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AUTUMN 2017 | ISSUE 203


CARE 19 Tradespeople can avoid costly disputes by drawing up a formal contract, writes Jonathan Evans

‘Security functions at low prices are driving competition and innovation’

VENTILATION 20 A fan must work as part of an installed system to meet regulations

CASE STUDY 22 A major electrical overhaul at the National Army Museum

SECURITY SYSTEMS 24 Access control and alarm systems are opening doors to more electrical work



POWER TOOLS 28 Cordless tools are the future, but


care is needed to harness their force

CONTRACTOR PROFILE 32 Luro Electrical is now a booming business specialising in larger commercial contracts

28 HELLO 4 Taking the industry forward

TRAINING 1 0 A breakdown of three new City & Guilds courses for testing and inspection

INDUSTRY UPDATE 6 Joining forces to drive up electrical standards

TECHNICAL 37 Technical information 38 Ask the experts 40 Safe isolation 42 Replacing a consumer unit 47 Apprentice Corner 52 Circuit-breaker markings 57 Selectivity 62 Snags and Solutions

CAUGHT ON CAMERA 1 3 Your pictures of wrong-headed refits and dubious earthing methods

7 Kriss Akabusi to appear at Live event; TechTalks focus on the 18th edition

ADVICE 1 5 To make the most of selling your business, start preparations now

8 Contractors to gain from John Lewis Partnership

OPINION 1 6 Jim Hutchison looks at the

9 Apprentice of the Year 2018

dangers of counterfeit phone chargers

PRODUCT FOCUS 65 The latest products on the market OFF THE TOOLS 69 ‘I joined a lifeboat rescue crew’ CURRENT AFFAIRS 70 Installer goes postal

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Emma Clancy is chief executive officer, Certsure

It’s good to talk Listening to contractors is a vital part of how NICEIC and ELECSA operate, and is helping to raise standards in the industry


hank you for your feedback regarding the new Connections. Listening to contractors and their views is something I have always advocated, particularly when it comes to improving standards in the industry. As an industry leader, we have a responsibility to continue to challenge ourselves to improve. On page 6 we outline the work we are doing with NAPIT in this area. The collaboration represents our commitment to continually strive for improvements within the sector. We compete with other scheme operators on price and service, and I fully appreciate our customers always have a choice. However, we shouldn’t compete when it comes to raising standards. That is when collaboration is key.

One option Certsure will be looking at is how we can include the benefits of individual assessment alongside our existing QS model. This will give contractors further choice around their assessment and build on Certsure’s reputation to service our customers effectively. There is no one solution that fits all. That is why we feel it is right to examine options that will serve the industry as a whole. The important thing to remember is that any new model will be voluntary, so if contractors don’t want to change they won’t have to. We believe this is the right approach to take, and one that refines and strengthens the existing CPS model for registering contractors – a model that serves more than 43,000 electrical firms across the UK and has a competency assessment at its heart.

‘We shouldn’t compete when it comes to raising standards. That is when collaboration is key’

C O N T A C T S / C O N N E C T I O NS

Level 5, 78 Chamber Street, London E1 8BL EDITORIAL General 020 7880 6200 Editor Nick Martindale nick.martindale@redactive.co.uk Technical editor Timothy Benstead Sub editor James Hundleby Senior designer Craig Bowyer Technical designer Adrian Taylor Picture researcher Akin Falope Publishing and business development director Aaron Nicholls ADVERTISING/MARKETING Gary Pavey gary.pavey@redactive.co.uk 020 7880 6206 (Display) Callum Nagle callum.nagle@redactive.co.uk 0207 880 6217 (Classified)

PRODUCTION General production enquiries 020 7880 6240 Production manager Jane Easterman Production executive Rachel Young rachel.young@redactive.co.uk SUBSCRIPTIONS Should you require your own copy of Connections or multiple copies for your staff, subscriptions are available by calling 020 8950 9117 CONTRIBUTIONS Connections welcomes ideas for contributions. Please email nick.martindale@ redactive.co.uk

© Redactive Publishing Ltd 2017 Level 5, 78 Chamber Street, London E1 8BL Registered No. 3156216. All rights reserved. This publication (and any part thereof) may not be reproduced, transmitted or stored in any print or electronic format (including but not limited to any online service, any database or any part of the internet) or in any other format in any media whatsoever, without the prior written permission of the publisher. Redactive Publishing Ltd accepts no liability for the accuracy of the contents or any opinions expressed herein.

Printed by Precision Colour Printing Limited

WWW.NICEIC.COM WWW.ELECSA.CO.UK ENQUIRIES Certsure 01582 539000 Communications manager Paul Collins 01582 539148 paul.s.collins@certsure.com NICEIC Direct Paul Elcock 01582 539709 paul.elcock@certsure.com Twitter @officialNICEIC or @officialELECSA Customer services 0333 015 6625 Sales 0333 015 6626 Training 0333 015 6627 Technical helpline 0333 015 6628 Insurance 0333 015 6629 Legal/tax 24-hour helpline 0117 934 2111 (provided by DAS Business Law)

ISSN 2042-5732

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Certsure is committed to improvements within the sector

Collaborative working to improve industry standards Certsure and NAPIT are once again working together on proposals to improve standards within the electrical sector. The two competent person scheme (CPS) operators previously collaborated on Registered Competent Person Electrical (RCPE) – a single mark and register that brought together more than 40,000 registered electrical contracting firms across England and Wales. The driving forces behind RCPE now want to expand on that work and further strengthen the assessment processes of both organisations. Over the years, the strengths of the two organisations have been Certsure’s focus on the management and supervision of competence, and NAPIT’s focus on individual competence. The new collaboration aims to combine these approaches into a consistent approach, offering to individually assess all electrical employees registered with Certsure and NAPIT to provide competence recognition for all electricians. Emma Clancy, CEO of Certsure, said: “We are delighted to be working with NAPIT to raise standards and strengthen the competency recognition model further within the existing framework. “This work refines and builds on an existing model which


already covers over 43,000 electrical firms and has a competency assessment at its heart.” The collaboration is designed to further improve standards and give contractors further choice around their assessment, as well as better meeting the requirements of their customers at all scales of electrical work. Mike Andrews, CEO of NAPIT, said: “Our work is an important cornerstone of the electrical industry. Certsure and NAPIT understand that we can only improve the safety of electrical installation work by working together in a co-ordinated approach. “We can only do this by assessing the competence of organisations and individuals first-hand, monitoring their abilities to ensure they are working to the latest standards and industry requirements.” The model for registering electrical contractors has been in operation for more than 60 years; during that time, it has evolved into the electrotechnical assessment specification (EAS), which has been developed by bodies representing the electrical installation industry and consumer safety interests to enhance the standard of safety of electrical installation work. This industry-led approach has demonstrably worked because of the balance it provides between electrical safety regulation, protection for consumers and cost burden of regulation on companies. During this time, the UK government has had little reason to intervene because of the ability of the industry to work together and solve any problems.

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OLYMPIC STAR KRISS AKABUSI HEADS LIVE NORTH LINE-UP Olympic medallist and motivational speaker Kriss Akabusi will be the keynote speaker at NICEIC ELECSA Live North, taking place at Aintree Racecourse on 23 November. Akabusi will talk about his own athletics career, including winning the 400m hurdles gold medal at the 1990 Commonwealth Games and the bronze at the 1992 Olympic Games, where he set a British record still standing today. Darren Staniforth and Alan Wells will also be on hand to inform delegates about the proposed changes to the upcoming 18th edition and the recent document for public comment, while the IET’s Mark Coles will also provide an overview on Part 8 of the regulations. Other sessions include author James Dewane advising contractors on how

Three-time European gold medallist Kriss Akabusi will speak at Aintree

to attract and retain customers, and Chris Ashworth from Competitive Advantage Consultancy, who will present new research into how much contractors should be charging. Contractors will be able to visit the lively exhibition floor, attend dedicated demo sessions and pose any questions to NICEIC’s technical team. Tickets cost just £29 plus VAT for NICEIC, ELECSA and ECA registered contractors, and £49 plus VAT for nonregistered contractors.


> October 11 TechTalk Southampton St Mary’s Stadium 17 TechTalk Belfast Culloden Estate and Spa

> November 2-3 ELEX Sandown Westpoint Arena 23 NICEIC ELECSA Live Aintree Racecourse Liverpool

> December 5 TechTalk Swansea Liberty Stadium 7 TechTalk Bristol Ashton Gate Stadium

To book your place, visit www.niceic-elecsalive.com

TechTalks focus on 18th edition The 10th series of NICEIC’s popular TechTalks is now underway, and the number of contractors attending each event continues to grow. The hot topic for the current series is the upcoming 18th edition of the wiring regulations, due for release in July 2018. TechTalk host and industry expert Darren Staniforth will be discussing what contractors can expect to see in the updated regulations and explaining reasons for the changes. Other subjects on the agenda include arc fault detection devices, EICR codings and fire safety standards. “TechTalks give us the opportunity to go around the country and speak to our contractors about the latest happenings within the industry, and find out first-hand the issues they want us to look at,” he said. “We will be visiting some new venues which will


give more people a chance to come along and see what they are all about.” Attendees will also be able to access special deals, try out some of the latest products and get plenty of technical advice from some of the industry’s biggest names who will be exhibiting at each event. Each event starts at 9am and finishes at 1.30pm, and every delegate gets a breakfast roll and refreshments as part of the package. As well as the events listed in the diary section, there will also be TechTalks held in February in Newcastle (7), Leeds (9), Newmarket (20) and Wolverhampton (22). Tickets cost just £25 and can be booked online at www.shop.niceic.com/events or by emailing techtalk@certsure.com

Certsure’s communications manager Paul Collins (middle) with Luton manager Nathan Jones (right) and commercial manager Dave Hoskins

LUTON TOWN SIGN STAR NAMES Luton Town kicked off their new season in League Two with the NICEIC and ELECSA logos on the back of their home and away shirts. The Hatters are among the favourites to win promotion after narrowly missing out last season, and will be hoping to go one better this year with the backing of NICEIC and ELECSA. Paul Collins, Certsure’s communications manager, said: “We are delighted to once again be putting our brands behind Luton Town FC. “We are committed to promoting our registered contractors and the club is a great ambassador for our brands. We would like to wish the management and the players all the best and are looking forward to another great season working together.” It will be the ninth year in a row the NICEIC name has appeared on the Luton shirt. The Hatters regularly get in excess of 8,000 fans at each home game and appear every Saturday on Channel 5’s Football on Five: Goal Rush.

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7% The amount by which the value of construction contract awards rose in August, reaching a total of £5.8 billion, according to Barbour ABI's Economic & Construction Market Review

8% The proportion of students aged 15-18 who were advised to seek a work-based placement in 2016-17, according to research by ECA, JTL and the Joint Industry Board

58% The proportion of electrical commercial projects that remain highly focused on initial CAPEX considerations, a survey by Hager found

61% The number of electrical firms that “somewhat” support the proposed changes to the 18th edition, ECA research found. Just 6 per cent say they fully back them

76% The amount of electrotechnical workers who say they would rather be directly employed than work through an agency, according to research by ECA

High-street giant John Lewis has teamed up with NICEIC for a new service it is rolling out across the UK. Home Solutions will put customers in direct contact with professional tradespeople it has carefully checked, vetted, interviewed and assessed. The service was trialled in Milton Keynes earlier this year and will also operate in Cardiff, Bristol, Newport, Bath, Taunton and Gloucester. NICEIC CEO Emma Clancy said: “Home Solutions brings together two trusted brands and will provide further opportunities for our contractors to win more work.” John Lewis approached NICEIC last year to find electricians for the launch of the scheme. Several NICEIC registered contractors signed up to take part in a rigorous recruitment process, which included interviews, background checks and assessments of previous work.

“There is no cost to sign up,” says Clancy. “It is completely free and a great opportunity for contractors to grow their business and be associated with one of the most recognised and respected names in the market. “John Lewis is also keen to get female tradespeople on board, so NICEIC’s Jobs for the Girls campaign was of great interest to them.” John Lewis customers will be able to hire plumbers, electricians, decorators and other trades through the app, website and call centre-based service. “Customers often ask us if we can help them with tasks in their homes,” said Tom Athron, group development director at the John Lewis Partnership. “We have taken a lot of care to find professionals who will deliver service to the standard that people expect.” Find out more at www. johnlewishomesolutions. co.uk

Commendation for Karl An NICEIC registered electrician from Wigan narrowly missed out on the top prize in a contest to find the nation's best tradesperson. Karl Mather, owner of KDM Electrical, was highly commended during this year’s Britain’s Top Tradesperson competition, organised by Screwfix. He was one of eight entrants out of 5,000 who made it to the grand final at Wembley. He said: “I’m over the moon to have been highly commended. I was able to showcase the variety of electrical challenges I’ve achieved for my customers, but also how important it is for me to support those in need." Karl impressed the judges with his wealth of

knowledge and willingness to go above and beyond for his customers. Over the years Karl has supported those in need and regularly works selflessly for charities. Karl hit the headlines earlier this year when he paid for and fitted a new heating system for an elderly couple who could not afford to replace an old heater. Emma Clancy, CEO of NICEC, said: “It is not surprising that Karl was highly recommended. He is a credit to the industry and his dedication and genuine care for his customers really make him a stand-out tradesperson. I am proud to have him as a NICEIC registrant.” The overall winner was Lluis Dalmau, a plumbing and heating engineer from Clydebank.

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Last year's grand finalists and overall winner George Maynard (centre)

Apprentice competition now open to the brightest and best The 2018 NICEIC and ELECSA Apprentice of the Year competition is now open for entries. Now in its third year, the competition, which is sponsored by the Scolmore Group, welcomes all Level 3 students, and will once again seek to test the skills and knowledge of the candidates. The registration process has been simplified for this year: now, when students log into register at www.niceic.com/apprentice they can go straight to the online test, which forms the first stage of the competition. There are three stages to the competition. The online assessment to test levels of electrical knowledge will be open to all students, with the top 20 per cent qualifying for the next round – a 90-minute practical exam to be held at a number of locations across the UK and marked by industry experts. Eight students with the highest scores from stage two will go through to the grand

final at Scolmore Group’s head offices in Tamworth, Staffordshire, on Tuesday 5 June, when candidates will be required to complete challenging practical tasks over the course of the day. The Apprentice of the Year will be crowned at a special awards ceremony at The Belfry Hotel & Resort that evening. On offer are holiday vouchers worth £2,000 for the winner, £750 for the runner-up and £250 for third place. The eight finalists will also receive an engraved trophy, an iPad and a van pack of Scolmore products, while the college of the overall winner will receive £1,000 worth of Scolmore products. Every college that enters 20 students or more for the competition will also receive a Scolmore college pack containing a variety of the company’s products. For further information, or to enter the competition, visit www.niceic.com/apprentice

Certsure is set to launch an online portal to help contractors manage their NICEIC/ ELECSA account. The portal has been developed with extensive input from contractors to ensure it contains everything you need in one place. It will allow you to keep your account details up to date, change your trading title and amend contact details, check on assessment visits and access billing and payment information. Contractors will be able to log into the new portal via the secure areas of the NICEIC and ELECSA websites. Keep an eye on emails for more information soon.

