Page 1

NICEIC launches platinum promise // page 7


ADVICE P17 Agreeing terms and conditions before starting work is vital


ONLINE MARKETING P29 Use the internet to raise awareness and win new customers

Lisa Judge, NICEIC Direct



WINTER 2013-14 | ISSUE 188

ELECTRIC VEHICLES P37 Sales of electric vehicles are rising and with it the demand for charging points

Meet the people who are here for you // page 6


Philip Martin, Area Engineer

Clinton Thompson, Technical Helpline

Rebecca Bullock, Customer Services

Kelly Manlove, Certification

Gary Parker, Project Engineer

Askala Dennis, Customer Services

Joe Sampey, Area Engineer

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Official vehicle supplier to members of

As a NICEIC, ELECSA & ECA member, we can offer you an even better deal on a brand new Peugeot with exclusive lower rates. With exceptional payload and low CO2 emissions, our vans are a great choice for your business. We’ll also give you £250 cashback^ towards equipment or training manuals. So being switched on could save you a bundle. Visit or call 0845 313 3811 to get a personalised quote. The official fuel consumption figures in mpg and CO 2 emissions for the Bipper range are: Urban 32.1 – 60.1 (8.8 – 4.7), Extra Urban 47.9 – 76.3 (5.9 – 3.7), Combined 40.9 – 68.9 (6.9 –4.1) and CO 2 emissions 119 – 109 (g/km), for the Partner range are: Urban 47.1 – 55.4, Extra Urban 56.5 – 64.2, Combined 52.3 – 60.1 and CO2 emissions 164 – 123 (g/km), for the Expert range are: Urban 42.8 – 48.7 (6.6 – 5.8), Extra Urban 32.9 – 37.1 (8.6 – 7.6), Combined 39.2 – 44.1 (7.3 – 6.4) and CO 2 emissions 189 – 168 (g/km), for the Boxer range are: Urban 32.1 – 60.1 (8.8 – 4.7), Extra Urban 47.9 – 76.3 (5.9 – 3.7), Combined 40.9 – 68.9 (6.9 –4.1) and CO2 emissions 234 – 195 (g/km). *Rate refers to the Bipper S HDi 75 Euro5. Rentals are subject to VAT and are payable weekly. Business users only. A guarantee may be required. Over 18’s only. Written quotations from Peugeot Contract Hire, Quadrant House, Princess Way, Redhill, RH1 1QA. Offers apply to eligible vehicles supplied and registered from 1st January 2014 until such time they are withdrawn by Peugeot Motor Company PLC. Rentals based on 10,000 miles per annum. Initial rental payable for all contracts and final rental payable for all van contracts. ^£250 cashback can only be spent on NICEIC and ELECSA web stores. For full terms and conditions, please consult your Peugeot Dealer in the UK. Calls may be recorded for training purposes.


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Contents We’re changing Certsure’s new offering

Illustration: Cameron Law

Winter 2013-14 | Issue 188



Plugged in News Take a fresh look at NICEIC and ELECSA


NICEIC launches platinum promise


Jobs for the Girls academy launched


Renewables news 1,000 NICEIC Green Deal installers and rising


ESC news ESC campaigns for registered electricians


MP calls for landlord safety certificates Product news The latest products on the market







Live wire

Contractor profile City Building has flourished since branching out from Glasgow City Council eight years ago

Advice 17 Contractors must have agreed terms of business with customers and drawn up a signed contract before starting work, says Geraldine Fleming Opinion Demand for external lighting is growing, presenting new opportunities for contractors, says Martin Bennett


Regions 20 Contractors in the Yorkshire and Humber region have learned to adapt to a tough economic climate, discovers Adrian Holliday Training 22 Today’s electrical contractors need a range of training, delivered in bite-sized chunks, says Alan Charlton Events 24 Nick Martindale reports from the second NICEIC ELECSA Live North Current affairs Battle stations




Virtual reality 29 Take advantage of online marketing

Fully charged Ask the experts 41 Answers to the technical helpline’s more frequently asked questions Technical 44 Amendment 2 to BS 7671 – electric vehicle charging installations Sizing of conductors that connect a load control device to a busbar chamber


Sealing of wiring system penetrations


Conducting locations with restricted movement


Snags and solutions


In the line of fire 32 It’s crucial to stay on top of new developments in fire safety systems Electric dreams 37 The demand for electric vehicle charging point installation is on the up

» Cover design: Farquhar Design Connections Winter 2013-14

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First phase We’re changing A new year is the perfect time for contractors to take another look at NICEIC and ELECSA and what we can do for you and your business


his year we are asking our customers to “Take a Fresh Look” at NICEIC and ELECSA. As the market leader for more than 50 years, assumptions about us can sometimes be out of date, but things have been changing. While remembering the high standards that helped build our group, we have been leading a quiet revolution. At the heart of this revolution are our people. People from teams around our business work hard to get things right and provide a good service. Over the next few months you’ll see friendly faces from our technical, customer service, accounts and assessment teams to name but a few; people from all over the UK who you could come into contact with when you call, email or are visited by our field team. It is their contribution every day that makes our organisation great. We are all united in our aim to perform better and we have made some wholesale improvements. Visit or to see how the creation of Certsure LLP has positively impacted on NICEIC and ELECSA registrants. This year will be another one of change for the industry

‘We have been leading a quiet revolution in the service and products we offer and at the heart of this are our people’

Emma Clancy is chief executive officer, Certsure

and hopefully one of economic recovery too. In early January I appeared before the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) Select Committee, with colleagues from the ECA, ESC and NAPIT. The committee looked at the operation of competent persons schemes in general and potential licensing for individual electricians. We will keep you updated on the outcomes of the committee findings and the DCLG’s response. In the meantime, I would like to thank those who have already responded via my recent e-newsletter request, and to wish all Connections readers the very best for 2014.

CONTACTS // CONNECTIONS 17 Britton Street, London EC1M 5TP EDITORIAL General 020 7880 6200 Fax 020 7324 2791 Email Editor Nick Martindale Technical editor Timothy Benstead Sub editor Victoria Burgher Creative director Mark Parry Art editor Adrian Taylor Picture researcher Akin Falope Publishing and business development director Aaron Nicholls ADVERTISING AND MARKETING Senior sales executive Darren Hale Sales executive Patrick Lynn Display 020 7880 6206 Fax 020 7880 7553 Email


PRODUCTION General production enquiries 020 7880 6240 Fax 020 7880 7691 Production manager Jane Easterman Deputy production manager Kieran Tobin Email 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@ ISSN 2042-5732

© Redactive Publishing Ltd 2014 17 Britton Street, London EC1M 5TP. 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 Polestar (Colchester) Ltd. Paper by Denmaur Papers plc The paper mill that makes the text paper for this magazine states that it uses at least 80 per cent wood pulp from sustainable sources.

WWW.NICEIC.COM WWW.ELECSA.CO.UK ENQUIRIES Certsure 01582 539000 Communications manager Paul Collins 01582 539148 NICEIC Direct Paul Elcock 01582 539709 Twitter @officialNICEIC or @officialELECSA Technical helpline 0870 013 0391 Customer services 0870 013 0382 Sales 0870 013 0458 Training 0870 013 0389 Legal/tax 24-hour helpline 0845 602 5965

Winter 2013-14 Connections

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News/Renewables news/ESC news/Product news

Plugged in Need-to-know industry news for electrical installers

Take a fresh look at NICEIC and ELECSA NICEIC and ELECSA have launched a new campaign urging contractors to “take a fresh look” at what they have on offer. The highly visual campaign uses friendly images of NICEIC and ELECSA staff including customer services advisors, technical helpline engineers and area assessors. It will run over the next year and feature in a series of press adverts, marketing material and events. “By using our employees we are opening up our business and putting faces to the names that our contractors are in touch with every day,” said Certsure CEO Emma Clancy. “Our technical team alone deals with more than 60,000 calls a year and provides an invaluable service that allows contractors to concentrate on their business. “We want to highlight that fact and let people know, whether they are registered with us or not, that we are committed to being the leading building services certification body of choice.” In April last year both brands officially came under the tenure of Certsure – the joint venture created by the partnership between the Electrical

Contractors’ Association and the Electrical Safety Council. In the nine months since then Certsure has launched a customer charter, offered free online training to all registrants and run several high-profile advertising campaigns promoting the 34,000 contractors registered with each brand. “Certsure is a new business committed to taking the best from its existing brands and creating a new way; a Certsure way that is built on what’s best in class,” added Clancy. “The ‘Take a fresh look’ campaign is our way of saying to contractors that we have changed. We have listened to their concerns and, as well as working with great brands that win contractors more work, we are offering an improved range of services including focused customer support, an improved technical service, online certification, the Direct store and a wider range of training courses.”

NICEIC ACADEMY STAR TAKES APPRENTICE ACCOLADE NICEIC graduate Jack Howes was named apprentice of the year at the at this year’s Electrical Industry Awards. Organised by trade magazine Electrical Times, the awards are one of the biggest in the industry. Jack, 21, works for NICEIC Approved Contractor Instalec Electrical Engineers in Luton, and was one of the original attendees of NICEIC’s apprentice academy at Bedford College. “It was a great surprise but just seemed to make the whole three-year process worthwhile,” said Jack. “I love working in the industry and just want to progress now as far as possible. The next thing I want to do is get my testing and inspection qualifications.” Jack spent two years at Bedford College under the tutelage of lecturers and NICEIC’s technical development manager Darren Staniforth, before spending his final year of professional development under the guidance of NICEIC. NICEIC Approved Contractor PIP Electrics Ltd, based in Basildon, Essex, was named contractor of the year for 2013 at the awards.


RESTORATION MAN HEADS TO LIVE SOUTH Television presenter and housing guru George Clarke has signed up to speak at Live South, which will take place at Epsom Downs racecourse on 15 May. Clarke (pictured below, left) is best known as the face of popular shows The Restoration Man and The Home Show, and has also hosted Property Dreams, Build A New Life in the Country and The Empty Homes Show. He is also a renowned architect who has worked on a number of high-profile cultural and urban projects. Visitors will also be able to hear from NICEIC’s dynamic duo of Tony Cable and Darren Staniforth and other industry experts. They will also be able to speak to key industry suppliers, including headline sponsors ESP, Scolmore and WF Senate, and witness hands-on demonstrations of new products and technologies. Mark Smith, head of group marketing at NICEIC and ELECSA, said: “We are delighted to have George as this year’s main speaker. His experience in the housing sector will be of significant value to contractors working in this area. Live South follows on from Live North, held in Bolton in October, where contractors heard from a range of top speakers, including England World Cup winning legend Sir Geoff Hurst (below, right), who spoke about the importance of taking opportunities in business and sport. Visitors also had the opportunity to spend time and chat with various teams from NICEIC and ELECSA including customer services, technical, insurance, sales and online certification. Tickets for Live South have been held at last year’s prices of £29 plus VAT for NICEIC, ELECSA and ECA registered contractors and £49 plus VAT for non-registered contractors. For more information or to book your place, visit or call Lois Hunt on 0207 880 7625. • See our review of Live North, on page 24

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NORTHERN IRISH APPRENTICE BAGS SKILLELECTRIC TITLE An apprentice from NICEIC Approved Contractor WA Pinkerton, based in Northern Ireland, came out top in SkillELECTRIC 2013 at the Skills Show, held at Birmingham’s NEC in November. After three days of intense practical competition finalists had to install a complicated set of four circuits with various components, simulated motors and fire protection cabling. Aaron McCool, a student at North West Regional College/CITB NI, beat nine others to take the gold medal after judges scored him highest against strict criteria including positioning of equipment, functionality, wiring and termination, inspection and testing, and health and safety. “This was a serious test of skills,” said Aaron, “and I had to stay really focused.”

NICEIC launches platinum promise NATIONAL RECOGNITION FOR MIDLANDS FIRM An NICEIC Domestic Installer has been named runner-up in a competition to find the UK’s best tradesperson. Steve Friel, who runs Central Electrics based in Coventry, was named the top tradesperson for the Midlands region before going to face the judges in the national competition, held at Wembley Stadium in November. The panel were particularly impressed by his commitment to establishing his business and his use of technology to provide excellent customer service, including sending customers automated texts to let them know he’s on his way. “I’m absolutely thrilled to receive this special recognition,” he said. “I strive for excellence in customer service and the firm has built up a great customer base.”

ECA HAILS GOVERNMENT PROGRAMME OF SPENDING ON INFRASTRUCTURE The Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) has welcomed the launch of a £1 billion, six-year government programme to fund infrastructure to unlock new large housing sites, announced in the chancellor’s autumn statement in December last year. Steve Bratt, ECA Group CEO, said: “This investment will provide a shot in the arm for the construction and electrical contracting sectors, and its benefits – job creation, training and a rise in available apprenticeship places – will be felt across the entire economy.” Bratt also applauded the government announcement of £90 million to improve the energy efficiency of schools, hospitals and other public sector buildings, describing it as “a move that will benefit the environment and the end-user, and reinvigorate key markets for energy efficiency”.

Consumers employing an NICEIC registered contractor can now benefit from the organisation’s platinum promise. The platinum promise, which came into effect from 10 January, 2014, replaces the old insurance backed warranty scheme. Emma Clancy, NICEIC CEO, said: “NICEIC’s platinum promise is an additional benefit of using an NICEIC contractor. It provides the protection contractors and their customers need, so that if anything does go wrong we will be there to help resolve it. “If any work is found not to comply with the Building Regulations we can instruct the contractor to go back and carry out the work to the required standard,” she added. “If the contractor is no longer in business or disputes the matter we will have the work rectified by another NICEIC contractor at no extra cost.”

Previously when contractors notified their work through the Building Regulations control system they paid a £1.50 notification fee and a separate £1.50 insurance backed warranty fee. To simplify this process, from 10 January NICEIC transferred all contractors over to its new online certification and notification system (www.niceiconline. com) and combined the fees into one simple £3.00 (plus VAT) notification fee. This combined fee includes the enhanced platinum promise, meaning greater protection for both the contractor and their customers. The promise is valid for up to six years from the date the original work was completed and covers up to a maximum of £25,000 for any one installation. The platinum promise will be available to ELECSA contractors in the summer.

Reading contractor hits B.I.G time The inaugural Hamerville Building Industry Golf (B.I.G) competition, successor to the NICEIC Golf Classic event, was won by Matthew Carter (pictured, left), director of Reading-based NICEIC Approved Contractor Carter Electrical, in October. Playing with his golf partner Pete Southcott (right), the duo took the

honours ahead of seven other teams at the national final, held at Scotland’s prestigious Turnberry course, after winning their regional event. “Pete played extremely well and I came in with some good points as the higher handicapper,” says Matthew. “We were in second place after the first round and then we won it by a couple of points. It was a good level of competition because everyone had won their regional rounds.” Matthew now runs Carter Electrical with his father – the firm’s founder – and brother, undertaking domestic and commercial in the Reading area. “We do a lot of maintenance and newbuild housing, as well as one-off builds,” he says.

Connections Winter 2013-14

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News/Renewables news/ESC news/Product news

Plugged in New Jobs for the Girls academy launched In the next stage of its Jobs for the Girls campaign NICEIC and ELECSA have launched an academy to assist women working as electricians. The academy is a series of four sessions of technical, business and industry advice designed to give women a helping hand into the electrical industry. A group of 14 women attended the first led by NICEIC’s Tony Cable and Darren Staniforth, and included a talk from the Health and Safety Executive’s John Chamberlain. Certsure CEO Emma Clancy, who was instrumental in launching the Jobs for the Girls initiative, said: “It was clear from the networking meetings we held last year that getting a foot in the industry and gaining experience is still a barrier for many women. So we set up the academy to provide some industry-based learning to enhance their skills and improve their career opportunities. “Women are very underrepresented in the electrical industry and wider construction sector,” she added. “We want to address that imbalance and arm women with the skills to go out there and make a real mark in the industry.” The first academy session focused on electrical principles and calculations,

protective devices and safe isolation. Future sessions will look at surge protection, green technologies and certification of works. Many of the attendees were just embarking on a career as an electrician or had just passed their level 3 qualification. However, the academy is open to anyone who feels they may benefit, including those already working as an electrician. Satsuki Harris, a trainee electrician with housing maintenance firm Lovells, said: “Having contact with people like Tony, Darren and John is highly valuable because it gives me the confidence to ask for support on technical issues.” The Jobs for the Girls campaign was set up in 2011 to encourage more women into the electrical industry.

Single mark for quality clarity NAPIT and Certsure, which operates the ELECSA and NICEIC brands, are to create one easily recognisable mark for all full-scope Part P registered electricians, supported by a single register. A year ago Certsure and NAPIT created separate registers to promote the use of competent, registered electricians to consumers, but both organisations are now concerned that the attention given to the registers since their launch has proven a distraction. “It is envisaged that the mark will sit alongside all electrical competent person scheme operators’ brands, and serve as a easily identifiable mark for consumers giving them confidence in their decision,” said Emma Clancy, chief executive officer of Certsure. “In turn, responsible contractors will benefit from further promotion in recognition of their commitment to approved document P and ensuring high standards.” “Along with Certsure, we have recognised that the presence of two registers was not the best way of improving consumer awareness of competent, registered electricians,” said Michael Andrews, NAPIT group chief executive. “The new register will ensure consumers have just one name and easily recognisable mark to remember, but it will also ensure that electrical installers continue to be able to take advantage of the choice and value for money that comes as part and parcel of healthy competition in the marketplace.” It is anticipated that the proposal will include all licensed electrical competent person scheme operators in England and Wales who are approved by DCLG to run an electrical certification scheme.

