Page 1

Certsure launches customer charter // page 6


ADVICE P17 How to inject a spot of positive thinking into your workplace


LIGHTING P30 LED lighting and control systems offer potential for clients to cut costs



AUTUMN 2013 | ISSUE 187

TESTING P36 New Part P rules could create opportunities in testing for contractors


ALL GROWN UP Family firm Wessex Group notches up 50 years in business // page 26

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Autumn 2013 | Issue 187

Contents Charting a new course 4 Certsure launches customer charter


Plugged in News Don’t miss out on tickets for Live North


Routes to qualified supervisor clarified


NICEIC scores Luton Town deal


Renewables news Green Deal website now live ESC news Second campaign to boost safety register Push for five-yearly rental inspections Product news The latest products on the market

17 Illustration: Cameron Law

10 12 13




Live wire Advice Creating a feelgood factor in your workplace can really help combat economic blues, says Sarah Lewis


Opinion 18 Contractors wanting to expand their business would be wise to consider heat pumps, says John Kellett Regions 20 Prospects are definitely brightening for electrical contractors in the north-west, discovers Adrian Holliday Customer care 22 Sandra Kerr outlines what customers can expect from Certsure’s new customer charter Case study There are good deals to be had on Peugeot commercial vehicles for NICEIC and ELECSA registered contractors


Current affairs All work and no play


03_contents.FINAL.indd Sec1:3

Cover story: contractor profile 26 Wessex Electricals, 50 years old this year, is still as vigorous as ever



Fully charged Ask the experts 41 Answers to the technical helpline’s more frequently asked questions Technical Cables in spaces containing thermal insulation

Lighting the way 30 The energy savings of LED lighting and control systems will create a market for contractors to advise customers Test case 36 Changes in Part P rules on testing installations will create business opportunities for contractors

44 44 Certsure launches customer charter // page 6


Changes to fire alarm code of 48 practice – new edition of BS 5839-1 Reduced low voltage systems


ADVICE P17 How to inject a spot of positive thinking into your workplace


LIGHTING P30 LED lighting and control systems offer potential for clients to cut costs



AUTUMN 2013 | ISSUE 187

TESTING P36 New Part P rules could create opportunities in testing for contractors



Initial verification of a small-scale 54 solar PV system – part 3 Measured values of earth fault loop impedance


Snags and solutions


» Cover photography: Neil Turner

ALL GROWN UP Family firm Wessex Group notches up 50 years in business // page 26

Connections Autumn 2013 3

25/09/2013 15:46


First phase Charting a new course The introduction of a Certsure customer charter represents our commitment to deliver exceptional customer service and help your business flourish


elcome back after the summer of sunshine. Looking at the grey skies above now it all seems so long ago. However, a new season can often bring about a new attitude or way of thinking and that is certainly true of Certsure this autumn. Last month we launched our customer charter; our promise to deliver exceptional service to all our customers, which outlines our new approach to customer service. We have listened to your concerns and responded. Work is already underway to improve the processes that can cause you – the customer – frustration. These include improvements surrounding the issuing of certificates; the simplification of all our customer letters; and reductions in the time it takes to get a query answered. We are committed to this process, just as we are committed to helping your business flourish. Since its launch Certsure has already delivered: harmonisation of fees across the brands downwards;

‘We have listened to your concerns and work is already underway to improve the processes that can cause you frustration’

Emma Clancy is chief executive officer, Certsure

promotion of our customers’ businesses via the Electrical Safety Register; and free training on renewables, with the next training coming soon. These are firm commitments from Certsure to provide customers with the best services possible to ensure they stand out from the crowd. In the past some of our brands may have been accused of being complacent and ignorant. We want to change that image and new ownership, governance and the combined influence of the ESC and ECA allows us to do that. I hope you look forward to the other benefits we have coming for you and, as outlined in our charter, if you think we are failing to deliver let us know and we’ll put it right.

CONTACTS // CONNECTIONS Redactive Publishing Ltd, 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


Autumn 2013 Connections

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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 2013 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 Wyndeham (Peterborough) 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 External affairs director Richard Pagett 01582 539020 Communications manager Paul Collins 01582 539148 NICEIC Direct Mike Jackson 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

25/09/2013 15:59


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Prices NICEIC and ELECSA Contractors

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Partner sponsors:

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News/Renewables news/ESC news/Product news

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

Don’t miss out on Live North tickets Contractors have two weeks left to book their tickets for this year’s Live North, held at Bolton Arena on 24 October. The event – the first joint NICEIC and ELECSA conference and exhibition – will be headlined by England football legend Geoff Hurst (pictured), whose hat-trick in the 1966 final gave England its only World Cup victory. He will talk about how to achieve success in any walk of life, as well as reminiscing on his football days. Visitors can attend a wide range of seminars on important electrical issues, including the legal aspects of safe isolation and live working, and emergency lighting. There will also be live demonstrations of both home automation and electric vehicle charging point installations, while Tony Cable and Darren Staniforth will present a number of sessions, including earthing and bonding and downlighter safety. There is also a full exhibition hall, where leading industry suppliers – including partner sponsors WF Senate, Click Scolmore and ESP – will be on hand to show contractors the latest kit.

“Live North provides excellent value for money and is a great day out for contractors looking for information they can use in their job,” said Mark Smith, head of group marketing at Certsure. “So don’t miss out on one of the biggest electrical industry events of the year; book your ticket today.” Tickets cost £29 plus VAT for NICEIC, ELECSA and ECA contractors, and £49 plus VAT for other delegates. Exhibitiononly passes are free and apprentices can attend for free. Delegates will also enjoy a complimentary bacon roll on arrival, free tea and coffee and a bag of doughnuts. To book your ticket visit or call 020 7880 7625.

CERTSURE LAUNCHES CUSTOMER CHARTER Certsure, the joint venture formed from the partnership between the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) and Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), has launched a customer charter. The certification body, which operates the NICEIC and ELECSA brands, has set out its promise to deliver exceptional service to all its customers. “Certsure is committed to taking the best from its existing brands, but also creating a new way; a Certsure way that is built on what’s best in class,” said CEO Emma Clancy. “We want to ensure our customers get the best service, every time, so we are making some important public commitments.” The five commitments are: • We will listen to you and commit to providing the best response, first time; • We promise to provide quality advice, technical expertise and highly skilled people to support you; • Our products and services are designed to meet your needs and will evolve as your business grows; • We will deliver a timely and professional service; • We will be respectful and courteous at all times. The charter is just one of the many customer added-value initiatives developed by Certsure since it launched in April this year. All 34,000 firms listed on its Electrical Safety Register have already received access to a free online training course in renewable technologies with more free training to be delivered shortly. For more information on customer relations see page 22

ONLINE CERTIFICATION GOES LIVE NICEIC’s online certification and notification system is now up and running. The programme has been rolled out to those customers who expressed an early interest. Invitations to join will now go out to all NICEIC contractors. To access the system go to and use your current building control user name and password. “We apologise for the delay, but the testing period allowed us to robustly check the system and iron out any bugs that can happen with new software,” said Mike Jackson, head of sales at Certsure. “We are now confident that contractors will benefit from the system straightaway and we look forward to bringing more on board each day.” The new system means all forms and details are securely stored online and are always available to the contractor. There is no need to install the software, as contractors simply log in with their NICEIC login details to easily fill out all forms online. Purchasing pads of certificates will be a thing of the past and the system allows multiple users to work on a form. An ELECSA version of the online system is to be rolled out later this year.


Autumn 2013 Connections

06-07_news.FINAL.indd 6

LEADING LIGHTS Contractors visiting the LuxLive exhibition will be able to attend free technical sessions outlining new developments around LED lighting and control systems, as well as witnessing product demonstrations from manufacturers. The event, which takes place on 20-21 November at London’s Earls Court, will also focus on the energy-saving potential of new lighting technologies. For more information visit See our lighting feature on page 30

25/09/2013 15:44

POCKET GUIDE 8 Part P - Notifiable or

not, Wales



ssystems sy d ‘modular’ wiring a ed refabricat prefabricate basis 7 installing pre r uit, on a like-for-like circuit, fforr a single circ cable fo placing a damaged rreplacing re control switch, ceiling et,, co ket-outlet socket-outle ry, such as a socke accessory, placing an accessory rreplacing re unit 8 se or a fused connection rrose ro isting fixed installation existing e r tection to an ex protection pro r viding mechanical providing pro bonding l bon r tective equipotentia protective r ding pro upgrading a installing or upgra equipment (such as r nt-using of g equipm current-usin items item of curre placing rreplacing certainancommon or re fitting whether to ry uit. r circuit. circ conservato suitable a quick reference isting existing e garden, r to an ex k r) 4 cooker) cooke or associated This guide provides Body (BCB) special location . work in a dwelling Control kitchen3 or spe Building cept in a and e except electrical installation need to be notified tof aing r uit,forex circuit, circ final a England modifying modify in Wales 2010


Part P - Notifiable or

24-HOUR HELPLINE SERVICES All contractors on the Electrical Safety Register have access to a range of services on a 24-hour telephone helpline. Operated by DAS Legal Expenses Insurance Company, the helplines can provide your business with round-the-clock advice on legal and tax matters. A separate telephone helpline is also available offering a confidential counselling service. To take advantage of this service call 0845 602 5965.

// page 6

connections AUTUMN 2013 | ISSUE 187





How to inject a spot of positive thinking into your workplace

LED lighting and control systems offer potential for clients to cut costs



New Part P rules could create opportunities in testing for contractors

// page 26

GUIDE TO BE PHASED OUT As of 1 October 2013 there will be no more updates added to the Essential Guide. The guide is the definitive publication in the application of the IET Wiring regulations, bringing together more than 300 topics of detailed information relating to particular aspects of BS 7671 and related standards. All firms enrolled on or applying to NICEIC’s Approved Contractor scheme have to have a copy. The guide, as a tool, however, has become less appropriate for the requirements of Approved Contractors. The Essential Guide will be accepted as a necessary requirement for all applicants to NICEIC’s Approved Contractor Scheme until 31 December 2014, when we will be looking at introducing a new publication.

SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS DOMESTIC CONCERNS Research by BEAMA has revealed serious concern among electrical contractors over the safety of domestic electrical installations, adding to calls from the Communities and Local Government Select Committee for regular electrical safety inspections in rented properties. The survey found that: • Around 30 per cent of electrical installation condition reports identify “danger present” in rented properties; • 25-75 per cent of homes have wiring more than 20 years out of date; • Landlords are unlikely to instigate a rewire – and rented homes make up 50 per cent of stock in some UK regions.

06-07_news.FINAL.indd 7

FREE POCKET GUIDE Inside this issue of Connections you will find an updated version of Pocket Guide 8 – Part P – Notifiable or not, Wales. The guide takes account of the information given in Pocket Guide 31, which was supplied inside the last issue of Connections. A printable version of each pocket guide is available on the NICEIC website. For further copies of this guide telephone 0870 013 0382 or email

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CONNECTIONS NOW COMES IN TABLET FORM Connections is now available as an interactive edition for tablet PCs, offering readers additional functionality and content, including video and animation. It will also allow registered contractors Certsure launches customer charter to keep a library of issues, including easy access to i / technical content. t / / Registered contractors of NICEIC and ELECSA o can download the c tablet version free of charge from the Apple App and Google ALL GROWN UP Family firm Wessex Group notches Play Stores. up 50 years in business

not, Wales

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Routes to qualified supervisor clarified NICEIC and ELECSA have hit back at misleading claims about the new technical requirements for qualified supervisors. As of 6 April this year the technical competence requirements of the Electrotechnical Assessment Specification Management Committee (EAS), changed for proposed qualified supervisors. A new “level 3” requirement was introduced for anyone wanting to apply to become a qualified supervisor after 5 April. Prior to its implementation, a spate of articles appeared in the media urging contractors to apply before the deadline to “sidestep” the new requirements. However, following the apparent co confusion caused, NICEIC an ELECSA have allayed and Technical requirements isors rvisors for Qualified Superv any concerns POCKET GUIDE 8 contractors POCKET GUIDE 8 might have by citing the v various routes tto qualification. “In the run-up tto April NICEIC a and ELECSA n noticed a sharp the assessment s during the lifications qualification k quali to check il ble es available. Your Assessor will need certificates al ccertificat e yourr original you have visit, so please ensure take a look appropriate for you please most To see which route is at the flow diagram below. part of the regarding this or any other If you have any questions 0458 and we will contact us on 0870 013 enrolment process simply be happy to help.

hanged requirements changed technical competence From 6th April 2013 the Supervisors. for proposed Qualified satisfying the now five different routes From this date there are NICEIC’s and Qualified Supervisor for -site on-site requirements for a proposed Persons Scheme, including ning gaining ELECSA’s Electrical Competent a mixture of both and the assessment, off-site assessment,

Part P - Notifiable or not, Wales


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om, though it may conta contain ain n a sin sink, does not fall within EXAMPLES OF chen if it does not contai contain in ffood ood preparation facilities.) WORK Anywhere in a dwelling or its surroundings: 4 clude locations containin containing ng a ba bath, shower, swimming a complete new installation or rewire or a hot air sauna. changing a consumer unit 5 refabricated ‘modular’ sys systems stems (for example kitchen installing armoured garden cablin carried out that cabling) ng) linke linked by plug and socket provide evidence of work Please a new final circuit (e.g. for lighting, for the scope for otifiable, provided that a shower demonstrates your competenceheating, socket-outlets, tthe he p products ro are CE-marked or a cooker) you have applied nnection in a kitchen or sspecial pecia locations is made to extra-lowwhich voltage2 lighting (other than pre-assembled connection CE marked unit sets) or point.. a solar photovoltaic power supply 6 Notification is not required if wiring electric ceiling or floor heating to such o outdoor utdoo equipment; (1) is not a new circuit, and (2) passes directly throu an electricity generator through ugh an outside wall into the or similar from your previous Please provide a letter equipment, andSupervisor (3) is not an extension to a sspecial your Qualified power or control pec location or kitchen provider forconfirming schemewiring acircuit. new central heating system. Within a kitchen3 or special status location4: ed re istere regi or registered viso uperv Su 7 A like-forfied Supervisor AND like-for-like Qualified r out likethat basis includes the condition tha previously recognised ents for modifying a final circuitevidence (e.g. adding of workacarried that Requirreme at tthe lighting he rreplacement cable has th Requirements d in the point, Are you an existing or fused connection unit Level 3 Award thecompetence or socket-outlet).Provide for the scope for same current-carrying and hold the current capacity and follo within the last 2 years follows demonstrates practical ows tthe he same route. (17th Edition)? Within a special location 4: you have 8 applied Electrical Installations If the circuit protective measures which and currentcurrent-carrying capacity of installing telephone or extra-low conductors are unaff unaffected voltage2 f ected for increased ther thermal rmal ins the insulation. purposes of communications, informationwiring and equipment by technology, signalling, control or similar purposes installing a prefabricated equipment 05/13 set (e.g. for lighting) and .u uk associated flexible leads with integral plug and socket connections 5. For further Outdoors:

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copies of this guide

telephone 0870 0130382 or e-mail installing garden lighting or power customerserrvice@ customerservice@niceic.c (e.g. om garage, other outbuilding, electric gate a supply to a garden shed, detached or pond pump) © Pocke Pocket k tG Guide uide 8 rev 3 08/13 installing a socket-outlet installing a lighting point or other fixed current-using equipment (e.g. an air conditioning unit or a radon fan) 6. See footnotes overleaf

rise in applications for their schemes as contractors sought to ‘beat the new requirements’,” said Certsure certification and standards director Alan Wells. “We want to let contractors know that this is definitely not the case. The new qualification was designed to produce safer working practices within the industry and those with the relevant experience and technical competence really have nothing to fear.” There are now five different routes for domestic installer schemes to satisfy the requirements for registration as a qualified supervisor, including onsite assessment, offsite assessment, a mixture of both and gaining the appropriate qualifications. “The routes allow flexibility for individuals who hold older qualifications or have been a qualified supervisor within the past two years, as well as allowing a route for individuals who can provide auditable evidence of their knowledge and experience of undertaking electrical work,” added Wells. Information can be downloaded at

Free designgenie software inside Inside this copy of Connections you will find your free DVD copy of designgenie, an electrical design and documentation software package for contractors. It enables users to carry out full electrical design and calculations to the requirements of BS 7671, catering for the smallest domestic project to the largest industrial undertaking. It’s easy to use and does not impose any restrictions on the quantity of distribution boards or consumer units installed.

