“The light came from a bulb in the center, with its white lampshade, hanging form some muddy cables”. Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio, El Jarama, Ed. Destino, p. 162, 1955
The approach to the everyday is an exercise of great interest for the social science researcher, as it acts as laboratory evidence to which more generalist studies cannot reach. In our case, when we studied the characteristics of the electrical installations in the dwellings built by RENFE between 1939 and 1975, we were able to observe, on the one hand, the progressive improvement of these installations, and on the other hand, the abysmal difference between then and nowadays, brought about by a normative regulation that has introduced minimum comfort in dwellings, the first steps of which were taken around the middle of the 20th century.
Knowledge on the regulatory regime is a valid clue to study the process with a certain degree of order, which allows us to see how these regulations, with greater or lesser rigour, have been reflected in the construction projects, which in turn have evolved and, under the influence of new demands derived from an evident economic development, have increased the efficiency and quality of the installations, which had to be prepared for the entry of new household appliances and other additional installations in dwellings. In this sense, during the period under study, three standards were in force that regulated the electrical installations in the dwellings to be built: the 1933 Regulations on Electrical Reception Installations (RIER), the 1955 Low Voltage Electrotechnical Regulations (REBT) and the new 1973 electrotechnical regulations (REBT), which represented a qualitative leap in the characteristics (capacity, quality, safety, etc.) of the electrical installations in newly constructed buildings. As can be seen, each standard was in force for about twenty years, which shows an accelerated modernisation of these installations. Sigue leyendo