RAISING THE PROFILE OF REGISTERED CONTRACTORS NICEIC and ELECSA work hard to promote their brands to homeowners and specifiers and stress the importance of using registered contractors. Recent initiatives include: NICEIC-sponsored Luton Town FC flew to the top of the Skrill Premier Conference league over Christmas. A 19-game unbeaten run included the New Year’s Day clash against Barnet FC, which was aired on BT Sports and watched by 348,000 viewers. The NICEIC logo is on the back of players’ shirts and around the stadium Technical development manager Darren Staniforth has been filming for BBC TV’s How Safe is Your Home (due out in the summer). He recommended a domestic rewire and demonstrated the risks of faulty electrics NICEIC and ELECSA TechTalks have been awarded the Best Use of Events and Exhibitions Award at the Construction Marketing Awards 2013. The regional events have been seen by over 10,000 contractors in the six years that they have been running An ESC video campaign on the dangers of cheap, knock-off electrical goods was launched in December Join NICEIC and ELECSA’s 6,500 followers on Twitter for industry updates @officialniceic and @officialelecsa


Winter 2013-14 Connections

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2014 S O U T H

Technical Conference and Exhibition 15 May 2014

Epsom Downs Racecourse

Prices NICEIC and ELECSA Contractors

Non Registered

£29 (ex VAT)

£49 (ex VAT)

Exhibition only and apprentice passes are available free of charge!

Keynote Speaker George Clarke Best known for his TV shows The Restoration Man and The Home Show, architect and writer George Clarke will share his insight and experience from his time working across high profile residential, cultural and urban projects.

Partner sponsors:

p09_CON.02.14.indd 5

Highlights Live is the must-attend technical conference and exhibition for the electrical industry. • Over 4 hours of technical and business seminars • Technical experts on hand to answer your questions • A lively trade exhibition and demo zone • Plus much more...!

BOOK NOW at or call 020 7880 7625 22/01/2014 08:42

News/Renewables news/ESC news/Product news

Plugged in 1,000 Green Deal installers and rising

February 11 NICEIC ELECSA TechTalk York Racecourse, York 16 NICEIC ELECSA TechTalk Hampden Park, Glasgow March 4-6 Ecobuild Excel, London


Middlesex-based Vine Construction has become the 1,000th firm to be certified as a Green Deal installer under the NICEIC certification scheme. The firm specialises in building maintenance and property refurbishment and is looking to offer the Green Deal service as an extra benefit to its clients. “We have been doing a lot of insulation and rendering work lately so it made sense really,” said managing director Gerry Keane. “A few of our customers have asked us about Green Deal so there seems to be a market for it.” After a sluggish start, consumer interest in Green Deal has picked up, with 117,454 Green Deal assessments carried out up until the end of November. Research published by the Department for Energy and Climate Change revealed that 81 per cent of households who had a Green Deal assessment carried out said they now have or intend to install at least one energy-saving measure. Green Deal provides an incentive for householders and businesses to install energy efficient measures by offsetting the cost through savings in energy bills.


It is designed to make energy efficiency easy and affordable and aims to reach up to 14 million properties by 2020. Paul Collins, head of operations at NICEIC, said: “The government is committed to ensuring that all Green Deal work is carried out by registered firms and many skilled professionals such as electricians, plumbers, heating and gas engineers have come to NICEIC for certification because it is associated with quality and assurance.” To undertake Green Deal work as an installer firms must have certification against the Green Deal Installer Standard PAS 2030. For more information about Green Deal and its opportunities for your firm log on to or email




The expected launch of the domestic renewable heat incentive scheme in spring this year will create further opportunities for firms involved in the renewables market, according to NICEIC’s head of operations Paul Collins. According to the government, the domestic RHI is the world’s first long-term financial support programme for renewable heat and will provide millions of homes with heating that is no longer dependent on fossil fuels, as part of a broader renewable energy strategy to see 15 per cent of heating energy coming from low-carbon renewable sources by 2020. “The strategy has a number of advantages for heating, plumbing and gas engineers looking to diversify their business into green technologies and increase their potential revenue streams in renewables,” said Collins. “All installation work under the RHI will be linked to the Microgeneration Certification Scheme. So for heating specialist companies that are MCS accredited or looking to go that route, it is a potentially lucrative market. MCS provides installers with a new skillset and expertise to deliver real benefits,” he said. “Firms with MCS or Green Deal accreditation will be in a good position to take early advantage and NICEIC is preparing its offering for those that are looking to adopt early.” The domestic RHI follows the launch of the non-domestic RHI in November 2011, which already provides payments to industry, businesses Biomass boilers will qualify for the RHI and public sector organisations.

6-7 ELEX Yorkshire Event Centre, Harrogate 12 NICEIC ELECSA TechTalk Chester Racecourse, Chester 26 NICEIC ELECSA TechTalk Welford Road Stadium, Leicester April 24–25 ELEX Westpoint Arena, Exeter May 15 Live South Epsom Racecourse

BIG DEMAND FOR SOLAR PV IN 2014 The UK solar PV market is set to expand again in 2014, according to industry analyst NPD Solarbuzz. The research suggests the UK will emerge as the leading European market in the first quarter of this year, on the back of strong residential demand stemming from lower prices and more certainty over rates. The body also forecasts increased activity from developers looking to complete large-scale projects ahead of the renewable obligation certificate reductions in the second quarter. Along with Germany, the UK is expected to account for almost half the solar PV installations in 2014. This should create more installation and maintenance opportunities for electrical contractors in solar PV, which had tailed off since the reduction in the feed-in tariffs from 2011. “Following the initial boom and bust surrounding the feed-in tariff fiasco we are now seeing the industry level out, and in the past few months rise steadily,” said Paul Collins, head of operations at Certsure. “With falling installation costs solar PV is something more households are looking at as a sound investment against rising energy costs.”

Winter 2013-14 Connections

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News/Renewables news/ESC news/Product news

Plugged in ESC campaigns for registered electricians The ESC has launched a campaign highlighting the risks that householders take, often unknowingly, when they don’t use a registered electrician. This follows research conducted during its earlier campaign urging householders not to attempt to undertake electrical work themselves. During the “Don’t DIY” campaign, many electricians surveyed expressed concern about the number of non-electrical tradespeople who take on electrical work as part of a bigger building or renovation project, prompting the follow-up campaign against unregistered electricians in November. The research found that a third of people had chosen an electrician based on a friend’s recommendation without bothering to check their credentials, and a quarter said they didn’t

h k whether h h or not an know how to check electrician was registered. Over half of the electricians surveyed said they were aware of complex jobs involving electrical elements, such as bathroom or kitchen installations, that were carried out by non-electrical tradespeople or unregistered electricians. The two campaigns urged the public not to attempt electrical jobs themselves or to rely on friends’ recommendations, but instead to use registered electricians.

Farewell to The Essential Guide It is with some sadness that we announce that the ESC Essential Guide to the Wiring Regulations is being phased out. As a result, it is no longer possible to subscribe to, or renew subscriptions for the guide, and no further updates will be published. For existing subscribers, however, the guide will continue to be accessible online until the end of 2014. The guide, which over time grew to cover more than 300 electrical installation topics in detail, provides in-depth yet practical guidance on the application of BS 7671 requirements. Development of the Essential Guide, which was originally known as the NICEIC Technical Manual, began in 1998. It was initially conceived as an internal reference source to help standardise the technical advice provided by NICEIC engineers in the UK, but its value to NICEIC Approved Contractors and the wider electrical contracting industry was soon realised.


The Technical Manual was first published in 2002 in two paper volumes in ring binders. It was distributed free of charge to all NICEIC Approved Contractors and paper supplements were issued quarterly. The manual was also offered on subscription to other interested parties, including electrical installation contractors, engineers, designers, lecturers, manufacturers and members of committees responsible for national and industry electrical standards. The manual soon outgrew the paper medium as new topics were added and in 2004 it migrated to CDs. These provided added benefits of full searchability and automatic updating with new disks distributed quarterly. At the end of 2009, as publishing technology continued to develop, it was renamed the ESC Essential Guide to the Wiring Regulations and was made available as an online resource, where it has existed ever since.

SAFETY CHECKLIST FOR LANDLORDS LAUNCHED A new interim electrical safety checklist is designed to help landlords when carrying out basic electrical safety checks at their properties. The ESC recommends electrical installations in rented properties are formally inspected and tested by a competent person at least once every five years, and that electrical appliances provided by landlords for tenants’ use are also inspected and tested regularly. However, electrical hazards can arise at any time, prompting the ESC to recommend landlords carry out a basic visual inspection themselves – preferably annually – to identify and record any potential hazards. Registered contractors can draw landlords’ attention to the ESC visual inspection recommendations and safety checklist when undertaking formal inspection and testing. The landlords’ electrical safety checklist can be downloaded free of charge at

NEW ELECTRICAL SAFE WORKING GUIDANCE The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has recently updated its Electricity at Work: Safe Working Practices guidance document, HSG85, to help reduce the number of electrical accidents. The guidance was first published in 1993 and updated in 2003. This third edition further updates the guidance and the sources of further information. HSG85 covers the key elements to consider when devising safe working practices for those, including the self-employed, who carry out work on or near electrical equipment, and supplements the Memorandum of Guidance on the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 (HSR25). It gives practical advice on safe working practices for managers and supervisors who control or influence the design, specification, selection, installation, commissioning, maintenance or operation of electrical equipment. The HSE recommends organisations that already have industry-specific rules or guidance for safe working practices to ensure all aspects addressed in the latest edition of HSG85 are adequately covered. Organisations without such internal rules should use the guidance to devise safe working practices relating to their own circumstances and activities. Around 1,000 incidents are reported to the HSE each year, and many of these involve major injuries and even fatalities. HSG85 and HSR25 can both be downloaded free of charge from

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The Electrical Safety Council: raising electrical safety awareness, made possible by funding from Certsure. To view the ESC’s Switched On magazine, visit

BEWARE FAKE COPIES OF WIRING REGULATIONS Kent County Council Trading Standards officers, working in partnership with the UK Border Agency, have seized 845 fake copies of BS 7671: 2008(2011) Requirements for Electrical Installations, The IET Wiring Regulations 17th edition. The copies were intercepted at Dover on their way into the UK from Latvia by eagle-eyed Border Agency staff, who contacted the Trading Standards officers. Genuine copies of the Wirings Regulations books cost around £80, so the haul was worth about £67,000. Mark Coles, technical regulations manager at the Institution of Engineering and Technology, said: “Counterfeit copies of any product undermine that industry. Buyers may think they are getting a bargain, but in such copies, where pages are missing or printed text has been corrupted, the information is incomplete or incorrect, which leads to errors and dangerous practices. “Fake products are undermining our industry so please ensure that you buy your Wirings Regulations guidance from a reputable source.”

MP calls for landlord safety certificates Eastleigh MP Mike Thornton has called on the government to make it a legal requirement for landlords in the private rented sector to provide electrical safety certificates as they have to for gas. Under current rules, landlords do not have to certify the safety of the electrics or prove when the electrics were last tested in privately rented properties, unless they are registered houses of multiple occupation. Landlords do, however, have to certify every year that gas installations and products are safe. This means properties can be rented with dangerous or faulty electrics where neither the landlord nor tenant is aware of the problem until it is too late. Speaking in a Westminster Hall debate in Parliament, Thornton (pictured) said the current law was inadequate. “With more people now renting their homes, it’s more important than

ever that tenants can live safe in the knowledge that their electrics have been tested and certified,” he said. “The government must realise that the current laws are just not up to scratch. Electrical safety certificates should be mandatory as gas safety certificates are.” The ESC has campaigned for electrical checks to be a legal requirement for the last four years. “Half of all fires in homes in Britain are caused by electricity and research suggests private tenants are likely to be at greater risk of fire than residents in other sectors,” said director general Phil Buckle.

ESC backs Labour housing plans BETTER SAFETY NEEDED IN SCOTTISH RENTAL SECTOR The ESC has sent an open letter to Scottish MP and minister for housing and welfare Margaret Burgess, urging the Scottish government to address poor conditions and safety hazards in the private rented sector. Signed by 13 organisations including Shelter Scotland, the Scottish Association of Landlords, Citizens Advice Scotland, NUS Scotland, Crisis and SELECT, the letter called for mandatory five-yearly checks of electrical installations and appliances in private rented lets, as well as RCD protection in all properties to help prevent electric shocks and fires. The size of the private rented sector in Scotland has doubled in just 10 years, which has raised serious issues about safety in the sector. Conditions and disrepair in the private rented sector are worse than in any other housing sector and government data shows that almost 70 per cent of accidental fires in Scottish homes are caused by electricity.

The ESC has welcomed both the Labour Party’s commitment at its 2013 conference to put housing at the heart of its political agenda, and that this strategy now covers more than just building more homes. Roberta Blackman-Woods, Shadow Minister for Communities and Local Government, also told a fringe meeting that Labour would overturn the amendments to Part P of the Building Regulations for England – the only legal framework that protects people from unsafe electrical work in their homes.

Phil Buckle, ESC director general, said: “Labour’s focus on housing recognises that dealing with the current housing crisis isn’t simply about building new homes, but also about ensuring that those we already have are safe to live in. “While the ESC accepted some of the recent amendments to Part P for England, we are concerned about the reduction in the scope of notifiable work. Both statistical data and anecdotal evidence indicate that kitchens and outdoors are high-risk areas that need a particularly rigorous standard of electrical work. “Electrical safety cannot be ignored, particularly during a period when housing demand is increasing dramatically,” added Buckle. “We’re delighted that Ms Blackman-Woods who, together with the Labour Party, has always provided support for Part P, recognises the importance of electrical safety in helping to ensure a safe, sustainable housing stock.”

Connections Winter 2013-14

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WATCH NQA’S NEW ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR E-MOVIE HERE. “ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 accreditations are about professional credibility. By having all 3 standards, we are making a statement of intent that we are continuously striving to evolve as a company and be the very best.” Gilks (Nantwich) Ltd.

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News/Renewables news/ESC news/Product news

Plugged in

< Flexicon conduit

FLEXIBLE FELLOWS Flexicon has launched two new anti-static, liquid-tight conduit systems designed to offer additional protection for hazardous areas. The LTPAS and LTPPUAS flexible conduits can be used to avoid electrostatic charge build-up on installed equipment, including the surface of the conduit, and come in sizes from 16mm up to 63mm. The PVC-coated LTPAS has a high compression strength of up to 400kg, a high tensile strength of up to 130kg and can withstand temperatures from -20°C to 105°C. The LTPPUAS is polyurethane coated and offers high abrasive resistance for use in arduous environments and is capable of surviving temperatures ranging from -40°C to 80°C.

FEEL THE iPOWER The iPower from Isotera means contractors can now offer customers LED lighting without having to undergo extensive wiring work. The system converts mains power into an intermediate frequency AC constant current using the iHub central power supply, which is then fed to the iBus uninterrupted bus pair. The iBus cable can be any length with no voltage drop issues or polarity implications, and driveless LED fixtures can be connected via inductive couplers, < iPower removing the need to wire from point to point or electrically connect conductors. The iPower was named Electrical Times’ innovative power product of the year.

NEXT-GENERATION ET Martindale Electric has added two new electrical testers to its portfolio, designed for AC and DC current, voltage and electrical continuity testing. < ET4 and ET5 testers The ET4 and ET5 both feature dual displays and can indicate both volts and amps simultaneously and come with a bright backlight to make the screen easier to read in poorly lit areas. Unlike many testers, the ET4 and ET5 can be used without opening the tester’s jaws – measurements are read by pushing the wire down the fork. The ET5 can also take k-type thermometer probes. Both tools come with an auto-off function that disables them after 30 minutes of inactivity and auto-off function for the screen backlight after approximately one minute.

< Part of Hager’s Sollysta IP66 range

EASY DOES IT FOR SOLLYSTA The new Sollysta IP66 range of indoor and outdoor wiring accessories from Hager is designed to reduce cabling time by featuring a neutral loop terminal, enabling contractors to complete the loop connection in the switch itself. The terminals are designed to face the same direction with lead-ins for wiring and offer a number of additional features designed for easy installation, including backed-off screws held captive to prevent loss and wire-end stops. The range itself is made from durable thermoplastic designed to offer protection against airborne particles and high-pressure water jets, making it suitable for a number of outdoor applications. It also features a lid that can be opened 180 degrees to make it easier for users to insert plugs and operate devices, while an extended enclosure and wide gel seal make it possible to accommodate moulded-on plugs.

Connections Winter 2013-14

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21/01/2014 11:40

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22/01/2014 08:05

Advice/Opinion/Regions/Insight/Events/Case study/Customer care/Training TERMS OF BUSINESS

Live wire Rules of engagement Contractors need to ensure they have agreed terms of business with customers and drawn up a contract signed by both parties before undertaking work, says Geraldine Fleming


greeing the contract before starting work is vital to the success of a project. Often when parties find themselves in dispute situations it is because they have not agreed a contract beforehand. Such situations lead to uncertainty for the parties involved and can prove very expensive. To ensure your business is properly protected, you should consider the following points:

Set out your own terms It is vital that your terms of business are up to date. These should cover issues such as scope of works, including design responsibility, status of the main contract, limitation of liability, payment and programme terms, insurance, when you are entitled to claim additional time or money and the notice requirements in the event of a claim. Ensure you provide a copy of these terms as part of your quotation, and avoid stating that they are “available on request”. Terms that are not provided may not form part of the contract, particularly where they may be considered onerous. If you are unable to agree that your terms apply, then the ECA publication Tender and Pre-contract Checklist will give you a list of clauses to review before agreeing to someone else’s.