Compatible with all operating systems supported by Microsoft, designgenie provides real-time calculations and provides printable, full electrical designs showing calculations and drawings. Even better, it will keep the company accountant smiling when compared with other software packages available, which constantly charge high fees for updates and ongoing maintenance. We are offering all Connections readers the opportunity to try out the system free for the next six months. All you have to do is register your interest at www. or call 0843 290 3485.

Connections Autumn 2013


25/09/2013 15:44

News/Renewables news/ESC news/Product news

Plugged in NICEIC scores with Luton Town deal With the new football season now well underway, NICEIC has renewed its sponsorship of Luton Town FC, continuing its long association with the club. The Hatters recently revealed their new kit for 2013/14, featuring the NICEIC name on the back of the shirt and shorts. This will be the fifth year NICEIC has supported the football club, which is local to its head office in Dunstable. “We have enjoyed a great relationship with Luton over the past few seasons and we are only too delighted to sign up again,” said Certsure’s external affairs director Richard Pagett. “In 2012 Luton reached the play-off final at Wembley and last season they made a great run in the FA Cup, beating Premiership side Norwich on the way. “These achievements have really helped promote the NICEIC brand on television, in the national and local press, not just across the UK but the world – even the New York Times – and we look forward to another successful season.” As part of the deal NICEIC has also agreed to provide free career advice to Luton’s youth team squad on the skills required to become an electrician. Many young footballers never go on to make it as a professional in the game and

as part of its development and education programme Luton provides an additional careers service. The Luton Ladies team will also carry the NICEIC Jobs for the Girls logo on its training kit; a campaign that aims to encourage more women into the electrical industry. Dave Hoskins, commercial manager at Luton Town, said: “We have worked closely with NICEIC over the past five years and only recently NICEIC helped us source an Approved Contractor to carry out some maintenance on our floodlights. It has been a real partnership with benefits for both organisations and we look forward to carrying on that relationship.”

New TechTalk series underway The latest series of the ever-popular NICEIC and ELECSA TechTalks has now started, tackling technical and business issues that electrical contractors come across. The subjects include the second amendment to BS 7671; electrical supplies to essential systems; protective devices; cable selection; and lightning protection and surge protection systems. Each event will also feature a presentation from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) on the implications of working live, as well as sessions by NICEIC and ELECSA’s double act Tony Cable and Darren Staniforth (pictured). Every delegate also gets a breakfast roll and refreshments. Head of group marketing at Certsure Mark Smith said: “The TechTalk series is now in its sixth year and has grown in popularity every year. “It is a chance for us to get out there and speak with contractors about some of the most pressing issues in our industry and for attendees to speak with our technical experts. “We are delighted that Peugeot, EAL and WF Senate have signed up to be headline sponsors for this year’s series, and to improve our reach we are visiting new areas and venues such as Chester, Kent, Ipswich and Oxford.” For a full list of dates and locations visit www. Tickets are now available to purchase for £20 on the website or by calling 0843 290 3456.

ELECTRICAL SAFETY REGISTER The Electrical Safety Council and Electrical Contractors’ Association have been working hard to promote the Electrical Safety Register (ESR) to consumers and specifiers, as part of their commitment made under the partnership between the two organisations. Recent campaigns include: The ESC launched the “Don’t DIY” campaign, fronted by director general Phil Buckle and supported by TV’s DIY expert Handy Andy (Andy Kane). It featured on a prime-time breakfast show with strong references to the Electrical Safety Register and also included an interview with Sky News radio Continued direct mail campaign targeting 21,000 private landlords and 6,000 letting agents Ongoing Google Adword campaign linking to the Electrical Safety Register website NICEIC and ELECSA jointly exhibiting at Elex Coventry, promoting the Electrical Safety Register A video on the ESR website at highlighted the register and its contractors to consumers and specifiers


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News/Renewables news/ESC news/Product news

Plugged in Green Deal website now live

24 Electrical Industry Awards Royal Garden Hotel, London November 7-8 ELEX Sandown Park understanding the Green Deal of any other UK site. It provides clear and concise information that we hope will answer any questions consumers or contractors may have about the scheme.” The website features the UK’s first virtual Green Deal home, allowing visitors to do a virtual tour of a home to find out which energy-saving measures are possible under the Green Deal. It also includes factsheets and an animated step-by-step overview of the Green Deal. Visitors can also search for NICEIC approved installers, advisors and Green Deal providers, while contractors interested in registering for the Green Deal certification scheme can access information about the process. To take a look at the new site log on to

EXPRESS ROUTE TO GREEN DEAL CERTIFICATION NICEIC has developed a new express route through to PAS2030 certification for firms looking to install domestic gas and/or domestic oil condensing boilers as part of the Green Deal. The new route was developed in conjunction with the Department for Energy and Climate Change, which wanted to make it easier for firms to enter the market. Previously, any firm wishing to implement a PAS2030 management system had to contact a certification body, pay a fee and arrange an assessment at the firm’s office followed by site visits to prove competence. This process could take up to eight weeks. Under the new scheme, firms can now implement PAS2030 in their own time and take a streamlined assessment to show how they apply the system within their work routine. If the firm successfully passes the assessment (at a local centre), it is classed as Green Deal and ECO ready. The firm then has three months to carry out an install that will be assessed by NICEIC to ensure it is in line with PAS2030 specification. “Firms already working in the heating sector will be Gas Safe-registered,” said Nick Wright, Green Deal manager for NICEIC. “This means they will already have experienced installers in place and will already be delivering installations outside of Green Deal and ECO. The new route to PAS 2030 will ensure those with the appropriate skills and knowledge to install energy saving measures will not be obstructed from entering the market. The new express route could at least halve the time it takes to become certified.” For more details about the express route go to


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October 24 Live North Bolton Arena

13 NICEIC ELECSA TechTalk Park Avenue Hotel, Belfast 19 NICEIC ELECSA TechTalk Kingston Park, Newcastle 20-21 LuxLive Earls Court 2, London 26 NICEIC ELECSA TechTalk Exeter Racecourse December 4 NICEIC ELECSA TechTalk Kassam Stadium, Oxford January 30 NICEIC ELECSA TechTalk Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff

ENERGY SCHEME TARGETS SMALL AND MEDIUM FIRMS A new scheme to encourage small to medium-sized businesses to invest in energy-efficient measures has launched. The ReEnergise SmartEnergy fund is making £5 million available to organisations, through commercial loans, to invest in technologies such as solar PV, wind turbines and biomass heating. The scheme is being funded by private equity business SI Capital and has an SME focus, but will sit alongside other options in the market, such as RBS’s £200 million carbon reduction fund and Siemens and the Carbon Trust’s £550 million finance scheme. “Expenditure on energy is a critical factor in profitability for many businesses today,” said Adam Hewson, director of ReEnergise Finance. “The imperative is to reduce energy use and therefore costs, and to consider how energy efficiency and cheaper, renewable energy generation can lower energy costs.” ReEnergise says it expects most loans to be between £25,000 and £250,000. The scheme could create opportunities for installers looking to tap into the small business renewables marketplace.


NICEIC has launched an interactive website to provide consumers and contractors with all they need to know about the Green Deal. The Green Deal is the flagship government initiative to tackle UK energy efficiency. Launched earlier this year, it is designed to make energy efficiency easy and affordable and aims to reach 14 million properties by 2020. However, research by NICEIC reveals that many homeowners are unaware of the scheme’s benefits, while contractors expected to carry out the work are ill-informed of its potential business opportunities. Head of group marketing at Certsure Mark Smith said: “The Green Deal has the potential to be one of the largest home improvement programmes ever. But low awareness will prevent consumer engagement, while lack of clarity will prevent installers from entering the market. “This educational website aims to provide the quickest method of


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Plugged in Second campaign to boost safety register The ESC launched its second campaign to promote the Electrical Safety Register in August. The campaign, which focused on DIY blunders caused by people attempting to do their electrical work themselves, was supported by Handy Andy – Andy Kane – of Changing Rooms, and has so far reached 35 million people across the UK. As part of the campaign, the charity surveyed consumers and electricians and found that almost half of all severe electric shocks are caused by DIY attempts, such as cutting through power leads, drilling into wiring in walls and repairing electrical items that are still switched on. Many dive-in DIYers are also taking on the big jobs. One in five people with no electrical training say they are confident to try installing new lights in homes and one in 10 say they’d happily install new wiring. This overconfidence partly comes from relying on the advice of unqualified friends or family (half of those surveyed said they do this) or seeking help online. Two-fifths of people say they use Google to get tips and the same number use online video tutorials.

The ESC consulted 2,000 electricians and found a third are now spending up to a quarter of their time fixing botched DIY, with half of those surveyed saying this has increased over the past five years, and the majority of call-outs being to fix simple jobs that went badly wrong. Worryingly, a third of electricians said they had seen or been involved with fixing DIY that had resulted in fires, serious electric shock or very expensive repairs. The campaign urged the public not to attempt electrical jobs themselves, but instead to find a registered electrician from the Electrical Safety Register, as the largest register of electricians in the country. The next ESC promotion of the Electrical Safety Register will take place in November.

ESC sponsors ECA safety award The ESC has continued to support best safety practice within the industry by sponsoring a safety award at the ECA Electric Event in June. The ESC Best Electrical Safety Initiative Award this year was won by Imtech G & H Ltd (pictured, right) for its behavioural safety, hazard and accident reduction programme, known as BE SHARP. The programme, which was developed in-house, focuses on the reasoning people use when choosing to work in an unsafe manner. Based in Nottingham, Imtech provides electrical and mechanical engineering services for major industrial, commercial and public-sector newbuild and refurbishment projects. BE SHARP is not about risk assessment, method statements or legislation. Instead, it emphasises key safety messages, using a range of communication techniques – from videos to group discussions – by


Autumn 2013 Connections

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making them personal and relevant to those attending the training. “We are delighted to receive this award,” says Robin Hazeldine, health, safety, environment and quality manager at Imtech. “Safety is fundamental to all our activities and there’s no doubt the BE SHARP programme has had a positive effect.” Imtech has seen the programme directly impact on its accident rate, which fell to zero in 2012. The programme has also increased safety awareness throughout the firm’s supply chain.

NEW VERSION OF BS 5939-6 BSI has published an updated version of BS 5939-6. It replaces BS 5839-6: 2004. Among other changes, the title of the 2013 version is Part 6: Code of practice for the design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of fire detection and fire alarm systems in domestic premises. This more accurately reflects the scope and content of this part of the BS 5839 series. The 2013 version introduces a number of changes, including: • Three new definitions – “competent person”, “domestic premises” and “shared house”; • “Premises” is often used in preference to the previous term “dwelling”; • The need is stressed for a system to give accurate and unambiguous information about the location of a fire to the staff of residential care homes or similar premises; • Greater emphasis is given to the need to avoid delay in summoning Fire and Rescue Services when the alarm at a residential care home is activated; • Clarification that routine servicing of a fire detection and fire alarm system is a verification of the functionality and serviceability of the existing system, not a review of system design; • Annex F has been added containing information relating to visual alarm device illumination characteristics.

ONGOING AMENDMENTS TO 17TH EDITION NOW ONLINE The second amendment to BS 7671: 2008 was published on 1 August 2013. The amendment comprises a new section (section 722) on electric vehicle charging installations. It can be viewed on the IET website free of charge, or downloaded in a printable format for a £6 fee (£3.90 for IET members). The new section modifies the general requirements of BS 7671 for protection against electric shock, and includes specific requirements relating to PME supplies, socket outlets and connectors, external influences, isolation and switching, and RCD protection. The requirements do not apply to wireless (inductive) charging, or to the charging of mobility scooters and similar vehicles of 10A or less. The more wide-ranging amendment of BS 7671 is due to be published in January 2015 in accordance with the three-year revision cycle. A corrigendum has also been issued to replace section 710 of BS 7671: 2008, on medical locations. Both the second amendment and the corrigendum can be viewed or downloaded from the IET website at:

25/09/2013 14:59

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

DE-ENERGISATION ISSUE CONTINUES TO RUMBLE ON The ESC is still trying to broker a solution to the issue of temporary de-energisation. Latest efforts have been aimed at persuading government to include a convenient route to safe isolation as a Part P “bolt-on”, whereby the right to remove cut-out fuses would be granted to all registered electricians, contingent on them successfully completing a short training course. Such an arrangement is not without precedent. Several distribution network operators used to operate schemes that authorised competent electrical contractors to remove and replace cut-out fuses, and indeed the energy supplier SSE still operates such a scheme. Following a roundtable discussion involving the Energy Networks Association and OFGEM, some progress towards a solution has been made. However, there is still some way to go in achieving a satisfactory solution that will save time and money for electricians and consumers. For the time being, we are encouraged that representations from Parliament on this matter have continued, with recent written questions from Lord Harrison pressing the government on how it plans to keep its pledge. As things stand, electricians currently have a number of options, authorised and otherwise, when needing to temporarily de-energise domestic properties. The two authorised options are for the electrician to arrange in advance for the electricity supplier/ meter operator to withdraw and later replace the cut-out fuse, or for the supplier/meter operator to install, or enable the electrician to install, an isolator between the meter and the consumer unit. Both of these options incur additional indirect costs for the customer and are time-consuming and reportedly frustrating for electricians, adding unnecessary bureaucracy and direct costs to a task generally considered to be well within the skillset of any competent electrician. The unauthorised options for electricians are to remove and replace the cut-out fuse themselves – believed to be by far the most commonly used of any option – or to work live, which is the most dangerous option. Along with others, the ESC has previously suggested the government includes a requirement for an integral isolator in its minimum technical specification for smart electricity meters, but that proposal was rejected by the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

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Push for five-yearly rental inspections The ESC has been meeting with MPs and other stakeholders to discuss the possible introduction of a legal requirement for five-yearly inspections of electrical installations and appliances supplied by landlords in privately rented properties, supplemented by visual checks on change of tenancy. These requirements would bring electrical safety rules more in line with those for gas, where installations in rented properties must be inspected by a registered gas engineer annually, and a certificate confirming the safety of the installation given to the tenant. The ESC has contributed written evidence to the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) Select Committee inquiry into the private rented sector, and given oral evidence to the PRS All-Party Parliamentary Group.

In the absence of change at a national level, the ESC has joined calls for more powers to be given to local authorities to improve conditions in private rentals. The CLG has pledged to look at how the possible adoption of landlord licensing schemes can be used to improve conditions for tenants, and the ESC plans to contribute to this exercise.

Grant winners share experience Recipients of the ESC’s Electrical Fire Safety Fund and Home Improvement Grants Scheme attended ceremonies in London and Glasgow in July, hosted by ESC director general Phil Buckle. In London, we were joined by Alex Mills of the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, which had launched its first electrical safety campaign. Russell Carr of Peterborough Care & Repair, which last year received funding under the Home Improvement Grant Scheme, also attended. With the funding received they were able help more vulnerable people stay safe in their homes.

MSP Richard Lyle joined the Glasgow event, at which he welcomed the funding shared between Scottish organisations. Previously funded partners provided an insight into how beneficial the funding had been. RoSPA (Northern Ireland) also shared its experiences of the Fire Safety Fund at the Glasgow event. Its “Too Hot to Handle” campaign highlighted the risks that hair straighteners present, including providing warnings and leaflets in accident and emergency departments. The Electrical Fire Safety Fund supports community safety services in the delivery of local fire-prevention initiatives. Grants of up to £5,000 are awarded for each project. The Home Improvement Grants Scheme is open to home improvement and care and repair agencies to provide direct support to older vulnerable and younger disabled homeowners to enable them to have essential minor electrical works carried out in their homes.

Connections Autumn 2013


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25/09/2013 16:30

News/Renewables news/ESC news/Product news

Plugged in

< Flexible current meter

REACHING NEW HEIGHTS Martindale Electric has developed the CM100 flexible current meter, designed to produce instant and accurate readings in areas other clamp meters cannot access. The device includes a “clamp-sensing” 18-inch coil that can be threaded around cramped or awkwardly sited conductors, and can also operate on large conductors around which the jaws of a conventional meter would be unable to fit. The tester measures true RMS AC current up to 3000A in three ranges rather than relying on working out theoretical figures from a peak reading. The device also includes a 1.8m lead, allowing users to view the display away from the area being tested.



The new Jb plus range of junction boxes from Click Scolmore offers integrated fast-fit cable clamps in place of screws, allowing for quicker installation time. The clamps ensure the terminals are free from strain at all times, even when the box and cable are not secured. The manufacturer says this ensures compliance with 17th edition regulation 522.8, which states there should be no undue mechanical strain on the terminations of the conductors < Junction box with fast-fit cable clamp in the junction box. The range includes four products with current ratings from 5A to 30A, and three, four or six terminals.