JERSEY COMPETENT PERSONS SCHEME NICEIC contractors in Jersey will no longer be registered under the Certification of Inspectors and Testers of Electrical Installation Work Scheme operated by NICEIC Certification. Previously, contractors in Jersey had to be registered with the scheme to notify work in line with Jersey Building Control. Now the Jersey Building Control Department have confirmed that the NICEIC Approved Contractor scheme meets the requirements for competent person scheme registration on Jersey. Therefore, all contractors in Jersey have been automatically transferred to the Approved Contractor scheme and work should continue to be notified by using NICEIConline.com, as well as certificated as required by BS 7671, again through NICEIConline.com



NEW FIRE STANDARD IN FORCE A new edition of BS 5839 came into effect at the end of August, and should be incorporated into contractors’ working practices. BS 5839-1 provides recommendations for the planning, design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of fire detection and fire alarm systems. The revised standard takes into account

changes to other major fire safety standards, including BS EN 54 series of standards for fire detection and alarm systems, and BS 9999 for fire safety in commercial buildings. BS5839-1 is available now at www.shop. niceic.com. For more information about fire-related courses, visit www.niceic.com

Electrical contractors are being encouraged to give up 15 minutes of their pay in October to help raise funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK (ARUK). Every NICEIC or ELECSA registered contractor who donates to ARUK will be entered into a prize draw to win a year’s free registration with NICEIC or ELECSA. For more information, please visit http://support.alzheimersresearchuk. org/event/15minutes

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to testing and inspection courses mean there are now three routes open to contractors, says Asad Majid


Asad Majid is national training manager at Certsure

ignificant changes have occurred in the world of training recently, most notably to courses involving testing and inspection. In June, City & Guilds announced it was scrapping the 2394/5 (testing and inspection) and going back to the old 2391 qualification instead. The three new courses for testing and inspection are: • 2391-50 Level 3 Award in Initial Verification • 2391-51 Level 3 Award in Periodic Inspection • 2391-52 Level 3 Award in Inspection and Testing (combining both initial verification and periodic inspection elements) In addition to familiarity, this means City & Guilds has been able to change the way the course is delivered by tutors and completed by students. The most significant alteration has been to the written part of the exam, which is now in a shorter, question-style format. This has caused concern in some quarters as it has been deemed to have ‘dumbed down’ the process. However, in reality, final exams can be marked more quickly, in line with the existing EAL equivalent standard in inspection and testing. Each individual course can be broken down into the following elements: 2391-50 (initial verification) One 40-question, 90-minute, open-book multiplechoice examination and two practical assignment tasks, including an inspection and test on a main rig, and a short paper consisting of four written questions. 2391-51 (periodic inspection) One 40-question, 90-minute, open-book multiplechoice examination and three practical assignment tasks, including an inspection and test on the test rig, visual photo exercise (30 minutes) and a short paper consisting of four written questions. 2391-52 (combined course) One 60-question, two-hour, open-book multiplechoice examination and three practical assignment tasks, including an inspection and test on the test rig, visual photo exercise (30 minutes) and a short paper consisting of four written questions. NICEIC began offering the new courses in September. Anyone who began the old 2394/5 courses prior to that will have a full year to complete them and gain the certificate, which will remain an acceptable Level 3 testing qualification.

UPCOMING COURSES > November Portable appliance testing Chesterfield – 2 November Initial verification Dunstable – 6 November Electric vehicle charging Chesterfield – 6 November Cardiff – 9 November Dunstable – 10 November Periodic inspection Chesterfield – 21 November 17th edition Chesterfield – 27 November Liverpool – 27 November

> December 17th edition Dunstable – 4 December Initial verification Chesterfield – 9 December Portable appliance testing Dunstable – 11 December Please call 0333 015 6627 or email traininginfo@niceic.com for more details

Electric vehicle training There are now more than 100,000 electric vehicles on UK roads, up from just 3,500 in 2013. This number is only expected to rise, following plans to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040. The growing demand for electric vehicle charging points is creating new opportunities. NICEIC’s electrical vehicle charging course will teach you everything about installing EV points – in just one day.

For more information, visit www.niceic.com/training


All change Tweaks

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N O R T H 2 0 1 7


Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool Technical Conference and Exhibition n Don’t miss out on attending the multi award-winning NICEIC ELECSA Live! Be a part of big debates, update your knowledge and be inspired by the latest innovations and technology for the electrical industry. Visit: www.niceic-elecsalive.com

Keynote speaker M BE , Kr iss A ka bu si tio na l iva ot M Oly mp ian , es sm an sin Bu r, ke ea Sp

Technical experts on hand to answer your questions

20+ interactive knowledgesharing sessions

A lively trade expo. Meet more than Demo zone

30 exhibitors

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www.niceic-elecsalive.com or call 020 7324 2771 #niceicelecsalive 18/09/2017 22/09/2017 15:00 11:03



Caught on camera



Trusty NICEIC and ELECSA contractors have been busy uncovering and rectifying dodgy installations and DIY botch jobs. Here are some of the worst offenders from the past quarter




dodgy immersion heater connection in a loft (1); a live connection in a ceiling being used to power a spotlight (2); unusual earthing for power generators at a high-profile outdoor event (3); and a storage heater board that had been adapted to feed sockets once the heaters had been removed (4). It continues with a DIY screwdriver fix to a welding machine over 13A which kept blowing fuses (5); a comfy home for a family of five (live) mice (6); a fuse board with single insulated cables supplying a check meter (7); an attempt to bypass a meter with 10mm earth bonding, resulting in melted insulation and heat damage (8); overloaded kitchen sockets including a plug with two tails (9); and a dodgy distribution board in commercial premises that had been split into two (10).


8 Thanks to...


>Alan Bruntlett from West Lindsey Electrical Contractors in Market Rasen >Andrew Archer of Propertycare Bucks in Milton Keynes >Derek Horsburgh from John Rae Ltd in Kelso >Gary Chadfield of Chadfield Property services in Whitby >Gary Goldstone of Gary G G Electrical in London >Mark Hughes of Jones and Whitehead near Bangor >James Salt from JDS Electrical Solutions in London >Mark Carne of MC Electrics in Redcar >Aaron Roche of Regenesis Facilities in Hythe >Martin Disley of Disley Electrical in Manchester

10 Keep those shots coming in! Email caughtoncamera@redactive.co.uk

9 13

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If you want to broaden your business even further into the commercial and industrial sectors it’s never been easier to upgrade your current enrolment. Call our team now on 0333 015 6626 or e-mail join@niceic.com to find out how.

the power behind your business

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Sales pitch Getting a successful sale with the right price for your business can be a long-term project, so it’s vital to start planning early, says Clive Hyman


f you’re planning to sell your business in the next five years, then you need to start preparing now. The work you put in in advance will influence the quality of potential buyers you attract, which in turn will impact on the valuation you receive. The following tips will help you prepare.

BUSINESS AS USUAL During any sales process, the business must continue to function as normal and, ideally, carry on growing. Look at operations and staffing to see how the allocation of your, and other relevant company members’, time may be affected. Start planning for this now. Maintain confidentiality and only give information to managers and staff on a need-toknow basis. This will help ensure that the dayto-day running, output and achievements of the business are not disturbed.

Clive Hyman is founder of Hyman Capital Services www.hymancapital.com

DEFINE PRICE EXPECTATIONS You’ll need to have a rough idea of what price you can expect to get. If you are a listed company, look at the listed market valuations and sales. If you are a private company, look at the sale prices from the last two to three years to form a benchmark price for your company type, scale and size. Decide if you’re selling the whole business or part of it. If the latter, then you will need to work out the costs associated with the part that is being sold, and allow for increased costs that the company can no longer share. PREPARATION FOR SALE Identify shareholders’ and other ‘one-off ’ expenses that have been charged to the profit and loss (P&L) account. These may need to be added back to the P&L to establish the recurring profitability of the business. Buyers like to see consistent trends and therefore a sale may need to be managed over a two to three-year period, taking into account the industry, the market, managing sales and achieving a targeted growth curve.

‘Commission an external legal or accounting company to do due diligence on your own business’ UNDERTAKE DUE DILIGENCE Commission an external legal or accounting company to do due diligence on your own business. This will highlight any issues that you may not have been aware of so that you can manage them in advance. Being forewarned means there will be no nasty surprises which could led to price reduction. Understand the impact of any sale on your business/ personal tax. It may be possible to shape the consideration to enable the tax payable to be minimised legitimately. You will have to warrant the information to the purchaser. This means you must be able to say truthfully that it has been prepared on a proper basis and gives a true and fair view of the business you are selling. If certain items come to light, a purchaser may be entitled to make a warranty claim. ALLOCATE RESOURCES It is unlikely that you/the company can handle all the information required on your own. You’ll need a project manager assembling all the data and information that the advisers will require. This will make the deal process more efficient and identify any issues that need to be worked on. Allow appropriate time and resources to manage the process. It’s likely to be more than you estimated. To achieve the maximum value from your exit, remember you need to run both the business and the sale simultaneously and successfully right through to the very end.

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Smart thinking Specifiers need to ensure safe charging facilities are designed into buildings to tackle the threat of counterfeit phone chargers, says Jim Hutchison


e’re living in a digital age in which smartphone uptake is vast. But this uptake has also triggered a rise in the number of dangerous counterfeit phone chargers. Last year, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute tested approximately 400 fake Apple chargers and found only three were insulated well enough to protect the user from electric shock. Other risks associated with their use include screen burns, electrical fires and power cuts. It can be easy to overlook the risks of portable chargers being used in public, but electrical safety should primarily be the responsibility of building owners, facilities managers and health and safety professionals. However, levels of safety in public environments when charging portable devices still depend on the user’s awareness and attitudes. Our research found that when it came to awareness around the safety risks of using fake phone chargers, a staggering 47 per cent of people did not think there was a risk of electric shock while using them.

It’s for this reason that responsibility to protect the public now falls to the specifier during the design process. Specifiers can limit the risks of counterfeit chargers and maximise safety by designing installations that include fixed USB charging facilities in convenient locations. Sockets with integrated USB charging outlets or dedicated fixed USB charging points will offer higher levels of user safety. Certain models manage the charge to match the needs of the device. This means that expensive devices will not suffer component damage or screen burn, and that the charging needs of the user can be met without compromising charging speed. Specifiers have a responsibility to make new buildings as safe as possible for the public using them. So, as the public increasingly look to charge their devices in public spaces with both official and unofficial chargers, it’s important for specifiers to recognise and address the risks.

Jim Hutchison is national sales manager at Crabtree

IN F O C US / ADAM PICK E N How did you come to start up?

I was a QS for a local company prior to going out on my own, but I started working for myself three years ago. I explained to my old company what I wanted to do and they started feeding small jobs to me. I still have a good relationship with them today. What type of work did you take on?

Adam Picken A Picken Electricians, Walsall

It was more commercial to start with but I’ve moved more into domestic. I’ve got a contract where I fit the electrics in new kitchens, and I have about six factories which I look after locally

too. I also work for a builder doing extensions, and have a contract with British Steel. How has the business grown?

I took on an employee not long after I started and also a project manager recently, so there are three of us plus two apprentices at the moment. I’m on the tools for three days and then in the office for two.

What’s the hardest thing about working for yourself?

Until a few weeks ago I was trying to do everything, being on the tools and pricing and invoicing. I was working 70 hours a week. Now I have the project manager that’s taken a lot of pressure off. What do you do outside work?

Now I have most weekends off I spend more time with my two children.

Where do you cover?

Everywhere around the West Midlands. We travel as far as Coventry, but most of it is local.

If you are a small business or sole trader and would like to feature in In Focus, email infocus@redactive.co.uk

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22/09/2017 11:08



Jonathan Evans is customer relations engineer at Certsure

Get it in writing

Setting out clear terms and conditions is an essential part of ensuring jobs go smoothly, says Jonathan Evans


rrespective of its nature, being involved in a complaint is never a pleasant experience. It can be detrimental to business and take up an enormous amount of time trying to find a successful resolution that appeases all parties. Learning from the experience of processing a complaint provides any business with an opportunity to address any underlying issues. The observable trends of the type of complaints often have a common denominator. Where this is the case, this can be addressed relatively easily with minimal cost. Often, the common denominator with any complaint is in regard to failed or misunderstood expectations. Where there has been ineffective business project management, poorly defined roles and responsibilities, and no formally agreed extent and limitations of work, complaints will typically follow.

ADMINISTRATION MATTERS While a contractor should have an appropriate level of technical knowledge and a high standard of installation practice to meet customer expectations, they should also look to add good project management skills and a clear audit trail for all appropriate documentation. The first stage of this audit trail is usually a contract. A formal written contract is not something that just protects the consumer – it is also a legally binding document a contractor can fall back on if required. A contract ensures both contractor and customer know where they stand and what the expected outcomes of the job are. It also covers you against things that might have been said, although not officially agreed.

‘Often, the common denominator with any complaint is in regard to failed or misunderstood expectations’

Verbal agreements can be legally binding, but a written agreement is safer and removes any misunderstanding. When it comes to writing a contract, there are some standard details you should look to include: • The name, address and telephone numbers of both yourself and the customer • Commencement and completion dates, including penalties for late completion • The technical details, plans and materials that will be used • Details of any permits or council authorisation needed to commence the project, and who will apply for them • Names of any subcontractors and details about their payment • A provision that the contractor will put right any defective work and pay for any damage to property • A provision that part of the fee may be withheld until work has been inspected and any defects put right • Agreement that the site will be left tidy throughout and at the end of the project • Payment details, including the total cost for the job plus any deposits needed upfront and how this will be paid Having a clear and consistent paper trail will save contractors both time and money, and is something to refer back to should any dispute arise. Clearly defined terms and conditions will also provide assurances to the customer and can set a business apart in terms of professionalism. Failure to have these in place from the start can often lead to problems further down the line, particularly when it comes to the time to invoice. If the customer withholds monies for whatever reason, the contractor has little room to negotiate without a proper agreement in place. With customers now quick to use social media to vent any frustrations, avoiding a dispute is something all contractors need to be wary of. If some simple business administrative processes are implemented at the start, it can lead to a lot fewer headaches at the end.

