Issue 99 November - December 2013

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.
More product and people support from Ecco Pacific

With expanding ranges of electrical product and more stock arriving, Ecco Pacific is already planning to increase its warehouse capacity for its Auckland-based national office and warehouse after only 12 months in its new location.

This growth comes hard on the heels of the company’s launch of the Wera range of screwdrivers and follows improvements to Ecco Pacific’s back office which have boosted customer demand, says national sales manager Mark Smith.

Unsafe cable – what are the consequences?

On October 9 the New South Wales Office of Fair Trading announced a mandatory recall of Chinese-made TPS and ‘orange round’ electrical cable found to be unsafe. The Fair Trading regulator also issued notices the same day prohibiting the sale of all such cables sold under the Infinity brand and warning consumers and the electrical industry to cease buying these products.

The consequences of this decision could end up turning cheap Infinity cable into the most expensive purchase that jobbing electricians and electrical contractors have ever made – if their customers demand the re-cabling of their installations with compliant cables as they are entitled to do under Australian consumer law.

These consequences are no less relevant to New Zealand contractors as new vendors appear selling electrical products of questionable quality and compliance – particularly in Auckland.

Supplier declarations – is it time to open up the SDoC regime?

For almost seven years now certain electrical appliances and fittings have required a Declaration of Compliance by the supplier before being sold or offered for sale in New Zealand. Among the ‘fittings’ listed by Energy Safety requiring an SDoC are building wiring cables having a cross-sectional area per conductor of between 0.5 and 16 mm².

Yes, cables fit the definition of fittings under New Zealand electrical law and regulation 20 (2) (i) confirms this by specifically exempting cables from the requirement to provide sufficient space, access and lighting to maintain, repair, test, and inspect all fittings in works and installations.

This regulation allows cables to be the only fittings that can be lawfully sealed in walls and other inaccessible places, and in doing so places a huge onus on cable suppliers and installers to make sure the cable is safe and compliant before it goes in.

Time for manufacturers to rise to the challenge

The radical step change from mono-hull race yachts to technologically-advanced foiling catamarans – and the ability of New Zealand companies to develop and harness the technology to achieve it – has been fascinating to watch.

Though disappointing, Emirates Team New Zealand’s America’s Cup loss to a technologically superior design in the largely New Zealand-built Oracle Team USA is a win potentially far more valuable than the Auld Mug itself.

It demonstrated to a global audience that far from being technologically-deprived, New Zealand is at the forefront of a technology revolution and setting the early pace in advanced composites engineering and manufacturing.

Electrical installations in dairy sheds

Electrical problems in dairy sheds are again being targeted by officials, as a further advisory document is being developed to help overcome stray voltage, current and earthing issues that affect cows and disrupt milk production.

This follows the release a year ago of the Code of Practice for the Supply, Installation and Operation of Power Drive Systems by the Radio Spectrum Policy and Planning Group (MBIE) which canvassed cow-shed issues during its development.

Gloomy College Halls burst into life with Infinity Lighting upgrade

After playing home for thousands of students over the last 50 years, the College Halls at Waikato University were well and truly in need of resuscitation when facility manager Robin Dunmall was given the chance to transform these dark and depressing accommodation blocks into better living spaces.

The welcome refurbishment was designed to provide more up-to-date services, attractive bedrooms, ablutions and common areas to encourage students to the university and Babbage Consultants were engaged to achieve this.

Why use a lighting designer?

There are three kinds of lighting design – those that are needed for regulatory or compliance reasons, those that are purely functional, and those that are a mixture of functional and aesthetic.

Sometimes going through the lighting design process is necessary to ensure lighting meets specified standards; for example to measure the efficacy of a road lighting plan and make sure it meets the specified light levels for that category of road, or to gain compliance for a building’s emergency lighting.

But if your exit paths and light levels are not that critical, and your functional needs can be met by a couple of rows of light fittings, why else would you need a lighting designer?

Street lighting standards progress

Public comment on the draft standards for street lighting has now closed and the joint standards committee made up of members of the industry in New Zealand and Australia have considered feedback from interested parties.

Committee member Graeme Culling says any changes are now being incorporated into the draft document and it will then be circulated to members for sign-off.

In the early stages of discussion the standards provoked some argument. At issue was whether New Zealand and Australia should adopt the IEC 60598.2.3 street lighting standard, thereby aligning our countries with the international community, or whether we should update the existing localised standard AS/NZS 1158 to reflect new developments in lighting technology. Some have also held up the British standards as workable in this country.

What to look for when choosing LEDs

Imagine a guy is sitting in your office trying to sell you some LED light fittings. He’s assured you they’re the best, really good quality, so why would you pay extra for brand-name stuff when you can buy these more ’cost-effective‘ fittings and leave some money in your pocket?

How do you know if he’s right? Does he know enough about lighting to tell if his own product is sub-standard?

Projects, reputations and businesses have been ruined by the choice to install poor-quality LED luminaires. Mistakes can be costly. New Zealanders have homes, businesses and public spaces with LED lighting that’s not fit for purpose. More serious problems are starting to show: lighting design issues, failing drivers and LED chips, declining light output, unwanted changes in light colour... and end-users who’ve been put off LED for a very long time.