Havells has introduced the 250A TPN board to its range of distribution boards. The new board uses MCCB technology for incoming devices up to < TPN distribution board 250A and can also accommodate termination of larger cable sizes. The type B board has been designed for use in modern commercial and industrial buildings, and comes with an additional add-on enclosure to give the ability to fit a 125A MCB within it. It also includes a facility for mounting a four-module energy meter, protecting the design against future upgrades such as metering.


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Aurora has developed the SOLA m10, which it says is the only integrated fire-rated downlighter boasting an onboard driver and high-voltage LEDs. The lack of a capacitor means it is less susceptible to high ambient temperatures, says the manufacturer, making it more reliable and longer-lasting, with a lamp life of 100,000 hours. The dimmable luminaire combines three technologies – CrystalCool thermal management, LEDChroic optics and multiple high-voltage LEDs – to form a single point light source. The product comes with a FastFix connector, while interchangeable “twist and lock” bezels can be bought separately.

Connections Autumn 2013


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Advice/Opinion/Regions/Insight/Events/Case study/Customer care/Training BOOSTING MORALE

Live wire Positive thinking The economy may be improving, but it’s still tough out there and easy for business owners and staff to get downbeat. Creating a feelgood factor can make all the difference, says Sarah Lewis


eople in teams can emotionally infect each other, with hope and optimism or cynicism and despair. In difficult trading times, or when a job is going horribly wrong, it’s all too easy to slip into a downward cycle of depression, as everyone grapples with seemingly endless bad news or problems. It’s not long before morale and motivation, and then productivity, can start to slip downwards. The good news is that we know what helps with maintaining team morale and motivation during difficult times: being positive, using our strengths, and developing optimism and hope. Here are five ways to get started:

energised and confident. Feeling like this we are more able to be generous and patient with others, so the benefits flow onward. Help your team members discover their true strengths and then find ways, as a team, to use everyone’s strengths to achieve the team task. Think of your team as an economy of strengths, and work out how to create extra value by trading your strengths. If you can’t afford to use any of the good psychometrics available, focus instead on finding out when people most enjoy what they are doing at work; what jobs or tasks they look forward to or consider a rare treat; when they seem most energised at work; and what they do in their free time for the sheer love of the challenge. All these will tell you something about your team’s strengths.

Share success The key to a high-performing team is a positive atmosphere. Research has shown that the main thing that distinguishes the best from the rest is how much more positive these people are able to be, both to and about each other, rather than critical or negative. This doesn’t mean never pointing out poor practice or exploring problems, but ensuring it’s outweighed, in a 3:1 ratio, by good, positive, supportive experiences. One way to push the ratio is to start meetings with a round of success stories. This is a good idea whether the meeting is going on to discuss positive or difficult news. If it’s a good news meeting, then sharing and celebrating successes only adds to the positive value of the meeting. If it is going on to discuss difficult things, then the brain boost of positivity will help people to be creative, think widely and avoid being drawn into the pit of despair.

Illustration: Cameron Law

Give diamond feedback Diamond feedback not only praises people, it lets them know what they did to earn the praise. Giving specific feedback on what the person did well helps both parties with the sometimes tricky business of giving and receiving praise (it’s not only negative feedback that can be hard to hear). Giving specific feedback feels more authentic than spraying “well done everybody” around in a random manner – it’s easier and it allows people to learn what is valued about the way they work.

Use people’s strengths When we are using our strengths work feels effortless and we are

17_busadvice.FINAL.indd Sec2:17

Allocate roles on the basis of strengths If you are doing a client presentation, for instance, use the person who is most relaxed and able in that situation, someone who can establish rapport with an audience and is quick on their feet. This may not be the team leader or even the managing director. Having to talk to groups particularly divides people. To some it holds no fear and can be a fun thing to do. To others it is the stuff of nightmares. Get the right person doing the right thing and life will become easier and better.

Acknowledge difficulties When teams suffer a crisis of motivation or morale it is often associated with a lack of hope. A lack of hope that things can get better, a lack of hope in the power and influence of the group or the leader, a lack of hope or belief in the possibility of achieving anything. These are difficult times for many of us. There is no virtue in burying your head in the sand. On the other hand, in the face of bad news, it doesn’t take long for pessimism and hopelessness to take hold. These emotional states are not conducive to dynamism, creativity and action. So acknowledge difficult realities and feelings, and move as quickly as respectfully possible into helping people to identify sources of hope and optimism, because these states create energy, motivation and action.

Sarah Lewis is author of Positive Psychology at Work and Appreciative Inquiry for Change Management

Connections Autumn 2013


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

Live wire

The heat is on Modern heat pumps are now a viable option for UK heating. They also offer a significant opportunity for electrical contractors wanting to expand their business, says John Kellett


recent independent report by the Energy Saving Trust (EST) has shown that ground and air source heat pumps now offer a viable, sustainable form of heating in the UK. This viability depends on the equipment being designed and installed correctly into the right types of thermally improved properties and the end-user understanding how to get the best out of their system. The government is also looking to incentivise the renewables market, with heat pumps qualifying for the domestic renewable heat incentive (RHI) and also looking likely to be included in the commercial RHI when announced. So the heat pump market is expected to grow over the coming years and this presents a real opportunity for electrical contractors looking to expand into the renewables sector. Air source heat pumps will undoubtedly account for the majority of new market growth because their performance can just about match that of a ground source system, but without requiring extensive groundwork. Indeed, with sealed monobloc systems,

John Kellett is general manager of Mitsubishi Electric’s Ecodan range

the installation of the exterior air source unit often needs little more than “in” and “out” water pipes and an electrical connection. As a manufacturer, we took part in the EST trials not only because we wanted to prove that our technology works, but also because we wanted to go further than that. So we got the EST to independently check the performance of a further 23 Ecodan units at sites around the UK. The subsequent report clearly shows that air source heat pumps not only deliver the necessary heat to meet the homeowner’s needs but, with a significant proportion also being classified as renewable, can also play a very significant part in allowing the government to meet its renewable energy obligations and targets. The EST report showed that 80 per cent of heat pump users were either satisfied or very satisfied with the heating the system supplied, and 77 per cent would be happy to recommend a heat pump to a friend, mainly because of its efficiency and running costs. Both reports also show how important proper installation is, which is why we insist that anyone fitting an Ecodan has first attended one of the company’s training programmes.

If you are a small business or sole trader and would like to feature in In Focus, email editor@ » Tony Byrne is owner of A J Byrne Electrical Services


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How did you come to work for yourself? I’ve been working for myself for about 18 years. I started off as an apprentice with someone, but he was a terrible driver and I left because one day he nearly killed us. After that I worked for a company for five years and then set up on my own.

takes about 60 per cent of my time so I only have to forage around for another 40 per cent.

five-star I was invited to the Which? 2013 Awards for Best Business. I won the eastern region award.

Where do you work? I’m based in Billericay, so I cover that area, Wickford, Basildon, Southend, Upminster and Romford. Hot-tubs can also be in Kent and Hertfordshire.

Do you have any plans to grow the business? No, when you take people on they’re never going to be the same as you. If I was younger I might have looked to but I’m 50 now and I earn a good wage.

What work do you do? It’s mainly domestic, but I do a lot of work for a leisure company installing hot-tubs and swimming pools and handling service calls for them. I also do their conservatories. That

Tell me about the Which? award you won. I did some work for a customer and he put a review on the Which? Local website, and I ended up with about 22 reviews. Because they were all

What about outside work? We love our holidays and try to go to Greece twice a year if work permits. There’s not much time for hobbies, but I try to keep weekends free.

Illustration: Cameron Law


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

Live wire

Emerging stronger With the economy finally starting to improve, electrical contractors in the north-west are feeling positive, partly due to specialising in niche areas

> Prospects are brightening for Manchester Electrical Contractors (above) and Liverpool-based Electric Orange (right)

By Adrian Holliday


espite a number of false dawns, the UK economy is seeing signs of growth – if you put faith in the latest news from the Office of National Statistics. As we went to press, an estimated 0.6 per cent rate of growth was announced for the second quarter of the year; a marked improvement on the sluggish figures we’ve grown accustomed to. Electrical contractors may also be cheered by George Osborne’s new Help-to-Buy scheme, which sees the taxpayer underwrite newbuild house purchases up to £600,000, and which will spread to the broader housing market next year. But the scheme has been attacked from several quarters, including the Institute of Directors, whose chief economist claimed “the world must have gone mad for us to now be discussing endless taxpayer guarantees for mortgages”. So it’s a mixed bag, as always. How, then, does the economic view look from the north-west of England? Let’s make for the M6 to find out.


“We even got local MPs involved to help,” says Quinlan, describing attempts to share the work around. At one point Quinlan had 37 contractors working for him, but the recession meant he had to cut back significantly. But he has three contacts in the pipeline, including a hotel at Heathrow and another big warehouse job. “Nothing is signed and sealed, but it’s looking good,” he says. Cash flow remains the biggest bugbear, as it is for so many. “I’ve been fighting to get £9,000 owed [from a job] for a year and a half now,” he says. “What they often try to do is hold you up and hope that you go away because it’s too costly to go to court.”

Electric dreams

Debt chasing

Let’s stay, briefly, in Manchester with Matthew Bell, director of Manchester Electrical Contractors, based at Manchester’s Science Park. The company works with two sub-contractors and Bell says he’s in the market for another apprentice, although he has had a team of nine in the past. At the moment, things are going well. Recent clients include the local water and electricity boards, and the firm has recently finished installing 120 electric car charging points around Manchester for Transport for Greater Manchester.

Nathan Quinlan runs Manchester-based Central Electrical. He has enough steady work to not worry for his 12-strong team. But he’s taken some beatings in the past, particularly from large construction companies, and especially when it comes to getting paid. “The big boys are always the worst of the lot, taking you on 90 days and often only paying you after 120,” he says. Most of his work is commercial or industrial. There has been some public-sector work up for grabs, and talk of local authority work offered to local companies, but nothing has been forthcoming.

‘I’ve been fighting to get £9,000 owed for a year and a half now. Often they hope that you go away because it’s too costly to go to court’

Autumn 2013 Connections

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£600,000: The maximum value of a property that qualifies for the government’s Help-to-Buy scheme

Economic focus The north-west According to the TUC, the north-west and south-west of England have seen wages shrink the sharpest since the start of the downturn in 2007. Total pay, it claims, has fallen in real terms by some 10 per cent. That sort of statistic clearly impacts on electrical contractors exposed to domestic work. On the bright side, according to the Office of National Statistics, the region saw the largest growth of household gross disposable income per head outside London between 2006 and 2011. Other contradictions lurk: the proportion of new businesses in Stockport increased more than anywhere else in the north-west, BBC research claimed last year. But another report also claimed Stockport has the highest percentage of empty shops in the UK. The truth is in there somewhere.

‘The AV market is hard to break into but moving more from football players to the wider population’ “We didn’t need to tender for it as a Brighton-based company, Elektromotive, approached us directly on a set day rate,” he says. But while business is good currently, 2010 to 2012 was a great deal more difficult and Bell admits it was a battle to survive. He benefited, however, from better networking skills, becoming a smarter operator in the process he reckons, thanks to support from the British Networking Institute. In a sure sign that things are looking up, he’s even thinking of buying an electric van himself. “I’m thinking of trying to encourage other people to be greener,” he says. “If we turn up in a diesel van it looks as if we don’t really mean it.” The van will cost around £14,500, he says, plus £50 a month to lease the battery pack. It’s worth considering, he says, “especially with the cost of fuel, road tax and insurance being around 3p to 4p per mile lower”.

The future is… AV Dan Orange runs Liverpool-based Electric Orange, a two-man business with a burgeoning focus on the home cinema and audio visual (AV) market. Work has been steady in the past 18 months, with only a slight drop-off. The AV market has done well in the more affluent patches of south-east England and Orange predicts it’s a market ripe for potential elsewhere. “It’s quite a hard market to break into; it’s definitely one where you have to have spare cash to spend on it,” he says. “But the market is moving more from football players to the wider population in general.” Orange started his business in 2009, having previously trained as a computer consultant and served time as an electrician with Ford, meshing computing with electrics. He uses Twitter and Facebook, which is good for the more high-end work, he says, as well as getting his name out there. As far as conventional advertising goes, he’s sticking to natural listings on Google. “I’ve tried Google AdWords, but now I’m focusing on making my website more responsive, and I have the skills to do that,” he says.

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As to the future, he’s hopeful: smart TV and film storage is in its infancy, as is the move from HDMI to HDBase-T, which allows large amounts of video, audio and data to be transmitted via cheap and simple Cat 5 Ethernet cables, doing away with traditional signal-integrity problems from HDMI cables. Expect to hear more of this technology, says Orange, along with phrases like “future-proofing” and “smart homes”.

Big improvement Finally, we nip 20 miles east to Warrington to talk to Ric Webster, who runs WEBlec Electrical & Data Services. Webster is increasingly picking up data cabling and fibre optics commercial work to supplement the domestic side, and says that, overall, work has “improved dramatically”. He has employed staff in the past – he still sub-contracts when needed – but has subsequently pared things back to the minimum. “I’ve had lads through the doors on trial, but you’d be surprised how many can’t get a box straight,” he says. Webster’s patch covers as far as Leeds and, on occasion, slips west onto the A55 and into North Wales. But he’s been able to cut the travelling thanks to assiduous business-building closer to home. Facebook and Twitter are deployed. One tool he particularly rates is Freeindex. “One, because it’s free,” he says, “and it’s actually really good. It gets you into Google rankings without you having to do anything.” A couple of local schools use WEBlec, although some local school maintenance budgets remain squeezed. “Councils are starting to realise they’re being overcharged by their own companies,” he says. “Obviously they’re under pressure to cut spending. But often it’s councils that created a lot of that overspend in the first place.”

» Adrian Holliday is a freelance business journalist Connections Autumn 2013


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Advice/Opinion/Regions/Insight/Events/Case study/Customer care/Case Study SERVICE CHARTER

Live wire Held to account Any business needs to deliver excellent customer service in the current economic climate. Certsure’s new customer charter outlines just what you can expect from us, says Sandra Kerr


Autumn 2013 Connections

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‘Behind all of our bold statements are hard objectives. These include improvements on issuing certificates, simplifying all of our customer letters and better response times’ client goes a long way, particularly in the trades industry where most people’s reason for employing a particular firm is because of advice from a friend. Word of mouth is the best promotion any business can have. Keeping customers onside through excellent customer service can be just as important as the technical service delivered. In these tough economic times that is an important fact to remember. Our industry has been looking for the magical green shoots and diversification that will lead to growth since 2008. Several avenues have opened, such as microgeneration and the Green Deal, but are yet to meet their full growth potential. In the absence of more profitable openings, improved service levels can make all the difference.

Sandra Kerr is customer experience director at Certsure

Did you know? • Happy customers who get their issue resolved tell up to 20 other people about their experience; • Over half (55 per cent) of customers would pay extra to guarantee a better service; • A customer is four times more likely to defect to a competitor if the problem is service-related rather than price or product-related; • A dissatisfied customer will tell between nine and 15 people about their experience. Around 13 per cent of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people.

Illustration: Cameron Law


elivering exceptional customer service is a vital aspect of any business. In difficult economic times, when budgets are tight and competition is increased, good customer service can often be the key ingredient to maintaining and winning new business. Certsure, the partnership created by the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) and the Electrical Safety Council (ESC), which runs NICEIC and ELECSA, is no different. Certsure was formed by the ESC and ECA with the intention of being much more than the sum of its parts. It is a new business committed to taking the best from its existing brands, but also to creating a new way: a Certsure way that is built on what’s best in class. In the past, parts of our business have not lived up to the high standards expected by our customers. This is set to change, however, with the launch of our customer charter (see news story on page 6). My vision is that we provide the best customer service in the industry. We will recognise situations where we could have performed better and we will invite our customers to hold us to account every single day. We have listened to your concerns and responded. Behind all of our bold statements are hard objectives. These include improvements on issuing certificates, simplifying all of our customer letters and providing better response times. We have already started the process. One of Certsure’s early commitments was to harmonise fees across the brands downwards and we have delivered on that. We also promised to promote our customers’ businesses in a number of innovative ways, something the campaign work behind the Electrical Safety Register is already doing. The charter is our public commitment to our customers. We will measure and report back on the results. We have invested significant time and resources to ensure our staff are trained and committed to the programme and we believe you, our customers, will benefit. As you are only too well aware, good customer service makes good business sense. A kind word or recommendation from a

25/09/2013 15:30

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25/09/2013 16:36

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Dimplex – adapting to change.

