Issue 153 January - February 2023

Please note: The issue content below is just a summary of the articles in the printed magazine.
The articles are not available on-line. Please refer to the printed magazine for the complete article.
Smarter services from Etco

It is now time for any employer wanting to take on an electrical apprentice to take a look at the new services being offered by Etco. Chief executive, Jeremy Sole, says the Etco doors are wide open and just as welcoming to employers who want to employ their own apprentices directly as they are to businesses that would rather host apprentices employed by Etco.

Sole says Etco has emerged from the recent changes on trade training implemented by the government not only fully intact, but also well positioned for a greater leadership role in the development of apprenticeships across the whole electrical industry.

He says many of the services evolved by Etco over recent years have improved the conduct of apprenticeships significantly and the most recent advances in online services have made this even more effective and transparent.

“All the systems we have developed for in-house use such as our online learning management system (LMS), E-diary and recruitment portal are now available as part of our full-service provision to every independently employed apprentice and their employer. This means every electrical contractor or employer can choose to be either a direct employer or an Etco host and receive the same services when you enter a training agreement with us.

“We are now a one-stop-shop for electrical apprentice training and our 30-year-plus experience in managing apprentices with the best systems and support is there for every employer to benefit from.”

Prosecution support for electrical contractors

Many of the problems arising from poor enforcement and prosecution decisions made by the electrical regulator, WorkSafe, and the EWRB in disciplinary hearings, is that not one of the people in the enforcement processes today was ever involved in developing the Electricity (Safety) Regulations they are trying to enforce.

Like those they regulate, their understanding of the law is based on interpreting the written outcome with little insight into how procedures to manage electrical safety risks were integrated in regulation and why.

Some of those procedures relate to the functional result of prescribed electrical work, others relate to how the workers have to carry out their work safely. Together they frame the regulatory architecture. High voltage work is regulated primarily to protect the safety of the workers, but low voltage work is regulated primarily to protect the safety of the public.

Electrical law balances these approaches and integrates the management of all types of risks, but the New Zealand government has lost its way since it created WorkSafe in 2013.

Just as with the HSE Act many years before, the stated intention of the government at the time was to shift all matters relating to worker health and safety that were in the Electricity (Safety) Regulations into new regulations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA). (See ElectroLink, July issue, 2014 ‘Big workplace regulation change on its way’)

The government committed to not just transferring the regulation of the health and safety of electrical workers to HSWA by April 2017, but also to WorkSafe developing codes of practice and guidance information that would form a new regulatory framework to address worker safety.

The government managed to create some initial regulations under HSWA, but the much-vaunted second tranche of regulations that would realign how the health and safety of electrical workers would be addressed solely under workplace law never eventuated.

Certification built by integrators for integrators

Anyone wanting to gain internationally recognised certification in smart home technologies can achieve that through CEDIA. David Whitney, CEDIA’s senior director of certification reports on progress

The CEDIA Integrated Systems Technician (IST) certification has recently achieved accreditation to the global ISO standard. The lengthy process began as a grassroots effort. Integrators who are on the jobsite every day who wanted to create something we can all be proud of stepped up and offered their expertise to build a certification every technician should have.

Improving designs can help solve global supply shortages

As we’re all very much aware, there’s currently a severe global shortage of electronic components and raw materials. It’s been the biggest crisis to hit industry for many years, with delivery times for some items blowing out to over a year, while other suppliers aren’t even able to give a time frame for their deliveries. What’s more, this dearth of components shows no signs of abating, at least not in the foreseeable future.

The problem has been so widespread that it’s affected virtually every supplier of product that uses ICs or chip sets, including automobiles, computers, and of course industrial equipment. Sales channels, which rely on the steady flow of product sales for their cashflow, have also found the going difficult.

The shortages have been caused by a combination of factors including the global pandemic (which forced industry to reduce output due to the lockdown-imposed staff restrictions), significant disruption of global supply chains, including spiralling freight charges and, more recently, steepling energy costs. But since the easing of the pandemic, there’s also been a sharp rise in demand for electronic components from all sectors, as industries have looked to restart their operations. This surge of demand has exacerbated the situation.

Landscape and exterior lighting

Landscape lighting sometimes feels like a bit of an extraneous affair to most of us. A lighting designer won’t need to compute the average lumens and uniformities, electrical contractors will be having to contemplate digging trenches and hiding installations, suppliers need to design their luminaires for the absolute worst conditions, and all just to make a garden pretty at night.

It’s important not to devalue the pleasure derived when an installation is done right. A space correctly lit can really provide some magic like no other. Landscape lighting is a mix of art, clever use of the tools we have, a sound knowledge of how light works and the ability to foresee how a living space will change over time.

If you are going to do landscape lighting correctly, one of the fundamentals is really to know your plants, (or if you are not green fingered, like me, then at least ask the right questions). Unlike lighting structures, landscapes will evolve constantly over time and across seasons. That straggly little stick may become a monster bush in two years’ time. The beautiful canopy of leaves you have lit so well might be a naked ghost come winters’ leaf fall.

Some important questions here to ask are, lifespan and speed of growth. Are they deciduous or evergreen plants, do they flower or fruit, does it grow upwards, outwards or a combination of both. Once you know the subject of your lighting, then you can begin to formulate a plan.

Recognising lighting standards in New Zealand

Lighting standards are forging ahead with new pathways to better lighting but are being held back by the poor way technical standards are referenced in our regulatory framework. Standards committee member, Bryan King comments.

Technical standards have often been viewed as a ‘necessary but dull’ aspect of the lighting industry and profession. Historically, standards have been long-lasting publications that define slow-moving technologies and techniques. That stodgy perception is certainly no more, with the ‘LEDification’ of all lighting products and the sweeping wave of digital controls. Additionally, market demands for lower operational life cycle costs and less wasteful buildings is challenging suppliers and designers to dig deeper to deliver more astute design and application solutions.

Standards publications are costly to prepare, with major time and travel inputs for the expert participants. The big questions are: who represents New Zealand interests, and who pays for participation?

Outdoor lighting – a tale of night and day

Lighting outside spaces, more than any other lighting subject, brings up the dichotomy of night and day in the field of artificial lighting. During the night is when we most require artificial light. It is the time that lighting can have the most striking effects and when lighting practitioners have their opportunities to shine. It is, however, also a time to pause and reset daily, where nature, including humans, take a break from the effects of sunlight.

The inception of our ability to control our environment with artificial lighting has driven two massive shifts: that of allowing us to function productively between the hours of sunset and sunrise and the introduction of light pollution into our natural environment. It is our job, as responsible global citizens, to at least contemplate the positive and negative sides of any exterior lighting installations in the greater overall scheme of things.