Identify the contracting parties It sounds obvious, but we often come across situations where it is not clear who the contracting parties are. Of course you should always credit-check any companies that you are about to enter into a contract with, and this process should also include ensuring you are entering a contract with an actual company. Common mistakes include using the name of a dormant business or a holding company, or their well-known trading name, or simply misspelling the company name.

Illustration: Cameron Law

Avoid letters of intent Too often, contractors and sub-contractors start work on site after receiving a letter of intent. Such letters are usually only a few paragraphs in length. Our advice would be to avoid forming a contract by blindly starting work on receipt of such a letter. If you do receive a letter of intent, we suggest that you should reply to it, confirming the actual scope of work to be carried out, the price for the works and that your terms of business will apply. Of course, you will need the other party’s agreement before starting work.

Use order acknowledgements Consider introducing an “order acknowledgement” system within your company. Often contracts are formed by a contractor issuing a quotation, the contracting parties attending a pre-contract meeting, followed by an instruction for the sub-contractor to start work, which confirms an order is on its way, and that order will be based on the invitation to tender documents. Sub-contractors finding themselves in this situation should issue an order acknowledgement that will confirm when they will start on site and that their quotation and terms of business will apply, unless otherwise agreed in writing by a director of the sub-contracting company.

Refer to documents in the contract A full contract bundle should be assembled containing all the documents referred to in the contract. This would include emails, specifications and drawings. Properly compiling the contract ensures you will have checked and included all the relevant documents, and that the references to them are correct. It will also help to avoid any later panic situations when you need to find that vital document referred to in the contract.

Keep copies Where you have (reluctantly) agreed to sign the terms of business of another firm (hopefully with appropriate amendments to ensure that your business is protected), make sure that you keep a full copy of the document before you send it back, and of course make it available to all those involved in the project. Having an appropriate contract in place will mean that if a project does go wrong, you have a far higher chance of recovering any monies you are owed. Indeed, it will also mean that you are less likely to need to seek outside advice. In the unlikely event that you do have to seek external advice on your contractual position, it should be able to be given far more quickly and more accurately than if had you not used a contract. In a recent construction case in the courts involving a letter of intent, and a draft unsigned, unagreed and uncompleted contract, the judge stated: “The moral of the story is to agree first and start work later.” Sound advice indeed!

Geraldine Fleming is vice-president and executive director at construction claims and contracts consultancy Knowles

Connections Winter 2013-14

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Advice/Opinion/Regions/Insight/Events/Case study/Customer care/Training EXTERNAL LIGHTING If you have an opinion about an issue concerning the electrical industry, let us know. Email nick.martindale@

Live wire

Light saviours Demand for external lighting is growing, presenting new opportunities for contractors able to allay concerns over cost, says Martin Bennett


here are a number of factors that influence whether people buy outside lamps. Along with cost and aesthetics, two of the most important considerations are security and “green” credentials, and they are often in conflict. It is a well-known and oft-proven fact that an illuminated area will deter criminals, who prefer to strike in darkness. Yet many councils now switch off street lights during the early hours, so householders often want their own lights for added security. But they are also conscious that they ought to be green and do not want to spend a lot of money. Before the advent of low-energy bulbs, PIR lamps were the preferred option, but they can be unreliable as they are easily set off by passing animals and so are often ignored, as well as being annoying to neighbours. Dusk to dawn (photocell) lights are an obvious solution, but most people believe they will add significant costs to their household bills. But this is not the case, and this is an argument contractors

Martin Bennett is managing director of Lumena Lights

will need to make when customers enquire about such products. A photocell light, which will add aesthetic value and improve security, can be run for less than £5 a year using a 7W CFL bulb, which is equivalent to a 30W filament type. The calculations are as follows: there are 4,300 daylight hours a year in London. Using a 7W energy-saving CFL bulb, the yearly electric consumption in kilowatt hours is 30.1 Kwh. UK electricity prices today are around 15p per Kwh, and 30.1 x 15p = £4.52. The cost of a CFL bulb is around £4 and should last up to two years, so the total running cost is only £6.52 a year. This can be reduced still further if a LED bulb is used, which should last at least five years. However, contractors need to ensure the photocell is compatible with LED bulbs. Many outdoor lights are now available with built-in photocells, which makes replacement much quicker and easier than with a remote photocell, which can mean a lot of difficult extra wiring. These lights are also compatible with Part L of the Building Regulations, provided that they are capable of being switched off.


» Karen Boom is owner of She’s Electric

How did you come to set up the business? I was looking after a friend’s house and some small electrical jobs needed doing. I couldn’t find anyone and realised there was a gap in the market. I trained two years ago and have never looked back. What work do you do? Anything domestic from really small jobs to complete rewires. I’m also passionate about energy-saving; I recently converted all the lighting in an old people’s housing scheme to LED. The cost savings will be huge.


Which areas do you cover? I’m based in Billericay and cover a 50-mile radius. It’s not really worth the travel to go further. How have you built the business up? Purely by word of mouth; I’ve never advertised. I have a big network of connections locally so that’s helped. How do people react to a female electrician? I’ve only ever had really positive feedback. I think women bring a different approach to electrical work in people’s homes.

Would you like to grow the business? I’d love to expand and have someone else working with me, but it would have to be the right person. What’s the hardest part of running your own business? I’m constantly thinking about materials I have to collect, people I have to phone back, or invoicing. You always have to be two steps ahead of yourself. What about outside work? I’m currently training for a half-marathon and would love to do triathlons again.

Illustration: Cameron Law

If you are a small business or sole trader and would like to feature in In Focus, email editor@

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Advice/Opinion/Regions/Insight/Events/Case study/Customer care/Training YORKSHIRE AND HUMBER

Live wire

Guarded optimism Contractors in the Yorkshire and Humber region have learned to adapt to a tough economic climate but are feeling more confident about the year ahead

> Paul Owens (centre-left) with business partner Phil Tate (centre-right) and their team at Doncaster-based Tate Electrical

By Adrian Holliday ith a new year underway, electrical contractors perhaps have more reason to feel optimistic than they have for some time. Unemployment fell to its lowest rate in four and a half years in December and the International Monetary Fund is now predicting growth of 1.9 per cent for the year ahead. In the housing market, on which much of the broader construction sector depends, the chancellor’s Help to Buy scheme has pushed the share price of several large housebuilders up, and with it house prices, at least in the south-east. Yet for many British consumers, bracing themselves against higher supermarket prices and rising energy bills, words such as “recovery” don’t feature in their day-to-day lives. Unless contractors in Yorkshire and Humber know any different? Paul Owens runs Doncaster-based Tate Electrical, along with business partner Phil Tate. How have things been for the past 18 months? Fairly tough at points, he replies. Frustratingly, there’s been no smooth glide out of what has been – at best – an indifferent economic climate, despite regular positive patches. “One minute you think you’ve turned the corner and you should start employing more people,” he says. “Then, there’s a bit of a downturn just when you’re starting to gear up. It’s very unpredictable, and also the government has held back money on many large projects.”

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Although schools and hospitals are struggling, universities are faring better, says Owens, thanks to greater independence over their finances. When college work was in full swing in 2010 Tate had up to 18 staff, but that’s now dropped to eight. The business has taken on more domestic work through housing associations to “help ride out the bad time”. Local council work hasn’t been the often closed shop some contractors find. When Connections spoke to Owens, he was busy completing a pre-qualification questionnaire for Humberside Council. “Once you’re on their system you can price for them, so you don’t have to keep reapplying,” he says. He’s also benefited from implementing more efficient ways of working. All operatives now carry iPads equipped with NICEIC’s certification software. “Day-work sheets, timesheets and work orders are now emailed directly to our team to speed up the documentation process,” says Tate. Self promotion Harry McKeown runs Pyramid Services 24/7, based in Wakefield. He started his business two years ago and now

‘We’re having to look harder for good quality contractors; they’re becoming a bit more scarce. Something is definitely happening’

Winter 2013-14 Connections

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6,000: The amount unemployment fell by in Yorkshire and Humber in the three months to October 2013

Economic focus Yorkshire and Humber First, the bad news. According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), the Yorkshire and Humber region has the lowest labour productivity of all the English regions. Between 2006 and 2011 it also had the lowest growth in disposable household income per head, and endured one of the highest increases in jobless rates between 2007 and 2012, rising 3.5 percentage points from 5.4 per cent to 8.9 per cent. So things have not been easy for the area. But figures released by the ONS in October revealed unemployment fell by 6,000 in the third quarter while employment minister Esther McVey claimed that 25,000 new jobs were created in the same period.

‘Day-work sheets, timesheets and work orders are now emailed directly to our team to cut down the need for paper and to speed up the documentation process’ employs two other contractors. Increasingly he’s getting work from large, local letting agencies. “The biggest agencies are in Leeds,” he says. “I find they’re looking for a maintenance company that can do plumbing and electrical repairs.” Most of it is domestic, inspection and testing, often driven by people looking to sell their homes or rent them out, he says. As for promoting his own business, McKeown has had strong results from Google’s Adwords. “Freeindex and Gumtree have also been very useful,” he says. Overall, he’s positive about the year ahead. One tool that’s invaluable on the job is his iPad. “I can do all my emailing from my van with an iPad,” he says. “I don’t need an office. I don’t want unnecessary costs. I want everything kept to a minimum.” Boom time David Burns, managing director of Corsan in Doncaster, has only been in business – with 15 staff and up to 35 contractors – since 2012. In the past year Corsan has been working with affordable housing construction specialist Wates. “Things have really boomed,” he says. “We had a very good run, although recently it’s got a bit tighter. But we’ve got other work lined up.” Although the inconsistency can be worrying, Burns believes business will forge ahead this year. “We’re having to look harder for good quality contractors; they’re becoming a bit more scarce,” he points out. “So something is definitely happening. We work closely with a mechanical building company and they’re saying exactly the same thing.” However, that means more pressure on wages if Burns is to hang onto staff. “As the work picks up, there’s a risk they may

leave so we’ll have to discuss rates with our clients,” he says. “That’s going to be the next problem.” The cost pressures are considerable: material costs rise 3-4 per cent every six months, says Burns, and manufacturers are also pushing up prices. Another area Burns has focused on is ensuring their website is fit for purpose. “I run the website myself, and it’s designed so I can add text and news myself,” he says. “A website isn’t just a place to get your details from. You can monitor which pages people look at and where they are based. Maybe I should be advertising in other regions?” he wonders, rhetorically. Spreading the net Which brings us to Geoff Mann, director of CDI Solutions. Based in Salford, just across the M62 in Lancashire, he recently won a £230,000 contract in West London for a major hospital. “The market here is still very oriented to cost,” he says. “The cheapest price will usually win.” So it made sense for him to widen the net and repeat trips to London trips paid off. “I had done some smaller jobs for them and we kept going back,” he adds. “We were also a bit cheaper than the London guys.” Mann employs five staff and relies mainly on word of mouth. But with a willingness to travel and a determination to win work, he’s hopeful for the year ahead. “I go where the client wants me to,” he says, “and I’ll move heaven and earth to do it.” Last year he turned over £300,000 and is expecting to see £500,000 for the current year. “I’m controlling the business,” he insists, “rather than it controlling me.” » Adrian Holliday is a freelance business journalist Connections Winter 2013-14

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Advice/Opinion/Regions/Insight/Events/Case study/Training/Case Study COMPETENCE

Live wire Little and often Today’s electrical contractors need a range of training, delivered in bite-sized chunks through online and classroom-based teaching, to bring them up to speed with new customer demands, says Alan Charlton


‘The electrician of today is now expected to be master of all cabling technologies, dealing with different types of cable that require varying methods of installation’ training course, where half of it does not sink in, when at least some initial basic learning can be obtained through online teaching? In my view training should be little and often. It should be a series of bite-sized one or twoday packages that contractors are able to use in the workplace and then come back for further upskilling only when they are confident at the previous level. Take three areas that contractors are always asked to install: fire alarms, emergency lighting and data cabling. Most are installing the cables and perhaps fitting some components, but may only be doing so as instructed by the client or architect. Wouldn’t it be better if you also had an understanding as to where, for example, the detector should be sited, or whether there are enough call points and where you should install an emergency light rather than an emergency exit sign? Indeed, for data cabling, if only we knew how to connect these cables or perhaps what equipment would cause nuisance noise, then we could provide a better service to our clients and develop an opportunity to open a potentially lucrative new revenue stream. Once this level of competence is established with confidence then perhaps you can look to learn more about specific areas such as design and commissioning, but only at that point. We all know that electrical contractors want to ensure their clients have a one-stop solution and training plays an essential part of this. But any learning must be effective and useful. Bite-sized training ensures that the knowledge gained creates a level of competency that also guarantees confidence.

Alan Charlton is head of training and consultancy at Certsure. For more information about training courses available email

Illustration: Cameron Law


or those of you who, like me, were completing electrical work back in the days when a mobile phone weighed as much as your toolbox, there has been a huge change in the requirements of an electrical contractor. Even those who began working in the electrical industry at the close of the 20th century would be taken aback at the pace of technological change and the ever increasing requirements to install more sophisticated electrical gadgetry. When I started out, an installation consisted almost entirely of cabling for socket outlets or lighting circuits, but now there are requirements for contractors to install audiovisual systems, fire alarms, security, data cabling and more; the list goes on. The on-site electrician is now expected to be a jack of all cabling trades; the belief being that it’s only a cable that needs to go from A to B. This, however, couldn’t be further from the truth. Different types of cable require different methods of installation. Some cannot be installed with others, some have to be certain colours and, if you are not careful, some can easily be damaged during the installation, leading to costly replacement and unnecessary added stress. No wonder then that electrical contractors need to keep their knowledge and skills updated with training courses designed to ensure they are competent. My view is that a course may provide you with the competence level and the qualification, but just as important is the confidence required to go out and use that newfound knowledge. Whether you have been on courses, or as in my case delivered them, we all know that some parts of the training sink in and some don’t. This can often lead to uncertainty when wishing to promote your newly acquired skill in addition to your existing services, assuming you have both the time and the money to attend such a lengthy course in the first place. As with the electrical industry at large, it is training that needs to change its approach to ensure the learning is both cost-effective and maximises the knowledge obtained. I am a great believer that today’s learning experience should be a mixture of online sessions and tutor-based classroom teaching. Why attend a five-day

Winter 2013-14 Connections

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20/01/2014 16:17

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22/01/2014 08:07

Advice/Opinion/Regions/Insight/Events/Case study/Customer care/Training LIVE NORTH

Live wire

Back to Bolton Hundreds of electrical contractors from the north of England gathered at Bolton Arena in October for the second NICEIC ELECSA Live North event, attending informative seminars and meeting key industry suppliers By Nick Martindale

H Photography: Rafa Bastos

osting an event at the end of October always brings with it a risk of adverse weather, but even the sun was shining for the second NICEIC ELECSA Live North event. The unexpectedly favourable conditions saw hundreds of electrical contractors turn out to learn more about new business opportunities, legislation and technical issues, as well as mingling with scores of leading providers from the wider industry, including partner sponsors ESP, Click Scolmore and WF Senate. After the traditional complimentary bacon roll, the day began with a well-attended seminar presented by NICEIC’s famous double act of Tony Cable and Darren Staniforth, who outlined the technical legal requirements for a qualified supervisor and principal dutyholder. The session outlined the need for principal duty-holders to take responsibility for the overall standard and quality of work, and the obligation for qualifying supervisors to check the standard of installations onsite. It also stressed the need for competent persons to possess sufficient technical knowledge, practical skills and experience. “If someone has done a course they might have the first two but not the third,” said Cable. “And they will still require supervision.”


This was followed by a seminar hosted by John Chamberlain and Richard Hines of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), who raised concerns over circuits still not being properly isolated before electricians work on them and giving examples of poor isolation, including circuit breakers being taped over. They also reiterated the HSE’s stance that live testing is viewed in the same way as live working, and reminded people of the fees they would have to pay in cases where the organisation is forced to intervene. “We want you all to go home at the end of a day’s work,” said Chamberlain. Other sessions explored new business opportunities that are emerging. Matt Trevaskis, director of ecodrive, outlined the potential for contractors from installing electric vehicle charging points. “There is a market out there; it’s small but it’s growing,” he said. “You will start to get enquiries about putting in charging solutions in > World cup winning hero different contexts.” Businesses Sir Geoff Hurst (above) in particular are likely to start captivated the audience looking into this, he added, with his football tales and seeking to install charging points NICEIC’s legend Tony in office car parks. Steve Davies, Cable (left) kicked the environmental technology scheme day off with a seminar manager at NICEIC, also spoke on competence and about the benefits for contractors supervision standards of getting involved in green energy, including the government’s Green Deal programme.