25/09/2013 16:37

Advice/Opinion/Regions/Insight/Events/Case study/Customer care COMMERCIAL VEHICLES

Live wire Hit the road NICEIC and ELECSA registered contractors qualify for exclusive rates on a wide range of Peugeot commercial vehicles, and can also rack up some serious cashback in the process


ans play an integral role in the work of professional electrical contractors across the UK, and choosing the right model of vehicle can make a big difference to your business. Peugeot is the official vehicle supplier to NICEIC and ELECSA and, with a van range boasting exceptional payloads, excellent fuel economy and low CO2 emissions, its light commercial vehicles offer a great choice for all types of businesses. For many firms the best funding option is to lease a van, in a deal that allows you to spread the cost of your vehicle, through monthly payments, over a period of time. It also provides you with assurances should anything go wrong. With this in mind, all NICEIC and ELECSA customers can now access a wide range of Peugeot professional vans at specially negotiated rates through Peugeot Contract Hire, including the bestselling Peugeot Partner compact van, which is the most popular vehicle among NICEIC and ELECSA contractors. It’s easy to see why. The Peugeot Partner offers comfort, safety, performance, reliability and low running costs. With side and rear door access it is perfect for the busy electrician. You can even get it kitted out to your own specification so that you can be sure your tools are safe, secure and exactly where you want them. The Partner is also economical and has low CO2 emissions, while its attractive styling ensures you make the right impression with clients and on the road. Any NICEIC or ELECSA customer who enters into a new leasing contract with Peugeot Contract Hire will now also receive £250 cashback on each van to spend in the Training or Direct webshop. “We’ve found the discounted vehicle leasing scheme has proved very popular with many contractors over the past three years and these exclusive rates are greater than could be arranged individually,” says Mike Jackson, head of group sales at NICEIC. “NICEIC and ELECSA now represent 80 per cent of the UK’s electrical contractors, which allows us to negotiate very competitive rates to pass back to all our customers,” he adds. “The new £250 cashback arrangement will be an immediate benefit to customers because they will be able to spend this in the Direct shop on any publications, tools and equipment that their business needs.”

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‘NICEIC and ELECSA now represent 80 per cent of GW & E Wright UK electrical GW & E Wright, based in Ashford, Kent, is a fully NICEIC accredited electrical contractor specialising in contractors, commercial and domestic installations. The business which was founded over 40 years ago and its electricians operate across Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire and allows us to central London. The business operates a fleet of Peugeot light negotiate commercial vehicles and recently renewed the lease very good on its 16 Peugeot Partner and two Peugeot Expert vans. “We have used Peugeot for a while now and always rates to pass received a great deal, but the extra discount through our back to all our NICEIC registration means it is the best deal out there,” says managing director Philip Fagg. “It also means I have customers’ earned £4,500 credit with the NICEIC Direct shop.”

Case study:

» For further details and information visit www. peugeotcontracthire. or for a personalised quote call 0845 313 3810

Another reason for their choice was that the vans were tailored to the firm’s requirements. “They all came sign-written, boarded and with deadlocks,” he says. “Peugeot even put limiters on the vans, which should see us make even more savings on fuel efficiency. “The vans are very reliable and efficient. Our drivers love them because of the comfort and the full maintenance package means there are no hidden costs. If there is a problem Peugeot sorts it out straight away.”

Connections Autumn 2013


25/09/2013 15:01

CONTRACTOR PROFILE // WESSEX ELECTRICALS COMPANY: Wessex Electricals BASED: Shaftesbury, Dorset FOUNDED: 1963 MAJOR PROJECTS: Marks & Spencer, Royal Berkshire Hospital STAFF NUMBERS: 90 TURNOVER: £12 million

The wonder of Wessex Since its foundation 50 years ago by Tony Morgan, Wessex Electricals has evolved into one of the larger contracting businesses in the south of England. Now run by his two sons, the company intends to grow still further Alistair Morgan

By Nick Martindale


ack in 1963, a newly qualified electrician by the name of Tony Morgan decided to start his own electrical business, operating out of his mother’s garage and mainly working on domestic and light industrial projects. Half a century later, the business is still going strong, but is almost unrecognisable from its humble origins. Now operated by Tony’s two sons, Simon and Alistair, Wessex Electricals is part of Wessex Group – an entity that also includes Wessex Fire & Security, Wessex Building Services, Wessex HVAC & Plumbing and Wessex Catering Maintenance, and which collectively turned over £31.3 million at the end of its last financial year. Today, Wessex Electricals – which turns over £12 million on its own – undertakes a variety of work, both on new projects and maintenance. Around half of its work on the former is direct with end-clients such as Royal Berkshire Hospital, Wiltshire County Council and several independent schools, with the


Autumn 2013 Connections

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remainder through main contractors, including Balfour Beatty, Kier Group and VINCI Construction. With maintenance, around 70 per cent tends to be direct, says Alistair, with the remaining 30 per cent through FM organisations. “A great deal of our work on both fronts is public-sector related, so schools, housing authorities and councils,” he says. The company takes on work in a patch spreading from Oxford in the east and South Wales in the west and everything south of that line, on contracts ranging from £100,000 to £2.5 million. “We’ve held Wiltshire Council – previously Salisbury District Council – unbroken now for 37 years and we’ve had a large maintenance contract with Marks & Spencer for over five years,” says Alistair. “Raglan Housing Association in Reading is another large client and we’ve had that for three years, having previously worked on the contract as a sub-contractor to Connaught.” Gradual growth It’s all a far cry from the days when Tony first set up the business in the 1960s, after initially undertaking an

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1963: The year Tony Morgan started his own business, initially as a sole trader

apprenticeship with the Southern Electricity Board. In 1964 he took on an apprentice by the name of Gordon Green, who recalls operating out of Tony’s mother’s garage. “She had her fruit-and-veg business on one side and then on the other side were all Tony’s cables and his two vans,” he recalls. Today, Gordon is managing director of Wessex Electricals, overseeing its operational side. “I’m stepping down to three or four days a week next year and then I’ll retire in 2015,” he says. “I’ll have been here for 50 years by then.” After a few years operating as a sole trader, Tony created Wessex Electricals in 1967, drawing on the name of the old

‘We’re looking a lot closer at where we’re pitching for business. There is no point in us going after work that requires a low skill base’

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local electricity board, and this became a limited company in 1972. “It was just nice, regular, steady growth,” says Simon. “It was different back then; you didn’t borrow a load of money and overextend yourself. You traded for a year, put a bit by and when you had enough you invested in something to grow.” In the 1980s, however, the business entered a period of more rapid growth, which included the development of what was then Wessex Alarms, as a precursor to the wider group structure. Alongside this, the electrical business also thrived, taking on more commercial and industrial work on the back of the economic boom. “The economy helped, because before the 1970s recession we weren’t really in a position to grow because it was much smaller,” says Simon. “If you’re a two-man band it’s quite difficult to invest to stimulate growth.” Next generation In 1985 Simon entered Wessex Fire & Security as a security consultant, while Alistair moved into Wessex Electricals a few years later. “I think Dad’s vision at that time was that when he retired Alistair would carry on Wessex Electricals and I would Connections Autumn 2013

Photography: Neil Turner

Simon Morgan


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£12m: The amount Wessex Electricals contributes to the group turnover of £31.3m run Wessex Fire & Security,” he says. “But we decided, partly because the company was growing, but also because our skillsets complement each other’s, to pool our resources and both take responsibility for the management and the direction of both companies.” As a result Wessex Group was created and, with Tony undertaking a phased retirement between 2002 and 2006, the brothers assumed full control, with Simon responsible for the wider strategy and Alistair heading up the commercial side. Tony, who served as ECA president in 2004, remains a shareholder and continues to attend board meetings, although he is no longer involved in a day-to-day capacity. “If there is anything that Alistair or I want to bounce off Tony we do have that luxury, but it doesn’t happen so often now,” says Simon. “But really we’re just looking after it for a while; he founded it and eventually somebody else will take it on.” The company was further boosted by the acquisition of Andover business Wiltshire & Willey in 2005, which turns over around £1.8 million a year and undertakes top-end residential work in addition to small and medium-sized installation projects. Today, this arm of the business continues to be run by its original management team of Jim Wiltshire and Kevin Willey, but is owned by and operates under the Wessex umbrella. “It’s fair to say they had got to a certain size of business at a time when running a business had become more complex and they weren’t enjoying it any more,” says Simon. “We agreed to acquire it and provide all those management services to them that we provide for all our companies.” Responding to recession The economic downturn forced Wessex Group to both downsize and adjust its strategy. Headcount fell from around 410 in 2007 to 370 in 2009, although this has since risen to around 400, including 90 electricians in Wessex Electricals. Alongside this, however, the business re-evaluated its own position in the market and is currently looking at growth sectors and those that require higher skill levels, such as healthcare, hospitals and nursing homes. “We’re looking a lot closer at where we’re pitching for business, and we actually invested quite a lot of money in that period in business development,” says Alistair. “We’re looking for as much business as we can direct with clients in particular sectors. We have a very high skills base in this organisation so there is no point in us going after work that requires a low skill base. But we have had to cut our cloth accordingly across the whole group, including on the electrical side.”

‘It was just nice, regular, steady growth. It was different back then; you didn’t borrow a load of money and overextend yourself’ 28

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Having the ability to cross-sell among the group’s different businesses also helped Wessex survive the worst of the downturn, he adds. Wessex Electricals has also been able to take advantage of new opportunities, including moving into – and out of – domestic solar PV installations and, currently, on solar farms for developers. Increasingly, the focus is on energy management, conducting audits and suggesting ways to reduce energy, either direct for clients or through FM companies. “We do a full audit on the building and work out exactly what is costing the most and then recommend what can be changed through the use of controls and voltage optimisation,” says Alistair. “Not many companies have the ability to do that.” The business has clear ambitions as to where it wants to go, and outlined a 10-year strategy in 2008 that would see it double its turnover during that time, to around £45 million by 2018. “After we’d taken over the business and things had settled down we thought a lot about the future of the company and we wanted to reassure primarily the people working here, but to a lesser extent our customers,” says Simon. “We thought

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£45m: The amount the directors hope the group will turn over by 2018

> Gordon Green (above left) is now managing director of the electrical division, having been with the firm almost 50 years. Wessex Electricals hopes to secure its future survival and growth by focusing on staff development and customer service

we could grow our turnover by about 5-7 per cent in real terms, and we’re on course to do that.” The two brothers remain relatively young – Simon is 46 and Alistair 43 – but already they’re planning for the long-term, ensuring talented staff have the ability to develop and grow into senior management posts. Whether the business ultimately remains in the family’s hands is less clear; both have children and Simon would like them to be involved in the company in some way, but says the sheer scale of it these days means they are unlikely to take it on in the same way that he and his brother did. “It would be way too large by then so I think we would be looking at a professional management team, but it would be nice to think that maybe one of them would join the company in the future,” he says. “But I certainly hope the business will still be here in another 50 years, whether that’s handed over in the traditional way or not. If we focus on customer service and staff development, we have a very good chance of that.” » Nick Martindale is editor of Connections

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50 not out To mark its 50th birthday, Wessex Electricals pledged to give away 50 items each month during 2013. To date, this has included providing sensory toys to a children’s charity set up to help those with learning difficulties, LEDs for a local museum, period books for Max Gate House – the former home of Thomas Hardy in Dorchester – and 50 metres of snowdrop planting in the company’s home town of Shaftesbury. “Our next one will be teddy bears for the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, which they can give to children to take their mind off what’s going on,” says Simon. “Later in the year we’re doing a 50-mile charity bike ride and we’re currently trying to arrange for 50 people to give pints of blood. It was important to focus on the 50 years rather than just suggesting it’s an anniversary, because 50 and 100 are the big ones.” The business also hosted a celebration event in July for hundreds of current and former staff at the Bournemouth International Centre, with company founder Tony Morgan (pictured) the guest of honour.

‘I certainly hope that the business will still be here in another 50 years, whether that’s handed over in the traditional way or not’ Connections Autumn 2013


25/09/2013 15:03


£66bn: The amount of money that could be saved on energy bills worldwide each year if half of all lights used LEDs

Lighting the way By Rob Shepherd

LED lighting and control systems are offering genuine opportunities for businesses and householders to save money on energy bills. The future’s bright for electrical contractors who can advise and guide customers on how to do this


he lighting industry has experienced significant change over recent years, and at the very heart of this activity is light emitting diode (LED) technology. Its long life, low carbon emissions, greater energy efficiency and quality of light have fuelled the imaginations of manufacturers, electrical contractors and end-users alike. The need to lower the global carbon footprint was a motivating factor in the phasing out of incandescent light bulbs,


Autumn 2013 Connections

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and in 2011 the European Union finally outlawed their production. Although compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) have since become commonplace, critics claim they do not give off enough light and cast everything in an unattractive yellow glow. With their higher quality light output, attention has shifted to LEDs, creating a seismic shift not experienced since gas lamp manufacturers witnessed the introduction of the carbon filament lamp. They are in high demand; some of the industry’s leading manufacturers reported 30 per cent growth rates in revenues generated from LED sales in 2011, while the global market will be worth $25.4 billion in

2013, according to a recent Digitimes Research report. With everyone trying to lower the amount of money they spend on energy, while also reducing carbon emissions, LED lighting has certainly come along at the right time. According to Green LED Solutions, if only half of worldwide lighting converted to this technology by 2025, power use would be cut by 120GW, saving £66 billion a year and reducing carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 350 million tonnes over the same period. Steve Stark, trade sales director at Osram UK, believes that although it has been tough to communicate the benefits of LED, progress is being made.

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“Although consumers have struggled to understand the range, quality and types of lamps available, the global lighting industry is predicted to be 70 per cent LED by 2020,” he says. “But the immediate issue we must overcome quickly is that of compatibility with 12V transformers and dimming systems.” LEDs are also highly versatile and equally suited to commercial, industrial and domestic applications, both indoors and outside. “LEDs are temperature sensitive; the hotter they get the poorer the performance,” says Ian Major, product and marketing manager at Havells-Sylvania. “In external applications where the ambient temperature during operation should be cooler, their performance should improve. A perfect example would be multi-storey car parks where LED solutions offer significant benefits.” Cost pressures Although production costs have fallen dramatically in the past few years, the relatively high cost of LED lighting is still the biggest barrier to widespread adoption and, for larger installations, light sources such as high intensity discharge (HID) and metal halide are still considered more cost-effective.

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Nevertheless, the return on investment (ROI) argument for adopting ng LED involves some extra considerations, ns, such as energy, maintenance, life, colour quality, colour consistency and using the best available technology. “Using traditional light fittings may reduce initial capital expenditure, but the energy and maintenance bills associated with them soon add up,” explains John Gorse, technical marketing manager at Philips. “LED technology may cost a little more, but total cost of ownership (TCO) calculations will soon show the savings over the lifetime of the project.” It is this kind of argument that contractors will increasingly be expected to demonstrate when discussing potential projects with clients. Nick Shaw, technical services director at Dextra, believes the market is currently at a tipping point. “The efficiency of sources for LED technology has now reached a level where rapid ROI can be achieved on the majority of projects,” he says. “This has driven volume sales, meaning we are at the beginning of a spiral that will see a significant move towards LED.” The falling cost of LED technology is also enabling more people to take it up,

while whil le the availability y of more affordable 806lm (60W equivalent) GLS lamps is also changing the market. While for the most part this is a good goo thing, the flipside is that there has been an abundance of low-quality LEDs introduced onto the market, leading to a situation where consumers often end up purchasing an inferior product. The danger is that if this is not kept under control it could lead to consumer dissatisfaction and a perception that LED lighting is not worth the extra cost. This particular issue is likely to be addressed through the introduction of DIM2, a new European directive that came into force in September 2013. “This will set minimum performance requirements and change our understanding of LEDs, creating a more level playing field and forcing low-quality lamps out of the market,” predicts Major. Connections Autumn 2013

Photo: Havells-Sylvania

> LED luminaires are increasingly being used in commercial environments, such as these Havells-Sylvania products (main picture and below) in the ITV studios


25/09/2013 15:04


50 per cent: The amount of businesses that admit to leaving lights on needlessly for up to eight hours a day

» Rob Shepherd is a freelance business journalist who specialises in the building services industry


Autumn 2013 Connections

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Case study: Afflets Court Basildon-based sheltered housing complex Afflets Court comprises 60 one-bedroom flats. In managing the facility, Basildon District Council works closely with NICEIC Approved Contractor DSA Electrical, including identifying opportunities to reduce running costs while improving the environment for residents. To that end, much of the lighting in common areas has been upgraded to LED. In the internal corridors the light levels were very low so it was decided to upgrade the existing fluorescent fittings to Philips CoreView LED panel luminaires. As well as delivering a high light output, it now provides a uniform surface of light, serving to brighten the whole area and give it a more spacious feel. “In these areas the lighting had been left on for 24 hours a day,” says David Keys, DSA Electrical’s contracts director. “To resolve this energy wastage issue, around 25 per cent of the new CoreView fittings are left on all the time while 75 per cent is linked to movement sensors.” In other common areas such as stairwells, Philips Gondola 24W LED bulkhead luminaires have been used to provide high light levels while greatly reducing the installed electrical load. All emergency lighting in the common areas has also been upgraded to modern standards, and around the building perimeter Philips Securipack 10W LED bulkhead fittings have been used to improve both security and illumination.

