Issue 124 January - February 2018

Please note: The issue content below is just a summary of the articles in the printed magazine.
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Not one customer was turned away

With a clear target of making sure customers always get the cable they need, Nexans has successfully worked through the most disruptive year the cable market has ever seen.

To help manage this disruption, the cable maker has invested in plant expansion, more equipment and increasing staff at its New Plymouth manufacturing site where it continues to innovate and meet an unprecedented demand for cable across a growing range.

Nexans general manager, Michael Pienaar, says, as the second largest supplier of cable in New Zealand for many years, the company had to rely on innovation to compete, so it has never been plain sailing in the company’s quest to become number one. But any hope of plain sailing disappeared last year when Nexans found itself in the perfect storm.

How Nexans navigated that storm will write one of the most compelling chapter’s in the company’s 50-year history, says Pienaar.

New Wiring Rules create citing issues

The chickens are now coming home to roost for those electrical industry players who convinced the government not to keep improving the Electricity Regulations and to hold off on regulatory changes after the 2013 amendment was published.

No amendments have been issued let alone planned since then and electrical safety risks in certain areas continue to worsen, leaving electrical workers and companies exposed to a greater likelihood of disciplinary, legal or commercial action.

As we move into the fifth year since the last regulatory change, the delays are having an impact on the regulator’s ability to help the industry manage these risks. Improvements to the regulations are yet to be considered and new versions of standards remain uncited and therefore not deemed to provide compliance with the Regulations.

In the meantime, a new edition of AS/NZS 3000 continues down the track toward its similarly belated publishing, which is now expected to occur in March or about the same time as the first amendment to it was expected under an earlier timeline.

This new edition of the Wiring Rules should create an interesting read for electricians carrying out installation work as they wait to see whether or not it will be brought into play via an eventual citation in a future regulation amendment.

Law deficient on cable compliance

No legal action has been taken against the director of Lyon Electrical Ltd by the electrical regulator as a result of the company’s installation of non-compliant cable in Auckland buildings. Nor is there likely to be any prosecution, if the steps taken by the company to establish the cable’s lawfulness for sale are the primary consideration.

This contrasts with the action taken in New South Wales against Infinity Cable director, Lu Luo, who was fined $18,000.00 plus $15,000.00 costs for supplying 4,314 kilometres of non-compliant TPS.

While legitimate suppliers of cable in Australia were appalled at the comparative lightness of the punishment, the case could have gone the other way had the Infinity director not pleaded guilty. What the trial revealed was that more than reasonable steps had been taken to ensure the cables (designated low risk in Australia) were compliant, and the steps taken included testing – a requirement for only high risk products in Australia.

Similarly, in New Zealand, Lyon Electrical installed cable that had been certified as suitable for use by an Australian accredited certification body and was listed on the EESS website as lawful for supply. Products duly listed on this site are deemed to be lawful for sale in New Zealand. It also appears that Lyon Electrical (now in receivership) had received confirmation from a New Zealand test lab that the cable listing assured compliance.

New standard proving hazardous to follow

Trying to prevent the risk of explosions occurring in hazardous areas could be getting a lot harder following the release of a new version of AS/NZS 60079.14 last December. Designed to address the risks posed by explosive atmospheres, Part 14 has been reviewed and published in the new Standards Australia format that makes it difficult for electricians to use as a working document.

Concerns have been raised by electrical inspector Colin Murphy over Standards Australia’s decision not to embed the Australia and New Zealand changes into the new joint standard which is now published as an untouched reprint of IEC 60079-14, Ed 4.0 (2007) Explosive atmospheres – Part 14: Electrical installations design, selection and erection, with the variations for New Zealand and Australia tacked on the end in a ZZ annex.

Murphy says by not embedding the changes in the source document or at least indicating where changes have occurred, the new version of AS/NZS 60079.14 is now harder to read and work reliably with.

Boom year for IES Excellence Awards

or many in the lighting industry 2017 was a watershed year that culminated in a celebratory dinner and the presentation of the IES Lighting Design Awards.

Held at the Auckland Museum on 24 November the awards event posed a bigger challenge for judges than previous years with twice the number of entries vying for recognition. This was a welcome challenge and reflected a lighting industry in good heart, says IES chapter president Greg Williams.

Two years ago the IES lighting awards attracted only 11 entries. This low point reflected the reduced activity in the construction sector in the two years preceding the September cut-off for 2016 awards entries.

Four projects were rewarded with a commendation and, apart from one notable entrant receiving an Award of Excellence for energy efficiency, no project met the standard required to attain an excellence award.

This all changed last year when the last vestiges of the recession were swept away with 23 projects entered in the 2017 awards and three attained a coveted Lighting Design Excellence Award.

Are they open? Simple fixes for retail lighting problems

Have you ever driven to a large-format retail store on a trading day and thought the store was closed because the shop was so dark?

Drive past any retail strip and you might see a shop that looks like it’s gone out of business, until you see the doors open and a customer walk out. Go into the shop, look up and you will probably find the lights are on but the light is directed straight down onto the floor, which can’t be seen from outside.

If the lights are on, why do these shops look so dark? Usually it’s because there is no light on the walls. Maybe the building owner expected the tenant to add more lighting, or the retailer had a special reason for keeping the walls dark, or maybe there were budget cuts. Either way the effect of dark walls is usually to make the shop look slightly depressing – not an ideal look for someone wanting customers to come in.