Winter 2013-14 Connections

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20/01/2014 16:18

‘The biggest crowd of the day was reserved for the headline speaker, England World Cup winning legend Sir Geoff Hurst, who enthralled contractors with tales of his football career’

View from the floor “I really enjoyed the electrical vehicle talk and demonstration as it’s an area of interest for me and something I think could really take off. It is my first time here but it’s a really useful day out as it gives me the assurance that what I am doing is right”

Hum Bryant, CTF Electrical, Nantwich “I came last year as well because I find it handy to keep up with what is going on in the industry, particularly the new regulations. It can be easy to just keep your head down and carry on with the day-to-day work, but then you can miss out on some of the wider issues affecting our industry”

Mike Horrocks, C Horrocks and Sons Ltd, Bolton “I enjoyed the format and the content was good. There was lots of good information that I can take back and tell customers”

Phil Rowe, Lantec Services, Nottingham

Mark Coles, technical regulations manager at the IET, gave contractors guidance around what they can expect from the third amendment of BS 7671, due to be issued in 2015, while Gary Gundry of the Electrical Safety Council outlined how to avoid making joints the weak spot in any installation. After lunch – a time when delegates were able to attend demonstrations around home automation and the new Designgenie software from NICEIC and ELECSA – Cable and Staniforth returned to the stage to host a special session on downlighter safety, highlighting the dangers that can occur when these are used in unsuitable locations. These are now also included in electrical installation condition reports, added Cable, meaning electricians cannot ignore them. The biggest crowd of the day, however, was reserved for the headline speaker, England World Cup winning legend Sir

“It has been a super day and my son even managed to win a signed shirt by Geoff Hurst! The emergency lighting talk was very poignant for me as that is an area we are working on and we struggle sometimes to try and get customers to understand their responsibilities”

Pat Woodhouse, Curtis Contracts, Liverpool

Geoff Hurst, who enthralled contractors with tales of his football career and the importance of being ready to seize an opportunity when it comes along. “I started the World Cup in 1966 on the bench and only got my chance when Jimmy Greaves got injured,” he recalled. “You need a bit of luck in sport and business.” He also stressed the importance of discipline and effective management. “I was fortunate enough to work with Sir Alf Ramsey, and he was instrumental in getting that group of people to be successful,” he said. The day concluded in traditional fashion, with a number of prize draws. The biggest winner was James Thompson of James Thompson Electrical based in Hull, who won an overnight stay and two tickets to the England versus Germany game at Wembley in November; the same opponents and venue where Sir Geoff scored his famous treble. Unfortunately, there was no happy ending this time around; England lost 1-0.

Live South will take place at Epsom Downs racecourse on 15 May. To book your ticket visit or call 020 7880 7625 Connections Winter 2013-14

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CONTRACTOR PROFILE // CITY BUILDING COMPANY: City Building BASED: Glasgow FOUNDED: 2006 MAJOR PROJECTS: Glasgow Housing Association, Commonwealth Games STAFF NUMBERS: 2,200 TURNOVER: £200 million

City vision As the former maintenance arm of Glasgow City Council, City Building has flourished since branching out on its own eight years ago

Graham Paterson

By Nick Martindale


lasgow-based City Building is less than a decade old, but in that time has established itself as one of the UK’s leading construction companies. Originally the direct labour organisation responsible for repairs and maintenance for Glasgow City Council’s housing stock, the entity became a business in its own right in 2006 and has since expanded its portfolio to include major construction projects, newbuild housing and refurbishment programmes. “At that time repairs and maintenance for the council were in general decline but there was a lot of work available from the industry outside and we had a big workforce and apprenticeship programme to maintain,” says Graham Paterson, executive director. “Becoming a limited liability partnership allowed us to expand into other market areas and work in both the private and public sectors.” The business is still wholly owned by the council, and this work still accounts for a considerable amount of its £200 million turnover. It recently won a long-term repairs and maintenance contract with the Glasgow Housing Association, worth around £35 million a year, which provides direct employment for around 800 people. “We have to clearly demonstrate best value for work with the council; we’re not just given that automatically,” says Graham. The Glasgow Housing Association contract was one


of the biggest repairs and maintenance contracts in Europe at the time and we won that in competition with 17 other companies, securing employment and jobs and training for a long time.” The business also services 56 other housing associations, in and around the Glasgow area. Alongside this, however, City Building has built up the construction side of the business, from £30 million four years ago to around £80 million today. It has recently completed the construction of 27 schools in the city and is embarking on a new five-year programme worth £250 million, which will eventually see every primary school in the city upgraded or rebuilt. “There’s been a massive shift in terms of the construction side, and looking ahead at our order book that’s not going to change,” says Graham. “I don’t see it dropping below that £80 million level over the next few years.” Other areas of focus include care homes and newbuild homes.

‘The Glasgow Housing Association contract was one of the biggest repairs and maintenance contracts in Europe and we were in competition with 17 other companies’

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300: The number of electricians employed by City Building

Stephen Rankin

4,200: The number of people who depend on City Building, either directly or indirectly Sporting chance The business has also been heavily involved in construction work for the Commonwealth Games, which take place in Glasgow later this year. “One of the biggest projects was the National Hockey Centre,” says Graham. “We also worked on the headquarters of the Commonwealth Games team, which was a major refurbishment of an old building known as Tontine Building in the city. Another big project was the Scotstoun Squash Centre, and we are now building a care home in the Commonwealth Village that will be used to house

Talent hotspot The business as a whole directly employs around 2,200 people, and indirectly provides work for another 2,000 or so in its wider supply chain. Major contracts tend to be planned in advance, says Graham, helping the business manage its employee base, and it relies heavily on apprenticeships as a means of generating a pipeline of talent (both Graham and Stephen are themselves former apprentices with the business). It takes on approximately 100 apprentices a year – around 9 per cent are women – including around 20 electrical apprentices, and currently has almost 500 on four-year schemes. “It’s very important for us to keep that training and apprenticeship programme going,” says Graham. “The aim is for them to secure jobs within the business, and we’ve been very successful at that. But if it’s not with City Building then at least they have the skills and training to go out into other organisations and the wider industry itself.” City Building is also a big employer of people with disabilities, through its Royal Strathclyde Blindcraft Industries business, which employs 250 people designing and manufacturing kitchen, office and educational furniture. “It’s the largest supported manufacturing facility within Europe with over 50 per cent of the workforce registered disabled, and that’s a key part of our supply chain as well,” says Graham. As well as this, the business actively encourages both women and those from black and ethnic minority backgrounds to consider construction as a career choice, and its work in this area was recently recognised at both the prestigious Scottish Business Awards, where it won the corporate social responsibility title, and in the allocation of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2012 for its sustainability initiatives. The business recently developed a two-year business plan and forecasts turnover remaining steady at around the £200 million mark, says Graham, adding that he would like to grow both the construction and newbuild housing operations. He also sees energy efficiency as a potential growth area. “The most important thing for us is making sure we maintain apprenticeship and employment opportunities for people with disabilities. That’s central to what we’re about.” » Nick Martindale is editor of Connections Connections Winter 2013-14

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Photography: Chris Watt/UNP

350 athletes, and once they leave we will go in and make it fit for purpose as a care home.” From an electrical perspective, the Tontine Building was particularly challenging, says Stephen Rankin, senior electrical planning manager. “It was a two-year contract to modernise a building that was massively run down and we had big problems with asbestos and crumbling walls, as well as outdated electrics. It was a full refurbishment with the mains coming into the street from the substation and into the building and up to the four storeys, plus the ground floor and the basement, so it was a massive job to undertake.” Stephen heads up the company’s electrical side, which provides support to the wider business on all its projects through its team of more than 300 electricians, as well as operating dedicated business units for fire alarms and controlled entry systems.


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22/01/2014 08:09


Virtual reality


e all know we should be doing more to market our businesses online. After all, there are few electricians who, in todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s challenging economy, can claim to have too much work, and the internet is where people go now to find new contractors. Where once we might have asked friends and families for recommendations, now we log on to the internet.


The internet provides a low-cost means to market your business to potential customers. Electrical contractors must adapt to take advantage

By Alex Blyth

Connections Winter 2013-14

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One in every 12: The number of minutes the average Briton now spends online

Indeed, in 2006 16 million UK adults used the internet daily, and by 2012 that figure had more than doubled to 33 million. In the same period the percentage of people who said they never use the web fell from 36 per cent to 16 per cent. If 20 years ago the internet was just for a handful of geeks and 10 years ago mainly for younger people, now it’s for everyone. The granny with a faulty fusebox is as likely to call you as the local business owner with a shop to rewire. It is a marketing opportunity that no electrician can afford to ignore. Yet so many do. So many have websites that are complicated to use or hard to find. Many simply don’t bother and rely on a site such as or for their online marketing. These services can certainly be of value as online marketing tools, and if you are in an area served by one of the recommendation sites you should investigate its potential for your business. But what can you do to develop your own online presence? You may be short of time or money to invest in it, but what can you do, simply and inexpensively, to make the internet work for you? Easy to use The starting point is to develop or review your own website. Above all else, this must be easy to use. If it is not then visitors will quickly go elsewhere. It must load quickly. Studies have shown that 32 per cent of consumers will start abandoning slow sites within one to five seconds. So make sure that your hosting company has sufficient bandwidth and that the design of your website is simple enough that pages load quickly. At the same time ensure your website navigation system is easy and intuitive. Are the buttons in the place where visitors expect them to be? You don’t need to hire an expensive online marketing guru to tell you this; simply ask a few friends, family or customers to try your site and let you know if they get stuck anywhere. Remember, too, that around 40 per cent of all internet time is now spent on mobile devices such as tablets and 30

phones, rather than laptops or desktops. Websites can look very different on a mobile device, so spend some time checking that your site fits onto the screen on a smartphone and that all the links work correctly. Appealing to visitors Think carefully about the imagery and language on your website. Will they appeal to potential customers or will they put them off? Is your language straightforward and direct? No one likes hiring a tradesperson who will speak jargon. Are your images relevant and clear? Fuzzy images make your business look amateurish. Do you focus on your customers rather than yourself? Your site should not be about what you do, but about how you help your customers. So, rather than describing the technical process you used, describe the impact your work had on the customer’s life. Also, make sure you include recommendations on your website. A generation ago we took these from neighbours; now we prefer to go online or use social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. Sites like or have become popular because people prefer to hire tradespeople who have been recommended by others. But they have no monopoly over recommendations. Get into the habit of asking customers for recommendations and then post them on your site. Finally, make it easy for visitors to contact you. Your phone number and email address should be prominently displayed on every page.

‘If 20 years ago the internet was just for a handful of geeks and 10 years ago it was mainly for younger people, now it is for everyone’

Easy to find You can have the best website in the world but it is little use if no one can find it. Until recently the focus has been on developing the content of websites so that search engines can find them. This has involved companies paying significant sums of money either to search marketing experts or to search engines themselves. But sites that are up to date are not only more accurate and clearly relevant to visitors, they also appear higher up on search engine rankings. On one level this means you should ensure all information on your website is accurate at all times. It also means you should think about creating content simply to stay high on the search engine rankings. Customer recommendations are good for this, but you could also consider adding one new page per month, perhaps detailing a technique or skill, or adding a case study of a recent installation. Social media Another route that you could consider is to use social media, both as a means of marketing your business online and attracting visitors to your site. Could you keep existing customers updated on, and aware of, your services with a Facebook page or Twitter feed? Could you start writing a blog that readers might share with their friends, and so introduce you to new customers? Why not post pictures of recent installations, using relevant hashtags for keywords to increase the number of people who come across your posts? Including a link to your website in your own profile can then direct them to your site for further information. There is much then to consider, and it can take some time. Yet it is all low cost, and it can be time well spent. After all, Britons now spend one in every 12 minutes online, and in the future the most successful electricians will be those who are online with them. » Alex Blyth is a freelance business journalist and author of Brilliant Online Marketing: How to Use the Internet to Market Your Business

Winter 2013-14 Connections

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22/01/2014 14:10


£500 £500mil million: The potential value o of the fire alarm installation and main maintenance market

In the line of fire

Installing and maintaining fire safety systems can prove an attractive option for electrical contractors. But staying on top of new developments is vital By David Adams


I 32

suspect that some of us secretly find the thought of fire alarms rather exciting, making us think either of firefighters sliding down poles and leaping aboard fire engines or of joyful moments at school when an unexpected fire alarm enabled us to escape a boring lesson. In reality, of course, fire alarms are, well, alarming and their failure can be a matter of life or death. But they might still bring some excitement to electrical contractors, because they could provide valuable additional income. The Fire Industry Association (FIA) estimates there are around 3,000 companies actively involved in the UK fire detection and alarm sector, and that the installation and maintenance market has

a turnover of between £300 million and £500 million. These are unconfirmed figures based on 2009 market research, says FIA technical director Graham Simons, but they confirm the potential earnings available in a sizeable market. Most fire safety systems are less complex than some of the other electronic equipment that electrical contractors work with and there are no formal legal requirements for anyone who wants to start installing them. Manufacturers usually provide comprehensive instructions and free training, while various organisations, including the FIA and NICEIC, run training courses covering design and installation of fire safety systems. Some contractors may opt to deliver design, installation, commissioning and maintenance services, particularly in the domestic market. Others may

simply offer installation of alarms as an additional service when working on a rewiring or newbuild project, leaving the other parts of the process to other service providers. But, whatever the extent of their involvement, contractors must always remember that a single mistake could cause multiple fatalities, as well as destroying their company’s finances and reputation. Alarm lowdown There are three basic types of automatic fire detector: ionisation smoke detectors, optical smoke detectors and heat detectors, which may also be combined with a sounder to become an alarm in a domestic setting. Ionisation devices detect small particles of smoke produced by fast-flaming fires. Optical detectors react to larger smoke particles produced by slower

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burning fires and do not react to cooking fumes. Heat detectors are also useful in locations where everyday dust and fumes might set off the other alarms. In many non-domestic buildings a mixture of all three will be required, alongside emergency lighting, fire extinguishers and other safety equipment. Contractors will need a good working knowledge of how these different pieces of equipment work together, even if they are not responsible for designing and commissioning all of them. Although many contractors choose not to conduct the risk assessments that form the initial stage of system design, they do need to understand when these assessments are needed and the principles upon which they are based, says Simons. These include taking into account the size, nature and

uses of a building. For example, there are significant differences between the systems required to protect a Victorian building used or lived in by elderly people, and those needed in a new single-storey primary school. Contractors installing these systems regularly should attend training courses to familiarise themselves with the BS 5839 standards. These include BS 5839-6, the code of practice for the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of fire detection and alarm systems in domestic premises; and BS 5839-1, the equivalent code for non-domestic buildings. Any contractor working in this area should have a good working knowledge of both, in part because they may find themselves working in areas where applicability of the two codes is not clear cut, such as a block of flats with shared areas.

NICEIC’s one-day fire alarm design and certification courses for BS 5389-1&6 cover relevant legislation, design and planning, standard-compliant products, risk assessment, commissioning and maintenance. The FIA’s one-day unit 1 fire detection design course covers similar ground, but focuses on 5839-1 and is designed to act as an introduction for anyone seeking to take any of the FIA’s many other training courses. Its unit 11 half-day course focuses on 5389-6. The British Fire Consortium also offers training – its fire alarm and emergency lighting design and servicing course is split into eight modules, although only the first is compulsory. Product-specific training is usually provided free by manufacturers, or as part of a dealership arrangement. Organisations such as the FIA, NICEIC, the British Fire Consortium and the equipment manufacturers all offer additional useful resources. For example, equipment manufacturer Sprue Safety Products has developed an online specification generator service for residential properties, based on BS 5389-6, which takes contractors through a five-step process to identify the optimum product specification for a given set of circumstances. The system then generates a Word document or PDF that can be used within tender documents. The FIA also runs a programme to help contractors and companies achieve third-party certification for the British Approvals for Fire Equipment (BAFE) SP203 scheme for fire detection and alarm systems, BAFE SP205 for fire risk assessment, and BAFE SP101/ST104 for portable fire extinguishers. Action stations Farrendale Electrical Services, a Connections Winter 2013-14

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Sprue Safety Products

> Electrical contractors installing alarms need a good knowledge of the various types of alarm most suited to different areas in buildings


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FIRE SAFETY Tony Maidlow of DCR Electrical at Wagtail Country Park in Grantham, installing a fire alarm panel on a shower, toilet and laundry building

3,000: The number of companies involved in fitting fire safety systems in the UK

contractor based in Nottinghamshire with around 40 employees, fits many fire alarm systems for local authorities. “The lion’s share of our work is in social housing,” explains Simon Kenworthy, head qualified supervisor at the company. He explains that the systems are often installed following a specification used by local authorities for particular types of property. The amount of training staff undertake also tends to be preordained by the client. “I went on an update course a few weeks ago with Aico, for the Future Housing Group,” Kenworthy explains. “It’s not something you have to do, but it’s recommended by some of our clients and it highlights changes we then pass on to our operatives.” “My experience of electrical contractors fitting fire alarms is that cable work is usually first rate,” says Tom Brookes, managing director at Lindum Fire Services, a council member at the British Fire Consortium and a member of the British Standards committee for fire alarms. “It’s on the finer points of the design, like detectors being too close to a wall or to a light fitting, where they slip up. The design is very important. If a contractor just wants to do installation, they can always contract a reputable fire alarm company to do the design. My company does a lot of that kind of work. We design the system, they install it, then we commission it.” Rex Taylor, technical support manager at equipment manufacturer Kidde, is concerned that some contractors still seem to regard time spent training as a cost, even if it is provided free of charge. One possible time-saving solution is the use of online training videos and distance learning. In Kidde’s case, if you search for the company on YouTube you will find some videos about the installation of various Kidde products. Other manufacturers have created similar video materials. Wireless hotspot This market is as competitive for manufacturers as it is for installers, so one good reason to keep training up to date is to maintain a good knowledge of new products. One area where a lot 34