Safe passage Extending its scope, LED technology has also been taken up by the emergency lighting sector, with some astonishing results. According to Peter Mazalon, managing director of Channel Safety Systems, this is all being driven by customer demand. “We receive many requests for LED emergency lighting, especially fully recessed mini downlighters,” he says. “There is an increasing choice that gives the end-user an advantage in terms of lower maintenance costs coupled with long operating life.” Hochiki Europe recently carried out a comparison of its own LED-based emergency lighting solution with a traditional system and identified all the costs associated with each on a 1,000 luminaire system used over a 10-year period. “We factored in maintenance labour, battery replacement, testing labour, recycling costs, energy use and initial capital outlay and found our system could save users £184,885, with a CO2 reduction of over 29.5 tonnes,” says Paul Adams, marketing manager.

Photo: Channel Safety Systems

Command and control While using energy efficient lighting technology is clearly beneficial from both financial and environmental perspectives, more can be done, particularly around demand reduction and the use of controls, to present further opportunities for contractors. When it comes to energy wastage, it only takes a drive around any commercial district to spot the main offenders: offices and industrial units left with lights blazing, either due to an oversight by an employee or as a “security measure”. According to research by Ex-Or, 85 per cent of companies waste money on unnecessary lighting, while 50 per cent leave lights on needlessly for up to eight hours a day. “Wasting so much money on lighting empty rooms is almost a criminal drain on resources,” says Jason Ng, Ex-Or’s marketing communications specialist. “And most companies are completely unaware of the issue.” Lighting controls have now been proven in numerous applications, in both newbuild and retrofit environments. But, according to Mike Brooks, marketing manager at CP Electronics, the main problem isn’t the deployment of the technology as much as its correct usage. “For some buildings a full lighting control system will be the sensible solution, while for others it might just be a case of using standalone passive infrared (PIR) detectors,” he says. “There are different systems available to suit every application and savings can only be achieved if the solution is the right one for the building.” Further improvements in efficiency and light output are already taking place, and developments such as organic LED (OLED) lighting mean that the way light is delivered is continuing to evolve. For electrical contractors able to advise and guide customers around the different options, the future could be very bright indeed.

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w e N

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25/09/2013 16:39

Coming soon for



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25/09/2013 16:39


Testing installations can open up a new wave of business for contractors, and changes in the rules around Part P could create further opportunities

Test case By David Adams


re you, or your employer, making as much money out of (non-PAT) testing services as you could? Offering a broad portfolio of installation or periodic testing services can be an excellent way for a contractor to drum up more business. It’s often relatively straightforward work, which could lead to additional repair or replacement jobs, and it can help to cement client relationships. Demand for testing services should see a boost as the construction industry starts to recover. “We’ve not seen any growth in the testing market for four or five years, but once construction really starts to kick off that’s when we’ll hopefully return to the good times, with 36

Autumn 2013 Connections

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more people out there building houses and larger projects,” says Simon Wood, UK wholesale and distribution sales manager at Megger. “There’s definitely a lot more optimism now. We see things picking up quite considerably in the next 12 to 18 months.” Regulatory changes can also open up new opportunities. The amendments to Part P of the Building Regulations that came into effect in England in 2013 may yet do this, despite concerns that electricians would be adversely affected by the reduction in the range of notifiable installation work. Under the altered regulations, work undertaken in kitchens or outdoors is only notifiable if a new circuit is required. But these changes may offer

new opportunities because those registered with a competent persons’ scheme may now be able to sign off notifiable work completed by a nonregistered contractor. The certification scheme that would allow this has not yet been finalised, but this is certainly an opportunity worth considering if you’re comfortable inspecting and signing off someone else’s work. Testing regimes also change in response to the development of the equipment under test. Paul Rutter, tech marketing manager at Kewtech, believes such a change is now underway. “An ongoing challenge is the complicated way we use electricity now, with low-energy lighting systems and more switch mode transformers,” he says. The latter alternate continually between low-dissipation fully-on and fully-off states to spend

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less time in a high-dissipation transition and so minimise the amount of energy wasted. The problem is, says Rutter, they are more complicated than traditional linear power supply equipment, so can cause electrical “noise” if not installed correctly. “Electric switch mode transformers take a bit of energy, turn off, take a bit more and turn off, to suit what you’re trying to do,” he says. “You can get all sorts of noise as you distort your nice sine wave from the power station.” Kit for all seasons Avoiding the problems caused by this additional complexity makes testing a more valuable service, but it also means it is crucial that a contractor has accurate

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equipment at their disposal. An up-todate multifunction tester has become even more valuable than it used to be, partly because it enables greater accuracy, but also because it allows the electrician to run a greater range of tests on a wider range of equipment. It may also allow the completion of multiple tasks more quickly and easily. For example, Megger’s MFT1730 can complete test certificates onsite if required, with test results sent via a Bluetooth link to a document on a laptop,

smartphone or tablet. Alternatively, it can hold the results of up to 1,000 tests in its memory until the contractor reaches a computer where they can complete the certificate. Multifunction testers are incorporating new features all the time. Martindale Electric’s MARVR2250 multifunction tester now includes a Power Analyser, enabling power consumption estimates and meter accuracy checking, alongside all the capabilities required to conduct a full set of 17th edition tests. Residual current device (RCD) testing capabilities have been improved by all manufacturers in recent years, to enable loop and RCD testing without tripping the RCD. The 17th edition stipulates that all socket outlets in most domestic installations must have RCD protection. This has forced test equipment manufacturers to reduce the currents used in live earth loop testing.

Photo: iStockphoto

> Testing probes (above), Megger’s PVM210 (below left) and Kewtech’s KT64 (below right)

Connections Autumn 2013


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Case study: Commercial Testing Services

> Megger’s MFT1730 (above) and Kewtech’s KEW3125 (right) Kewtech’s KT65 multifunction tester includes new anti-trip technology to enable no-trip loop testing on all types of RCD. Practical issues around ease of use that one might want to consider when choosing testing equipment include lockdown buttons or adaptors that enable remote or hands-free operations in more awkward places. “One difficulty is testing lighting points: you’re up in the air and you’ve got three wires to test your loop,” Rutter explains. “We have an adaptor to push into the fitting, which makes it easier, and we have a lockdown button so you’ve got two hands free. “Other manufacturers have two-wire testing on loop, which is convenient, because you can test at a light switch and not get up onto the ceiling. We say, do it at the end, using adaptors. If you do it at the light switch you’re missing the end point of the circuit. You’re not getting the most reliable reading.” The heat is on Another service now offered by a growing number of contractors is thermal imaging, which creates visual heat pictures and can highlight anomalies that may need to be examined in more detail. This is a particularly useful fault prevention and investigation tool for contractors offering services to commercial or industrial organisations because it removes the need to shut down plant 38

Autumn 2013 Connections

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Wolverhampton-based contractor Commercial Testing Services (CTS) began trading in 2003, as a specialist in the testing of stage lighting. It now has five full-time staff and also works with a number of other sub-contractors. Specialist testing of equipment used for public events has always been an important source of business, and the company has worked at the Open Golf Championship at Muirfield, motorcycle and Formula One Grand Prix racing events and the Glastonbury Festival. The company now also offers a range of testing services to mainstream commercial businesses, heavy industry and other organisations. Electrical engineer and managing director Paul Isherwood extols the virtues of several different types of tester used by his staff. He’s a big fan of the new Megger multifunction machines. “They’ve made our lives a lot easier and have allowed us to do lots of things more quickly,” he says. “The new software is very effective; it’s reduced the time spent on testing no end. The RCD testing is incredibly fast.” CTS is also conducting an increasing number of thermal energy surveys for its clients; a service Isherwood says appears to be growing in popularity as companies search for ways to reduce energy costs. This theme can be detected again in the increasing number of LED installations CTS now tests for clients. But he remains frustrated that progress towards further expansion of the renewables market continues to stutter, as he believes this will become a fruitful area for companies offering electrical testing services.

or other machinery to run tests. Paul Isherwood, electrical engineer and managing director at Commercial Testing Services (see case study, above), a contractor based in Wolverhampton, says many of his company’s clients find the idea attractive because it helps to reduce energy consumption and so creates savings on energy bills. Another area that could offer contractors new business opportunities is testing renewable energy equipment.

‘There’s definitely a lot more optimism out there at the moment. We see things picking up quite considerably over the next 12 to 18 months’

Megger, for example, now offers a photovoltaic kit to be used alongside multifunction testers by contractors working on PV installations. The kit includes an irradiance meter, TRMS multimeter, leads and adaptors. Contractors who want to offer testing services for existing PV installations should bear in mind that at the height of the solar PV boom, just before the feed-in tariffs were reduced, some companies were installing imported solar PV equipment featuring type B RCDs as part of the mechanism used to transition between differing voltages. As type B RCDs are uncommon in the UK it may not be possible to test these adequately with conventional multifunction testing equipment. Some Fluke instruments, however, do enable this because they have been manufactured with the needs of European, as well as UK electrical contractors, in mind. » David Adams is a freelance business journalist

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NEW VI-PD138 Voltage Tester & Proving Device The new safety standard for 2 pole voltage indicators has just come into force. The updated Martindale VI-13800 is fully compliant. Safe electrical work requires the use of a voltage indicator that has been proved with a proving unit. Voltage indicators should always be tested with a proving unit or known live source before and after use. This combined unit guarantees a proving device is always available. N VI-13800 voltage indicator is GS38 compliant. Clear indication of a

live circuit, whether AC or DC N Tough moulded ABS construction with bright LED indication &

double insulated cable N Constructed with large finger guard & retractable, lockable prod

sheath for safe operation N PD440 proving unit tests voltage indicators up to 440V N Complies with BS EN61243-3 2010

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Our customer charter Delivering exceptional customer service is an important part of any business.

As part of our commitment to ensure our customers get the best service, every time, here are our promises to you:

Certsure is no different.

• Our products and services are designed to meet your needs and will evolve as your business grows

• We will listen to you and commit to providing the best response, first time • We promise to provide quality advice, technical expertise and highly skilled people to support you

• We will deliver a timely and professional service • We will be respectful and courteous at all times

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25/09/2013 16:41

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. I’ve carried out the periodic inspection and testing on an installation but the client is disputing how much I should be paid for doing the work. Can I refuse to issue an Electrical Installation Condition Report to the client until the dispute is resolved?

Disputes between a contractor and a client (such as about price, extent of work, arrangements for access to carry out the work, or delays) can sometimes arise during or after the work because no prior written agreement was reached about such matters. It is always best to set up a written agreement before the contract work begins. Some guidance about this is given at the end of this answer. In your present situation, there is no reason, in terms of the requirements of BS 7671, why you should not delay issuing an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) to the client until the dispute about payment is resolved. However, you must inform your client immediately, in writing, of any items that were observed during the inspection or testing that would justify a Classification Code 1 (Danger present) being attributed to them in an EICR. One method of doing this would be to issue an Electrical Danger Notification form (pictured left) – or the domestic equivalent – to the client. It should be mentioned that in a case where you have carried out any actual electrical installation work, it would not be acceptable to delay the issue of an Electrical Installation Certificate or a Minor Electrical Installation Works Certificate. This is because the certificate is an essential safety document relating to the installation work. As regards setting up a written agreement before contract work begins, two useful forms that can be of help in doing this are: • The JCT Home Owner Repair and Maintenance Contract (HO/RM), which can be downloaded at; and • The Electrical Safety Council’s Quotation request form for a Domestic Electrical Installation Condition Report, which can be downloaded at documents/industry/periodic_inspection/ESC_quotation_request.pdf

The dangerous condition detailed above may result in risk of injury or loss from: Burns from hot surfaces Mechanical movement of Electric shock electrically-actuated equipment Fire

Burns from the passage of electric current

Arcing or burning, excessive pressure and/or toxic gases


Power supply interruptions and/or safety services


ORGANISATION AND/OR Client: Organisation and/or Address : person responsible


DOMESTIC ELECTRICAL DANGER NOTIFICATION Issued by a Domestic Installer registered with with NICEIC, Warwick House, Houghton Hall Park, Houghton Regis, Dunstable LU5 5ZX.

This electrical danger notification should not be ignored and the dangers identified rectified immediately



While at the premises/location indicated below, an electrical condition has been observed which, in the opinion of the competent person issuing this Notification, constitutes a real and immediate danger to persons, property or livestock. The person(s) having responsibility for the safety of the electrical installation or equipment concerned have a duty to ensure that appropriate action is taken without delay to remove the danger. General information and advice is given overleaf. The competent person issuing this Notification will be able to provide further specific advice. Dangerous condition



ELECTRICAL DANGER NOTIFICATION Issued by an Approved Contractor or Conforming Body enrolled with NICEIC, Warwick House, Houghton Hall Park, Houghton Regis, Dunstable LU5 5ZX.

DETAILS OF THE DANGEROUS CONDITION While at the premises/location indicated below, an electrical condition has been observed which, in the opinion of the competent person issuing this Notification, constitutes a real and immediate danger to persons, property or livestock. The person(s) having responsibility for the safety of the electrical installation or equipment concerned have a duty to ensure that appropriate action is taken without delay to remove the danger. General information and advice is given overleaf. The competent person issuing this Notification will be able to provide further specific advice. Dangerous condition

(To the person responsible for the installation)


(To the person responsible for the installation)


The dangerous condition detailed above may result in risk of injury or loss from Electric shock

Mechanical movement of electrically-actuated equipment

Burns from the passage of electric current



ORGANISATION AND/OR Client: Organisation and/or Address : person responsible Address

Address Postcode Postcode



Client: Address and specific location

Client: Address and specific location

Postcode Postcode



Trading title

Trading title NICEIC Enrolment No (Essential information)

Trading address

NICEIC Registration No

Trading address

Branch Number (if applicable) Postcode

Telephone No

Postcode Signature




Telephone No










Client: Time Time







I acknowledge receipt of this dangerous condition notification.

I acknowledge receipt of this dangerous condition notification.





IF YOU ARE NOT A PERSON HAVING RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE SAFETY OF THE ELECTRICAL INSTALLATION/EQUIPMENT CONCERNED, IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU PASS THE NOTIFICATION TO SUCH A PERSON WITHOUT DELAY This form is intended to be used to notify the existence of a dangerous electrical condition. It is not a detailed or comprehensive report on the condition of the installation/equipment concerned.

Published by Certsure LLP. Certsure LLP operates the Elecsa & NICEIC brands. © Copyright Certsure LLP (May 2013)





IF YOU ARE NOT A PERSON HAVING RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE SAFETY OF THE ELECTRICAL INSTALLATION/EQUIPMENT CONCERNED, IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU PASS THE NOTIFICATION TO SUCH A PERSON WITHOUT DELAY This form is intended to be used to notify the existence of a dangerous electrical condition. It is not a detailed or comprehensive report on the condition of the installation/equipment concerned.

Please see the ‘Notes for Recipients’ on the reverse of this page.


Page 1 of

Published by NICEIC, a part of the Ascertiva Group © Copyright The Electrical Safety Council (July 2011)

Please see the ‘Notes for Recipients’ on the reverse of this page.


Page 1 of



Do I have to install an emergency lighting system if I’m carrying out a new electrical installation or a rewire in a single-household dwelling?