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or a new home to meet the latest Building Regulations in England and Wales, there must be a ventilation system installed as prescribed in Approved Document F1, Means of Ventilation. Similar guidance is stated in the appropriate regulations for Scotland and Northern Ireland. This is to ensure that excess moisture created through everyday living such as breathing, cooking and showering, and indoor air pollutants arising from textiles, furniture and aerosols – which are potentially harmful to both occupants and the fabric of the building – are properly extracted. However, electricians and ventilation system installers should be aware that while some ventilation manufacturers claim their products comply with the latest Building Regulations, in some cases the performance might only be in regards to a free-air environment. Therefore, a fan may not perform to the required standard when installed as part of a system, which can lead to a build-up of moisture and pollutants over time. When looking for an extractor fan, installers should check the installed performance data – a simple guide is to look at the fan’s performance graph. By using a provisional system pressure of 10 Pascals, installers will have a good estimate as to how the fan may perform when it is installed in the home, dependent on the ducting system. For installation advice, accompanying the Building Regulations is the Domestic Ventilation Compliance Guide 2010 (England & Wales), which provides tips and hints that can help avoid an incorrectly installed system that can severely impact the performance of a fan. For xample, if flexible ducting is being used, it needs to be pulled taut to 90 per cent of its maximum length and cut to a suitable length. Squashed-up and crushed flexible ducting creates increased system pressure that a fan cannot overcome,

Contractors looking to install ventilation systems need to ensure equipment really does comply with Building Regulations standards, says John Kelly

Meet the standard meaning the required installed ventilation rates are not met. By establishing that ducting is clear of dust and debris, and that the exterior grille has the required 90 per cent free area, installers can ensure that a fan will achieve the required installed performance. The Building Regulations also specify an undercut of 10mm on all internal doors to enable effective air circulation. BEST PRACTICE To test a fan for installed performance, installers should use suitable fan-test equipment to ensure the ventilation system performs to required standards. The ventilation industry has developed an agreed best-practice approach using a powered air flow meter. These instruments use a pressure-compensating in-built

fan to equalise the back pressure of the measuring device so that accurate air flow measurements are possible without further complex calculations. This should be carried out on-site by a “competent person” who has completed an approved

‘Installers should use suitable fan-test equipment to ensure the ventilation system performs to required standards’

Best practice requires the use of a powered airflow meter

ventilation installer course, such as the NICEIC domestic ventilation training and assessment, as well as being registered with a competent persons scheme for self-certification of ventilation systems, such as the NICEIC domestic ventilation competent person scheme. You can learn more about installing and commissioning ventilation systems by completing the NICEIC domestic ventilation training and assessment scheme – check dates, availability and book online at www.niceic.com John Kelly is marketing manager at Airflow Developments

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National M&E firm Stothers had to tread a fine line to incorporate all the required services into the restored National Army Museum BY ANDREW BRISTER An armoured Humber Pig

Military uniforms through the ages

The Insight gallery, one of five permanent galleries

Military precision I

t’s a treasure trove of military history and artefacts. Lawrence of Arabia’s robes, the Duke of Wellington’s cloak, the skeleton of Napoleon’s horse, and the coat worn by the man who carried the order to the front for the Charge of the Light Brigade are just some of the highlights to be found at the National Army Museum in London, which reopened this year after a three-year, £23.75 million redevelopment. Founded in 1960 by royal charter, the National Army Museum is the

British Army’s central museum, and moved from Sandhurst in the 1970s to a site on Royal Hospital Road in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, adjacent to the Royal Hospital Chelsea, home of the Chelsea Pensioners. Part-funded with a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £11.5 million, the major overhaul, led by architect and engineering consultant BDP and exhibition design agency Event, has opened up the original building to dramatically transform the space. Aiming to be a bridge between the British Army and the public, the museum is intended to encourage greater public engagement with ideas of defence and security, openly asking questions to visitors and displaying responses on large screens. LIGHT RELIEF There are now five permanent thematic galleries – Soldier, Army, Battle, Society and Insight – and more than 2,500 objects on display, two-thirds of which are on show for the first time. The 500m² temporary exhibition space opened with War Paint: Brushes with Conflict, displaying over 130 paintings and objects. Completing the museum is the Templer Study Centre, a learning centre, brand-new café, shop and Play Base, where children aged up

The entrance to the Society gallery at the National Army Museum

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to eight can learn through play. The £5.1 million mechanical and electrical (M&E) contract for the building services was won by national contractor Stothers (M&E). The firm, which has its headquarters in Belfast and satellite offices in Glasgow and Warrington, won the work from main contractor Gilbert Ash, a firm it has worked alongside many times in the past. It’s a complex project, one where conventional M&E services needed to dovetail with the audiovisual packages essential to interactive exhibits. “Co-ordination was critical on this project and we’ve worked closely alongside Event’s AV subcontractor Atlas AV on the installation, and exhibition space lighting contractor Experience Lighting,” says Neil Alexander, electrical contracts manager at Stothers (M&E). While an outline design specification was provided by M&E consultant BDP, Stothers (M&E) developed these further. “Most of the packages on the electrical side were contractor design proposals,” explains Neil. These packages include mains distribution, lighting and lighting controls, the building management system, fire alarm and CCTV systems, lightning protection, public address, data infrastructure and cabling for the AV system. Stothers (M&E) is also responsible for the mechanical parts of the project such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). The existing HV transformer in the basement has been replaced and is now housed in an external transformer house, freeing up space in the basement for new switchgear. However, the switchover from the old supply to the new had to be carefully planned. “The client still needed to occupy its existing offices throughout the project, so we had to maintain power, lighting and air conditioning during the build, along with a fire alarm system,” says Neil. Electrical distribution through the building is via two 400A rising busbars running up from the

Desert Rats sculpture in the atrium

basement to all floors. HVAC plant is housed in a rooftop plant room: two substantial chillers had to be craned up onto the roof. 1,200: THE AMOUNT OF LINEAR METRES OF SUSPENDED LIGHTING TRACK INSTALLED ON THE JOB

CO-ORDINATED EFFORT Services distribution through the floors in gallery areas is via a ceiling void. The design team wanted to maximise the ceiling height so the 1200 x 600mm ceiling tiles are mounted into floating rafts hung on 12mm rods suspended from the structure. “All the services had to be accommodated within that void, so there was a lot of co-ordination involved,” explains Neil.

‘For some of the display cabinets it needed 10 guys to put in one pane of glass, so these aren’t going to be moved’ Lighting is a key part of the installation and it is here that the collaborative effort of the works was all-important, with a crossover between the general lighting installation and the exhibition lighting, installed by Experience

Lighting. In the galleries, lighting track is suspended between the ceiling rafts. “There’s over 1,200 linear metres of suspended lighting track installed throughout the project for both the house lighting and the exhibition lighting,” adds Neil. There is also a host of interactive display cabinets and screens that light up as visitors approach. Lighting controls in cabinets are integrated into the AV installation via a system from Pharos using the DMX protocol. General lighting is controlled by a DALI system from Helvar linked to roof-mounted daylight photocells. “The system can be fully automated but the museum also has full keypad control with ‘museum closed’ settings, ‘cleaner’s lights’ and so on,” adds Neil. “Lights can be dimmed down to 5 per cent of output.” With priceless artefacts on show, many of the cabinets are closely temperature-controlled so as not to damage exhibits. Fire protection is another vital component of the project, and the fire alarm system installed by Stothers (M&E) combines conventional detectors and sounders with a network of aspirating air-sampling detectors. Stothers has also installed an 18-zone public address with the facility to provide automated messages, to tell visitors that the museum will be closing in 15 minutes, for instance. Access for maintenance was another important consideration. “We were provided with boxed areas on the plans showing where the exhibits would be and we needed to avoid any maintainable services in those areas,” says Neil. “For some of the display cabinets it needed 10 operatives to install just one pane of glass, so these aren’t going to be moved to access services above. It’s also the only project I have worked on in the past 20-odd years where we had an actual flying pig [an armoured Humber Pig] craned onto second-floor level.” Andrew Brister is a freelance journalist specialising in the electrical industry

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The installation of door entry systems and alarms, often integrating with wider home automation schemes, is creating new options for electrical contractors BY DAVID ADAMS

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customers might require security systems, ranging from burglar alarms and security cameras to door entry, access control and CCTV systems. Many can now work with IP-based electronics that allow these and other security functions to be knitted together, and controlled and monitored remotely via smartphone or tablet apps. Being able to work with such technologies means another set of services to offer to clients and a potential route to more electrical work. It could also lead to taking on more work on a project, from wiring through to lighting, alongside installing security systems. This is an arrangement that might also be more preferable for a developer or property owner than having all these tasks being carried out by various companies. Some firms may also want to set up maintenance contracts, offering the potential for ongoing work. Some contractors now split the work of installation between electricians – who work with basic equipment and some more complex systems – and specialist contractors with the skills needed to complete the commissioning and testing required for more advanced systems. Although many types of security systems are now becoming easier to install than was once the case,


The amount of contractors who say they are very confident advising on smart security products

if you want to build a reputation for installing high-quality security systems you will need in-depth specialist product knowledge. A wide range of both productspecific and more generic training is available from manufacturers, training providers such as City & Guilds, and security industry organisations. It is also worth consulting guidance on the subject published by the British Security Industry Association. IP INTEGRATION When it comes to the more advanced systems, arguably the most important skill-set is now the ability to work with IP technologies, to link together systems such as access control, door entry panels, CCTV, burglar or fire alarms and lighting. This can also add capabilities to functions such as access control and door entry. Technology provider Urmet has developed a call forwarding system, Call2U, that allows individuals to answer calls from the door entry phone via a touchscreen inside the property, and even to open doors and gates remotely. “You can answer the door even if you’re not there, you can take a snapshot of the person who’s there, or they can leave a video message,” says Manji Gami, managing director at Urmet. “If you have other IP cameras on the system you can link to them and scroll around to see if there is anyone else at the door.” The fact that the technologies are largely wireless can also simplify installation and maintenance. A growing number of contractors

‘When the door entry monitor is not being a door entry monitor it’s just another touchscreen sitting on the wall, begging to be used for home automation’ are also benefiting from having developed the capability to integrate IP-based security systems with other home automation or building management systems. The ability to work with the latter type of technologies may also allow you to steal a march on many of your direct competitors: at present only 12 per cent of people in the trade describe themselves as “very confident” about offering customers advice about smart security products, according to the results of a recent survey by Electrical Direct. IP technology has made integration with such technologies more straightforward, allowing integrated control of functions such as lighting, heating and ventilation and even control of some gadgets in the home, alongside security functions. Urmet uses a modular

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technology called Yokis that allows installers to put together multiple smart home features operated from a single system. “When the door entry monitor is not being a door entry monitor it’s just another touchscreen sitting on the wall, begging to be used for home automation,” says Gami. “If you can fit everything onto the one touchscreen – switch your lights on, get your heating and ventilation working too – then why not? There’s nothing so complicated about these systems that would mean you had to bring in a specialist – it’s all within the control of the contractor.” Lighting control can also act as another security technology, by offering the option to turn lights on and off automatically, as if someone were at home. SECURE THINKING After being employed by security technology companies, James Perkins set up his own security equipment installation company, Q-Tec, and often worked closely with electrician John Leonard, a subcontractor for his former employer. Eventually, after several years of subcontracting each other, they decided that it made sense to amalgamate their companies. Their new company, Q-Tec Solutions, was formed in 2009. It now has 10 employees, carries out electrical work of all kinds, and installs access control, door entry, intercom, CCTV, alarms and security lighting systems for clients in London and south-east England. Perkins says that in some months 70 per cent of the firm’s work is security-

based and only 30 per cent electrical work, but in other months the ratio is reversed. Although the firm has some domestic clients, most of its work is for commercial clients, on projects such as office installations. In some cases access control, door entry and CCTV are installed as a fully integrated, IP-based system, enabling straightforward remote monitoring of properties. “As the systems get more advanced, they’re generally getting easier to install,” says Perkins. He believes IP-based systems will dominate the market in the future. Meanwhile, the growing capabilities of such technologies to offer security functions at low prices is also driving more competition and innovation in the market, which he thinks can only be good news for contractors. “The equipment is getting better, and the marketplace is becoming very aggressive, with more companies coming into the market, so prices are dropping,” he says. So, if you’re not working with any security technologies at all, this may be an area worth investigating. What does seem clear is that the link with the IPbased home/building automation technologies means this is likely to be a valuable source of work for a growing number of contractors in future.

Case study: Bocking Electrical Bocking Electrical, based in Braintree in Essex, was founded four years ago by Brian Kelly and Gary Worthington, who each have more than 35 years’ experience working in the electrical industry. Installing security equipment is something the company has offered from day one, but it is usually completed as part of a broader packaged service, such as when the company is doing all the electrical contracting on small-scale housing developments. Kelly thinks that the ability to be able to install security systems alongside other electrical work seems to have become increasingly important over the years “because more people are looking for more secure living environments”. Technologies that Bocking installs include Urmet’s Call2You systems. Kelly says he was impressed recently when he was working on a site in north Essex and the client was able to open an electric gate on the property with an app on his smartphone – while on holiday in Malta. Installing systems that can also control heating and ventilation is attractive to clients: Kelly cites one who owns a holiday cottage in Devon and is delighted to be able to use the app-based system to turn the heating on more than a day before he arrives, because the small stone cottage usually takes that long to warm up.

David Adams is a freelance business journalist

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22/09/2017 11:12


Tools for success

Every electrical contractor will rely on efficient tools to get the job done, and power tools are a vital part of their equipment BY ROB SHEPHERD

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n the 17th century, the English historian Thomas Fuller wrote that there was “no good workman without good tools” – a statement as true today as it was back then. Readers will therefore have great sympathy for Andrew Bickel, who earlier this year was fixing a faulty light at the Catwel cat rehousing charity shop in Cardiff. After going to his van for a couple of minutes, he returned to discover that the lady in the shop had sold £200 worth of his tools for just £1. Clearly, not everyone understands the real value of this type of equipment. As the economic recovery has taken hold, demand is growing for power tools, and cordless variants have become much more common in recent years. “Today it is very much 60:40 in favour of cordless machines,” says Kevin Brannigan, marketing manager at Makita UK. “At the heavier end of the spectrum, a mains power source is essentially required, although increased battery capacities and current developments in brushless motor technology indicate that cordless is the future for tools.”

CUT THE CORD The growth of cordless devices is down to two key elements. Innovation and design development has accelerated, offering machines that have become ever more compact and lighter, but deliver levels of power previously only obtained from AC motors and mains power. Batteries have also advanced dramatically, with lithium-ion bringing fast charging, extended run-times and battery longevity. “6.0Ah batteries charge in just 38 minutes, giving electricians with two batteries in their kit an almost permanent power supply,” explains Simon Miller, brand and product manager for Hitachi Power Tools. “These batteries have a long life, with up to 1,500 charge cycles expected and, just as importantly, these batteries are lightweight too, reducing fatigue on any high-volume drilling work electrical contractors may face.” In addition to the introduction


of 6.0Ah batteries, manufacturers are developing extremely efficient electric motors to increase the performance of their products. “As an example, the Makita DTD170 impact driver, powered by the 18v brushless motor, generates 175Nm of torque,” says Brannigan. “To put this in context, you need just 70Nm of torque to tighten the wheel nut on a Ford Transit van correctly.” With more choice than ever before, many contractors make their existing brand their default option when it comes to upgrading, or at least buy a model that is compatible with any existing tools. There can be good reasons for this, says Eric Streuli, UK training manager for Bosch Power Tools. “Tool compatibility will make life less complicated and allow the user to economise on the number of different batteries and accessories needed,” he says. “Also, don’t skimp on safety features and remember that the purchase price is only part of a tool’s lifetime cost.” The same logic applies to accessories, says Chris Bull, managing director of Fein. “As the accessory is the only item that comes into contact with the tool, selecting the

‘The biggest safety issue in hand tools today is poor-quality, dangerous tool products flooding the market from the East’

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correct device for a particular task is vitally important,” he points out. “It will not only improve the quality of work but will mean that the accessory will last longer than any wrong or inferior product. Also, it will ensure that wear and tear on both the power tool and the operator will be reduced.” Anyone who thinks that the issue of health and safety at work is overplayed should consider the fact that in the 12 months to April 2017 there were 137 people killed at work, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), and the construction sector is one where no-one can afford to take any chances.