Case study: DCR Electrical Daniel Richards, owner of Nottinghamshire-based contractor DCR Electrical, formed the company five years ago after working as a sole trader for several years. The business now has five permanent staff, with additional sub-contractors employed when required. Richards says his company installs domestic fire alarms “constantly”, for a range of clients. When working on larger jobs it enlists the help of fire alarm system and lighting design specialist Illumino Ignis, which is based near Peterborough. “We’ve done work on some quite large residential buildings, where the design is a bit more technical,” Richards explains. “They supply the kit and do the design and commissioning.” This arrangement is put into action several times a year, with recent projects including residential flats and student accommodation in Lincoln. In most cases the fire alarm installation forms one part of a bigger rewiring or other electrical installation project. A current job at a five-storey extension to a residential property in London is an example of this, says Richards. He is hoping the company will be able to install more alarms in commercial properties in future, at which point it will increase training activity. “If we can move more into the commercial market and start getting some enquiries just for fire alarms then we’ll do more training straightaway,” he says.

of new developments are underway at present is wireless radio frequency (RF) alarm systems, such as Aico’s RadioLINK or BRK’s RF Interlink, which enable wireless communication between alarms and system components. “Traditionally you hardwire between alarms, but that can create a lot of disruption in existing properties,” says Michael Wright, product manager at Aico. “With RF systems the wiring is kept to a minimum. It’s allowing easier, quicker installation.” This is something Kenworthy is also keen on. “Wireless systems can be very useful in circumstances where it’s hard to wire alarms together,” he says. “We’ve had no

problems with those systems, provided you follow the instructions. The wireless option can save you a headache sometimes.” Another type of alarm that may be useful in some situations is a multi-sensor alarm, combining two or more combinations of optical, ionisation and thermal sensors. Contractors should also keep up-to-date with developments around carbon monoxide detector technologies, often a straightforward cross-sell when installing fire safety equipment. » David Adams is a freelance business journalist

Winter 2013-14 Connections

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22/01/2014 08:47




Electric dreams

> Growing numbers of charging stations at commercial and domestic sites will keep qualified installers busy

By Rob Shepherd

With the market for electric vehicles finally taking off, contractors have an important role to play installing charging points around the country


illed as a low-carbon alternative to conventional petrol and diesel options, electric vehicles have the potential to help create a cleaner and greener world. In theory, this should also bode well for the electrical contracting sector, which stands to benefit enormously from the installation of charging points that are necessary for the transition to electric motoring. The Climate Change Act 2008 states that the UK must cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 relative to 1990 levels. It is estimated that 60 per cent of all miles driven in the UK will need to be through electric vehicles to help meet this target, and in 2011 the government launched its Plug-In Car Grant (PiCG). As of September 2013, 5,702 claims had been made through the PiCG

scheme and £5,000 grants are now eligible with the purchase of any one of 14 vehicles, including the Ford Focus Electric, BMW i3, Mitsubishi i-MiEV Chevrolet Volt, Nissan LEAF, Renault ZOE, Vauxhall Ampera and Toyota Prius. The Department of Transport has also introduced the Plug-In Van Grant to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles for commercial use. Those wishing to buy a plug-in van receive a 20 per cent grant of up to £8,000. According to The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, 1,885 electric vehicles were sold in the first seven months of last year – an improvement of 70 per cent on the same period in 2012 and 11 times higher than the volume shifted over the whole of 2010. What’s more, the number of electric vehicles to choose from is growing all the time and most models can travel between 50 and 80 miles on a single charge – a Tesla Model S can get up to 300 miles on just one charging cycle.

Chicken and egg However, consumer confidence is crucial in securing even greater uptake of electric vehicles and this includes having an adequate charging infrastructure. In summer 2013 a new £37 million funding package was unveiled by the government, which will go towards installing thousands of charging points. It will provide 75 per cent of the cost of installing them and it is expected the funding will be spent by 2015. Within the electrotechnical industry, sector body BEAMA’s electric vehicle infrastructure project (BEVIP) has been established to co-ordinate a programme of work to enhance the presence of its members in the electric industry. “This brings together manufacturers of charging equipment to represent the industry to government, as well as the automotive and energy industries,” says Alex Goodwin, electric vehicle infrastructure project co-ordinator at BEAMA. “We work together to anticipate Connections Winter 2013-14

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£37 million: The amount of money the government is committing to developing an electric vehicle charging infrastructure needs and develop solutions and standards to meet expectations and grow the sector effectively.” As the level of interest in electric vehicles has grown, so too has the range of charging point technology. “Standard speed chargers continue to represent the largest market sector by volume, with fast chargers also playing a significant part,” says Giles Kinnersley, marketing engineer at Schneider Electric. “Fast chargers, which are more costly and can require upgrades to the electrical supply, remain small in terms of volume, but this sector is growing.” For those involved with the installation of this equipment, the IET has published a code of practice for electric vehicle charging equipment installation, which covers key aspects of installation such as earthing, operation of the unit when a car is connected and communication systems. Electric vehicle consultancy ecodrive contributed to the development of this document, which was welcomed by the company’s director Matthew Trevaskis. “It is important to give installers some clarity and guidance,” he says. “Even though BS 7671 includes a section on electric vehicle charging installations, the code of practice is still highly relevant and will be revised to include latest developments and advice.” Taking charge For electrical contractors there are many opportunities involved with the installation and maintenance of charging points. “Those buying an electric vehicle are given the option of having a charging point fitted at their home,” explains Philip Dingle, power utilities and networks segment manager at Eaton. ‘However, a bigger opportunity for contractors is in installing charging units at workplaces or in car parks outside pubs and restaurants.” This view is shared by Bianca Alsop, business development manager at Rolec EV. “This market could end up being far bigger than the solar PV industry has been,” she suggests. In association with NICEIC, Rolec EV has created an electric vehicle charging point introduction course. This is a 38

Road test • There are around 35 million vehicles on the UK’s roads, including 29 million cars, according to government figures • The average car in Britain travels around 20 miles a day, a distance that most modern electric vehicles could sustain for almost a week without needing to charge • 70 per cent of car owners have access to off-street parking and are therefore able to charge at home • Charging an electric vehicle can take eight hours through a standard charging point or half an hour for an 80 per cent charge at a fast-charging station • Fuel economy of electric vehicles is usually expressed as kilowatt hours per 100 miles (kWh/100mi). A typical electric vehicle is capable of 32kWh/100mi in the city and 36kWh/100mi on the motorway • Electric vehicles have low running costs. Sust-it discovered that based on the average annual mileage of 12,000, the Nissan LEAF will cost £483 a year to run, while the petrol-based Clio 4 comes in at £895 • According to The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, the industry has cut 31.8g/km CO2 off the average electric vehicle’s emissions since 2008 and the share of sub-130g/km CO2 cars – the level targeted by the EU for 2012-2015 – went from just 10.6 per cent of new cars in 2007 to more than 55 per cent in 2012

Partner power Peugeot is the official vehicle supplier to NICEIC and ELECSA and its new Partner Electric is aimed at all those wanting to reduce their environmental footprint as well as their fuel bills. The new model allows the driver to limit energy consumption, which, in free-flowing traffic in town without air-conditioning or heating, can give a driving range of up to 105 miles. This should prove comfortably within the range of most small van users – 70 per cent of whom make daily journeys of fewer than 60 miles. “With average running costs of between 77p and £1.70 per 60 miles, the Partner Electric’s fuel bill is unbeatable for electrical contractors, whatever the charging mode used,” says Kevin Jones, Peugeot’s public relations manager. “Maintenance costs are also lower than for an internal combustion engine vehicle because there are no oil changes and fewer parts that require regular servicing.” NICEIC and ELECSA contractors can access the Peugeot Partner Electric at specially negotiated rates through Peugeot Contract Hire. For a personalised quote call 0845 313 3810 or for further details visit

one-day course for contractors on how to install and maintain charging points. Actemium in Coventry, which has worked in this sector for over three years, saw significant growth in 2013 for fast-charge solutions, with over 300 units already installed. “We expect considerable market growth over the next few years,” says Max Barta, Actemium’s project manager. “This technology definitely provides opportunities, but those looking to diversify into it should be aware that fast-charger installation in particular requires a lot of expertise.” County Durham-based Elm EV designs, supplies, installs and maintains

charging points and is busy providing free charging points to eligible homes through government funding. “I am totally convinced that over the next two years the home-charge unit will become part of a standard domestic rewire, every new commercial building will have charging equipment installed as part of planning requirements and electric vehicle installation will become a standard electrical contractor service,” says director Anthony Piggott. “The potential is enormous.” » Rob Shepherd is a freelance business journalist who specialises in the building services industry

Winter 2013-14 Connections

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Crabtree expertise benefits circuit protection

Crabtree’s range of circuit protection and control products includes a comprehensive range of distribution boards, panel-boards, switch-boards and enclosed fuse switch switchgear, and is ideal for all commercial and industrial applications. This commercial circuit protection offer provides simplicity, flexibility and all round capability to any application up to a maximum of 3,200A, with the company’s products found in many modern prestigious locations and applications throughout the UK and the rest of the world. Electricians continue to choose Crabtree for its ease of installation, and the adaptability of its off the shelf product solutions to satisfy the varied and often complex circuit protection requirements encountered in modern applications. For instance, the unique Polestar Compact distribution board has been designed to use a range of outgoing devices, including MCBs and RCBOs in 18mm modules, but unlike competitors’ products, these are high performance devices rated at an advantageous 16kA. This means that Polestar Compact provides the highest performance MCB / RCBO distribution board system on the market today. In the more rigorous working environment presented by some applications, customers often require such enhanced performance characteristics. For example, Polestar Compact distribution boards are underwritten by conformance with London Underground standards and are compliant within sub surface rail areas in conjunction with fire resistant structures. IP66 and IP41 distribution boards in the range are covered by London Underground product registration certificate No 1933 and are used to provide better containment of the protective devices, limiting any interaction between the outside environment and the interior of the distribution board. For simplicity, Polestar boards also include the facility for integral metering and surge protection alongside high performance circuit protection, to cater for Part L2 of the Building Regulations, covering the energy efficiency requirements of new

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buildings. Polestar Compact pulsed output and Modbus output metering options provide simple and straightforward solutions for integral energy monitoring applications. With correctly installed meters providing the information that is necessary for the implementation of an effective energy management plan which plays an essential role for compliance with building regulations and to improve energy efficiency. For larger installations, the Powerstar 250 MCCB Panelboard system provides high levels of flexibility; main units are complemented by add on or extension units and these standard combinations combine to give the user up to 100 panel board options from standard catalogue parts. Furthermore the installer can easily mix and match G and J frame MCCBs to give the most appropriate electrical and economical solution up to 800A. The Powerstar MCCB Panel-Board range is extremely flexible and thus suitable for on site customisation for the more basic applications. The comprehensive off the shelf range is also available via the company’s factory built assembly operation for the more complex solutions. With additional facilities such as surge protection and metering on incoming and outgoing ways, this range easily meets the circuit protection needs of the modern energy conscious installation environment. Finally, S4 switchboards, using the latest Siemens technology, provide the ultimate capability, proficiently designed to meet the latest demands in commercial and electrical protection standards. High-quality, perfectly matched switching devices with maximum safety and efficiency facilitate an easy integration into building control technology or an existing building management system thanks to the capability

of the system’s built-in intelligence. During operation, an efficient ventilation system prevents heat accumulation and heat pockets, and fast and easy access is facilitated to the devices for setting purposes through doors with central locking, swivel frames and quick-release locks. Forms of internal separation 1, 2b, 3b, 4a, 4b (type 6 and 7) are all available. Where best to demonstrate the all round capability of Crabtree but the Crystal exhibition building in London’s Victoria Dock. The Crystal is an all-electric building that demonstrates the use of solar power and a ground source heat pump to generate its own energy. The design of the building’s structure provides additional insulation and takes energy efficiency to a new level. The building also incorporates rainwater harvesting, black water treatment, solar heating and automated building management systems fed by an S4 switchboard. So take a closer look at the options available and discover how Crabtree can help. Whether buying just a small selection of components or specifying a large project like the Crystal, remember the simplicity, flexibility and all round capability offered by the Crabtree product range will help maintain that competitive edge. The Crabtree sales team, quotations service and technical support team are also there to help with advice and information. To take a closer look at these products call Electrium Sales on 01543 455000 or email A dedicated rail product catalogue, with detailed technical performance data, is also available on request.

22/01/2014 14:10

New testers from VT28 Voltage Tester The VT28 measures continuity, phase rotation and voltages between 12V to 690V. Meets BS EN61243-3 and is supplied with removable probe caps for GS38 compliance. The cable is double insulated with a black outer and contrasting inner core to give visual warning of damage. There is a useful LED torch for working in low light environments. ‹12

- 690V AC/DC ‹Single pole phase test 90 - 690V ‹Phase rotation test 100 - 690V ‹Continuity - optical and acoustic indication ‹Auto power off ‹White LED torch light ‹Clear LCD display

ET5 Electrical Tester The ET5 measures voltage, resistance and current. It also has frequency, continuity and diode test functions and can be used as a non-contact voltage indicator. Also includes auto power off, display hold, capacitance, temperature and duty cycle. A K-type thermocouple is

Carry case included

supplied (-35° to 500°C).

AC/DC - 200A AC/DC current ‹30Hz - 400Hz frequency ‹Non-contact voltage indicator 70V - 600V ‹Continuity test ‹Diode test ‹Capacitance ‹Duty cycle ‹Temperature measurement

Dual display Amps & Volts or Frequency & Volts

‹600V ‹0.1A

Also available ET4, also with dual display

Available from all good wholesalers

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22/01/2014 08:27

Ask the experts/Technical

Fully Charged From the helpline

We continue with our series of answers to some of the more frequently asked questions put to our Technical Helpline. QUESTION


Can two or more circuits of an electrical installation share the same circuit protective conductor (cpc)? If so, what should the cross-sectional area of the cpc be?

Yes, it is permitted for a cpc to be common to two or more circuits (Regulation 543.1.2 refers). However, the cpc of a circuit is required to be incorporated in the same wiring system as the live conductors of the circuit or in their immediate proximity, unless an RCD is used for fault protection (Regulation 543.6.1 refers). An example of a cpc common to two or more circuits is where a metallic conduit is used as the cpc for a number of circuits running within it. The minimum cross-sectional area (csa) required for a shared cpc must be either: • calculated using the adiabatic equation of Regulation 543.1.3, based on the most onerous of the values of earth fault current (I) and operating time (t) (or energy let through (I2t)) in each of the circuits that share the cpc, or • selected using Table 54.7 of Regulation 543.1.4, based on that of the largest line conductor of the circuits that share the cpc. Selection is usually quicker and easier to use than calculation. However, selection might not produce the most economical result. Calculation might allow a smaller size of cpc to be used. Where calculation produces a non-standard size of cpc, a cpc of at least the nearest larger standard csa has to be used.



Where two or more Reference Methods apply to a circuit, the most onerous Reference I’m dealing with a circuit that uses Method should be recorded in the Schedule of Circuit details. This is the Reference Method different Reference Methods from that results in the lowest value of current-carrying capacity for the circuit conductors. Appendix 4 of BS 7671 in different parts of its route. Which Reference Method should I record for this circuit in the Schedule of Circuit Details in the Electrical Installation Certificate or Periodic Inspection Report? The schedule has space for only one Reference Method per circuit. QUESTION


BS 7671 doesn’t seem to include a table of maximum earth fault loop impedance (Zs) values for moulded-case circuit-breakers (MCCBs)? Why is this, and how can I find the maximum permitted Zs value for an MCCB?

BS 7671 does not include tabulated maximum Zs values or time/current characteristics for circuit-breakers to BS EN 60947-2, such as MCCBs. This is because the tripping characteristics of these devices are generally not pre-set like those of circuit-breakers to BS EN 60898 (circuit-breakers for household and similar installations, known as MCBs); they are adjustable by means of a setting panel provided on the MCCB. This makes it impracticable to include tabulated Zs values or time/current characteristics in BS 7671 for the numerous possible combinations of settings and current ratings for MCCBs. The maximum permitted value of Zs for an MCCB can be found by using the formula Zs=U0/Ia, given on the first page of Appendix 3 of BS 7671. (U0 is the nominal line-to-Earth voltage of the circuit, and Ia is the current causing operation of the MCCB within the disconnection time specified for the circuit in BS 7671). The value of Ia should be obtained from the MCCB manufacturer’s time/current characteristics for the particular type and rating of MCCB being used, taking account of the intended settings on the panel of the MCCB. Connections Winter 2013-14

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20/01/2014 16:22

Ask the experts/Technical

Fully charged




I’ve been asked to install an additional lighting point in an existing installation but there are no spare ways in the distribution board. I would like to connect the new lighting point to one of the existing lighting circuits, by connecting to the circuit protective device and the corresponding neutral and earth terminals at the distribution board. Is this permitted, provided the circuit protective device is suitable for the additional load, and the terminals at the distribution board are suitable to accept the additional conductors?

Yes. Although Regulation 314.4 requires each final circuit to be connected to a separate way in a distribution board, a circuit may have more than one ‘branch’ connected to the appropriate way of the distribution board.



I’m carrying out remedial work on an electrical installation, and the metallic gas installation pipes require main equipotential bonding. The gas meter is external to the main building and is about 30 m from the main earthing terminal (MET) of the installation. Am I allowed to install an earth electrode close to the gas meter and just install a main equipotential bonding conductor from the gas installation pipe to that electrode?