For a typical single-household dwelling, there is no specific requirement in legislation (such as Building Regulations), and no recommendation in relevant British Standard Codes of Practice (such as BS 5266-1 – Emergency lighting of premises), that an emergency lighting system should be installed. However, there can be circumstances where it would be beneficial for safety reasons to install one or more emergency lighting luminaires. Two examples are as follows: • Where the incoming supply cable termination and main switchgear for the electrical installation are in a basement or cellar and there is no means of natural light, some emergency lighting to illuminate the consumer unit and the route to it could be advantageous. • Where the dwelling is located in a larger building, such as a block of flats or an office block, the fire risk assessment carried out by the responsible person might conclude that, for fire safety reasons, certain areas in the dwelling need to be covered by the emergency lighting system for the building.

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Connections Autumn 2013


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Ask the experts/Technical

Fully charged QUESTION


When an addition or alteration is to be made to an existing installation, should the whole of the existing installation be inspected and tested before beginning work?

In most cases it is not required to inspect and test the whole of the existing installation for the purposes of carrying out an addition or alteration. However, a certain amount of inspection and testing of the existing installation is usually necessary to satisfy the requirements of BS 7671 relating to additions and alterations. Regulation 132.16 requires that no addition or alteration, temporary or permanent, shall be made to an existing installation, unless it has been ascertained that: i) the rating and condition of any existing equipment, including that of the distributor, will be adequate for the altered circumstances; and ii) the earthing and bonding arrangements, if necessary for the protective measure applied for the safety of the addition or alteration, are adequate. It might be necessary to contact the distributor to get information such as: • the current rating of the supply, including the rating of the service cut-out fuse; and • the details of any earthing facility provided by the distributor for the installation in the case of a TN system (such as whether it really is intended to be an earthing facility, and whether PME conditions apply). Where there are any deficiencies regarding (i) or (ii) above, these must be corrected before the new work is carried out, or as part of that work. Also, as required by Regulation 633.2, any defects the contractor finds, so far as reasonably practicable, in the existing installation must be recorded on the Electrical Installation Certificate or the Minor Electrical Installation Works Certificate covering the alteration or addition.


ANSWER No. It is necessary to measure Ze directly at the origin of the installation, with the installation not energised and the earthing conductor temporarily disconnected from the main earthing terminal of the installation, as shown in Fig 1. This is important in order to check that the intended means of earthing for the installation is present and that the value of external earth fault loop impedance (Ze) is suitably low. The problem with calculating the value of Ze by the method you suggest is that parallel paths are likely to be present when values of earth fault loop impedance (Zs) are measured in an installation. For example, the main bonding and any supplementary bonding must be in place for reasons of safety, because the installation has to be energised for the measurements of Zs to be taken. The presence of these parallel paths will prevent a reliable value for Ze being calculated by the method you suggest. And besides, carrying out a calculation does not prove the presence of the means of earthing. It should be remembered that carrying out a measurement of Ze as shown in Fig 1 necessitates Fig 1 – Example of measuring Ze at the origin of an installation working on or near live conductors (despite the fact that the main switch of the installation must be in the “off” position so that the earthing conductor can be temporarily disconnected from the main earthing terminal). By law, working on or near live conductors is not permitted unless all three of the conditions in regulation 14 of the Electricity at 0.18 Work Regulations 1989 are satisfied. Guidance on and about the conditions can be found in the Memorandum of guidance on the Electricity at Note: External earthing arrangement, Work Regulations 1989 (HSR25), which may be an electrode or distributor’s earth downloadable free at (cable sheath or PME terminal) pubns/books/hsr25.htm

Would it be acceptable if I calculated the value of external earth fault loop impedance (Ze) for an installation in a house by measuring the earth fault loop impedance (Zs) at the far end of a circuit and then measuring the resistance of the line and protective conductors of the circuit in series (R1+R2), and taking the difference between these? In other words, can I rearrange the formula Zs = Ze + (R1+R2) to create a new formula, Ze = Zs - (R1+R2), and then use this formula to calculate the value of Ze?




Autumn 2013 Connections

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25/09/2013 15:06

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Ask the experts/Technical

Fully charged 44 48 50

Cables in spaces containing thermal insulation Changes to fire alarm code of practice – new edition of BS 5839-1 Reduced low voltage systems

54 59 60

Cables in spaces containing thermal insulation It is common practice for thermally insulating material to be installed into buildings to reduce heat losses or improve sound attenuation. However, if thermally insulating material covers a cable, such as is shown in Fig 1, this reduces the cable’s current-carrying capacity (the maximum current a cable can carry without its steady-state temperature exceeding the rated value, such as 70 °C for general-purpose thermoplastic insulated conductors). Fig 1 Examples of cables covered by thermal insulation


Autumn 2013 NICEIC Connections

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Initial verification of a small-scale solar PV system – part 3 Checking that measured values of earth fault loop impedance are acceptable Snags and solutions: A practical guide to everyday problems


problem arises if thermal insulation reduces the current-carrying capacity of a cable to a value less than is necessary to suit the rated current of the overcurrent protective device of the circuit, or, if the current is limited by the characteristics of the load, to less than the load current. This could result in the cable’s conductor temperature exceeding the maximum admissible value under load or overload conditions, possibly leading to damage to the insulation and sheath of the cable and adjacent materials. The amount by which the current-carrying capacity of a cable is reduced by thermal insulation can be seen from some of the tables of current-carrying capacity in Appendix 4 of BS 7671. For example, Table 4D5 shows that for a flat twin-and-earth PVC/PVC cable installed above a ceiling or within a wall, the presence of thermal insulation reduces the current-carrying capacity by as much as 35 % or 50 %, respectively, compared with if the cable was clipped direct to a surface and open (Reference Method C).

25/09/2013 15:30

Other tables of current-carrying capacity in Appendix 4 tell a similar story. Also, Table 52.2 and Regulation 523.9 give rating factors for cables totally surrounded by thermal insulation, according to the length of cable surrounded.

For a circuit for which overload current protection is required, the lowest rated conductor used for the circuit should have an effective current-carrying capacity (Iz) of not less than the rated current (In) of the overload protective device of the circuit, or, if the device is a semi-enclosed fuse to BS 3036, not less than In ÷ 0.725 (Regulations 433.1.1 and 433.1.101 refer). The tabulated current-carrying capacity (It) for the size of conductor that meets the above requirement can be found by using Formula (1) below. This value of It (or the next highest value) should be located in the appropriate table of current-carrying capacity in Appendix 4 of BS 7671, and the corresponding cross-sectional area of conductor identified directly.

Requirements of BS 7671 Regulation 523.9 requires that a cable shall preferably not be installed in a location where it is liable to be covered by thermal insulation. Where a cable is installed in such a location, the same regulation requires that the cable shall preferably be fixed in a position where it will not be covered by thermal insulation. Where this is not practicable, the regulation requires the conductors of the cable to be adequately sized so that their effective current-carrying capacity – taking account of (amongst other things) the reduction in current-carrying capacity caused by thermal insulation – meets the requirements of Chapter 43 (Protection against overcurrent). Regulation 523.9 permits the nature of the load (such as cyclic loads) and diversity to be taken into account. However, this is not applicable where the maximum current is sustained for long periods, such as in a circuit supplying a night storage heater. In such cases the cable and protective device ratings must be adequate for the maximum current (see note, right). The implications of Regulation 523.9 as regards the cross-sectional area required for the circuit conductors are discussed below for radial circuits and ring final circuits. Radial circuits For a radial circuit, a useful preliminary step when considering the implications of thermal insulation on the size of conductors required is often to identify whether or not protection against overload current is required. Regulation 433.3.1(ii) allows overload protection to be omitted for circuit conductors which, because of the characteristics of the load, are unlikely to carry overload current. However, the conductors are still required to be protected against fault current (short-circuit and earth fault) in accordance with Section 434. An example of a circuit unlikely to carry overload current is one supplying only luminaires or heating elements, if the conductors are adequately sized to carry the full load current continuously. Socket-outlet circuits, however, invariably require overload protection, as users can easily add load (possibly too much load) by plugging in current-using equipment.

44-61_technical.FINAL.indd 45

Note for formula (1): If the circuit cable is to be buried in the ground, additional factors Cs, Cc and Cd must also be included in Formula (1). Section 5.2 of Appendix 4 of BS 7671 refers.

Note: A cyclic load is one where the current varies in a regular, repetitive, predictable way. An example could be a programmable logic-controlled machine having a punching tool (45 A for 8 s), spot welding operation (80 A for 2 s) and conveyor belt (20 A continuous). Regulation 533.2.1 gives relevant requirements. Specific advice from the switchgear/controlgear assembly manufacturer should be followed regarding circuit protective device selection for a cyclic load.

Formula (1) (For use where overload protection is required). Based on Section 5.2 of Appendix 4 of BS 7671. It ≥

In Ca× Cg× Ci ×Cf

Where: • It is the tabulated current-carrying capacity of the cable in amperes. • In is the rated current of the overload protective device of the circuit in amperes. • Ca and Cg are the rating factors for ambient temperature and grouping, respectively, taken from the relevant tables in Appendix 4 of BS 7671. • Ci is the rating factor for thermal insulation, taken from Table 52.2 of Regulation 523.9. Ci is not used (or its value is set to 1) if the installation Reference Method takes account of thermal insulation, such as in the case of Reference Methods 100 to 103 of Table 4A2 of Appendix 4 of BS 7671, for flat twin-and-earth cables in thermal insulation. • Cf is the factor for the type of overload protective device. Where the overload protective device is a semi-enclosed fuse to BS 3036, Cf = 0.725. Otherwise Cf = 1. For a circuit for which overload current protection is not required, the conductors used should have a tabulated current-carrying capacity (It) not less than the current (Ib) to be carried by the circuit in normal service (Regulation 523.1 and Section 5.2 of Appendix 4 refer). The tabulated current-carrying capacity (It) for the size of conductor that meets the above requirement can be found by using Formula (2). Again, this value of It (or the next highest value) should be located in the appropriate table of current-carrying capacity in Appendix 4 of BS 7671, and the corresponding cross-sectional area of conductor identified directly. NICEIC Connections Autumn 2013


25/09/2013 15:30

Ask the experts/Technical

Fully charged Formula (2) (For use where overload protection is not required). Based on Section 5.1.2 of Appendix 4 of BS 7671. It ≥

Ib Ca× Cg× Ci

appropriate table of current-carrying capacity in Appendix 4 of BS 7671, and the corresponding cross-sectional area of conductor identified directly. Formula (3) (For a conventional ring final circuit). Based on Regulation 433.1.103 and Section 5.1.2 of Appendix 4 of BS 7671.

Where: • Ib is the current in amperes to be carried by the circuit in normal service. In determining Ib, the nature of the load (such as cyclic loads) and diversity may be taken into account, where applicable. • Ca, Cg and Ci have the same meanings as in Formula (1). Ci is not used (or its value is set to 1) if the installation Reference Method takes account of thermal insulation, such as in the case of Reference Methods 100 to 103 of Table 4A2, for flat twin-and-earth cables in thermal insulation.

Where: • Ca, Cg and Ci have the same meanings as in Formula (1). Ci is not used (or its value is set to 1) if the installation Reference Method takes account of thermal insulation, such as in the case of Reference Methods 100 to 103 of Table 4A2, for flat twin-and-earth cables in thermal insulation.

Ring final circuits (supplying 13 A accessories to BS 1363)

Existing cables subsequently covered by thermal insulation

For a conventional 30 A or 32 A ring final circuit, as shown in Fig 2, Regulation 433.1.103 requires (amongst other things) that the live conductors of the circuit cable are of sufficient size to give an effective current-carrying capacity (Iz) of not less than 20 A, subject to a minimum size of 2.5 mm2 copper, or 1.5 mm2 copper for two-core mineral insulated cable. The tabulated current-carrying capacity (It) for the size of conductor that meets the above requirement of Regulation 433.1.103 can be found by using Formula (3). This value of It (or the next highest value) should then be located in the

A snag sometimes encountered is that thermal insulation has been installed around or over the cable of an existing circuit at some time after the circuit was originally designed and installed. This is a problem if the thermal insulation has reduced the effective current-carrying capacity (Iz) of the cable to less than that needed to meet the relevant requirements of BS 7671, referred to earlier. In such a case the customer should be advised of this situation and of any need for remedial work to prevent or remove danger. However, in some cases it may be found that there are no signs of thermal damage having been caused to the cable or its surroundings as a result of the thermal insulation being added. Where this is the case, a careful assessment of the current (Ib) carried by the circuit cable in normal service (taking account of the nature of the load and diversity, where applicable) might reveal that Ib does not actually exceed Iz. In these circumstances, a possible solution might be to replace the overload protective device of the circuit (where applicable) by one having a suitably reduced rated current (In), provided this would not result in unwanted operation of the device, such as due to inrush current under starting conditions. Applying this approach to a ring final circuit, for example: suppose that, as a result of the installation of the thermal insulation, the reduced value of current-carrying capacity (Iz) for the circuit cable was 10 A (which is 50 % of the 20 A minimum required by Regulation 433.1.103). In that case, a protective device having a rated current not exceeding 15 A or 16 A (i.e. 50 % of 30 A or 32 A) would be appropriate.

Fig 2 Example of a conventional ring final circuit


Note for formula (2): If the circuit cable is to be buried in the ground, additional factors Cs, Cc and Cd must also be included in Formula (2). Section 5.1.2 of Appendix 4 of BS 7671 refers.

Autumn 2013 Connections

44-61_technical.FINAL.indd 46

It ≥

20 Ca× Cg× Ci

25/09/2013 15:30

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25/09/2013 16:44

Ask the experts/Technical

Fully charged Changes to fire alarm code of practice – new edition of BS 5839-1 New editions of a number of parts of BS 5839, the code of practice for fire alarms, were issued earlier this year. These include BS 5839-1, relating to non-domestic, BS 5839-6, relating to domestic premises, and BS 5839-8, relating to voice alarm systems. This article looks at the new edition of BS 5839-1.


S 5839 1: 2013 is not a full revision of the previous edition (BS 5839-1: 2002+A2: 2008), which is now withdrawn. However, it does include a number of technical changes from that edition. The most significant of the changes are outlined in this article. Like previous editions of BS 5839-1, the 2013 edition provides guidance and recommendations for the planning, design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of fire detection and fire alarm systems in and around non-domestic premises. It should not be used as a specification and is not legislation; its clauses and commentary are recommendations. Title change Compared with the title of the previous edition, the title of the 2013 edition of BS 5839-1 includes the extra words ‘of systems in non-domestic premises’ at the end. This makes the full title Fire detection and fire alarm systems for buildings – Part 1: Code of practice for design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of systems in non-domestic premises. BS 5839-1 has always been applicable for non-domestic premises only, but the new title now clearly reflects this. As was previously the case, however, the recommendations of BS 5839-1 are still cross-referenced in BS 5839-6, the code of practice for fire alarms in dwellings, in the context of Grade A fire alarm installations in domestic premises. Changes relating to terms and definitions There have been a number of changes in the 48

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terms used in BS 5839-1 to describe things. Also, two definitions have been added and an existing definition has been modified. The changes in terms are: • ‘Care home’ has been replaced by ‘residential care premises’. • ‘Fire service’ has been replaced by ‘fire and rescue service’. • ‘Responsible person’ has been replaced with references to ‘premises management’. The two new definitions are: • Zone plan: diagrammatic representation of a building, showing specific topographic information and the division of the building into detection zones. • Visual alarm device: fire alarm device incorporating a flashing light. The new term zone plan is used in a number of places in BS 5839-1: 2013. For example, in relation to the handover arrangements of the fire alarm system, clause 42 recommends that the person accepting the fire alarm system on behalf of the purchaser should, amongst other things, ensure that a suitable zone plan is provided close to all control and indicating equipment (CIE) in accordance with clause 23.2.2e. That latter clause now refers to a ‘zone plan’, rather than simply ‘a plan’ as was the case in the previous edition of BS 5839-1. With regard to visual alarm devices, clause 11.2 of BS 5839-1: 2013 now recommends that these should conform to BS EN 54-23, which specifies the requirements, test methods and performance criteria for these devices. Other recommendations for visual alarm devices are given elsewhere in BS 5839-1: 2013. The definition that has been modified (by the addition of the word ‘current’ in the first line) is: • Competent person: person with the relevant current training and experience, and with access to the requisite tools, equipment and information, and capable of carrying out a defined task. An implication of the word ‘current’ being added is that contractors should keep up to date with the changes to the BS 5839-1 series and associated British Standards and Codes of Practice. Some changes applicable to residential care premises and hospitals Clause 4.2 of BS 5839-1: 2013 gives recommendations relating to the need for a fire detection and fire alarm system and type of system. A recommendation has been added that where occupants of a building are going to need assistance from staff to evacuate the

25/09/2013 15:31

building (such as in residential care premises and hospitals), the fire detection and fire alarm system should be addressable if the building has facilities for more than 10 people to sleep. The commentary to clause 15 (Communication with fire and rescue services) now specifically recommends that automatic transmission of fire alarm signals to fire and rescue services is necessary in the case of residential care homes. In clause 19.2.2, relating to where staged fire alarm arrangements are used within an installation, a recommendation has been added that in residential care premises, a staff alarm should not incorporate any delay to the summoning of the fire and rescue service when the fire alarm system operates. However, the clause does permit a delay in the general alarm signal provided all staff are made aware of the fire alarm signal. A residential care home is now the one type of premises where the filtering of an alarm to limit false alarms is not recommended (clause 35.2.7 (f) refers). Variations Clause 7 provides details on those instances where there are variations from the recommendations of the Standard. Clause 7.2 (e) now recommends that any major non-compliances that are agreed variations should be clearly recorded in the logbook. Such information should then be readily available for future reference by maintenance organisations and/or other interested parties. Spacing and siting of automatic fire detectors In clause 22.5, which provides recommendations on the siting of optical beam detectors, a minor correction has been made to Figure 13, in that the dimension of the width covered by the optical beam detector has been corrected to 18.75m from 17.5m. In clause 22.9, which gives recommendations for limits of ceiling height for detectors, Table 3 has been amended in the light of the results from a BRE research project. The changes affect some of the recommended height limits for different classes of optical beam smoke detectors and aspirating smoke detection systems. Two notes have also been added to the table, recommending the use of supplemental detection in certain circumstances where optical beam detectors are used, and multilevel sampling in certain circumstances where aspirating smoke detection systems are used.