There are a number of safety issues to consider around power tools, says Streuli. “The three I would highlight are vibration, kickback and dust,” he says. “Hand-arm vibration syndrome is a form of nerve damage that develops gradually and initially goes unnoticed. “Kickback is what happens when a drill bit, grinding disc or saw blade is suddenly stopped by something unexpectedly resistant in the material on which the tool is working. Rotation is immediately transferred to the tool itself, resulting in twisted, torn and broken arms or redirection of the cutting edge on to the user. “Last, but certainly not least, the HSE estimates that around 12,000 people die each year from respiratory diseases caused by the working conditions they faced at some time earlier in their life.’ TAKING PRECAUTIONS To minimise the risk of hand-arm vibration syndrome, it is advisable to use tools with vibration control or damping. These will extend the safe daily period for using the tool, as well as making operation more comfortable and reducing fatigue.

Kickback injuries can be avoided by choosing tools with advanced control systems that detect sudden movements and immediately shut down the power. To combat respiratory illness, dust should ideally be extracted close to its point of generation – this is usually achieved by placing a vacuum cleaner hose next to the cutting or drilling point. Tools also need to be looked after in order to help ensure longevity. Put simply, a well-maintained tool will perform better and more safely, and will last longer. “No tool will last forever, but regular maintenance will extend its working life,” adds Bull. “For example, when it comes to power tools, simple procedures such as blowing out the air vents to stop the build-up of dust are well worth doing.” Health and safety concerns aren’t just restricted to power tools, and those using hand tools need to pay just as much attention to the issue. “The biggest safety issue in hand tools today is poor-quality, dangerous tool products flooding the market from the East,” suggests Peter Wabel, category manager for hand tools at Hultafors. “I have witnessed hammers where the head has become detached from the steel shaft – you can imagine the potential consequences – and, likewise, knives where the blade has detached from the handle, and chisel handles that have shattered in use. The list is endless.” Rob Shepherd is a freelance journalist specialising in the electrical industry

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What started out as a joke between two apprentices led to the creation of Nottingham-based Luro Electrical, which has enjoyed rapid growth since it was set up in 2011


ottingham firm Luro Electrical was only set up in 2011, but its roots can be traced back almost 20 years, when company founders Ross Cheeseman and Luke Delrosso met at primary school. The pair took on apprenticeships in the local area – after Ross had a brief stint in accountancy – and eventually ended up working for the same business. “We’d always said we should set up our own business and would joke about it while we were doing our apprenticeships, but eventually we thought we’d go for it,” recalls Ross, now 29. Luke’s father ran a local kitchen-fitting firm and helped spread the word, and the business started off taking on domestic jobs in and around the local area. It didn’t take long, though, before the focus shifted to larger, commercial contracts. “We didn’t try to do that – it just found us,” says Ross. “But once we had a taste of it we realised it was where we wanted to go, and we started to become a more professional company.” The company’s big break was when local building firm CLC Contractors approached them to work on a job for housing association Housing 21. “It was 12 or 13 weeks of work,” recalls Ross. “We couldn’t believe it because we were used to getting a few hundred pounds here and there. It escalated from there; we took on another electrician and we ended up turning over £200,000 in our first year.” The work with CLC led to other contracts with local builders, and from there the pair targeted

Co-founders of Luro Electrical Ross Cheeseman (left) and Luke Delrosso

CURRENT ACTIVITY Today the business has four main areas of work, part of a deliberate strategy to remain diverse and protect against a downturn in any one sector. In addition to continuing to work with local builders on domestic projects and the newbuild contracts, it is also branching into refurbishment work, where it has already picked up a number of highprofile clients. “We’re doing a lot of work for the Ministry of Defence, Premier Inn and Center Parcs – we’ve just won a project at Sherwood Forest holiday village which is worth £100,000,” says Ross. “It’s not the biggest project we’ve done but it’s an eight-year


newbuild developers, taking on projects for Strata Homes, among others. This is now one of the main focuses for Luro (the name derives from the first letters of Luke and Ross); it currently has around 400 plots on various sites, including one for Strata with 220 homes. “There are so many houses being built around here at the moment,” he says. “Although it’s really tight margins, it offers good continuity of work; some of the projects are three years long.”

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project, doing light refurbishment on the lodges, so changing some of the smoke alarms, upgrading the lighting to LED, and installing USB sockets and media hubs for home automation.” This kind of work is increasingly taking the business further afield; it has taken on work in Birmingham and Sheffield, as well as its Midlands heartland, and has built up specialities in areas including LED lighting, home automation and both fire and intruder alarms. “We’ve just done a big job at Mowbray Court for Housing 21 near Melton Mowbray, where we wired a new call system,” he adds. “It’s a sheltered complex with about 40 flats. It had a brand new addressable fire alarm installed and all new LED lighting with automatic dimming. “That was a good project for us; it was a sixmonth project worth about £150,000 by the time it was done. They’re the kind of jobs we want, and since then we have done three or four more LED lighting upgrades for the same client because the energy savings are massive.” Clients can often see a return on investment on a £20,000 project within two years, he adds. A final area is testing and producing condition

Company Luro Electrical Established 2011 Major projects Strata Homes, Ministry of Defence, Premier Inn, Center Parcs, Housing 21, Connells

reports, which can see it take on work all over the country, often on behalf of large estate agents, including Connells, for which it now does all condition reporting and repairs. “Last year we did in excess of 700 condition reports, so it’s a fair chunk of our business and there are obviously remedial works that can come from that too,” says Ross. “We’ve been approached by housing associations to carry out condition reports too.” The business has a full-time employee dedicated to ensuring the certification is completed correctly, he adds, while the use of NICEIC’s certification software has made it more efficient to issue electronic certificates as a service to clients. “It’s been a godsend for us,” he says. “We were getting so many test sheets coming in and would be typing them in at 11pm, but now the guys can put them on the software themselves and the

‘We don’t tend to reflect on the fact that we built it from two men in a van to a £2 million-turnover company’ 33 AU T U MN 2 017

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qualified supervisors can review them before they are finalised. It’s much more efficient and it looks a lot better having the guys on the iPads.” RAPID PROGRESS The company has grown rapidly since it was first set up, including by 40 per cent in each of the last three years. Last year it turned over £1.6 million, and is forecasting £2.2 million in the current year. It currently employs 16 people, including its two founders, five apprentices and a recently appointed office manager, and also uses a further eight regular subcontractors. Apprentices are a focal point for the business, a means of developing its own talent. “They’re invaluable to us,” says Ross. “We try and leave them with one electrician for at least six months so they learn from them, and it’s got to the point now where the electricians are all fighting over them. There is a skills shortage out there and trying to find electricians who are up to scratch and knowledgeable is difficult, so we feel apprentices are the right way to go.” Luro Electrical took on its own premises in 2014, renting an industrial unit and office space in Linby, just a mile from where Ross lives. “Before that we were working from a spare bedroom in my house,” he says. “All the materials were stored in my garage so there would be four or five vans ticking over outside at 6am.” The current premises have the potential to cope with future expansion, he adds, and have also helped to create a better work/life balance. In the longer term, a second office could be a possibility in the south of England, he suggests. Although the business has grown quickly, it is entirely through organic growth, says Ross, and the two founders have always maintained a tight focus on cash. “When we first started, we were really tight with our money, and didn’t take a wage for three or four months, and to this day we still take a lot less than the other guys because it generates a bit of cash flow,” he says. “We have some really good contractors who pay on time all the time and that’s been a massive help for us. We also use independent suppliers, which has really helped because we’ve been able to agree 60- or even 90-day payment terms in some instances, which has helped us take on bigger jobs. We’re in a position now where we could comfortably take on a £1 million job.” BRANCHING OUT Both Ross and Luke came off the tools a couple of years ago – Ross to focus more on growing the business, and Luke on project management and

Luke and Ross currently employ 16 people, including five apprentices



running jobs on-site. The time is approaching, however, when more support will be needed in running contracts. “We’re at the stage now where we need to recruit a project manager, because at the moment all projects are overseen by myself or Luke, and we need to keep the focus on growing the business,” says Ross. This involves setting up a mechanical division to complement the electrical offering and enable it to compete for larger projects. “It’s a scary thought for us but to win the kind of projects we want to that’s the way we need to go,” he says. “We want to retain our existing customers, but now we have some big names behind us it’s allowing us to get our foot in the door with a lot of other companies. I always say that while you’re busy you need to get busier, because if it gets to the stage where you get wrapped up in running the business things can easily drop off. We’ve got the momentum at the minute.” Winning an East Midlands Chamber Business Award in September has also boosted the firm’s profile, he says. Despite the company’s rapid growth, however, Ross refuses to get carried away. “We don’t tend to reflect on the fact that we built it from two men in a van to a £2 million-turnover company, and I think that’s part of our success,” he says. “We’re quite hard on ourselves, and we’re always trying to do better. But we love coming in every day, and it’s still a buzz for us every time we win a project. We get a lot of job satisfaction.” Nick Martindale is editor of Connections. Could your business feature in our contractor profile slot? Email contractorprofile@redactive.co.uk

The size of job Luro now believes it could take on 32-34 Contractor profile.indd 34

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Your industry-leading reference guide to technical information 38

Ask the experts Answers to some of the more frequently asked questions put to our Technical Helpline


Safe isolation – A fundamental safety requirement It is essential that persons carrying out electrical installation work or electrical maintenance have a sound knowledge of safe isolation procedures


Replacing a customer unit in a domestic premises Reminding contractors of the factors that should be taken into consideration as a part of a consumer unit replacement


Apprentice Corner Focusing particularly on impedance and how it affects the voltage-drop on the supply cables when electrical loads having a poor power factor are connected


Circuit-breakers Explaining the meaning of the numbering and lettering used on low-voltage circuit-breakers. By understanding the marking, the correct protective device can be selected for the particular application and environmental conditions


Selectivity between overcurrent devices Investigating selectivity between fuses and between protective devices of diffent types, including a worked example of a selectivity assessment


Snags & Solutions A practical guide to everyday electrical problems

THE NICEIC AND ELECSA PUBLISHING TEAM Tim Benstead principal technical author Jonathan Elliott senior technical author Terry Bratley technical author Derek Cooney technical author Chris Long technical engineer Mike Burling senior engineer Alex Whitworth technical illustrator

HELPLINE John O’Neill technical engineering manager Sam Donaghy technical helpline engineer Stuart McHugh technical helpline engineer Duncan McFarlane technical helpline engineer Norman Bradshaw technical helpline engineer Mark Cooper technical helpline engineer Richard Atkins technical standards engineer Mark Barnes-Rider technical helpline engineer Craig Kemp technical helpline engineer Craig Cunningham technical helpline engineer

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Ask the experts


Are there any special requirements for electrical installations associated with hot tubs? ANS WE R

We continue with our series of answers to some of the more frequently asked questions put to our Technical Helpline Q UE STIO N

A single incoming PME supply is provided to a building which has been converted into a block of flats. Do I need to bond the extraneousconductive-parts within each flat? A N SW E R

In a lighting circuit that has no circuit protective conductor is it necessary to provide a protective conductor at the metal back box to earth the metal screws?


No. Whilst the metal screws securing a plastic switchplate to a metal back box are exposed-conductive-parts as defined in Part Two of BS 7671, Regulation 410.3.9 states that provision of fault protection; such as protective earthing where the protective measure of automatic disconnection of supply is employed; may be omitted for ‘exposed-conductive-parts’ which, owing to their reduced dimensions (approximate maximum of 50 mm x 50 mm) or their disposition, cannot be gripped or come into significant contact with a part of the human body and provided that connection with a protective conductor could only be made with difficulty or would be unreliable. A note to this regulation cites screws and other fixings amongst the examples of where this exemption applies.


Yes. Although the supplies from the intake position to the individual flats will have a separate neutral and earth, main equipotential bonding between metallic services, extraneous metalwork and the earth terminal should be carried out in accordance with BS 7671 to ensure that no harmful potential differences appear between exposed-conductiveparts and extraneousconductive-parts within the customer’s premises under fault conditions. Because a PME earth terminal has been provided at the intake position, the bonding in the individual flats will have to meet the requirements of BS 7671 for where PME conditions apply; that is, the main protective bonding conductors will be sized in relation to the neutral of the supply to the building and not that of the neutral entering the flat. This sizing requirement would apply to either a separate protective bonding conductor or to the earthing conductor connected to the earthing terminal of the flat if it was also being used as the main protective bonding conductor.

Do you have a technical query? Call our helpline on 0333 015 6628

Hot tubs are not included in any special location, such as swimming pools or rooms containing a bath or shower. As such, as with any installation, the general rules of BS 7671 must be applied when they are installed. However, if a hot tub is installed in what is recognisably a location containing a bath and/or shower, the relevant requirements of Section 701 should be applied. Similarly, if the hot tub is installed in what is recognisably a location containing a swimming pool, any applicable requirements of Section 702 should be also applied. As ever, the recommendations of the manufacturer should also be taken into consideration. QU E S T I ON

Is it permissible to have a consumer unit in a room containing a bath or shower if it is in a cupboard in the room? ANS WE R

Yes. Regulation 701.32.1 states that doors and fixed partitions can limit the extent of the location and its zones. This would include the walls and doors of a cupboard within the location. Where a consumer unit is installed in a cupboard or other confined space, an assessment should be made to determine that there is ventilation sufficient to prevent a build-up of heat or humidity likely to cause a detrimental influence on the consumer unit or installed protective devices. Whilst there may be occasions where it is unavoidable to install a consumer unit in such a location, NICEIC recommends that the consumer unit is not installed within a room containing the bath/shower where an alternate siting location is available.

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Is it necessary to determine the prospective fault current in an electrical installation in domestic premises? A N SW E R

Regulation 434.1 states that the prospective fault current should be determined at every relevant point of the installation by calculation, measurement or enquiry. However, it is not necessary to measure or calculate prospective fault current in domestic or similar premises, either at the origin or final circuits, where all the following conditions are met: • a consumer unit to BS EN 61439-3 (Annex ZB) is used, • only protective devices and other equipment that has been covered by the certification of the organisation responsible for the original design and verification of the assembly are installed within the consumer unit,

• the maximum prospective fault current at the origin of the supply declared by the Distribution Network Operator is 16 kA, and • a type II fuse to BS 88-3 (or, in older installations, a BS 1361) of rating not exceeding 100 A is installed in the service cut-out. Where all the conditions above are met, the arrangement is considered to be adequate for up to 16 kA regardless of the actual rating of the protective devices and other equipment within the consumer unit assembly. This is sometimes referred to as a conditional rating.


