bedroom seems to have been installed poorly in the first place. On one side, it seems quite secure – the screw is going into a rawlplug at the back that's securely anchored. But on the other side there is nothing for the screw to go into, just a big hole. The hole extends around the edges of the socket this side too.

I suspect I could fix this myself using pre-mixed filler (though please let me know if there's a better way!)

However, my main question is – Am I allowed to do this myself in the UK (England, to be precise), as it's around an electric socket?

Is this the kind of thing I'd need to call in a certified electrician to do, to avoid invalidating house insurance etc? To be clear, I don't think there's any actual wiring work needed, just the filling.

(This looks superficially similar to Repairing wall around a plug socket but the hole is deeper and also it's the safety/legal aspect I'm most interested in.)

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    In the USA the electrician is responsible for the electrical stuff inside the box, not the structure that the box is attached to. Repairs to the structure do not require an electrician. – Alaska Man Aug 1 '20 at 17:47
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    In the UK, the rules are different in Scotland, in England/Wales, and possibly different again in Northern Ireland. In Scotland, and possibly elsewhere, the rules are also different for houses and for tall blocks of flats. So it would help if you said where you are and what type of building you are in. That said, I think repairs and like-for-like replacement is permitted anywhere, but I'm not sure enough to write an actual answer. – Jack B Aug 1 '20 at 21:52
  • @Jack B, thank you. I didn’t know the law on this varied within the UK, and I’ve edited the question to clarify that this is in England. – Joe Pairman Aug 2 '20 at 9:22
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It sounds like there is no back box on that socket. Sockets aren't normally screwed directly to walls, but to back boxes that are fitted into the wall.

If there is nothing flammable behind the socket, then that's not actually dangerous. If there is flammable material, then the socket really should be re-fitted with a back box.

Legally, you can do simple repairs on your own electrics if you are competent to do so. There is no specific definition of what "competent" is. I have no way to tell if you are competent to do the work, so the decision is really up to you.

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The electrical regulations only cover the actual wiring installation and appliances so you won't break any laws as long as you don't disconnect anything. And here's the rub. It's going to be a whole lot easier to repair those gaps with the socket disconnected and moved out of the way.

If you attempt to repair it with the socket pulled this way and that, especially on solid cable, you could easily damage the wiring and/or connections.

If the back box is secure, i.e. not loose, you can indeed repair it with filler in layers. You could also use a tube based filler/caulk/adhesive. Tec7 is a popular choice as it's a paintable filler and adhesive.

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  • Can you please confirm that this is valid information for England? It's definitely the case in the US (though you can work on your own, personally owned residence). – FreeMan Dec 29 '20 at 21:23
  • As long as you don't disturb the electrical installation you're okay in the UK to repair plasterwork around backboxes. The doubt comes in because it's debatable whether you can repair the plaster without risking damage to the wiring or connections. Heavy handed pulling on the socket front is definitely capable of causing damage. – handyman Dec 30 '20 at 22:42

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