Fig 1 Example of main bonding arrangements No. Simply providing an earth (single building) electrode and bonding the Extraneous-conductive-part gas installation pipework to it other than pipework (eg exposed structural metalwork) does not give compliance with Main protective Regulation 411.3.1.1. The first part bonding conductors of Regulation 411.3.1.1 requires Metallic main that in each installation the pipework extraneous-conductive-parts shall be connected to the MET Water Gas meter meter by main bonding conductors. In the proposal you describe, the gas installation pipe Main Earthing Terminal would not be connected to Earthing conductor the MET. The requirements Means of earthing (i.e. earthing facility of Regulation 411.3.1.1 would provided by the therefore not be met. electricity distributor, or installation earth electrode) Figure 1 shows an example of how to meet the requirements of Regulation 411.3.1.1 for a single building. The bonding conductor connection to a gas, water or other service should be made as near as practical to the point of entry of the service into the premises, and in accordance with the other requirements detailed in Regulation 544.1.2.



I’m carrying out some electrical installation work in a building that has a metallic waste pipe that enters the building from the ground outside. The only part of the pipe that is exposed to touch inside the building is a short section, about 50 mm long, at the end of the pipe, where it emerges through the floor and connects to a ceramic lavatory pan. Should the metallic waste pipe be main bonded?

It depends on whether or not the short section of metallic waste pipe exposed inside the building is an extraneous-conductive-part. The definition of an extraneous-conductive-part is: ‘A conductive part liable to introduce a potential, generally Earth potential, and not forming part of the electrical installation.’ To decide whether or not the short section of pipe is an extraneous-conductive-part, a question you should ask yourself is this. During the course of a year, is a person likely to touch the short section of pipe whilst also touching any metal that is connected to the main earthing terminal of the electrical installation? In answering the question, you should take account of the position and physical dimensions of the short exposed section of pipe, and the proximity of any metal connected to the main earthing terminal. If the answer to the question is no, the metallic waste pipe is unlikely to introduce a potential, and would therefore not be considered to be an extraneous-conductive-part. If the pipe is not an extraneous-conductive-part, it need not be main bonded.

Winter 2013-14 Connections

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20/01/2014 16:22

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22/01/2014 08:49

Ask the experts/Technical

Fully charged 44 48

Amendment 2 to BS 7671 issued – electric vehicle charging installations Sizing of conductors that connect a load control device to a busbar chamber

50 55 60

Sealing of wiring system penetrations Conducting locations with restricted movement Snags and solutions: A practical guide to everyday electrical problems, now updated to Amendement No 1 of BS 7671

Amendment 2 to BS 7671 issued – electric vehicle charging installations Amendment 2 to the IET Wiring Regulations Seventeenth Edition (BS 7671: 2008) was issued on 1 August. It applies to installations designed after 31 July 2013.


he subject of Amendment 2 is electric vehicle charging installations. The requirements are contained in a new section – Section 722, included in the amendment. As Section 722 falls within Part 7 (Special installations or locations) of BS 7671, its requirements supplement or modify the general requirements contained in other parts of the Regulations. It must therefore be read in conjunction with all other relevant parts of BS 7671. Scope The requirements of Section 722 do not apply to inductive charging or any other form of wireless charging of electric vehicles, or to installations for charging mobility scooters and similar vehicles that take a rated current of 10 A and less from the electrical installation. New definitions Eight new definitions of terms used in Section 722 are in Amendment 2. The definition of an electric vehicle explains that this is any vehicle propelled by an electric motor that draws current from a battery or other portable energy storage device rechargeable from a residential or public electricity service or other source off the vehicle. The vehicle is manufactured primarily for use on public streets, roads or highways. The definition of an electric vehicle charging point explains that this is the point where 44

the electric vehicle is connected to the fixed installation. If the charging cable belongs to the vehicle, the charging point consists of a socket-outlet. If the charging cable is a fixed part of the electric vehicle supply equipment, the charging point consists of a vehicle connector (definition discussed later). Definitions are given for four distinct modes of charging complying with the BS EN 61851 series of standards, Electric vehicle conductive charging system. Mode 1 charging and Mode 2 charging both consist of connection of the electric vehicle to the a.c. supply by a standardised socket-outlet, rated at not more than 16 A for Mode 1 and 32 A for Mode 2, and not more than 250 V single-phase or 480 V three-phase. Modes 1 and 2 both use the power and protective earth conductors. Mode 2 also uses a control pilot function and an RCD for personnel protection against electric shock between the vehicle and the plug or as part of the in-cable control box. Mode 3 charging is connection of the electric vehicle to the a.c. supply via dedicated electric vehicle supply equipment permanently wired to the a.c. fixed installation. The control pilot function extends to control equipment in the electric vehicle supply equipment. Mode 4 charging is connection of the electric vehicle to the a.c. supply via an off-board charger where the control pilot function extends to equipment permanently wired to the a.c. fixed installation. Finally there are definitions for vehicle coupler and vehicle connector. A vehicle coupler is a means of allowing manual connection of a flexible cable to an electric vehicle for charging purposes. A vehicle connector is the part of a vehicle coupler integral with the flexible cable or intended to be attached to it. (The other part of the vehicle coupler is the vehicle inlet.) Circuit design and loading allowances Regulation 722.311 requires that a final circuit provided for the connection to electric vehicles must be dedicated to that purpose alone. The regulation also requires that no diversity be allowed where a final circuit supplies more than one charging point. However, diversity may be allowed for a dedicated distribution circuit

Winter 2013-14 Connections

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20/01/2014 16:59

Fig 1 Electric shock risk due of open-circuit fault in supply PEN conductor

• Non-conducting location (Regulation Group 418.1). The use of this measure is permitted only in installations under the supervision of skilled or instructed persons (Regulation 410.3.6 refers).

Secondary of distribution transformer

L1 L2 L3 PEN Source earth

Open-circuit in PEN conductor

Additional source earth

(some possible positions)


PME terminals


RCD does not offer protection against open-circuit PEN fault


Consumer’s installation

Person in contact with Earth, touching exposed-conductive-part

Shock current returns via mass of Earth Red arrows denote path of shock current

supplying multiple electric vehicle charging points, provided that load control is available to prevent overloading of the circuit. Protective measures against electric shock Section 722 allows the use of any of the five protective measures against electric shock listed below in an electric vehicle installation. The two measures that seem the most likely to be used in practice are: • Automatic disconnection of supply (Section 411), subject to certain additional requirements in Section 722, mentioned later, including special requirements where PME conditions apply. • Electrical separation (Section 413), via a fixed isolating transformer with no part of the secondary winding earthed. A secondary winding may supply only one electric vehicle (Regulation 722.413.1.2 refers). The measures that seem less likely to be used are: • Double or reinforced insulation (Section 412). This measure is not suitable with charging equipment or vehicles having parts that need to be earthed. • Extra-low voltage provided by SELV or PELV (Section 414).

Protective Multiple Earthing (PME) Where the protective is automatic disconnection supply and a PME earthing facility is used as the means of earthing (TN-C-S system), special requirements of Section 722 apply if an electric vehicle charging point is: • located outdoors, or • might reasonably be expected to be used to charge a vehicle located outdoors. The special requirements are intended to protect against a risk of electric shock that can arise in the unlikely event of an open-circuit fault in the combined protective and neutral (PEN) conductor of the low voltage network supplying the installation. The fault can result in a dangerous voltage to Earth existing for long periods on the earthed metalwork of the installation and equipment connected to it (including any electric vehicle and its charging equipment), posing a danger to any person touching the metalwork whilst in contact directly with the general mass of Earth, as shown in Fig 1. An RCD offers no protection in these circumstances, as the shock current flows in both the line and neutral conductors passing through the core balance of the device and consequently there is no imbalance to cause operation of the RCD. The relevant requirement of Section 722, given in Regulation 722.411.4.1, is that – with one permitted exception (see later) – at least one of three conditions, summarised below, has to be met. (i) The charging point forms part of a three-phase installation that also supplies loads other than for electric vehicle charging, and the overall load is balanced or reasonably well balanced, meeting certain conditions described in Regulation 722.411.4.1 and Annex A722. (ii) The main earthing terminal of the installation is connected to an installation earth electrode having a resistance to Earth not exceeding a value calculated in accordance with a formula given in Annex A722, which is typically very low. (iii) Protection is provided by a special type of voltage-operated earth-leakage circuit-breaker (not an RCD) that disconnects the charging point from the live conductors of the supply and from protective earth under specified conditions. The device is not yet commercially available but a product standard for it is being developed (Regulation 722.411.4.1 refers). NICEIC Connections Winter 2013-14

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Ask the experts/Technical

Fully charged The device has to be connected to an earth electrode placed outside the resistance area of any parallel earth or the electrode of any other earth-leakage circuit-breaker. The resistance of the earth electrode need not to be low provided it is stable. A value of 200 ohms is likely to be acceptable provided this meets the circuit breaker manufacturer’s recommendations. The requirement to comply with (i), (ii) or (iii) need not be applied for a charging point at a dwelling if none of the three conditions is reasonably practicable. In this context, ‘dwelling’ means a self-contained unit designed to accommodate a single household. It does not mean a building exclusively containing rooms for residential purposes, such as a nursing home or student accommodation or similar.

connector at charging points, but it requires these to be chosen from six different types listed in Regulation 722.55.201.1. Vehicle manufacturers’ instructions should be followed when determining the type of socket-outlet or connector to be installed, as pointed out in a note in the regulation. The listed types of socket-outlet and connector include: • 13 A socket-outlets to BS 1363-2 where the manufacturer approves their suitability for use for the characteristics of the charging load, • industrial type socket-outlet or connectors complying with BS EN 60309-2 having one of two specified interlocking arrangements to prevent contacts being live when accessible, • for Mode 3 charging, one of three different types of socket-outlet or vehicle connector complying with the BS EN 62196 series of standards, Plugs, socket-outlets, vehicle connectors and vehicle inlets. Conductive charging of electric vehicles.

Use of a TT system Protection against external influences Where automatic disconnection of supply is used as the protective measure, a possible alternative to using a PME earthing facility (TN-C-S system) might be to make the electric vehicle charging installation part of a TT system. However, the use of a TT system – with its heavy reliance on the installation earth electrode and RCDs for fault protection – is not without some risk, in that earth electrodes and buried earthing conductors can be subject to damage or deterioration, and a small proportion of RCDs are known to fail in service. It should be borne in mind that the use of a PME earthing facility is generally found to be very safe and reliable. RCD protection of charging points Where automatic disconnection of supply is used as the protective measure, Regulation 722.531.2.101 requires every charging point to be individually protected by an RCD having a rated residual operating current (IΔn) not exceeding 30 mA and an operating time not exceeding 40 ms at 5 IΔn, disconnecting all live conductors, including the neutral. The RCD is required to be at least a type A, due to the likelihood of d.c. being present in vehicle charging current. If it is known that the d.c. component of residual current will exceed 6 mA, the RCD must be of type B to BS EN 62423. Type of socket-outlet or connector at charging points Section 722 does not standardise on any one particular type of socket-outlet or vehicle 46

Where an EV charging point is installed outdoors, the equipment is required to be selected with a degree of protection of at least IP44. Miscellaneous Other notable requirements of Section 722 include (amongst others): • where a charging point is built into a low voltage switchgear or controlgear assembly, the requirements of the relevant part of the BS EN 61439 series, Low-voltage switchgear and controlgear assemblies, are to be met, • emergency switching devices, where required, must be capable of breaking the full load current of the relevant parts of the installation and disconnect all live conductors, • each socket-outlet must be installed in a fixed socket-outlet box or a distribution board, • tethered vehicle connectors are permitted but not portable socket-outlets, • arrangements must be provided to prevent insertion or removal of plugs in charging Modes 3 and 4, unless the socket-outlet or the vehicle connector has been switched off from the supply, • the lowest part of a socket-outlet is to be between 0.5 m and 1.5 m above the ground. Obtaining a copy of Amendment 2 Contractors registered with ELECSA or NICEIC who carry out electric vehicle charging installations are required to have access to a copy of Amendment 2. It is available to view for free at or to purchase for print at

Winter 2013-14 Connections

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20/01/2014 16:59


Our e-newsletters are a great way to keep up-to-date with latest industry news and developments as well as finding out about new products, services and great offers. To sign up now email and let us know if you would like to receive either the NICEIC or ELECSA version. Don’t forget you can also connect with what’s most important to your business and for instant industry news by following us on Twitter now @officialniceic and @officialelecsa.

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22/01/2014 08:30

Ask the experts/Technical

Fully charged Sizing of conductors that connect a load control device to a busbar chamber It is occasionally necessary to connect an additional outgoing switch-and-fuse unit or circuit-breaker to an existing busbar chamber, as depicted in Fig 1. In some cases, suitably rated proprietary solid copper connection sets to do this are available from switchgear manufacturers. However, where some other type of conductor – such as single-core cable – is used to connect the new outgoing unit to the busbars, the question arises of how to determine the minimum cross-sectional area (csa) required for the live (line and neutral) conductors.


t should first be mentioned that the interconnecting conductors should be installed in a practical and safe manner, taking care to avoid physical contact between them and busbars on different phases. If the busbars are uninsulated, it should also be appreciated that they might be intended to operate at a temperature significantly higher than can be withstood by the insulation of the interconnecting conductors (perhaps 200 °C). It may therefore be necessary to strip back the insulation from the ends of the new interconnecting conductors where they connect to the busbars, for a distance sufficient to avoid thermal damage to the insulation. The cross-sectional area of the interconnecting conductors should be chosen to meet the relevant requirements of BS 7671 for: • protection against overload current (Section 433), • protection against fault current (Section 434), and • limitation of voltage drop (Section 525).

In most cases, it would not be practicable to install an overload protective device at the point where the interconnecting conductors connect to the busbars. Also, in most cases, it would not be practicable to rely on a protective device on the supply side of the busbars to provide protection against overload current for the interconnecting conductors serving the new outgoing switch-and-fuse unit or circuit-breaker, as this could result in an unduly large size of interconnecting conductors being required by Regulation Group 433.1 – possibly too large to fit into the incoming terminals of the outgoing switch-and-fuse unit or circuit-breaker. Therefore, it is usual to use the fuses in the new switch-and-fuse unit, or the new outgoing circuit-breaker, to protect the interconnecting conductors against overload current. This is permitted (by Regulation 433.2.2), provided the interconnecting conductors have no branch connections or socket-outlets and they are either: (i) protected against fault current in accordance with Section 434 (as explained later in this article), or (ii) are not more than 3 m in length and are installed in a way that minimises the risk or danger to persons. It is usually best to make sure that condition (ii) above is met. Where this is done, there is no requirement to provide protection against fault current for the interconnecting conductors. To meet the requirement of condition (ii) for the

Fig 1 Example of an outgoing switch-and-fuse or unit circuit-breaker connected to a busbar chamber Busbar chamber


Protection against overload current Sizing the interconnecting conductors so that they are protected against overload involves applying the requirements of Regulation Group 433.1 for co-ordination between conductor and overload protective device, together with the recommendations of Appendix 4 relating to current-carrying capacity. 48

Outgoing Incoming

Winter 2013-14 Connections

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Fig 2 Securing the conductors together can help with installing them in a suitable way

conductors to be installed in a way that minimises the risk or danger to persons, the conductors should be positioned around or away from other live conductors. Lacing the interconnecting conductors together or otherwise securing them to each other in a safe manner can be of help in doing this. Fig 2 refers. The conductors should also be contained in a robust, earthed metallic enclosure capable of withstanding the dissipation of energy associated with the fault levels present. Secure conductor connections to busbars would also be essential to minimise the likelihood of a fault between the interconnecting conductors or from a conductor to earth. Protection against fault current (short-circuit and earth fault) If condition (ii) of Regulation 433.2.2 (as mentioned above) is met, there is no requirement to provide protection against fault current for the interconnecting conductors. Where protection against fault current is required for the interconnecting conductors, their cross-sectional area has to be chosen to meet the requirements of Regulation 434.5.2. Essentially, the regulation requires that the value of S2k2 for the conductors shall be not less than the value of let-through energy (I2t), under fault conditions, of the fuse or circuit-breaker that is used to provide protection against fault current for the conductors, where:

quoted by the manufacturer of the device, in amperes2 seconds. The fuse or circuit-breaker must be one that meets the requirements of Regulation 434.5.1, relating to breaking capacity. It is usually not practicable to position a fuse or circuit-breaker at the point of connection of the interconnecting conductors to the busbars to provide protection against fault current for the conductors. However, except where the installation is in a location presenting a risk of fire or explosion or where special requirements for certain locations specify different conditions, BS 7671 permits the device to be positioned either on: â&#x20AC;˘ the supply side of the busbars (Regulation 434.2.2 refers), or â&#x20AC;˘ the load side of the interconnecting conductors, provided certain conditions are met, as explained later (Regulation 434.2.1 refers). The use of a device located on the supply side of the busbars can result in an unduly large size of interconnecting conductors being required by Regulation 434.5.2 (mentioned above). Where a device on the load side of the interconnecting conductors is used, Regulation 434.2.1 applies and the obvious choice of device is the fuse(s) in the new outgoing switch-and-fuse unit, or the new outgoing circuit-breaker. Regulation 434.2.1 requires that there shall be no branch circuits or socket-outlets between where the interconnecting conductors connect to the busbars and the terminals of the protective device, and that the interconnecting conductors shall be: (i) not more than 3 m in length, and (ii) installed in a way that minimises the risk of fault, and (iii) installed in a way that minimises the risk of fire or danger to persons. Meeting conditions (i), (ii) and (iii) above involves installing the conductors in the same way as would be required in order to meet condition (ii) of Regulation 433.2.2, referred to in the previous section of this article. However, if that condition is met, there is no requirement to provide protection against fault current for the interconnecting conductors (Regulation 433.2.2 refers) ! Limitation of voltage drop