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Safe isolation – A fundamental safety requirement O B JE C TIVE

increases the penalties and sentences that may be imposed by the courts on persons or organisations who are prosecuted under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and subordinate legislation such as the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. Furthermore, on February 1st 2016, new sentencing guidelines were published in respect of health and safety offences committed in England and Wales1. It is clear from the size of recent fines given out by the courts that these are being applied. For example, on October 21st 2016 an environmental services company was given a total nominal fine of £10 000 with £1 000 in costs for breaching Sections 2(1) and 3(1)2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 following the electrocution of an employee who cut into a live electric cable during asbestos removal work. The subsequent investigation into the incident conducted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company in question had not taken adequate steps to ensure that the electrical supply at the premises had been isolated before the work started3. Specific sentencing guidelines for Scotland are being developed and although the guidelines for England and Wales do not apply to offences in Scotland they do appear to be being referred to in sentencing north of the border.

It is essential that persons carrying out electrical installation work or electrical maintenance have a sound knowledge of safe isolation procedures. Persons carrying out isolation procedures must also have the necessary equipment and practical skills to perform these procedures safely. Unfortunately, and as is demonstrated by recent prosecutions, there are still a significant number of failures to perform safe isolation procedures prior to work being carried out. Sentencing guidelines for health and safety offences committed in England and Wales were amended recently, encouraging harsher sentencing penalties. Prosecutions

GUIDE TO ISOLATION PROCEDURE Notes (also see notes overleaf) Step 1

Step 2

(1) This guide gives information on safe working procedures for the isolation of the supply of electrical energy to electrical equipment. (2) The example illustrated shows the minimum steps required to isolate the final circuits supplied by a single-phase consumer unit. The consumer unit includes an isolator and circuit-breakers.


(3) When circuits are protected by fuses enclosed in a distribution board, remote isolation of the supply to the distribution board may be required. (4) HSG85 Electricity at work safe working practices gives detailed guidance on devising safe working practices for people who carry out work on or near electrical equipment.

Step 1 Check it is safe and acceptable (with the occupier/user) to isolate. If the isolator is an off-load device, remove the load. Open the means of isolation for the circuit(s) to be isolated and secure the isolating device in the open position with a lock or other suitable means.

(5) Guidance on voltage detection instruments is given in HSE Guidance Note GS 38 – Electrical test equipment for use by electricians.

Step 2


Prove the correct operation of a suitable voltage detection instrument, see note (5), against a known voltage source, such as that illustrated. Steps 3 and 4 are shown overleaf

www.niceic.com Amd 1: 2011

For further copies of this guide telephone 0870 0130382 or e-mail customerservice@niceic.com © Pocket Guide 5 rev 3 01/12


On March 7th 2012, an electrical contracting company and its Managing Director were prosecuted at Westminster Magistrates’ Court as a result of a number of failings in safety practices. The failures resulted in an employee of the company receiving an electric shock from a junction box that had not been isolated prior to work being carried out. As a result of the incident, the man who was seriously burned was hospitalised in an induced coma and subsequently suffered memory loss. The company director was fined £1 000 and ordered to pay £1 000 in costs for breaching Regulation 14 (Work on or near live conductors) of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. The company itself was fined £1 500 and ordered to pay costs of £1 000 for breaching Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005. On January 16th 2009, the Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008 came into force. This Act


Step 3

Prove the voltage detection instrument again against the known source to check that it was functioning correctly when the circuit(s) were tested for the presence of voltage.

(steps 1 and 2 are shown overleaf)

Using a voltage detection instrument, check that there is no dangerous voltage present on any circuit conductor to be worked on. It is important to confirm that conductors are not energized, for example, due to a wiring fault. Check terminal voltages between: (1) earth and line, (2) neutral and line (as shown) and (3) earth and neutral. Notes: a. In practice the equipment being worked on is likely to be remote from the consumer unit, for example, a socket-outlet located remotely from the means of isolation. In this case it is necessary to check that all the socket-outlet contact terminals are dead. b. When checking for a voltage between an earth terminal and live (including neutral) terminals, the test probe should make contact with the earth terminal first, to reduce the risk of the remaining probe becoming live.


Step 4

Step 3

NOTES (also see notes overleaf) (6) The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 require precautions to be taken against the risk of death or personal injury from electricity in work activities. Regulation 12 requires that, where necessary to prevent danger: a suitable means is available for cutting off the supply of electrical energy to any electrical equipment, and isolation of any electrical equipment. (7) The Health and Safety Executive booklet HSR25 - Memorandum of guidance on the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 is © Pocket Guide 5 rev 3 01/12 intended to help duty holders meet the requirements of the Regulations.

ESF Best Practice Guide 2 and NICEIC/ELECSA Pocket Guide 5

Guidance on safe isolation A quick guide to safe isolation procedure is given in NICEIC/ELECSA Pocket Guide 5, which is available free of charge to NICEIC/ELECSA Approved Contractors and Domestic Installers via the secure area of the NICEIC website. More detailed guidance on safe isolation procedure is given in Best Practice Guide No 2 – Guidance on the

40 AUTUMN 2017

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management of electrical safety and safe isolation procedures for low voltage installations, produced by Electrical Safety First in association with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and a number of other leading industry bodies including NICEIC and ELECSA. This can be downloaded free-of-charge at: www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk

Check terminal voltages between: (i) earth and line(s) (ii) neutral and line(s) (as shown) and (iii) earth and neutral.

1 www.sentencingcouncil. org.uk

The minimum required steps for safe isolation are given below, based on NICEIC Pocket Guide 5.

Step 1 Check with the occupier/user that it is safe and acceptable to isolate. If the isolator is an off load device, switch off the load. Open the means of isolation for the circuit(s) to be isolated and secure it in the open position with a lock or other suitable means.

Step 2

2 Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 states: It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees. Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 states: It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.

Step 4 Prove the voltage detection instrument again against the known source, to check that it was functioning correctly when the circuit(s) was tested for the presence of voltage. Notes 1. In practice, the equipment being worked on is likely to be remote from the consumer unit, such as a socket-outlet located remotely from the means of isolation. In this case it is necessary to check that all the socket-outlet contact terminals are dead. 2. When checking for a voltage between an earth terminal and live terminals (including neutral), the test probe should make contact with the earth terminal first, to reduce the risk of the remaining probe becoming live. 3. When isolating the main source of energy, it is also essential to isolate any secondary sources of energy (such as microgeneration).

3 http://press.hse.gov. uk/2016/environmentalservices-firm-fined-overelectrocution-of-worker

Prove the correct operation of a suitable voltage detection instrument against a known voltage source, such as that illustrated. Guidance on voltage detection instruments is given in HSE Guidance Note GS 38 – Electrical test equipment for use by electricians.

How can we help? A DVD explaining the safe isolation procedure and a range of products for use when carrying out safe isolation are available for sale from www.shop.niceic.com NICEIC/ELECSA offer training relating to safe isolation at their training centres and now also offer an online training module. For further details visit: www.niceic.com/training/introduction

Step 3 Using the voltage detection instrument, check that there is no dangerous voltage present on any circuit conductor to be worked on. It is important to confirm that conductors are not energised, due, for example, to a wiring fault.

Fig 1 Guidance on safe isolation

Step 1

Step 4

Step 2









Step 3

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Replacing a consumer unit in a domestic premises O B JE C TIVE

This article is written to remind contractors of the factors that should be taken into consideration as a part of a consumer unit replacement. The replacement of a consumer unit may not always be as straightforward as first envisaged. For example, the new unit may not fit in the existing position, protective earthing or bonding conductors may be damaged or missing, or the existing circuits may contain defects which might prevent them from being reconnected. Furthermore, addressing some circuit defects may prove time-consuming and disruptive. In view of this, before a consumer unit replacement is undertaken, it is essential that the

condition of the existing installation is properly assessed; taking account of the installation records that are available and a procedure for the works is agreed with the person ordering the work (client). Where the replacement is an emergency (a distress change); for example, because damage to the unit has resulted in exposing live parts, there may not be sufficient time to fully assess the condition of the existing installation. In such circumstances, the client should be made aware that if circuit defects are identified they will have to be addressed to permit reconnection of the affected circuit(s).

Assessing the condition of the existing installation As required by Regulation 132.16, the adequacy of earthing and bonding arrangements and the rating and condition of equipment, including that of the distributor should be confirmed. The protective bonding conductors of an installation designed to an earlier edition of BS 7671 may not necessarily need to be upgraded, but where an installation forms part of a TN-C-S (PME) earthing system, the protective bonding conductors should satisfy the minimum requirements of Table 54.8 (Regulation 544.1.1 refers). Whilst it may not be necessary for the complete installation to be tested before proceeding with the work, it is in the contractor’s own interest that some inspection and testing, such as insulation resistance testing to earth, should be undertaken prior to the work to verify the safety of the existing circuits. In particular, it should be confirmed that any items identified as a safety issue on the previous periodic/condition report, coded as C1 or C2 or FI, have been satisfactorily addressed. The age and types of connected loads should also be considered. The client should be made aware that in some situations the circuit may be satisfactory to reconnect but the load connected

Fig 1 Consumer unit replacement

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to it may not. For example, if the insulation resistance of an older appliance, such as a cooker, has over time significantly decreased, then it may cause unwanted tripping of an RCD/ RCBO when reconnected. Consequently, whilst the final circuit may be satisfactory to reconnect to the new unit the item of equipment is not. Where no electrical records are available for the installation, the client should be advised to have a periodic inspection carried out before proceeding with the consumer unit replacement.

Fig 2 Isolation and protection of the supply to a consumer unit

Remote consumer unit

SWA cable (distribution circuit)

Isolation and protection of the meter tails


Typically, the Distribution Network Operator’s (DNO’s) sealed cut-out fuse is used as the means of isolation for the meter tails in a domestic installation (Regulation 537.1.3 refers). Therefore, in advance of the work starting, arrangements will need to be made for the DNO to withdraw their fuse so work can commence, and to reinstate and reseal the fuse once the work is completed. In no circumstances should the contractor withdraw the DNO’s fuse unless prior authorisation has been obtained. Additionally, the client should also be made aware of the benefits of installing a double-pole isolator in the meter tails so that the new unit can, in the future, be conveniently and safely isolated without affecting the DNO’s fuse. Depending on the length of the meter tails, fault protection may also be required. Where the DNO’s cut-out fuse provides overcurrent protection for the existing meter tails, this is subject to the conditions imposed by the distributor. In particular, the length of meter tails is generally restricted to a maximum length of not more than 3 metres; where necessary confirmation should be obtained from the local DNO. Where the existing meter tails need to be extended or replaced with longer cables, due to the new unit being located in a different position, the DNO’s fuse should not be relied upon to provide overcurrent protection (Regulations 433.3.1 and 434.2.1 refer). In such circumstances, a distribution circuit should be installed as shown in Fig 2, and protection provided by an appropriately rated fuse or circuit-breaker or a device that combines the functions of isolation and protection, such as a fused isolator. However, the installation of an RCD to provide additional protection against shock should be avoided, as its operation is likely to cause disruption and inconvenience. Note: In some circumstances temporary supplies may be required to ensure the safety of persons within the premises or to minimise any power disruption for those who work from home. If the meter tails are concealed in a wall or

Electricity distributor’s cut-out fuse


Meter tails

partition then the requirements for protection against impact must be satisfied (Regulation 522.6.202 refers). However, an RCD used to provide additional protection against shock is required to have a residual operating current of not more than 30 mA, which means that discrimination cannot be achieved between this RCD and any downstream RCD housed within the consumer unit. Because of this, the cables used to supply the unit should be installed in such a manner that avoids the need for RCD protection. As shown in Fig 2, a cable that provides suitable protection, such as a steel-wire armoured cable, should be used. Note: Where the position of the unit is altered, the existing circuits may also require extending. Where this is the case, the relevant requirements of BS 7671 must be satisfied, in particular those of Section 526 relating to Electrical connections and Section 514 for Identification and notices.

Consumer unit The replacement unit must satisfy the requirements of Regulation 421.1.201. In addition to complying with BS EN 61439-3, as amended, the new unit and any associated switchgear should be either made from a non-combustible material, such as steel, or be enclosed within a non-combustible cabinet or enclosure. Where a metal-clad consumer unit is installed in an installation forming part of a TT system, an earth fault occurring between the incoming line conductor of the meter tails and the metallic enclosure, as shown in Fig 3, is unlikely to disconnect the fuse protecting the tails, 43 AU T U MN 2 017

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Fig 3 Risk of electric shock posed by metal enclosure on a TT system

Distributor’s meter


Distributor’s cut-out

Class I enclosure

as is usually the case, the circuits should be reconnected to minimise the risk of inconvenience (Regulation 314.1 refers). For such purposes, the power and lighting circuits should be spread across the two RCDs so that the operation of one of these devices does not result in loss of all the lighting and all the power on one floor.

To other installation metalwork




Main Earthing Terminal

Circuit protective conductors and main bonding conductors

Earthing conductor Installation earth electrode

due to the high impedance of the earth fault loop path and, as a result, persons may be at risk of electric shock. The installation of a second RCD closer to the intake position may be one option; however, such an action would lead to a selectivity issue (unless an S-type (time delayed) RCD was used) whilst still leaving part of the tails unprotected (between the intake of the RCD and the meter). Therefore, care should be taken with the installation of the meter tails between the meter and the consumer unit, and with the entry of the tails into the consumer unit. To minimise the risk of damage, the insulated and sheathed cables should be kept as short as possible and, where necessary, provided with additional means of mechanical protection. One method of limiting the risk of damage to the sheath where it enters the consumer unit might be to install some form of gland. Readers are reminded of the requirements of Regulation 521.5.1 regarding electromagnetic effects in ferromagnetic enclosures. For an existing installation there is no requirement for the mounting height of the unit to comply with Part M of the Building Regulations. However, where the position of the unit is intended to be moved to a different height/ location, compliance with Part M is advised, wherever possible. Approved Document M1 recommends switches housed in the unit are between 1350 mm and 1450 mm above the floor level. Where the unit installed is a dual RCD type

The replacement of a unit constitutes a major alteration to an installation, so irrespective of whether a periodic inspection and test is carried out prior to, or as part of such a replacement, on completion of the alteration an Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC) including the schedules of inspections and tests must be issued to the person ordering the work, to confirm the work satisfies the relevant requirements of BS 7671. The extent of the work carried out must be recorded clearly on the certificate. Where the installation comprises more than one unit, the units should be uniquely identified to avoid any ambiguity, and any defects that have been identified within the existing installation should also be recorded (Regulation 633.2 refers). The replacement of a unit in a dwelling in England and Wales is notifiable work, so in accordance with Part P of the Building Regulations such work must be certificated for compliance with the Building Regulations. For further information on this topic, refer to the Best Practice Guide No 1: Replacing a consumer unit in domestic and similar premises, which can be downloaded from: www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk


1 Approved Document M: Access to and use of buildings, M4(2) Services and controls – 2.30 (a) Website: www.gov.uk/ government/publications/ access-to-and-use-ofbuildings-approveddocument-m

As discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that may affect a consumer unit replacement, including: • the condition of the existing installation • the arrangements for withdrawal of the DNO’s fuse • the suitability/length of the existing meter tails • issues of selectivity Therefore, before a consumer unit is replaced, the condition of the existing installation should be determined and a procedure for the work should be agreed with the client. On completion of the work, an Electrical Installation Certificate should be issued and the work must be notified in accordance with Part P of the Building Regulations.