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Inspection and servicing Every fire detection and fire alarm system requires periodic inspection and servicing. This is so that faults are identified and preventative measures taken to ensure the continuing reliability of the system, problems with false alarms are identified and the user is made aware of any changes to the building that affect the protection afforded by the system. The commentary to clause 45 (Inspection and testing) now explains that routine servicing of a fire detection and fire alarm system does not constitute a fresh review of the system design, and that it will, therefore, not necessarily be the case that non-compliances with Section 2 (Design considerations) will be identified at the time of such servicing. The new text goes on to point out that the maintenance organisation may highlight aspects of non-compliance with Section 2, but that it cannot be assumed that the technician will have identified, or even tried to identify, all non-compliances, or that there has been any review of the system design. Annexes A minor change has been made to Annex C (Control and transmission equipment for tactile alarm devices provided for people with impaired hearing systems) to highlight that it is normative rather than informative. A new annex, Annex F, has been added. This contains useful information on visual alarm devices, their illumination patterns and look-up tables for the pre-determined design approach to the installation of visual alarm devices. Deletions Table 4, dealing with the limits of ceiling heights (Category P systems and five minute fire service attendance), previously found in clause 22.10 of BS 5839-1: 2002, has now been deleted. Conclusion The changes that have been made to BS 5839-1 are limited in nature, but do specifically highlight the risks associated with the design, installation and maintenance of fire detection and fire alarm systems in residential care homes and hospitals. There are limited implications for the designer and installer of such systems, and BS 5839-1 continues to reflect current practices within the industry. NICEIC Connections Autumn 2013


25/09/2013 15:31

Ask the experts/Technical

Fully charged Source of supply

Reduced low voltage systems For many years, the reduced low voltage (RLV) system has been used in the UK on construction and demolition sites and at some industrial and commercial premises. It was first brought into use in the UK in 1929, at which time the maximum nominal voltage between line conductors was 100 V. This was increased to 110 V during World War 2, and remains so today. This highly effective and established system reduces the risk of death and severity of injury from electricity whilst providing an adequate supply voltage for most types of site equipment. Since 1929 there has not been a single recorded fatal accident to users of the RLV system in the UK. Even with the rapid improvements and increase in use of rechargeable tools, RLV is still commonly used.


he RLV system is a version of the protective measure of Automatic Disconnection of Supply. The nominal a.c. voltage in an RLV system does not exceed: • 110 V between line conductors; • 55 V between a line and earthed midpoint in a single-phase circuit; and • 63.5 V between a line and earthed neutral in a three-phase circuit. (Regulation 411.8.1.2 of BS 7671 refers.) The use of RLV predates the UK’s adoption of the technical intent of CENELEC Harmonised Documents (HDs). Although RLV is not amongst the protective measures identified in HD 60364-4-41 (Protection against electric shock), its use has continued to be recognised in the UK due to its proven safety record. On construction and demolition sites, RLV systems are strongly preferred in BS 7671 for the supply to portable hand lamps for general use and for portable hand tools and local lighting up to 2 kW (Note 1 to Regulation 704.410.3.10 refers). Every RLV system should be arranged to meet the applicable requirements of Regulation Group 411.8 (Reduced low voltage systems) and of other relevant parts of BS 7671, including Section 704 (Construction and demolition site installations) where applicable. 50

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The source of supply for an RLV system should be: • a double-wound isolating transformer meeting the requirements of BS EN 61558-1 and BS EN 61558-2-23; or • a motor-generator in which the windings provide a degree of isolation equivalent to that provided by the windings of an isolating transformer; or • some other source independent of other supplies, such as an engine driven generator. (Regulation 411.8.4.1 refers.) The mid-point or star point of the transformer secondary winding or generator winding must be connected to Earth. Fig 1 shows examples of these connections. In the case of a transformer, the connection to Earth is usually achieved by connecting to the protective conductor of the circuit supplying the primary. Protection against overcurrent Overcurrent detection must be provided in both line conductors of a single-phase RLV circuit and in all three line conductors or a three-phase RLV circuit. The detection must cause disconnection of the line conductor in which the overcurrent is detected but not necessarily the other line conductors except where the disconnection of only one line conductor could cause damage or danger (Regulation 431.1.1 refers). However, for a construction or demolition site, the

Fig 1 Single-phase and three-phase RLV supplies

25/09/2013 16:15

recommendations given in clause of BS 7375: 2010 (Distribution of electricity on construction and demolition sites – Code of practice) state that it is essential for all line conductors to be disconnected simultaneously. This can be achieved by means of a multi-pole circuit-breaker. Protection against electric shock Basic protection in an RLV system must be provided either by basic insulation or by barriers or enclosures (Regulation 411.8.2 refers). For fault protection, exposed-conductiveparts of the RLV system (such as the casings of Class I equipment) must be earthed, typically by connecting them to the earthed point of the source of the RLV supply. Automatic disconnection in the case of a fault must be provided by either an overcurrent protective device in each line conductor or by an RCD (Regulation 411.8.3 refers). The earth fault loop impedance at every point of utilisation, including socket outlets, must be low enough for automatic disconnection to occur within 5 s in the event of an earth fault (Regulation 411.8.3 refers). Maximum values of earth fault loop impedance (Zs) for common types and ratings of overcurrent protective devices to achieve the 5 s disconnection time in an RLV system are given in Table 41.6 of BS 7671. For a fuse or circuit-breaker not covered in Table 41.6, or a thermal overload relay, the maximum value of Zs can be calculated by the formula Zs ≤ U0/Ia (where U0 is the nominal voltage to Earth – 55 V or 63.5 V, as applicable – and Ia is the current in amperes causing operation of the device within 5 s, as given in the product standard or quoted by the manufacturer). The maximum value of Zs for an RCD in an RLV system can be calculated by the formula Zs ≤ 50/ IΔn, where IΔn is the rated residual operating current of the RCD in amperes (Regulation 411.8.3 refers). Where an RCD is used, this should be done with care. An RCD’s mechanism can be particularly susceptible to the harsh conditions of dust, water, impact and vibration likely to be met on construction sites. Where the RCD or its enclosure are not of themselves robust enough for the ambient conditions, additional measures against external influences should be taken during installation to provide the necessary protection (Regulations 512.2.1. and 512.2.2 refer). Careful thought should also be given to the position chosen for the device. Unwanted tripping of an RCD on a circuit supplying temporary lighting on a construction or

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demolition site could result in injury to persons. Therefore the IΔn of the RCD should not be unnecessarily low in relation to the value Zs in the circuit. It should never be found necessary to use an RCD with IΔn as low as 30 mA. General Every plug, socket-outlet, luminaire supporting coupler, device for connecting a luminaire and cable coupler in RLV systems should have a protective conductor contact and not be dimensionally compatible with those used for any other system at the same premises or site (Regulation 411.8.5 refers). The design of the site electrical installation needs to ensure, amongst other things, that distribution equipment, such as assemblies for construction sites (ACSs), are supplied with appropriate sized conductors. The distribution equipment should be located at relevant points of utilisation before site work commences and as the work progresses, to minimise values of earth fault loop impedance and permit connection of moveable and/or mobile equipment without having to use excessive length of trailing cables. An example of a construction site electrical installation is shown in Fig 2. Particular inspection and testing considerations for construction sites Work on construction sites tends to be in a constant state of change, and the RLV systems used therefore need to be readily adaptable to suit the ever changing situation. Consequently, RLV systems on construction sites usually comprise a number of purpose-made transportable or mobile distribution assemblies complying with BS 4363 or BS EN 60439-4, interconnected by flexible cables, cable couplers, and plugs and socket-outlets. Electrical equipment on construction sites is likely to be subjected to adverse environmental conditions and possibly physical abuse. The necessary use of flexible cables and plug-in connections to supply moveable plant can introduce problems of maintaining an effective earth return path. If cable runs become excessive, or cables and connections become damaged or are allowed to deteriorate, the earth fault loop impedance might increase and the required disconnection time of 5 s might not be achieved. Furthermore, automatic disconnection cannot occur under earth fault conditions if the circuit protective conductor becomes disconnected or broken. Connections Autumn 2013


25/09/2013 15:31

Ask the experts/Technical

Fully charged Fig 2 Example of a construction site electrical installation (Note: the blue lines are shown to represent cables connecting equipment, their colour does not denote any particular voltage)

HSE Guidance Note HS(G) 141 Electrical safety on construction sites (now out of print) suggests that moveable installations be formally inspected monthly and that combined inspection and testing be carried out, by a competent person, prior to the moveable installation (or any part of it) being put into service and then at three monthly intervals. However, the frequency of inspection and testing should be kept under review, using the results of previous inspections and tests, to see whether it is possible to extend the frequency or to determine whether the frequency can 52

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be reduced. For example, if inspection and testing on several consecutive occasions shows the installation to be safe, it may be possible to reduce the frequency. The results of all tests carried out should be recorded and the records kept, such that any deterioration in the installation can be identified.

25/09/2013 15:31

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26/09/2013 09:18

Ask the experts/Technical

Fully charged The initial verification of a small-scale solar PV system – part 3 This article is the third and final in a series that began in issue 185 of Connections, dealing with the initial verification of grid-connected small-scale photovoltaic (PV) systems. The first article looked at the requirements relating to design, installation and initial verification. It also introduced the NICEIC Electrical Installation Certificate for Small-scale PV Systems and considered the procedures for conducting pre-installation checks and initial inspection. The second article considered the testing to be performed during the initial verification of a small-scale, single-string PV system. This final article looks at how to compare site measurements of open-circuit voltage and short-circuit current for PV modules with the corresponding values measured under standard test conditions and published by the manufacturer, in order to help determine whether PV modules are working satisfactorily. Part 3 – PV modules – comparing test results with manufacturers’ data The values of open-circuit voltage and short-circuit current measured under standard test conditions are represented by the symbols Voc STC and Isc STC respectively. The standard test conditions (STC) used by the manufacturers of modules are: • an irradiance of 1,000 W/m2. • a PV module temperature of 25 ˚C. • an air mass factor of 1.5. During commissioning of a PV system on site, the irradiance and the PV module temperature are likely to be different from the values used for standard test conditions. Also, changes in cloud conditions can cause the irradiance to 54

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vary throughout the commissioning process. Consequently, to be able to compare measured values of open-circuit voltage and shortcircuit current with the corresponding values given on the data sheets for the PV modules (Voc STC and Isc STC), it may be necessary to amend the values given in the data sheets to take into account the actual conditions of irradiance and module temperature experienced when the measurements on site were taken. The curves in the graph in Fig 1 show how irradiance and module temperature affect the current and voltage produced by a PV module. It can be seen from Fig 1 that under open-circuit conditions (when I=0), the corresponding values of open-circuit voltage (Voc) are found along the voltage axis, at the points where the curves meets that axis. Similarly, under short-circuit conditions (when V=0), the values of short-circuit current (Isc) are found along the current axis, where the curves meet that axis. It can also be seen from Fig 1 that, depending upon the irradiance falling on the modules, the value of short-circuit current can vary from 0, during darkness, to a value greater than Isc STC, if the irradiance exceeds 1,000 W/m2, which is rare in the UK. Similarly the value of open-circuit voltage is influenced by both the irradiance and the module temperature. However, the possible variation in measured open-circuit voltage is quite limited. Predicting measured short-circuit current under site conditions In the UK, when measuring the short-circuit current, the irradiance falling on the module is likely to be significantly less than the 1,000 W/m2 used for standard test conditions. To ascertain whether the measured value of short-circuit current is within acceptable limits, the measured values can be compared with expected values. To do this, we need to compare the measured short-circuit current with the manufacturer’s STC value corrected for irradiance at test conditions. When cloud conditions are variable, the irradiance should be measured at the same time as the shortcircuit current. The measured value of Isc conditions can be predicted using the following formula. Predicted value of measured Isc = Isc STC × measured irradiance 1,000

25/09/2013 15:40

Fig 1 Variations in current and voltage due to changes in irradiance or module temperature

Example 1 A short-circuit test performed on site, on a string of PV modules at an irradiance of 800 W/m2, produces a current of 4.1 A. If the modules have an Isc STC of 5 A, determine the predicted value of short-circuit current under irradiance conditions of 800 W/m2 and decide whether the modules are performing as expected. Predicted value of measured Isc = Isc STC Ă&#x2014; measured irradiance 1,000 =

5 x 800 1,000



Allowing for instrument errors, the measured value of current (4.1 A) is sufficiently close to the predicted value of 4 A for the modules to be considered satisfactory.

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Predicting the open-circuit voltage (Voc) under installed conditions. As illustrated by Fig 1, the open-circuit voltage produced by a module is affected by both the module operating temperature and the irradiance falling on the modules. To help find out if the modules are functioning correctly, it will be necessary to compare the measured open-circuit voltage with the manufacturerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s STC value corrected for module operating temperature and, where necessary, the irradiance experienced by the module during test conditions. As shown in Fig. 1 the changes in open-circuit voltage due to module temperature are more significant than changes due to irradiance. Consequently, when comparing measured and manufacturerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s values of open-circuit voltage it is common practice to correct only for module temperature. The module temperature can be determined by using either a temperature sensor or a thermal imaging camera. Connections Autumn 2013


25/09/2013 15:41

Ask the experts/Technical

Fully charged Generally the temperature coefficient (ß) of the module is given in the manufacturer’s data sheet. Depending upon the manufacturer, ß can be expressed as either the mV change per °C (mV/°C) or as the percentage change in Voc per °C. As an increase in the module temperature results in a decrease in open-circuit voltage, ß) has a negative value. The procedure for calculating the predicted open-circuit voltage for the string is as follows. Where ß) is expressed in mV/°C, the change in open-circuit voltage (∆Voc) of a single module due to module temperature (TMod) = (TMod – 25) x ß (where TMod is the module temperature) For a single module, the predicted module open-circuit voltage under test conditions is given by Voc STC + ∆Voc = Voc STC + (TMod – 25) x ß = Voc STC + ∆T x ß (where ∆T is the difference between module temperature and 25 °C) Where ß is expressed in mV/°C, for a string of M modules, the predicted open-circuit voltage under test conditions is = M (Voc STC + ∆T x ß). Where ß is expressed as a percentage, for a string of M modules, the predicted open-circuit voltage under test conditions is = M (Voc STC + Voc STC x ∆T x ß) = M x Voc STC (1 + ∆T x ß) Example 1 During the initial verification of a single-string PV system consisting of six modules, the measured open-circuit voltage of the sting of PV modules is 338 V. Assuming that the modules have a Voc STC of 60 V, the applicable temperature coefficient is -130 mV/°C and the operating temperature of the module is 50 °C, determine if the measured value of open-circuit voltage is acceptable. Predicted Voc = M (Voc STC + ∆T x ß) = 6 (60 + (50-25) x (-0.130)) = 6(60 + 25 x (–0.130)) = 6(60 – 3.25) Predicted Voc = 340.5 V

before the system is put on load, an opencircuit test is carried out. The single-string PV system consists of six modules, each having a Voc STC of 60 V; the applicable temperature coefficient is – 0.34%/°C and the temperature of the modules is 12 °C. Calculate the predicted open-circuit voltage. Predicted Voc = M x Voc STC (1 + ∆T x ß) = 6 x 60 (1 + (12-25) x -0.34/100) = 360 (1 + (–13) x (– 0.34/100) = 360 (1 + 0.0442) Predicted Voc = 375.9 V Note: in Example 2, as ß is expressed as a %, when inserted in the equation the numerical value is divided by 100.