S is the cross-sectional area of the conductors in mm2, and k is a factor chosen from Table 43.1 of BS 7671 for the particular type of conductors that are used. The value of let-through energy (I2t) for the fuse or circuit-breaker should be the value

The voltage drop in the interconnecting conductors is unlikely to be unacceptably high, as their length is usually no more than a few metres. Nevertheless, the acceptability of the voltage drop should be checked using the recommendations of Appendix 4. Connections Winter 2013-14

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20/01/2014 16:59

Ask the experts/Technical

Fully charged Sealing of wiring system penetrations Where a wiring system penetrates an element of building construction (floor, wall, roof, ceiling, partition or cavity barrier) having a specified fire resistance, Regulation Group 527.2 of BS 7671 requires the openings to be sealed to minimise the risk of spread of fire. Such sealing is also a legal requirement imposed by the Building Regulations in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Consequently, the requirements to seal openings apply not only for elements of building construction that sub-divide the building into fire compartments (in fact many dwellings consist of only a single fire compartment); the requirements apply wherever a wiring system penetrates any element of building construction having a specified fire resistance. Furthermore, the requirements apply even if only a fire resisting lining of an element (such as plasterboard) is penetrated, rather than the whole thickness of the element. This is because, in such a case, the lining might be responsible for providing most of the fire resistance of the element, with the interior (such as timber studs or webbed ‘I’ joists) having only a short survival time if exposed to fire. Periods of fire resistance required by Building Regulations


he requirements of Regulation Group 527.2 and the relevant Building Regulations are intended to preserve: • fire separation between areas of a building, and • structural stability of the premises in the event of fire. For example, in most domestic premises, it is the loadbearing capacity of the floors that is threatened by early failure of ceiling linings due to fire. Table 1 Guidance documents covering fire resistance requirements of Building Regulations Nation


England and Wales


Approved Document B – Fire Safety, Volume 1 – Dwellinghouses


Approved Document B – Fire Safety, Volume 2 – Building other than dwellinghouses


Technical Handbook Domestic, Section 2 – Fire


Technical Handbook Non Domestic, Section 2 – Fire


Technical Booklet E - Fire safety


Technical Booklet E - Fire safety


Northern Ireland

Note. Documents can be downloaded free at: England and Wales: Scotland: publications/pubtech Northern Ireland content_-_building_regulations-newpage-3.htm


The documents listed in Table 1 give information on the periods of fire resistance required by the Building Regulations in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland for different elements of building construction. Sealing requirements of BS 7671 The term ‘wiring system’, which is used in BS 7671 in relation to sealing, is defined in Part 2 of BS 7671 as ‘An assembly made up of cable or busbars and parts which secure and, if necessary, enclose the cables or busbars.’ Regulation Group 527.2 calls for both external sealing (to fill the gaps around wiring systems) and internal sealing (within conduit, trunking, cable ducting and busbar trunking systems etc, with certain exceptions, mentioned later), at penetrations. The sealing must be such that the fire resistance of the element of building construction is restored to what it was required to be before the penetration. The sealing arrangements are required to resist external influences to the same degree as the wiring systems with which they are used. They are also required to meet a number of further requirements, given in Regulation 527.2.4, relating to resistance to products of combustion, protection from water penetration, compatibility with wiring system materials, and mechanical stability. Internal sealing need not be provided for conduit, trunking and cable ducting systems having an internal cross-sectional not exceeding 710 mm2 and classified by their product standards as non-flame propagating, provided they meet certain conditions given

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Photos courtesy of Hilti GB Ltd.

Fig 1 Examples of external sealing

(a) Temporary seal using intumescent pillows

(b) Accessory box seal

(c) Multi-service barrier

(d) Conduit sleeve

in Regulation 527.2.3, relating to tests for an ingress protection of IP33. 710 mm2 is roughly the internal cross-sectional area of a 32 mm diameter conduit. Regulation 527.2.1.1 requires temporary sealing arrangements to be in place during the erection of a wiring system as appropriate. This normally requires the use of products such as intumescent pillows or similar types of removable firestopping. With regard to alteration work, Regulation 527.2.1.2 calls for any sealing that has been disturbed to be reinstated as soon as practicable. Reinstatement should use the same types of materials/components as were originally used. Mixing and matching of systems and components is not supported by manufacturersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; fire test data. If the original seal cannot be

identified or sourced, the whole seal should be replaced. For external sealing, various types of firestopping solution can be used, including intumescent mastics, compounds, metal sleeves and fire-resistant sponge-filled multi-service boxes. Intumescent materials have the property of expanding as they are heated, thus sealing an opening. Once expanded, the seal can last from 1 to 4 hours depending on the nature of the product and the base substrate (wall/floor etc) in which it is installed. Fig 1 shows some examples of external sealing arrangements. Checks should be made that the products installed have appropriate fire test or assessment evidence to cover the end-use configuration to Connections Winter 2013-14

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Ask the experts/Technical

Fully charged be used on site. Details of products that have been comprehensively fire tested and third party certificated can be found in the Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP) ‘Red Book’ – Fire Stopping: Linear joint seals, penetration seals & small cavity barriers, 3rd Edition. Fire test evidence should be sought to indicate the suitability of a firestopping system, bearing in mind the type and amount of cables and/or conduits etc to be sealed. Although a product may carry a ‘fire rating’ it does not Fig 2 Examples of internal sealing

Fire-stopping around exterior of wiring system Fire-stopping within trunking

necessarily qualify it as a suitable firestopping product. For example, expanding PU foams are often not suitable as they are usually tested as linear gap seals and not tested on cable or pipe penetrations. Therefore they should not be used as firestopping around wiring system penetrations unless they have comprehensive supporting test evidence (see Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP) Advisory Note on PU foams). Internal sealing is often achieved using intumescent material. This could be in the form of mastic that can be pumped in, or as pillows for use with trunking and cable tray. Fig 2 shows some example of internal sealing arrangements. It is not advisable to use mineral wool or similar thermally insulating material for sealing purposes. Such material is likely to reduce the dissipation of heat generated in cables in normal service, thereby reducing their current-carrying capacity. For example, for cables passing through insulating material for a distance of 100 mm, the effective current-carrying capacity would be reduced by a factor of 0.78, as can be seen from Table 52.2 of Regulation 523.9.

Cables inside trunking Steel trunking forming wiring system

(a) Using intumescent mastic

(b) Using intumescent pillows


Sources of further guidance Details of products that have been comprehensively fire tested and third party certificated can be found in the ASFP ‘Red Book’ – Fire Stopping: Linear joint seals, penetration seals & small cavity barriers, 3rd Edition. Guidance on the use of expanding PU (polyurethane) foams can be found in the ASFP Advisory Note on the use of PU foams. These and other useful publications can be downloaded free of charge from or phone 01420 471612. Guidance on the impact of electrical installation on the fire performance of domestic premises, including aspects not specifically covered in this article, such as precautions necessary with flush-mounted consumer units, recessed luminaires and flush-mounted accessories, can be found in the Electrical Safety Council’s Best Practice Guide number 5. A copy can be downloaded free of charge at http://www. industry/best_practice/BPG8_10.pdf For England and Wales, guidance for electrical installers and designers on meeting the requirements of the Building Regulations in domestic premises can be found in a new guide published by ELECSA and NICEIC. Copies are available from the NICEIC Direct Shop (http:// or phone 0843 290 3501).

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Philip Martin Area Engineer

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Vicky Spalding NICEIC Direct

Clinton Thompson Technical Helpline

Rebecca Bullock Customer Services

22/01/2014 08:52

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The heater that adapts to its environment It’s also up to 25% cheaper to run and uses up to 20% less energy than comparable static storage heaters Advances in insulation, technology and controllability mean the new Quantum space heater intuitively matches a user’s lifestyle and climate conditions, delivering just the right amount of heat, and it is expected that 97%* of this will come from off-peak energy. These running costs are almost unattainable by other direct acting electric systems. And to top it all, the Quantum space heater is cheap to install and maintenance free!

Benefits for you and your customers: sææSimple to install – with separate instructions for both installer and user sææDelivers heat when it is needed – not when it isn’t! sææMatches output to user lifestyle sææFully automatic, variable speed, low noise fan giving rapid warm-up sææSet and forget electronic controller holds room temperature to within 0.3°C sææReversible cable entry points sææSized to ensure the chassis covers previous ‘fixing marks’ of comparably sized storage heaters

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Fully charged Conducting locations with restricted movement A person carrying out installation, maintenance, inspection and testing or similar in a conducting location with restricted movement, such as a large boiler or metal tank, perhaps using a handlamp or 230 V power drill, would be at increased risk of electric shock.


his increased risk is recognised in BS 7671, in that the general requirements of that standard are supplemented and modified by the requirements of Section 706 (Conducting locations with restricted movement), as discussed in this article. A conducting location with restrictive movement is defined in Part 2 of BS 7671 as ‘A location comprised mainly of metallic or conductive surrounding parts, within which it is Fig 1 Use of electrical separation to supply hand-held, mobile or fixed electrical equipment Access Protective device


likely that a person will come into contact through a substantial portion of their body with the conductive surrounding parts and where the possibility of preventing this contact is limited.’ Examples include: • boilers, • pressure vessels (such as those associated with chilling plants), • large gauge pipes, • ducting, • tanks, • access ways and enclosed access ladders. The risk of electric shock in such locations is increased by a number of factors that might be encountered, either singly or in combination, such as: • the structure of the location is likely to be at, or close to, Earth potential, • a person within the location is unable to avoid contact with their conductive surroundings, probably with a number of points of contact, and would find it difficult to break contact or escape due to their confined surroundings, • the confined nature of the location leads to increased perspiration that is likely to lower body resistance and hence reduce resistance at points of contact to the conductive surroundings, • the location has little or no illumination, making it necessary for the operator to take a handlamp into the location, • the nature of the maintenance or other work necessitates the use of electric power tools in the location. Protection against electric shock It is not permitted to use the unusual protective measures of obstacles or placing out of reach, in accordance with Section 417, in a conducting location with restricted movement. Regulation 706.410.3.5 refers. Regulation 706.410.3.10 permits the use of the protective measures described below. For supplies to hand-held tools and mobile equipment

cpc Separating transformer Fortuitous contact with earth

Hand-held tools and equipment may be supplied by a circuit protected by electrical separation, in accordance with the requirements of Section 413, with the additional requirement that only a single item of equipment may be connected to a secondary winding of the transformer, as shown in Fig 1. It is permitted for the transformer to have more than one secondary winding. Alternatively, the protective measure extra-low voltage by means of SELV, in accordance with Section 414, may be used.

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Ask the experts/Technical

Fully charged For handlamps

Fig 2 Automatic disconnection of supply used in conjunction with additional supplementary bonding

The only protective measure permitted to be used for the supply to handlamps is SELV, in accordance with Section 414. The SELV supply may be used to supply a fluorescent luminaire operating at a voltage exceeding extra-low voltage, incorporating an integral step-up transformer having electrically separated windings (indent (ii) a) of Regulation 706.410.3.10 refers).


Protective device

Fixed equipment

For fixed equipment


The protective measure of automatic disconnection of supply in accordance with Section 411 may be used, provided this includes supplementary bonding in accordance with Regulation Group 415.2. The supplementary bonding should connect together all exposed-conductive-parts within the location (such as metallic conduits and equipment enclosures) and the conductive parts of the location itself (such as the metalwork of a boiler, vessel, duct or similar). Fig 2 refers. The protective measure of double or reinforced insulation in accordance with Section 412 may be used, on condition that the circuits supplying the equipment are provided with additional protection by RCDs having a rated residual current (Iホ馬) not exceeding 30 mA and an operating time not exceeding 40 ms at a residual current of 5 Iホ馬.


Fortuitous contact with earth

Additional supplementary bonding conductor

Fig 3 The use of SELV and PELV to supply any type of equipment in a conducting location with restricted movement (a) SELV

(b) PELV

Access Protective device

SELV source

Protective device

SELV circuit



SELV current-using equipment

SELV source

PELV circuit

PELV current-using equipment


cpc cpc


Winter 2013-14 Connections

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Coming soon for customers

New online certification!

Be online, on site and on time… …just like Delroy Completing certificates and forms is now even easier with NICEIC’s new Online Certification System. • Free for all NICEIC Contractors – no software, licence or support costs • Instantly notify jobs to Building Control • Use on multiple platforms – PC, tablet and smartphone

• All certificates included and updated when regulations change • Certificates securely stored online • Pay-as-you-go certificates

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22/01/2014 08:53

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Fully charged Fig 4 Automatic disconnection of supply used in conjunction with additional supplementary bonding and provision of a functional earthing conductor Access

Protective device

Fixed equipment (exposedconductive-part)


extraneous-conductive-parts of the location, and the earthing terminal of the PELV supply to Earth. Sources for electrical separation Where the protective measure electrical separation is used, the source (typically a transformer with separate primary and secondary windings) should provide at least simple separation of the separated circuit from other circuits and from Earth, and be sited outside the location, unless the source forms a part of the fixed installation within the location. The winding supplying the electrically separated circuit must be unearthed. Regulation 706.413.1.2 refers. Particular requirements for SELV and PELV


Functional earthing conductor Fortuitous contact with earth

Extraneousconductive-part Additional supplementary bonding conductors

Regulation 706.413(ii) requires that the source for any SELV or PELV system is sited outside the location, as shown in Figs 3a and 3b, unless the source forms a part of the fixed installation within the location. Where either SELV or PELV is used in the location, Regulation 706.414.4.5 requires basic protection to be provided by either basic insulation in accordance with Section 416.1 or by barriers or enclosures in accordance with Section 416.2,regardless of the nominal voltage. Functional earthing

The protective measure of electrical separation in accordance with the requirements of Section 413 may also be used, with only a single item of equipment being connected to a secondary winding of the transformer. The transformer may have more than one secondary winding. Finally, protection may be provided by SELV, or by PELV if equipotential bonding is provided that connects together all exposed-conductive-parts (such as metallic conduits and equipment cases) and

Where it is necessary to provide functional earthing, such as could be necessary for certain electronic equipment, Regulation 706.411.1.2 requires equipotential bonding to be provided, connecting together all exposed-conductive-parts within the location (such a metallic conduits and equipment enclosures), extraneous-conductive-parts (metallic parts of the location) and the functional earth. Fig 4 shows an example of this arrangement.

Correction to article on pages 44 to 46 of Connections issue 187 (Autumn 2013)


There is an error in the above article, entitled Cables in spaces containing thermal insulation, in the previous issue of Connections.

the words ‘a tabulated current-carrying capacity’ should be replaced by the words ‘an effective current-carrying capacity’.

On the third line of the last paragraph on page 45,

We apologise for the error.

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Household insurance against transients from Wylex To make things more straightforward for installers, this article aims to provide clarification of the uses and merits of surge protective devices, from the many that are available on the market today. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s clear they all serve an important role in protecting sensitive electronics and microprocessors that tend to be found in almost everything today from TVs to washing machines, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not always apparent which are the right devices to use and for which particular risk they are required to insure against. Transient or surge voltages are short, pulse like, voltage peaks with steep rising edges. They may be caused by external events like lightning strikes or by internal circumstances, e.g. the switching of electrical currents or loads. Unchecked, after time, even low levels of transient overvoltage can reduce the lifespan of TVs, computers and many other valuable electrical household devices. One Company, Wylex, produce a range of economically priced Type 1, Type 2 or combination Type 1+2 surge protection devices suitable for single-phase domestic applications. So, letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not be lengthy and complicated, as often that makes understanding the selection criteria for the appropriate device difficult to follow. In fact, Wylex has recognised this problem and has just published an easy to follow decision tree that makes light work of this subject and helps installers to easily select and specify Surge Protection Devices.

Typical Type 1 Surge Protection Device

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A few simple rules to follow: Q is there a lightning protection system on the building? A if the answer is yes then a Type 1 Surge Protection Device should be fitted. Q is the building with 1km of a potential lightning strike? A if the answer is yes then a Type 2 Surge Protection Device should be fitted. Q is the supply via an overhead (TT) line? A if the answer is yes then a Type 2 Surge Protection Device should be fitted. Traditionally sensitive equipment like computers used to be top of the surge protection list, but now almost any domestic appliance is vulnerable to transient voltage surges, with a consequent potential repair or replacement cost being the penalty for not installing proper protection in the first place. Exposure to higher levels of surge voltages can result in immediate damage and can burn out circuit boards with the possibility of not only equipment loss but also the risk of house fires. This clearly has general safety implications and therefore presents a responsible business opportunity for professional electricians.

separate enclosures. Wylex will even supply bespoke custom built units with surge protection devices, MCBs and RCBOs already fitted to the unit. A new leaflet, including a device selection decision tree, offering guidance on selecting the right product to insure against lightning or switching surges, is available on request from Wylex. If you would like a copy of the leaflet call Electrium Sales on 01543 455000 or email

Fitting the correct surge protection devices can therefore be seen as providing the customer with passive insurance equipment. The devices can be easily fitted into existing consumer units or mounted into their own

22/01/2014 14:12

Ask the experts/Technical

Fully charged Snags & Solutions A practical guide to everyday electrical problems

Resistance of test leads Taking account of the resistance of test leads is essential when carrying out continuity testing or R1 + R2 testing.

Snag 29

Now updated to Amendment No 1 of BS 7671 ‘Snags & Solutions’, NICEIC’s problem solving book, is now available in five parts, which cover many commonly-encountered electrical installation problems. All parts have been updated, where appropriate, to take account of the requirements of Amendment No 1 to BS 7671: 2008 (17th Edition of the IET Wiring Regulations), which was published on 1 July 2011 and came into full effect on 1 January 2012. 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 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 the taking account of the resistance of test leads when carrying out continuity testing or R1 + R2 testing.