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When a circuit containing only reactance is connected to an AC supply, the effect of the rate of change of supply voltage causes the circuit current to lag or lead the voltage by 900 depending on whether the element is inductive or capacitive. • Impedance: (symbol Z and unit ohms (Ω)) is the total opposition to current flow in a circuit containing both resistance and reactance and can be determined using the equation: Z = √R2 + X2. Impedance is present in the majority of circuits supplied from an AC source. The AC circuit current flowing through an impedance will be out of phase with the supply voltage by between 00 and 900. The circuit power factor can be found using the trig ratio; cosφ = ZR .

Apprentice Corner The focus of Apprentice Corner in this issue of Connections is impedance, and in particular how this affects the voltage-drop on the supply cables when electrical loads having a poor power factor are connected. This will be reinforced through the use of examples. It is worth noting that such considerations will rarely be required in a domestic dwelling where the majority of cable sizes are likely to be less than 16 mm2. When reading this article, it will be useful to be able to reference Appendix 4 of BS 7671.

The relationship between these three terms is shown in the impedance triangle of Fig 1. To enable the design current (Ib) to be found it is important that impedance is determined. The o design current can be found from: Ib = U . Z

Distribution and circuit cables To model cable analysis, each line conductor of the distribution or circuit cable can be thought of as having a resistance R in series with a reactance X as shown in the single-line diagram of Fig 2. Where the distribution or circuit cable conductors exceed 16 mm², which may often be the case in an industrial or commercial setting, the tables for current-carrying capacity and voltage drop found in Appendix 4 of BS 7671 give separate values of mV/A/m for z, r and x.

Impedance v Resistance Resistance is a measure of opposition to current flow. In a steady-state condition the only opposition to current flow in a direct current (DC) circuit is resistance. However, when considering an alternating current (AC) it must be remembered that other effects also need to be considered, such as inductance and capacitance. The effects of inductance and/or capacitance on a circuit are a function of the supply frequency. The term used to describe these effects is ‘reactance’ (either inductive or capacitive).

Resistance, Reactance and Impedance terms

Fig 1 Impedance triangle showing relationship between circuit components and power factor

The terms resistance, reactance and impedance require further consideration. • Resistance: (symbol R and unit ohms (Ω)) is present in all conductors. When alternating current passes through a resistance, a voltage drop is produced that is in-phase with the current. • Reactance: (symbol X and unit ohms (Ω)) is the opposition on circuit elements, most notably in capacitors and inductors, to a change in current or voltage. Reactance is present anywhere magnetic (inductive) or electrostatic (capacitive) fields exist and its value is a function of both the elements’ inductance/capacitance, and the frequency of the supply.



c an




Reactance (X) (X =XL-Xc)



Where cosØ = power factor

Resistance (R ) Xc

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Fig 2 Line diagram showing the component parts of a cable

Source voltage

Load voltage




(Design current)


1 000

Zcable (Ω)



Your company has been asked to design the installation for an induction motor to drive a compressor. It is expected the rating of the motor will be 100 kW having a power factor of 0.8 lagging. It is to be fed from a 3-phase 400 V 50 Hz supply. The length of run of the motor supply cable is 80 m. It is envisaged supplying the motor using a multicore XLPE armoured cable mounted on a perforated cable tray. Protection is afforded by fuses to BS 88-2.

Eqn. 2 Load power factor known; voltage drop =


From Appendix 4 Table 4Ab, the maximum recommended voltage drop should not be greater than 5 % of the nominal supply voltage1. In the example above this would equate to 20 V; assuming 5 V has been dropped in the distribution cable, using equation 1 would have resulted in an oversized cable being installed (5+16=21 V).

Eqn. 1 Load power factor not known; voltage drop =



The purpose of providing individual values of r, x and z in the tables of voltage drop in Appendix 4, is to permit an accurate assessment of voltage-drop to accommodate loads having a large inductive (for example induction motors) or capacitive element. Typically, a load will be inductive in nature. Appendix 4 (clause 6) of BS 7671 recognises that where there is power factor in a circuit, the calculated values will lead to a calculated value of the voltage drop higher than the actual value. Where the power factor of the load is not known, the tabulated (mV/A/m)z values should be used (Eq. 1 refers). However, if the load power factor is known, then using the tabulated (mV/A/m)r and (mV/A/m)x values will provide a more accurate assessment of volt-drop (Eqn. 2 refers). See also Clause 6 of Appendix 4 of BS 7671.

cosφ × (mV/A/m)r + sin φ × (mV/A/m)x

1 000


When carrying out circuit design, using the load power factor will be more accurate and may result in a smaller conductor size.

Example Contractor’s considerations

Consider a 100 kVA three-phase induction motor having a design current of 144 A with a power factor of 0.75 lagging and cable route length of 120 m. From Table 4H4A a 70 mm2 aluminium cable has been selected and from Table 4H4B column 4, the mV/A/m values are; r = 0.90, x = 0.14 and z = 0.92. Assuming no other factors apply, determine the volt-drop in the supply cable. The design current (Ib); =

(100×103) = 144A (√3×400)

(i) If the power factor was not known, equation 1 would be used: 0.92 ×144×120=16 V voltage drop = 1 000 (ii) If the power factor is known, equation 2 would be used: voltage drop =


1 000

×144×120=13.4 V

1 See also Section 525 which gives a number of examples of where the volt-drop limits in Appx 4 may be exceeded.

Whilst this article’s primary focus is the consideration of resistance, reactance and impedance, any designer would have to think about the following: 1. What is the ambient air temperature in the room housing the compressor? • Should a thermal sensing device be installed in the motor? • What insulation class of motor should be chosen? 2. What will be the service duty cycle of the motor (BS EN 60034-1: 2010 refers)? 3. What will be the most appropriate method of isolating, starting, controlling and stopping the motor: star-delta, soft-start or using a variable speed drive (VSD)? 4. What will be the noise level and will it exceed the occupational noise level standard? 5. Is there sufficient air flow in the compressor room to aid motor cooling?

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The answers to the questions below are given on page 63 of this issue along with some additional explanations where necessary.

Area Engineer / Paul McKay How did you become an area engineer? I’m an apprentice-served electrical contractor, having also spent 10 years maintaining and repairing rolling stock for Siemens.

Multiple-choice questions 1. What difference will it make to the current-carrying capacity of the motor supply cable if the perforated cable tray has very few perforated holes? a) None. The tray will act as a large heat sink and therefore aid the heat dissipation b) The reference method will be unaffected due to a XLPE insulated cable being installed c) A cable having a different outer sheath would need to be installed to prevent overheating d) The reference method may change which can result in a reduced cable capacity Questions 2 and 3 relate to Fig 1.

What does your typical day consist of? Office, site and personnel assessment of electrical contractors’ abilities against BS 7671 and associated standards. I’ve conducted over 4,000 such assessments in my 13 years as an AE, in domestic, industrial and commercial properties. Paul McKay, Surrey and West Sussex NICEIC and ELECSA employ 80 field team staff across the country to assess contractors’ work and provide up-to-date technical advice. Here we turn the tables and put them in the spotlight

2. What will be the impedance of a 120 m length of cable that has resistance of 1.9 m/m and a reactance of 0.14 m/m? a) 0.229 Ω b) 0.2448 Ω c) 2.448 Ω d) 0.227 Ω

What are the main issues that contractors might forget or overlook? Lack of verification of existing arrangements, especially earthing and bonding requirements, safe isolation practices and test results for energised circuits. What’s the strangest thing you have come across on an assessment? Failure of the DNO to provide a source earth, giving some very odd test results. What’s the strangest request you have had? To conduct an assessment barefoot within a church on grounds of religion. Unfortunately I had to refuse on health and safety grounds.

3. What will be the phase angle and hence the power factor of the cable? a) Phase angle 85.77°, power factor 0.0737 lagging b) Phase angle 4.2°, power factor 0.0737 leading c) Phase angle 4.2°, power factor 0.997 lagging d) Phase angle 84.64°, power factor 0.997 leading

What interesting jobs have your contractors been involved with? The roof of Canary Wharf, Sky satellite transmissions plants, MI5 and MI6, prisons, 132kV primary substations. What are your interests outside work? Playing darts and keeping fit.

4. Assuming there are no correction factors, what will be the cross-sectional area of the conductors in the motor supply cable and which table of Appendix 4 is to be used? a) 95 mm2; 4J4A b) 70 mm2; 4J4A 2 c) 120 mm ; 4H4A d) 95 mm2; 4H4A

If you could have a superpower, what would it be? Spiderman, so I could access high points without the use of ladders. If you had a day off tomorrow, what would you do? Come into work as, like most of my colleagues, I can’t leave it alone!

5. Considering the power factor is known and using the appropriate formula, what is the voltage drop in the motor supply cable? a) 7.27 V b) 11.58 V c) 9.3 V d) 12.23 V

Favourite book, film and TV programme? Jaws, The Exorcist and Little House on the Prairie.

6. If the ambient temperature was 35 °C, what will be the volt-drop in the motor supply cable? a) 8.98 V b) 6.98 V c) 9.34 V d) 11.74 V

What’s the best bit of advice you have received in your career? Instructions are for the guidance of the wise and the obedience of fools.

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Circuit-breaker markings O B JE C TIVE

The aim of this article is to explain the meaning of the numbering and lettering used on low-voltage circuitbreakers. By understanding the marking, the correct protective device can be selected for the particular application and environmental conditions. Introduction This is the second of two articles whose aim is to describe the meaning of the numbering and lettering manufacturers place on fuses and circuit-breakers. In the first article, the information written onto fuses was discussed with the emphasis being directed at BS 88 fuse types. Fig 1 Typical marking found on circuit-breakers for AC operation

Manufacturer’s name


230/400VEN 60898


x 6000 3




1 BS EN 60898 has two parts. The first part, BS EN 60898-1, covers circuit-breakers for AC operation in household and similar locations. The second part, BS EN 60898-2, covers circuit-breakers for AC and DC operation in household and similar locations. 2 The 0.5 A rating is only available for circuit-breakers having C and D curve characteristics.

This article will focus on decoding the markings on circuit-breakers to BS EN 60898 and BS EN 60947-2. The selectivity and co-ordination between protective devices is outside the scope of this article.

Circuit-breaker markings to BS EN 60898 Clause 6.1 of BS EN 60898-1: 2003 (as amended) gives the complete listing of markings that shall either be found: • placed on each circuit-breaker, either on its front, side or back, or • published in the manufacturer’s documentation. BS EN 608981 devices are for operation at 50 Hz or 60 Hz, having a rated voltage not exceeding 440 V (between phases), and have typical current rating from 0.5 A2 to rated current not exceeding 125 A and a rated shortcircuit capacity not exceeding 25 000 A (Clause 1 of that standard refers). The characteristic curves for BS EN 60898 given in Appendix 3 of BS 7671 include the preferred current ratings starting at 6 A. For characteristic curves for circuit-breakers outside of this range, manufacturer’s data must be consulted. The BS EN 60898 range of circuit-breaker would normally be the final overcurrent protection measure in the electrical system, for example protecting socket-outlet or lighting circuits and other similar applications. The name of the manufacturer or a trade mark by which they may be readily identified must be marked on all circuit-breakers. The rated current (In) is shown without the symbol "A", and is to be preceded by the symbol denoting the instantaneous tripping characteristic (that is Type B, C or D). The device shown in Fig 1 has a rated current of 6 A and the instantaneous tripping characteristic ‘Type B’. The rated current value is always given for an ambient temperature around the device of 30 °C. The voltage indicated shows that it can be used single-phase (line-to-neutral) or three-

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phase, using 3 single-pole circuit-breakers (3-wire or 4-wire). The rated short-circuit capacity along with the energy limiting class number is shown in the rectangles. The short-circuit capacity of this device is 6 000 A, and its energy limiting class is 3. The range of energy limiting class is between 1 and 3, with 3 being the lowest and 1 the highest. From Table ZA.1 of BS EN 60898-1: 2003, the permissible I2t let-through energy for a B6 circuit-breaker having an energy limiting class 3 is 35 000 A2s. The symbol shown in Fig 2 indicates that this circuit-breaker is fitted with a thermal overload and a magnetic short-circuit trip relay. This symbol will also be found on RCBOs to BS EN 61009-1. All circuit-breakers should be capable of making, carrying and breaking currents under normal circuit conditions and also making, carrying for a specified time, and automatically breaking currents under specified abnormal circuit conditions such as those of a short-circuit. The CE marking indicates compliance of a product with the appropriate directives of the European Union (EU) and is marked on the product or its immediate packaging.

Fig 2 Circuit-breaker symbol


voltages release mechanisms for example. The window(s) provide a means for observing their status, such as if they have tripped or an alarm has been activated. The manufacturer’s name or trademark must be clearly visible when mounted in position.


Rated current ( 80 A) The 80 A shown on the switch is the value of current that the circuit-breaker can carry continuously without overheating or operating. In BS 7671, this is given the symbol In. This current value is always given for an ambient temperature around the device of 40 °C. If the temperature is higher, which might be the case when mounted in a distribution board with other loaded circuits or due to ambient conditions; it may be necessary to reduce the operating current.


Rated operational voltage (Ue) The circuit-breaker shows rated operating voltages (Ue) for currents Icu and Ics. This is the voltage(s) at which the circuit-breaker can be used. The value indicated is usually the maximum rms value.

BS EN 60947 series Part 1 of the BS EN 60947 series refers to general rules relating to low-voltage switchgear and control gear; therefore, when completing certificates or reports for example, it is important that the correct BS EN number is used. Part 2 of BS EN 60947 relates to the product standard for circuit-breakers, the main contacts of which are intended to be connected to circuits, the rated voltage of which does not exceed 1 000 V AC or 1 500 V DC (clause 1.1 of that standard refers).

Markings on circuit breaker to BS EN 60947-2

Lockable screw Window Manufacturer’s Name lcu 415 V ~ = 18 kA lcu 240 V ~ = 25 kA lcs 415 V ~ = 18 kA




Ir (x In) o.8

3 o.6

BS EN 60947-2 circuit-breakers are for use by skilled or instructed persons in industrial and commercial settings. An example of such a circuit-breaker is shown in Fig 3. Clause 5.2 of BS EN 60947-2: 2006 (as amended) gives the complete list of data that should accompany each circuit-breaker. The clause stipulates which details should be visible when the circuit-breaker is mounted in its operating position. It is this data which will be discussed. The lockable screw provides access to allow for additional auxiliary contacts to be added either side of the main switch such as: alarms, earth leakage devices, under-voltage or over-

Fig 3 Example of a circuit-breaker to BS EN 60947-2


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Icu – this is the rated ultimate short-circuit breaking capacity at the corresponding rated operational voltage. The circuit-breaker must be able to clear the level of fault-current indicated (18 kA at 415 V) but may not be usable afterwards. Ics – the rated service short-circuit breaking capacity. The circuit-breaker should be able to clear this current and remain serviceable afterwards. In this instance the values shown for Ics are equal to the values given for Icu but this is not always the case. The service short-circuit breaking capacity can either be expressed in kA or as a percentage of I. Should the circuitbreaker be used where the supply voltage is greater than 415 V, the breaking capacity values for Icu and Ics will be significantly reduced. IEC 60947-2 – by writing this on the circuitbreaker, the manufacturer is claiming that there is full compliance with the standard.

switch which indicates physical separation of the switch contacts (Regulations 537.2.2.1 and 537.2.2.2 of BS 7671 refer). The circuit-breaker shown in Fig 3 indicates that it has an adjustable thermal setting which can be varied from 63 % to 100 % in three increments as shown in Fig 5 and is given the symbol Ir. Since there is no adjustment for the magnetic (short-circuit) operation, it can be assumed to be fixed, viewing manufacturer’s data, this circuit-breaker has an instantaneous value of 10In. The push-to-trip button is a mechanical device and is not to be confused with the pushto-trip button found on an RCD.