Examples 1 and 2 show the effect of the negative temperature coefficient has on the open-circuit voltage. During the summer, when the operating temperature of the modules can be greater than the STC temperature of 25 °C, the person carrying out the tests should expect the measured open circuit voltage to be less than M x module Voc STC. However, during the winter, when the temperature of the modules is less than 25 °C, the measured open-circuit voltage should be expected to be greater than M x module Voc STC. The accuracy and reliability of the test methods described depends upon measurements of irradiance and module temperature being made at the same time as the voltage or current are being measured. This may involve one person on the roof measuring irradiance and module temperature whilst another person, in the vicinity of the inverter, measures voltage and current. In terms of coordination this may well present a challenge. To overcome these problems, PV test equipment has been developed that uses sensors on the modules to measure irradiance and module temperature whilst the electrical tests are being conducted. This article is based upon some of the content of The PV Learning Guide published by NICEIC and ELECSA, available from NICEIC Direct ( or call 0843 290 3501)

Allowing for instrument errors, the measured value of 338 V is sufficiently close to the predicted value of 340.5 V for the modules to be considered satisfactory. Example 2 As part of the initial verification of a PV system, 56

Autumn 2013 Connections

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25/09/2013 15:41

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25/09/2013 16:49

Ask the experts/Technical

Fully charged Checking that measured values of earth fault loop impedance are acceptable The maximum values of earth fault loop impedance (Zs) referred to in BS 7671 must not be exceeded when the circuit conductors are at their normal operating temperature (such as 70 °C for thermoplastic insulated conductors). But in many cases the conductors will be at some lower temperature when values of Zs are measured during testing of an installation. We are often asked how to check that measured values of Zs are acceptable.


n an installation that uses Automatic Disconnection of Supply for protection against electric shock and forms part of a TN or TT system, the highest value of Zs in each circuit has to meet the requirements of Regulation 411.4.5 (TN system), Fig 1 Table included in each pad of NICEIC forms

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or Regulations 411.5.3 or 411.4.5 (TT system), as applicable. Chapter 41 of BS 7671 includes a number of tables of maximum earth fault loop impedance (Zs) that can be used to meet the above requirements where commonly used types and ratings of protective device are employed at a nominal line to Earth voltage (U0) of 230 V. These include Tables 41.2, 41.3 and 41.4, for overcurrent devices and the overcurrent characteristics of RCBOs, and Table 41.5, for non-delay RCDs. The maximum values of Zs given in the above tables relate to when the circuit conductors are at normal operating temperature. However, on-site measurements of Zs are often carried out under no load conditions, when the circuit conductors are likely to be at ambient temperature (typically not more than 20 °C). Where this is the case, the measured values of Zs will be lower than if the conductors had been at their normal operating temperature. To take account of this, Appendix 14 of BS 7671 indicates that if the highest measured value of Zs in a circuit does not exceed 80 % of the applicable maximum permitted value (such as that given in the tables mentioned above), the requirements of BS 7671 for automatic disconnection for fault protection are considered to be met. For convenience, each pad of NICEIC Electrical Installation Certificates and Electrical Installation Condition Reports (and their domestic equivalents) includes a table of limiting values of measured earth fault loop impedance for common overcurrent protective devices, for fault protection, operating at a nominal voltage of (U0) 230 V (see Fig 1). In line with the guidance in Appendix 14 of BS 7671, the values in the table are equal to 80 % of the applicable maximum value of Zs given in BS 7671. The table of limiting values of measured earth fault loop impedance provides a means of verifying that measured values of Zs obtained from testing of ‘cold’ circuits under no-load conditions are low enough to give compliance with the maximum values of Zs for fault protection given in BS 7671. Values taken from that table should not, however, be entered into the column headed maximum Zs permitted by BS 7671 in NICEIC Electrical Installation Certificates and Electrical Installation Condition Reports (and their domestic equivalents). The values to be inserted in that column should be taken from Tables 41.2, 41.3, 41.4 or 41.5, as applicable, or be determined in accordance with Regulation 411.4.5 (TN system) or Regulations 411.5.3 or 411.4.5 (TT system).

Connections Autumn 2013


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Ask the experts/Technical

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

Duration period Where the immediate reoccupation of a building is required, the emergency escape lighting system should have sufficient battery capacity (duration) to facilitate this.

Snag 9

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 4 – Emergency lighting, relating to the duration period that should be chosen for an emergency lighting system where immediate reoccupation of a building is required.

Where careful consideration is not given to: • whether an immediate or phased evacuation is required; • how long it will take to evacuate the premises; and • whether or not there will be a need to reoccupy the premises as soon as the supply has been restored, without waiting for batteries to recharge, occupants may not be suitably protected.



Part 2

wiring systems 3rd Edition

Amd 1: 2011


Autumn 2013 Connections

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Amd 1: 2011

Amd 1: 2011

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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

Solution In order to provide an effective and reliable emergency lighting system, it is important for designers of such systems to consider, amongst other things, how long it will take to evacuate a building when, for example, the supply to the normal lighting fails. Consideration must also be given to when occupants will be required to evacuate the building and if there will be an immediate need to reoccupy the building once the supply has been restored. To allow for these situations, BS EN 1838: 1999 specifies that an emergency escape lighting system must provide illumination for a minimum duration of 1 h, irrespective of how little time it would take to evacuate a building. BS 5266-1, however, considers the minimum duration of 1 h to be insufficient to allow immediate reoccupation of the premises once the supply to the normal lighting has been restored as the supply to the normal lighting could fail during the battery recharge period. For this reason, designers will often choose to install an emergency escape lighting system that has a minimum duration of 3 h in premises that will not be evacuated immediately in the event of a supply failure. The types of premises that should have a system with a minimum duration of 3 h include those used as sleeping accommodation, places of entertainment, and those that will be reoccupied as soon as the supply is restored without waiting for the batteries to recharge. Information on the period of duration recommended for particular types of premises is given in Snag 10 Classification of premises.

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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

Connections Autumn 2013


25/09/2013 15:41

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The Seaward PowerCheck 1557 tests for Full Earth Continuity, Insulation Resistance, RCD Trip Time, RCD Trip Current, Loop, PE Conductor Current, Touch Current and Flash test verification. • PAT and Installation verification checkbox • It can be used to verify loop impedance or • Rugged and robust RCD testers on RCD protected circuits • Tests to BS7671 / EN 61577 / IEE Code without tripping the RCD. of Practice • Tests to BS 7671, BS EN 61557, IET Onsite • Confirm performance Guide and IEE Code of Practice. It has full • NICEIC & IET compliant instrument verification against all relevant • Colour coded for ease of use standards and confirms performance between • Compatible with all installation and verifications (this is information required by PAT testers NICEIC, ELECSA, Corgi and others).

2 NICEIC Embroidered Polo Shirts • Smart functional polo shirts made from permanent wicking fabric • Quick-dry fabric keeps you cool and dry on the job all day long. And if you get caught in a shower, it drys out fast. The fabric is also ideal for including a company logo and improving your corporate image

Domestic circuit breaker and fuse lockout kit containing: • 1 x fuse lockout device • 1 x multi purpose MCB and main switch lockout • 1 x small MCB toggle lock • 1 x 25mm lockout hasp • 1 x pack of 5 ‘Do not operate’ tags • 1 x red safety lock • All supplied in a black storage pouch

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Product Focus Fluke Fluke (UK) is offering a special promotion multifunction installation tester kit for purchases between now and 31 December 2013. The Fluke 1654B/LIM EDITION Multifunction Installation Tester Kit comes complete with free software and an earth spike kit. This special promotion can be seen at promotions. The extended memory Fluke 1654B Multifunction Installation Tester is designed for high productivity testing and verification of virtually all electrical wiring installations in domestic, commercial and industrial applications to meet the BS 7671 IEE 17th Edition wiring regulations, while offering smooth DC-sensitive RCD type B testing and milliohm resolution for loop and line testing.

Marshall Tufflex Marshall Tufflex’s Twin165 product has solved a desk-to-window height challenge at a school academy project. Restricted desk-to-window height throughout a new £17million academy proved a challenge for the project’s M&E contractor – until Marshall-Tufflex’s Twin165 double compartment trunking system was found to be a perfect solution. The new North Shore Academy, Stockton, opened its doors to 1,000 pupils in May 2013. In common with other modern, hi-tech educational establishments, the academy required high levels of power and data supplies throughout the building, with space for cable management provision at a premium.

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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.

Danlers extends its range of Batten Mount energy saving controls. Danlers’ Batten Mount PIRs are the ideal quick-fix, low-cost energy saving solution and with energy savings of up to 50 per cent the payback period is kept to a minimum. New to the Batten Mount range are two Spot Detection controls, both have a narrow (1.5m) zone of detection ideal for access points into storage aisles. In addition, two new Batten Mount PIRs featuring a reduced detection range are now available, these are ideal for environments with open grid flooring where false triggering can occur on other levels.

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Martindale Electric is pleased to announce the arrival of the new PC104 and PC105 ranges to its existing 3-Phase Industrial Socket Testers. Suitable for instantly checking sockets in factories and commercial installations for any possible wiring faults, the PC104 and PC105 from Martindale test 3-phase sockets and confirm the phase rotation sequence. For 3-phase socket outlets, the PC104 and PC105 will instantly prove connection of all three lines, identify any incorrect wiring and show the sequence of phase rotation. Bright LEDs clearly indicate any faults.

Security products supplier ESP is expanding its Fireline range of fire protection products with the introduction of a new 2-Zone Conventional Fire Alarm Kit, which brings together all the elements required for a professional system installation in a handy, boxed unit. The kit comprises a 2-Zone Fire Panel, two Resettable Call Points, six Optical Smoke Detectors, two Banshee Sounders and a 12v 7.0ah SLA Battery. As with all products in ESP’s Fireline fire protection range, the new kit complies with the latest EU Construction Products Regulation (CPR), which came into force on 1 July 2013.

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Autumn 2013 Connections

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SpliceLine™ is an innovative alternative to traditional butt splices that does not require time-consuming crimping, soldering or heat shrinking to create secure end-to-end connections. Utilising patented push-in connector technology, the unique two-port design provides a “maintenance free” joint that is three times faster to install than traditional crimped butt splices. The 32A/450V rating, small size and tool-free application accepting up to 4.0mm² solid conductors makes SpliceLine™ the obvious solution for connecting wires in a broad range of applications, including prefabricated wiring, lighting and ring main circuits.

The lighter the instrument, the quicker the job gets done and this is especially true in high-volume activities such as portable appliance testing (PAT). The Martindale HPAT600 is a genuine handheld PAT measuring just 90 x 210 x 54mm, and weighs just 600g including rechargeable batteries. Supplied with mains leads and a car charger, the HPAT600 is crammed with features such as dual insulation test voltage, user selectable pass levels, easy or fast operating mode, IEC lead test and test data storage for up to 200 appliances – equivalent to a whole day’s testing.

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Developing new products that make electrical installation projects quicker and easier to carry out is something Click Scolmore prides itself on and the latest addition of a new range of junction boxes is no exception. The Jb plus junction boxes feature integrated fast-fit cable clamps – rather than screws – which makes the task of installing them a simpler and speedier one and means they fully comply with the 17th edition wiring regulations. Regulation 522.8 states that there should be no undue mechanical strain on the terminations of the conductors within the junction box. Through the use of cable clamps, the terminals are free from strain at all times, even if the box and cable are not secured.

Aico, one of the UK’s market leaders in domestic fire and carbon monoxide (CO) detection, has updated its 140 Series smoke and heat alarms to allow for full compatibility with the company’s innovative Alarm Control Switches. The 140RC Series, as it has now been updated to, retains all the features and quality design and build that made it one of Aico’s best-selling cost-effective ranges, but with the opportunity for contractors to add Alarm Control Switches to a system. With best practice supporting larger alarm systems comprising three, four or more smoke and heat alarms interconnected, more frequently also with CO alarms, improved control functions are vital to ensure the system is easy for residents to use.

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Rolec EV manufactures and supplies Europe’s largest and most comprehensive range of electric vehicle charging stations at our Boston, Lincolnshire headquarters. From simple, low-cost domestic EV charging stations to the world’s first PAYG chip and pin and contactless card, bank secure payment system, Rolec EV has a range of products to suit every EV charging requirement. • Domestic EV charging • Workplace EV charging • On-street EV charging • Grant funding • Fast charging • Super-fast charging • Rapid charging • J1772 / IEC62196 • Available from all leading • Ask about our new EV electrical wholesalers charging station tester

Scolmore has introduced a new addition to the IEC LOCK product range – the new IEC Lock+ connector – which builds on the success of the original IEC Lock. The beautifully straightforward locking mechanism has been retained, and a new release mechanism incorporated to allow for disconnection from all sides. The new IEC Lock+ connector requires no other equipment or special inlets to secure it, simply plug it into an appliance as you would a standard IEC lead. The red cage release mechanism also marks the new connector out from standard IEC leads to allow maintenance and other data centre staff to identify critical power sources.

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Connections Autumn 2013


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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

Contractors win Which? plaudits Two NICEIC registered contractors were shortlisted for the best local business award at the Which? 2013 Awards for best business. Mandy Reynolds, who runs female firm MandMade in Sheffield, and Tony Byrne (pictured) of A J Byrne Electrical Services in Essex, were nominated after winning their regional heats on the back of receiving excellent customer feedback. It was a particularly significant achievement for Mandy, having taken the overall title in 2011. “I was honoured to be nominated as the awards are a really big event and it was great to see a fellow NICEIC contractor up there as well,” she said. Neither took the national prize on this occasion, but both attended the ceremony in London and were presented with their certificates of achievement by TV presenter Natasha Kaplinsky. See our In Focus interview with Tony on page 18


CAUGHT ON CAMERA The latest batch of the dodgy, diabolical and downright dangerous features (1-5): a 1930s semi where tins were used as junction boxes for live connections; a one-loop extension in speaker wire; a 9.5Kw shower being supplied by a 1.0mm 2-core flex; dubious wiring in a school building; and upstairs and outdoor lighting in a loft space at a relatively new house. It continues with (6-8): a decades-old fuse box at a block of flats; live cables found in a church toilet with no RCD protection; and the work of a utility company called to provide a main earth on a TN-S supply.



4 3


6 7


Thanks to: Paul Wilbraham of JBS Electrics in Stockport /// David Bowman of Bowman Electrical in Sheffield /// Tony Stevens from AMS Electrical in Weston-super-Mare /// Hugh Rose from Wing’s Technical Services in Gosport /// Chris Jepson of JEPSMART Property Maintenance in Bradford /// Dave Simcox from Customcall in Scarborough /// Chris Smith of CD Smith in Leicester /// Neil Parsloe of Neil Parsloe Electrical Services in Amersham.

Keep those shots coming in!

All work and no play

All at sea

Electricians and other tradespeople are working harder than ever, putting in more hours a week than accountants, doctors and even bankers, according to a survey by Screwfix. The research suggests the average tradesperson works between 41 and 50 hours a week and regularly skips meals to get the job done. Even then their work is far from over; 67 per cent find themselves completing jobs in their spare time and 47 per cent have to catch up on business admin on their days off. It seems the only thing that helps is a good old cup of tea; 57 per cent said this was their favourite drink.

For Ringwood-based contractor David Rowden, undertaking a testing and inspection project on the former lightvessel Trinity – moored at Tollesbury in Essex and used as an activity centre for Christian group Fellowship Afloat – was not just a chance to work in an unusual location, but also to renew old acquaintances. David had volunteered at the centre for around 15 years in the 1980s and 1990s as a sailing instructor before work took him down to the south coast, where he now runs electrical contracting business Down To Earth. “We kept in touch and one day they said they needed an electrical certificate,” he says. There were two major challenges: last winter’s extreme cold and the sudden tides, which could leave the 200m footpath to the vessel underwater. “If you forget something you have to get a boat or wait,” he says. Do you work in unusual places or on any nail-biting projects? Email

Autumn 2013 Connections

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Have you seen it?

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The magazine for NICEIC and ELECSA registered contractors. Autumn 2013 | Issue 187