Failure to null test leads or take account of their resistance whilst taking resistance measurements can lead to recording incorrect measured values and mistakenly passing or failing the circuit under test. Future periodic inspections may also be hindered as the initial test results are essential for comparing against when monitoring any deterioration that may occur in the circuit over time.

snags and solutions

snags and solutions



Part 2

wiring systems

Part 5

3rd Edition

Domestic fire f detection and fire alarm systems to BS 5839

Amd 1: 2011

Amd 1: 2011


Amd 1: 2011

Amd 1: 2011

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Solution Measurements of circuit resistance are required for determining continuity of protective conductors and ring final circuit conductors (Regulations 612.2.1 and 612.2.2 refer). They are also required for establishing values of R1+R2 when determining earth fault loop impedance values for verifying fault protection by the protective measure of automatic disconnection of supply (Regulation 612.9 refers). Taking account of the resistance of test leads is vital for recording accurate measured values, as is the suitability of the instrument, test probe/clip contact resistance and the avoidance of radio frequency interference (indicated by vibration of the pointer of an analogue instrument). There are two methods of accounting for the resistance of test leads: 1. Measure the resistance of the test leads by shorting the probes or clips together then subtract that value from the measured value for the particular test (continuity or R1+R2). 2. Use an instrument that includes a feature for nulling test leads. This feature generally requires the user to short the leads together then simply press a button on the instrument that changes the instrument readout to zero. Irrespective of the method used for accounting for the resistance of test leads, the process should ideally be undertaken immediately before carrying out any resistance measurements and again immediately after the recording of a series of resistance measurements to ensure that the recorded values are accurate. Regulation 612.2.1 A continuity test shall be made. It is recommended that the test be carried out with a supply having a no-load voltage between 4 V and 24 V. d.c. or a.c., and a short-circuit current of not less than 200 mA. Regulation 612.2.2 A test shall be made to verify the continuity of each conductor, including the protective conductor, of every ring final circuit. Regulation 612.9 (part of) Where protective measures are used which require knowledge of earth fault loop impedance, the relevant impedances shall be measured, or determined by an alternative method.

Meet the helpline If you have ever telephoned our technical helpline you may wonder who the voices are on the other end of the line. Matt Darville, head of technical Industry experience: 30 yearsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; experience in most aspects of the electrical contracting industry, including 10 years lecturing and 13 years at NICEIC. Member of the joint IET/BSI technical committee for electrical installations JPEL/64 Justin Maltby-Smith, principal engineering manager Industry experience: Chartered electrical engineer, technical director, consultant, project manager, lecturer, NVQ assessor and internal verifier. Member of the joint IET/BSI technical committee for electrical installations JPEL/64 Panel A Alan Turvey, standards engineer Industry experience: Electrician, carrying out industrial, commercial, quarry and domestic installations, lecturer and deputy head of construction with further education college Clinton Thompson, standards engineer Industry experience: Electrician (domestic and industrial), electrical engineer (food industry, high-volume production and heavy press industry), college tutor, training centre tutor Stuart McHugh, technical helpline engineer Industry experience: More than 48 years in the electrical industry, including a six-year apprenticeship, industrial commercial domestic and street-lighting work Duncan McFarlane, technical helpline engineer Industry experience: Time-served electrician, working on domestic, commercial, industrial and petrochemical installations. Electrical clerk of works, electrical surveyor, lecturer and NVQ assessor Norman Bradshaw, technical helpline engineer Industry experience: Electrician for 23 years, working as an Approved Contractor, assisting new electricians in gaining Part P registration and working in partnership with local building control departments Geoff Brittain , technical helpline engineer (team leader) Industry experience: Full apprenticeship and further education. Worked in all aspects of the electrical industry. Became projects manager and subsequently ran his own company. Joined the ECA in 2007 and became team leader in 2010 Mark Cooper, technical helpline engineer Industry experience: Approved electrician with over 30 yearsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; experience, mainly in heavy industrial and commercial installations. Also a qualified NVQ assessor Steve Hoult, technical helpline engineer Industry experience: Experienced in design and installation of systems to 11kV working in the coal-mining industry and then on industrial and construction electrical supply installations

Call the technical helpline on 0870 013 0391. Got a legal query? Call our legal helpline free on 0845 602 5965

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Jobs Project Managers and Designers needed

We own and maintain electricity cables and lines across London, the South East and East of England making sure your lights stay on. We maintain and upgrade power equipment. We move and connect new electricity cables.

Commercial Project Manager (East of England)

Projects Designers and Senior Designer

To project manage a number of major connections and to ensure successful pre and post contract management of all projects in order to exceed the customer expectations. To complete project management through full life cycle of the project from initial enquiry through to post investment appraisal in line with the UK Power Networks Project Governance and Control process.

The Project Designer manages a portfolio of simple designs, typically LV extensions and LV and service diversions, providing quotations for customers and producing work packs for delivery teams often for large scale projects. The post-holder will be competent to undertake this role autonomously.

Essential skills: • HNC in Electrical Engineering (or similar). However, applications from candidates with a lesser qualification and a strong track record in either project management or distribution networks (design or construction) would be welcomed • Fully conversant with Microsoft Office packages Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Project • Experience of the Project Governance and Control process • Strong commercial awareness

For the Senior Designer position, experience of mentoring and coaching staff is required. The role requires access to secondary substations to carry out surveys and installation of monitoring equipment. The Project Designer also liaises with customers to ensure a high standard of customer service.

Essential skills: • Design and operation of the electricity distribution network • Enthusiastic and strong customer focus while maintaining safety and security of supply objectives


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£ .00

£ .95

Amd 1: 2011

BS 7671 Minor Works Certificates for up to Three Circuits (Book of 50) Full colour, model BS 7671 certificates with carbon-less copies for your records.

Available to ELECSA ECA

Code 4889 4734

Price £13.00 £13.00

Minor Electrical Works Certificates

Periodic Consumer Unit Labels (Roll of 50)

To be used only for work that does not include a new circuit. A separate certificate should be used for each existing circuit on which minor works have been carried out.

Used to indicate the next recommended test date.

Available to Code Approved Contractor 2708 Domestic Installer 2726

Available to ELECSA ECA




Qty Price 50 £11.68 25 £11.68



Code 4846 4837




Price £9.00 £9.00

Electrician’s Guide to the Building Regs

• The logbook provides the facility to record alterations, repairs, maintenance, and inspection and testing of emergency lighting installations and details of the certification issued.

The Electrician’s Guide to the Building Regulations will ensure Domestic Installers not only comply with Part P, but also with other Building Regulations including Fire Safety Ventilation and Conservation of Energy.

Available to Code Approved Contractor 2822 Domestic Installer 2822

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Available to All

Code 1279

Price £22.00

• Inspection and Test label records the date of the last inspection and the recommended date for the next one which is a requirement of Regulation 514.12.2 • Contractors can add their own name and address on these labels Available to Code Approved Contractor 1604 Domestic Installer 1460



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Code of Practice for In service ser Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment

Amd 1: 2011

Emergency Lighting Logbooks (pack of 3)

Periodic Inspection and Test Labels (Reg 514.12.1)

The On-Site Guide is intended to enable the competent electrician to deal with small installations (up to 100 A 3-phase). It provides essential information in a convenient easy to use form avoiding the need for detailed calculations.

• The IEE Code of Practice for In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment gives guidance to those responsible for the inspection testing and maintenance of electrical appliances • It also provides advice on compliance with health and safety legislation. The text specifies the frequency and scope of inspections and testing in different environments

Available to All

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IET On-Site Guide

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Code 1453

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Product Focus Fluke Fluke has introduced the Fluke® Ti200, Ti300 and Ti400 infrared cameras with advanced connectivity and accuracy to maximise technicians’ productivity in the field. The new infrared cameras feature LaserSharp™ Auto Focus, using a laser to pinpoint exactly where the camera should focus for precisely focused images every time – see video at lasersharp. The rugged Fluke Ti200, Ti300 and Ti400 will soon be able to connect to the Fluke CNX™ Wireless system, allowing them to be used as a main unit to view live measurements from up to five wireless modules (eg AC current or voltage modules) on its screen, and integrate the data into the infrared image. This functionality will be provided by a firmware update.

Marshall Tufflex Power and data delivery specialist Marshall-Tufflex has beefed up its underfloor to desk range with the launch of a new raised floor box strong enough to withstand the combined weight of 10 baby elephants. The new box is quicker and easier to install and comes as standard with a market-leading 3mm support plate allowing it to handle “medium load” traffic. For installations requiring “heavy load” classification a steel sub-frame can be ordered and quickly inserted (at a later date if building usage changes) to support the lid without restricting space for wiring and accessories.

EES Data


EES Data produces a full suite of contract management software. All are Windows 7 touchscreenenabled and built on a number of core modules: full professional contract estimating, small works costing and billing, supplier and quotation request, purchase ordering, job cost financial monitoring, application for payment and stock control.

Martindale Electric bring to their ever-increasing family of test instruments two new electrical testers: the ET5 and ET4 for accurate AC and DC current, voltage and electrical continuity testing. Aiming to make testing more convenient for all electrical professionals, the ET5 and ET4 come with a host of features, some of which are unique to these new models. Unlike many conventional testing products on the market, with the ET5 and ET4 there is no need to open the tester’s jaws; just push the wire down the fork and the tool does the rest for you, for maximum convenience and ease of use. The ET5 can also take k-type thermometer probes.

01924 200103

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ESP Security products supplier ESP Ltd continues to drive growth of security products through the UK electrical trade with the expansion of its access control range. Two new models have been added to the Enterview VX range of stainless steel, video door entry systems. The EVVX 1FP introduces biometric finger print reader technology, whilst the EVVX 1PR offers a proximity reader for use with card or tag. Launched last year, the Enterview VX range provides the market with stylish yet highly durable and vandal-resistant access control solutions. The range offers one to four-way variants, each featuring a contemporary design with a tough stainless steel face plate and blue back-lighting. Both of the new models feature a door bell function and they can each operate as standalone products, without the need to be networked. As with all products in the range they are available as surface or flush mounting options. Whilst EVVX’s stainless steel construction offers a high degree of protection from attack, it is also highly durable against corrosion. All EVVX units have been tested in high-salt atmospheres and have been found to stand up well even in the harshest environments. The range is cross compatible with any of the monitors in the Enterview range including the recently introduced, visually-impressive EVHF-10 – an exceptionally clear, hands free 10” TFT monitor available in a black or white finish. 01527 515150


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The new VI-13800 Voltage Indicator, has been specifically designed to meet the new BS EN 61243-3:2010 regulation for ‘Live working Voltage detectors Two-pole low-voltage type’ which came into force this year. Replacing the highly successful VI-13700/2, the new model uses a resistor in the probe that will limit the current in the event of damage to the cable, as opposed to a fuse, which is no longer acceptable. This safety feature is superior to the protection offered by fused products as the current that can flow under fault conditions is reduced considerably.

Danlers Batten Mount PIR Occupancy controls are the ideal low-cost, quick-fix, energy saving solution. They switch lights off when not required and with energy savings of up to 50 per cent the payback period is kept to a minimum. These UK manufactured, IP53 rated controls switch lighting loads of up to 10 amps (6A fluorescent) and are simply fixed to the end of a lighting batten. New to the range are the Batten Mount Spot Detection controls featuring a narrow (1.5m) zone of detection, ideal for access points into storage aisles. Also new are the Batten Mount Reduced Height Detection controls.

01923 441717

01249 443377

Robin Amprobe


Robin, now partnered with Amprobe, is offering new single-function 17th Edition Installation Testers specifically designed for the UK electrical market. These include the Robin Amprobe KMP7020 and KMP7021 Digital RCD Testers, the Robin Amprobe KMP 7030 Earth Loop Impedance Tester, the Robin Amprobe KMP7036 Insulation-Continuity Tester and the Robin Amprobe KMP7010 Ground Resistance Tester. The 702x and 703x units are also available as combination 17th Edition Robin Amprobe 17A and 17B Test Kits, three single testers supplied complete with a carry case.

When a standard clamp meter just won’t fit, Martindale Electric, pioneers in electrical safety, has the solution with the new CM100 Flexible Current Meter, capable of getting to those difficult to reach places and providing instant measurement. Unlike conventional clamp meters, the CM100 features a clamp sensing coil that can be threaded around cramped or awkwardly situated conductors. Measuring 18 inches, the coil can also be fastened around large conductors, where the jaws of a conventional clamp meter, would be inadequate.

01603 25 6662

01923 441717



Rolec EV manufactures and supplies the largest and most comprehensive range of electric vehicle charging stations in the UK.

Seaward has introduced a special added value, low price Best of British kit for 17th Edition electrical installation testing. For a limited period only, Seaward is highlighting its presence as one of the few UK manufacturers of 17th edition electrical test equipment with a special kit that incorporates the PowerTest 1557 multifunction tester, a limited edition QuickCheck verification key ring and a calibration certificate. The handheld and lightweight PowerTest 1557 is a compact all-in-one installation tester designed for maximum portability and ease of use. Special features include an integral cordless probe and fast performance, with earth loop, line loop, PFC and PSC tests with one press of a button in under 5 seconds.

• Domestic • Workplace •On Street • Car Parks Electric Vehicle Charging Points

01205 724754

0191 586 3511

Connections Winter 2013-14

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Current affairs

Don’t forget to send Current Affairs any pictures that have made you smile and let us know about any hidden talents or charity initiatives. Email


Battling it out in Basra As unusual projects for electrical contractors go, heading to a war zone must be right up there. In 2004, Brian Coleman, owner of Evergreen Electrical in Swanley, was approached to oversee the testing of the electrics at the British airbase in Basra, Iraq, shortly after the start of the second Gulf War. “An ex-army guy was running a firm overseeing the project and asked us if we were interested,” he recalls. “It was just after Christmas and he was offering us good money.” The work involved periodic testing on installations in the living quarters, but heavy rain made conditions difficult. “We ended up with trenchfoot because it was so wet and we only had one two-bar heater to dry our socks,” says Brian, pictured at Basra airport in 2004. Have you worked on an unusual project? Email nick.martindale@


This issue’s batch of misdemeanours includes (1-5): DIY wiring in a shed; meter-overload in a communal area of a shared property; a bell wire supplying an outside light trapped under a copper pipe; a radiator in a child’s bedroom that had been live for three years; and a botched attempt to lengthen cables in a shower using earth wire. It continues with (6-9): an example of out-of-box wiring from a domestic property; some of the 49 junction boxes a homeowner had installed ; a heavy-handed approach to removing a skeleton board in a house; and a waterproof switch in a car-valeting cubical at a garage.



3 4




6 7

Thanks to: Gary Beattie of JMC Electrical Services, Hornchurch /// Martyn Jones of M Jones Electrical Installations, Ashtead /// David Hughes from Coventry-based DHInstallations /// Nick Fisher of Sheffield-based Securicom Systems /// Richard Rimmer from New Dawn Electrical Services, Lymington /// Justin Needham of Farnham-based Circitas /// Colin Edwards of Edwards Electrical Contractors, Shrewsbury /// Ken Williams of Armadillo Electrics, Wimbledon /// Dave Cole of Dave Cole Electrical Installations, Bough Beech, Kent.

Keep those shots coming in!

A home from home

Blooming marvellous!

With many contractors spending long hours on the road it’s not surprising they see their vans as more than just a means of getting around. A survey by Direct Line for Business found that half of tradespeople use their vans as a place to spend their tea-breaks. Thirty-one per cent use their vehicles as a mobile office, 14 per cent smoke in them and 11 per cent admit to regularly sleeping in them. Some perhaps take it rather too far; 4 per cent have televisions in their vans while 2 per cent have installed computer consoles such as X-Boxes and PS3 players. Strictly in the line of duty, of course.

Two NICEIC Approved Contractors have featured in the BBC’s DIY SOS programmes, donating labour to work on projects to benefit local communities. Bloom and Wake (pictured top right, with Nick Knowles and the rest of the team), based near Wisbech, provided six electricians to work on a two-week project rebuilding The Little Miracles Centre in Peterborough, as part of DIY SOS Big Build for BBC Children in Need. Havant-based Comserv (UK) Ltd (bottom right) also provided a team to adapt the home of Hanaagh and Mike Smith in Whiteley. The couple have two twins who suffer from disabilities, and were finding it increasingly difficult to live in the family home before the alterations.

Winter 2013-14 Connections

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Testing testing? Find testing your installations testing? You need a Megger MFT1700 series installation tester. There is a choice of three machines designed for the job you do. „

Offering 2-wire high current, 3-wire non-trip and 2-wire non-trip loop testing for when there is no neutral


Auto start on many testing ranges, so you don’t have to grow a third arm


Dual display – earth loop and PFC are measured simultaneously without the need to null the leads


And there’s a life-time’s technical support here in the UK

See a demo now by scanning the QR code with your smart phone Call 01304 502 101 or go to for full details

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The Electrocorder range of electrical data recorders has been designed and manufactured in the UK to help you do your job better. Every model has been expertly calibrated to give the most accurate electrical diagnoses using constant sampling techniques, helping you to carry out comprehensive and reliable energy audits. Plus, with its simple design, free software and simple data transfer via USB to your laptop, the Electrocorder is such a low cost investment that it canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t fail to amp up your business.


E : W : T : +44 (0)870 225 1790

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