Summary The details written on the circuit-breaker or forming part of the accompanying documents should contain sufficient information to allow the contractor to make informed decisions as to their suitability for use in a particular application. Circuit-breakers to BS EN 60898 are installed to provide protection against overcurrent, and are designed for use by ordinary persons. Circuit-breakers to BS EN 60947-2 also provide protection against overcurrent and are used in the commercial and industrial sector where they are under the control of skilled persons only. Circuit-breakers to BS EN 60947-2 are available with adjustable thermal and magnetic settings and are capable of having auxiliary contacts fitted.

Fig 4 Circuit-breaker symbol

The vertical line on the symbol in Fig 4 shows that the circuit-breaker is suitable for isolation; marked ON and OFF positions which should show even when circuit-breaker is installed, this is evidenced by the green strip on the

Fig 5 Time/current graph for a circuit-breaker having an adjustable thermal setting 0.63



Note. The tolerance on the thermal adjustment range has been omitted for clarity


Thermal adjustment range






Current xIn

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Selectivity between overcurrent devices O B JE C TIVE

The aim of this article is to investigate selectivity between fuses and between protective devices of different types and includes a worked example of a selectivity assessment. This article follows on from the introduction to selectivity and co-ordination of electrical equipment published in the last issue of Connections which summarised the terminology associated with selectivity and co-ordination and introduced the methodology used when looking at selectivity between various types of overcurrent protective device. You may find it helpful to have the earlier article to hand when reading this one. Selectivity between overcurrent protective devices As was stated in the previous article in this series on co-ordination, in general where overcurrent protective devices are connected in series, only the device which is intended to operate; typically the device closest to the point where the overcurrent occurs should do so. There are situations where it is essential to achieve total selectivity and others where partial selectivity is sufficient or acceptable. The following example demonstrates the application of both total and partial selectivity in a single installation.

Example of selectivity assessment An electrical installation is being designed for a small remote workshop situated at a domestic premises supplied from a consumer unit in the main dwelling. Details of the overcurrent protective devices to be installed are shown in Fig 1.

Desktop study Making use of typical installation design software that references a database of manufacturers’ data on overcurrent protective devices will allow an overlay such as the one shown in Fig 2 to be produced.

Selectivity study between device A (100 A service fuse) and device B (32 A Type B CB) Where a fuse-link is upstream of a circuitbreaker, selectivity in the overload zone will be achieved if the maximum inverse/thermal tripping time-current characteristic of the circuit-breaker does not intersect with the timecurrent characteristics of the fuse-link. For fault currents leading to a disconnection time of less than 0.1 s for fuse-links or instantaneous for a circuit-breaker, the maximum operating I2t1 value of the circuit-breaker is less than the minimum pre-arcing I2t of the fuse-link. With reference to manufacturers’ data: • Pre-arcing for a 100 A BS 1361 Part 2 fuse is 26,900 A2s (26.9 kA2s). • @ 3kA maximum let-through energy for a 32 A Type B circuit-breaker is 11,000 A2s (11 kA2s) (see Table 1).

Fig 1 Workshop project overcurrent device layout

A = 100 A BS 1361 (or BS 88-3) service fuse B = 32 A Type B BS EN 60898 circuit-breaker in the consumer unit in the main dwelling C = 20 A Type B BS EN 60898 circuit-breaker in the consumer unit in the workshop D = 6 A Type B BS EN 60898 circuit-breaker in the consumer unit in the workshop




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Fig 2 Overlay for workshop project (overload zone) Device A 100 A BS 1361 or BS 88-3 service fuse

10000 sec 1 Hour

1000 sec

Device B 32 A Type B BS EN 60898 in the consumer unit in the main dwelling

100 sec 1min

Device C 20 A Type B BS EN 60898 in the consumer unit in the workshop

10s 5 sec

Device D 6 A Type B BS EN 60898 circuit-breaker manufacturers curve

Table 1: Example maximum let-through energy at PSCC for ‘B’ curve BS EN 60898 circuit-breakers (kA2) In

3 kA

6 kA




9 kA 15




21.5 30
















As the energy let-through of the circuit-breaker (11 kA2s) is lower than the pre-arcing of the fuse (26.9 kA2s), this means that selectivity will be achieved for fault currents up to 3 kA. In this study, it can be seen that selectivity would also be achieved for fault currents up to 6 kA. Looking at the overload/low magnitude overcurrent region of the overlay (Fig 2) it can be seen that total selectivity is achieved between the house service fuse and all the circuit-breakers being considered in this project because there is no overlap.

Selectivity between the upstream and downstream circuit-breakers Where circuit-breakers to BS EN 60898

1 I2t is referred to in general terms as: ‘let-through energy’ or ‘energy letthrough’. When expressed in A2s gives the energy dissipated per ohm. I2t is the integral of the square of the current over the operating time of the protective device under fault current conditions. Therefore, I2t is proportional to the thermal energy let through by the protective device under fault conditions.

are connected in series with each other, selectivity will be achieved when one circuitbreaker completes its breaking operation before the opening command of the other becomes irreversible. Circuit-breakers to BS EN 60898 have integral direct-acting thermal/magnetic elements, and during magnetic (instantaneous) operation there is generally a negligible delay between a short-circuit condition being signalled and the point at which the opening command becomes irreversible. Two methods that should be used in a desk study to determine whether or not selectivity will be achieved between circuit-breakers connected in series are: 1. in the overload zone, confirming there is no overlap of the device time/current (inverse/ thermal curve) characteristics, and 2. for fault currents/instantaneous tripping, using manufacturer’s data for peak current limitation and tripping. Selectivity is achieved when the peak cut-off current of the downstream device is less than the minimum peak tripping current (corresponding to the instantaneous tripping level) of the up-stream device. Circuit-breaker time/current characteristics generally include tolerances; these should be taken into account when assessing selectivity.

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t: ++44 (0) 1205 724754 f: ++44 (0) 1205 724876 rolec@rolecserv.co.uk


22/09/2017 11:29


Table 2. A manufacturer’s selectivity data for Type B circuitbreakers. Highlighted for 32 A circuit-breaker upstream of 20 A circuit-breaker

Downstream circuit-breaker rating (kA)

Upstream circuit-breaker rating (kA) In (A)












































With reference to the manufacturer’s data for Type B CBs shown in Table 3, it can be seen that the 32 A circuit-breaker has selectivity with the 6 A circuit-breaker up to 150 A (0.15 kA); that is, a current exceeding 150 A will cause both circuitbreakers to trip. Looking at the overlay (Fig 2) it can be seen that overload zone selectivity is achieved between the 32 A and 6 A circuit-breakers because their curves do not overlap.















































































Looking forwards to the publication of BS 7671: 2018 (the 18th Edition), a requirement will be introduced that where selectivity is necessary between overcurrent protective devices, verification of the arrangement should be made by one of the following means: • a desk study taking into account the relevant product standard and the manufacturer’s literature; or • use of appropriate software tools where information is provided by the manufacturers for this specific use; or • testing in accordance with the applicable product standard (in order to achieve the correct test performances and reproducibility); or • by manufacturer’s declaration that the arrangement is compliant with this requirement.

Table 3. A manufacturer’s selectivity data for Type B circuitbreakers. Highlighted for 32 A circuit-breaker upstream of 6 A circuit-breaker Upstream circuit-breaker rating (kA)

Downstream circuit-breaker rating (kA)

Selectivity between device B (32 A Type B CB) and device D (6 A Type B CB)

In (A)











































0.30 0.29













































































The effect of standing loads on selectivity in the overload has been considered to be negligible for this study. Where time/current characteristics are used in a desk study, account should be taken of the reference ambient temperature applicable to the tripping curves.

Selectivity between device B (32 A Type B CB) and device C (20 A Type B CB) With reference to one manufacturer’s data for Type B circuit-breakers shown in Table 2, it can be seen that the 32 A circuit-breaker has selectivity with the 20 A circuit-breaker up to 140 A (0.14 kA); that is, a current exceeding 140 A will cause both CBs to trip. Looking at the overload/low magnitude overcurrent region of the overlay (Fig 2) it can be seen that partial selectivity is achieved between the 32 A and 20 A circuit-breakers in the region where their curves overlap.

The worked example shows how the selectivity study for small installation design project could be documented. In the case of an installation such as the one in the worked example, it is essential that total selectivity is achieved between the fuse in the service head/cut-out and all overcurrent protective devices of the installation. This will ensure that the service fuse does not operate unnecessarily, thus avoiding any need to make arrangements with the distributor to have the fuse replaced and the inconvenience of having no supply during this period. However, BS 7671: 2018 will require only that the mutual interaction between electrical devices for overcurrent (or indeed residual current protection) is considered in so much as it does not adversely affect the safety of the installation. With reference to the findings of the example desktop study, and given the nature of the installation, the lack of total selectivity between the 32 A circuit-breaker at the upstream end of the cable supplying the workshop and the 20 A circuit-breaker protecting a final circuit within the workshop at the downstream end of the cable is very unlikely to constitute a safety issue and is therefore acceptable in the circumstances.

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p61_CON.Aut17.indd 61

0800 018 9112

22/09/2017 11:31


Snags & Solutions A practical guide to everyday electrical problems Now updated to Amendment No 3 of BS 7671

snags and solutions

snags and solutions

snags and solutions






BS EN 60898 BS EN 60898 BS EN 60898 BS EN 60898 BS EN 60898 Type B 16 A Type B 32 A Type B 32 A Type B 32 A Type B 40 A





BS EN 61008


BS EN 60898 BS EN 60898 BS EN 60898 BS EN 60898 Type B 10 A Type B 6 A Type B 20 A Type B 20 A




Bedroom + Hall Lighting

Fridge + freezer radial

Central heating supply

100 A DP 230 V Kitchen, Lounge Dining room Lighting

Shower circuit

Bedroom + Hall sockets

Cooker circuit

BS EN 60947-3


30 mA Kitchen, Lounge Dining room sockets

‘Snags & Solutions’, NICEIC’s problem solving books, are now available in five parts, and cover many commonly encountered electrical installation problems. All parts have been updated, where appropriate, to take account of the requirements of Amendment No 3 to BS 7671: 2008 (17th Edition of the IET Wiring Regulations), which was published on 1st January 2015. Part 1 of Snags & Solutions addresses 53 problems relating to earthing and bonding. Part 2 covers 55 problems relating to wiring systems. Part 3 covers 52 problems relating to inspection and testing. Parts 4 and 5, which have recently been introduced, cover 50 problems relating to emergency lighting and 48 problems relating to domestic fire detection and alarm systems, respectively. The books are available from NICEIC Direct. To give an indication of the value of these books, a snag and solution is being covered in each issue of Connections. This issue addresses a snag from Part 3 – inspection and testing, relating to information required at a distribution board or consumer unit.

Information required at a distribution board or consumer unit A distribution board or consumer unit should be provided with sufficient information to indicate, amongst other things, the type and composition of each circuit. snags and solutions



Part 1

earthing and bonding 5th Edition

Amd 3: 2015

Part 2

wiring systems

Part 5

3rd Edition

4th Edition

Amd 3: 2015

Amd 3: 2015

Emergency Lighting to BS 5266 series BS 5266-1: 3rd Edition 2016

2nd Edition Amd 3: 2015

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Snag 7 The absence of a legible diagram, chart or table may result in danger or nuisance, such as if someone inadvertently switches off the supply to an important service, for example a lift.

Apprentice Corner answers



The information required at a distribution board or consumer unit should indicate the particulars of the installation. For example, simply labelling a protective device as 'socket-outlets' would indicate the purpose of the circuit but it would not be sufficient to provide information required by Regulation 514.9.1. A convenient way of providing such information for a simple installation such as a domestic installation is by means of a separate copy of the completed Schedule of Circuit Details for the Installation (pictured below), which forms part of the Electrical Installation Certificate and Domestic Electrical Installation Certificate.

Correct option is (d) For a typical perforated cable tray having at least 30 % of the base occupied by holes, the reference method is E or F. However, where the whole percentage is less than 30 %, the reference method is taken to be C. Paragraph 7.2 of Appendix 4 of BS 7671 refers.

2. Correct option is (a) There are numerous ways in which this can be solved, one such method is: Impedance: Z=√(R2+X2 )=√(1.92+0.142=1.905 mΩ/m Total impedance = 1.905×10-3×120=0.229 Ω

3. Correct option is (c) There are three trig ratios that can be used to answer this question. However, since R and X was given it would be sensible to use; tan φ =


(To the person ordering the work)

This certificate is not valid if the serial number has been defaced or altered


Supply to distribution board is from:

Type: BS(EN)


Associated RCD (if any): BS(EN)

Overcurrent protective device for the distribution circuit: Distribution board designation:

Nominal voltage:

No of phases:



Location of distribution board:



RCD No of poles:



Maximum Zs permitted by BS 7671


Short-circuit capacity


Operating current, I⌬n






Overcurrent protective devices BS (EN) Rating




Max. disconnection time permitted by BS 7671

➺ Reference method

Number of points served

Type of wiring (see code below)

Circuit number and line

Circuit conductors: csa

The phase angle: φ = tan-10.0737 = 4.2°. The power factor: cos φ = 4.2 = 0.997 lagging

4. Correct option is (b) Design current: Ib =





= 180 Amps


As there are no correction factors and since the motor starter will provide protection against overload,

CIRCUIT DETAILS Circuit designation

X 0.14 = 0.0737 = R 1.9


It ≥ Ib = 180 A. (Regulation 433.3.1 and clause 5.2 of Appendix 4 refers.) Using Table 4J4A select a 70 mm2 cable (columns 1 and 5).

First floor lighting except bathroom

5. Correct option is (d) As the power factor is known, equation 2 can be used: if cosφ = 0.8 then cos-10.8 = 36.8699° 7

so sinφ = sin 36.899 = 0.6.

First floor socket-outlets New shower

Using Table 4J4B for 70 mm2 conductors; r = 0.96


10.0 4.0

and x = 0.135 Voltage drop =

0.8×0.96+0.6×0.135 ×180×80=12.23 V. 1 000

Cable complies with Table 4Ab.

6. Correct option is (a) Using Table 4B1, the correction factor for 35 °C is 0.96. The tabulated current: It =




Ca 0.96

= 187 Amps

Using Table 4J4A: select 95 mm2 conductors; ➺

Using Table 4J4B: r = 0.71 and x = 0.13. The correction factor for temperature is only applied to

See Table 4A2 of Appendix 4 of BS 7671 CODES FOR TYPE OF WIRING A







Thermoplastic Thermoplastic Thermoplastic Thermoplastic Thermoplastic Thermoplastic Thermosetting/ cables insulated/ cables cables cables /SWA SWA in metallic in non-metallic in metallic in non-metallic sheathed cables cables conduit cables trunking conduit trunking


O (Other - please state)

Mineralinsulated cables

(mV/A/m)r (Paragraph 6.3 of Appendix 4 refers). Page 5 of


Voltage drop =

* In such cases, details of the distribution (sub-main) circuit(s), together with the test results for the circuit(s), must also be provided on continuation schedules.

This certificate is based on the model forms shown in Appendix 6 of BS 7671 Published by Certsure LLP. Certsure LLP operates the ELECSA & NICEIC brands. © Copyright Certsure LLP (January 2015)

See next page for Schedule of Test Results

0.96×0.8×0.71+0.6×0.13 1 000

×180×80=8.98 V.


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KNOWLEDGE IS POWER TechTalks are handy, informative seminars aimed at anyone operating within the electrical industry. Our presenters deliver a number of technical seminars throughout the day to keep you up-to-date and ahead of the competition. TOPICS INCLUDE: Changes to BS 5839

Arc fault detection devices

BS 7671 – The 18th Edition

EICR Coding

GAIN VALUABLE ADVICE AT A TECHTALK NEAR YOU 11.10.17 Southampton | 17.10.17 Belfast | 5.12.17 Swansea 7.12.17 Bristol | 7.2.18 Newcastle | 9.2.18 Leeds 20.2.18 Newmarket | 22.2.18 Wolverhampton TICKETS: £25 INC. VAT Book online at niceic.com/events or elecsa.co.uk or call 0333 015 6626


the power behind your business

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Danlers Danlers introduces the EasyZAPP range of PIR occupancy switches, designed for the automatic control of lighting or other connected loads. The products are remotely set-up or adjusted using a free app on an Android phone or tablet. Working as presence detector switches, they can be adjusted for settings such as photocell override, time lag and maintained lux levels (dimmable versions only). The phone or tablet can be used as a remote control on/ off override or to configure several EasyZAPP controls at the same time. Straightforward to install, they make use of existing wiring, so are suitable for retrofit or new installations. www.danlers.co.uk / 01249 443377



Fluke introduces the “Electricians’ Basics in a Box”, consisting of the key tools needed by new and trainee electricians. The Fluke Student Kit comprises a Fluke T90 2-pole electrical tester, a Fluke SM100 socket tester and a Fluke 1AC non-contact voltage detector, together with a Fluke C1600 toolbox with lift-out tray, rubber gasket, and five hook and loop straps to carry these and other tools. It is available until 31 December. www.fluke.co.uk/studentpromo / 0207 942 0700

GreenBrook Electrical has launched the new VELA Advance LED fire-rated fitting to the market and hopes the new range will become one of the highest-specified products in LED fire-rated lighting. These shallow 9W, IP65 LED fittings with a true 92Lm/W output are easy to install with fixed, tilt and anti-glare options, also available in 3,000K and 4,000K with interchangeable bezel finishes. Includes a dimmable LED driver. www.greenbrook.co.uk / 01279 772765



Introducing the Makita SG1251J wallchaser, a high-specification machine with a 1,400W motor that will run the 125mm blades up to 10,000rpm without load. The twin blades can be adjusted by the 3mm wide spacers to form a channel from 6mm up to 30mm in width. The wall-chaser has high-efficiency dust protection, an aluminium blade case design for precise depth control and a Super Joint System for motor overload protection. www.makitauk.com

Marshall-Tufflex’s sleek and modern power and data services solution, PowerPoles, delivered style, versatility and price for a blue-chip manufacturer’s new HQ in Bolton. PowerPoles delivered power and data services to island and non-perimeter work stations. Installed by W Portsmouth & Co of Luton, 170 white double-sided Series 1 PowerPoles were fitted, together with RCD/MCB housing and accessory boxes supplied by BEW Electrical, Bedford. marketing@marshall-tufflex.com



Rolec’s WallPod: EV charging range offers easy-to-use, low-cost, full Mode 3 charging options for all electric vehicles (EVs). Ideal for the home, workplace and business, these award-winning EV chargepoints come ready to install with full internal wiring. Overload and fault current protection is also included. WallPod: EV charging units are weatherproof, corrosion-resistant and CE certified, BSI certificated to BS EN 60335-1 and available in a variety of colours. www.rolecserv.com / 01205 724754

The Snickers 148-page catalogue has full details of this leading range of working clothes for professional tradesmen and women. This workwear will work hard on site all year round, whatever the working environment you’re in. Choose from work trousers and jackets, tool vests and carriers, and the innovative all-weather Layered Clothing System. The latest full-colour brochure can now be downloaded free of charge at the web address below. www.snickersworkwear.co.uk / 01484 854788

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SWA SWA has won approval for its TQ range of copper tube terminals, and is now fully approved to BS EN 61238–1: 2003. The SWA TQ range now fulfils regulatory requirements in electrical performance, traceability, physical size, copper content, tensile testing, wall thickness, and sufficient space to crimp adequately. SWA TQ terminals are manufactured from high-grade copper to BS EN 12499 and electro-tinned to BS 1872. And SWA offers installers a full tool calibration service in order to meet BS 7609 – the code of practice for installation and inspection. sales@swaonline.co.uk / 01453 844 333

Loxone Loxone is a flexible, convenient, 360° smart home solution for lighting, heating, security, AV, blinds and intelligent energy management. We offer a dedicated installer program with training courses, free technical support, a dedicated project consulting and demonstration service, free software and apps, and much more. As a Loxone installation partner you’ll be able to offer your customers a complete home automation solution that is feature-rich and future-proof. Loxone also runs regular free information sessions for companies interested in joining the Loxone Partner Program. www.loxone.com/become-partner / 01183 130140



Ellis has extended its range of Trident all-plastic trefoil cable cleats for smaller electrical cables. Now available in six sizes, ranging from 24-54mm, Trident has a finite element analysis optimised design that is both elegant and costeffective. It is manufactured from a V0 0H glass-filled nylon. It is also available in a London Underground Limited (LUL) approved polymer that meets LUL standard 1-085. Both versions of the product have been short-circuit tested to IEC 61914. www.ellispatents.co.uk / 01944 758395

RESIL is Wiska's new two-component re-enterable silicone resin, with a host of benefits for consumers including a quick setting time of just 12 minutes, a unique two-part formula that can be mixed to your enclosure size (saving the rest for later use), and protection against water, dust and elements. RESIL is also classified as non-toxic, making it safe and easy to use. Perfect for low-voltage casings/standard enclosures. www.wiska.co.uk / 01208 816062



Chargepoint specialist Rolec EV has released its new Quantum EV charging pedestal range. Rolec’s MD Kieron Alsop said: “The Quantum range has been specifically designed to offer a range of versatile charging solutions for the workplace, commercial and public locations. Key features of Quantum include its robust anodised aluminium structure, its introduction of energy-efficient LED amenity lighting to the industry and its smart integration capability.” www.rolecserv.com / 01205 724754

Marshall-Tufflex’s quick-fix Wire Basket is the latest star of Voltimum thanks to a new product review video that demonstrates its speed and ease of installation. In the video, Voltimum editor Dan Tovey and electrical contractor Kyle Gamble discuss the features and benefits of the innovative cable management system, including installation within four seconds: pre-fabricated couplers allow basket lengths to quickly click together with no requirement for tools or screws/bolts. marketing@marshall-tufflex.com

For great deals on products and services, 66 visit www.shop.niceic.com S U MME R 2 017

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28/09/2017 11:16

Safe Isolation saves lives Stay safe, prove dead and lock off with Martindale VIPDLOK kits

The simple solution to safe maintenance • Essential for compliance with Electricity at Work Regulations for safe working

• New VI-15000 Voltage Indicator, CATIV 1000V for all installations categories

• Includes industry leading voltage indicator, proving unit, locking off devices and tags

• Safe because it’s simple, no batteries, no ranges, no switches

Now available NEW VIPDLOKPRO Get the right locking off device every time with Martindale PRO Kits

Available from your wholesaler and online www.martindale-electric.co.uk Call: 01923 441717 email: sales@martindale-electric.co.uk

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2391 IS BACK COMBINED INITIAL VERIFICATION AND PERIODIC INSPECTION COURSE Save time and money by doing Initial Verification and Periodic Inspection qualifications at the same time. This course will give you the knowledge and practical skills required to complete Electrical Installation Certificates or Minor Works Certificates and to periodically inspect, test, and complete Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICR), before putting them into service.


the power behind your business

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22/09/2017 11:34


lved wit th How did you get involved with the Royal National Lifeboat feboat Institution (RNLI)? lors, and at a a My parents were keen sailors, young age I was taken outt in their yacht y and introduced to sailing.. My fathe father er was a member of Donaghadee lifeboat crew rew for over 30 years, and when he retired at 55 he became a deputy launching authority. I had spent my childhood among boats and in and out of the lifeboat station, and in 2003 I made the decision to join myself.

What kind of training do you need? There's a lot to learn, but the RNLI has a marvellous training programme in all areas of seamanship as well as advanced firstaid courses. In recent years I decided to do a mechanics course, and now I sometimes act as assistant mechanic. The mechanic must be available to start the boat and look after the running of the engines and radio communications while at sea.

Do your electrical skills come in handy? My practical skills are extremely useful. Part of my role as a mechanic is to look after the electronics on the boat, and my ability to fault-find comes in very useful.


What kind of callouts do you generally get? It can be anything from children stranded on rocks and in danger from the incoming tide to engine fires on vessels, and boats taking on water where we have to employ our salvage pump. Not only are we on the flight path for Belfast’s airports, but we also have crosschannel ferries and, this year, dozens of cruise ships in our area. Occasionally we have a medivac, when we come alongside a moving vessel to take someone off on a stretcher when they are not well. We are also on standby in case an aircraft gets into difficulties.

Do any rescues stand out in your mind? I was recently paged to look for missing divers off the nearby islands. We searched for many hours and, just as hope was fading, we spotted something in the water and it was them. They would not have survived much longer.

How many times are you called out a week?

Ross Bennett between callouts

You can go for a week or two with no calls at all and then suddenly you get two in one day – there is no pattern to saving lives at sea. Since January we have been out on what we call “shouts” 29 times – more than the whole of last year. You could be out for a couple of hours, or if someone is missing it could be eight or 10 hours. Thankfullyy these are rare.

How does it fit in with your our work? As a crew member, when my pager ger goes off, if I am close enough I rush downn to the station, change into my lifeboat gear and run down to the boat. When I am acting as assistant mechanic I am unable to leave the town so I try to arrange my work accordingly, but sometimes I have to wait until someone can relieve me in the evening so that I can go and see to some of my electrical jobs. My customers are fantastic and assist me in every way possible.

What do your family think about it all? When the pager goes, no matter what time of the day or night, I rush to the station. My family and friends are well used to being deserted in the middle of a meal and don’t complain at all. I am proud to be a volunteer crew member of the RNLI and in particular to work alongside my friends and colleagues in Donaghadee.

What do you get up to in your spare time? Email offthetools@redactive.co.uk

Sea change Ross Bennett started working in the och Bennett Bennet in family firm Murdoch er in 2015. But 1998, and took it over he’s also following in his father’s footsteps as a member of the local RNLI voluntary lifeboat crew

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Mind your sign language We’ve all had a bad day at work, but it’s generally not a good idea to make too much of a fuss. Certainly not in big letters on the front of the building you’re working in. One sparky But that’s exactly what an could have unnamed electrician installing a future as a cables for outside lights at Countdown contestant Kames post office in Argyll

and Bute did, removing some letters and rearranging the rest to spell the message in the picture, after spending a day holed up in a dirty loft. Fortunately, the client saw the funny side and left the sign up over the weekend, allowing passers-by to burst out laughing or stop their cars to take pictures of their new-look post office.

We’ve been asking you to send in pictures of the jobs you are working on via social media – and you haven’t disappointed. Keep sending them in via Twitter @officialNICEIC or @officialELECSA or via Instagram using the hashtag #sparkslife. This issue’s prize for the best shot, a £25 voucher, goes to Legacy Electrical Services.

@ Ormerod Electrical Ltd A handy tool to have!

@Legacyelect Apprentice fully kitted out before going under floorboards



NORTHERN WIT Contractors based in the north of England are more likely to be on the end of an office prank, according to a survey. Research by Kit Out My Office found 83 per cent of northerners said they often play jokes on colleagues, compared with 69 per cent of their southern counterparts. The “hilarious” pranks include covering the sensor on a mouse, placing the waste from a hole punch into an umbrella and drawing spiders on loo roll before rolling it back up. Those long winter days must just fly by.

Connections readers have been giving their verdict on a survey by recruitment firm Manpower, which suggests electricians earn around £156,000 a year. The story caused a stir on social media sites, with some sparkies asking “What are we doing wrong?” Even their partners joined in, with one woman asking her husband “Where are you hiding it?” The bosses got in on the act too, with one saying “Don’t let the lads see this”. Only one person thought it was about right, but added “you’ve got to know your job, the regs and business like the back of your hand, and then be consistently good at it.”

@Ecohomeelectrics An interesting new way to wear a light fitting

@Tectonicdigitalsystems Preparing for an aerial install

But such tricks can have unintended consequences. An electrician was recently fined for attempting to scare a colleague who was working on a highvoltage device. Not a good idea.

@Elly V White Full power ahead. Busting through with the drill

Tell us about any hidden talents or charity initiatives. Email currentaffairs@redactive.co.uk


Tag us at...

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Loop test with confidence

The all-in-one installation tester with confidence built-in

MFT1741 With the newest, patented pending algorithm for earth loop impedance testing, Megger introduce the MFT1741. „ Fast, repeatable 3-wire no–trip loop test results on normal circuits „ 3-wire loop test results from noisy circuits that are repeatable and in which you can have confidence. „ Built–in confidence meter that indicates the reliance you can place on your loop measurement „ Results unaffected by RCD or RCBO impedance These new features combined with those of the well liked MFT1701 series of toughness, ease-of–use and reliability make the MFT1741 a very attractive package.

To find out more scan the QR code or call 01304 502 102 Megger Ltd, Archcliffe Road, Dover, CT17 9EN, T. 01304 502101

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It’s in your hands. Bosch Professional.


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Purchase a selected connected drill driver*, combi* or grinder** and claim your FREE Withings “Activité Steel” activity tracker.


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*Only versions containing 2 x 5.0 Ah batteries, GAL 1880 Charger, GCY 30-4 Connectivity Module, L-BOXX. **Only versions containing 2 x 6.3 Ah batteries, GAL 1880 Charger, GCY 30-4 Connectivity Module, L-BOXX. Terms and Conditions apply. Offer valid 01.07.2017 to 31.12.2017. Claims process via the Bosch Toolbox App.

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22/09/2017 11:36

Profile for Redactive Media Group

Connections - Autumn 2017  

Connections - Autumn 2017  

Profile for redactive