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Thread: Fires

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    Fires

    Hi All

    After yet another gruesome fire claiming many lives I have been thinking. Is there a recommended period for buildings to be inspected and/or rewired and/or re earthed and/or db boxes replaced etc etc

    How long can one fairly expect electrical installations to last?
    Regards

    Debbie
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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    To my knowledge there's no lifespan guidelines in any of the official legislation. There's so many factors that effect the lifespan of an electrical installation it would be impossible to say how long it should last and how likely it would be to cause a fire.

    The main infrastructure of an electrical installation such as the cabling in the walls etc should last 50 years or even longer if undisturbed and correctly installed. The areas that suffer the worst wear are invariably the things that the occupants put their sticky fingers all over on a daily basis such as light switches, trailing appliance cables, the appliances themselves and socket outlets.

    Thermal imaging might be able to highlight areas of excessive wear and tear or damage. Another method of prediction is to catalogue every failure, no matter how small or minor, and graph the results to calculate the mean time between failures for different sections of the installation. If you notice any blips on the graphs you then address that area of the installation on a proactive level.

    With fire prevention you would also prepare to deal with the symptoms as well as the possible causes. IE you would install smoke detectors and a fire suppression system. In many European countries smoke detectors are given free or at least subsidized by the local government for all domestic residences.

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    this is a good question...the rest of the world have time frames for appliances and electrical installations to be tested...but unfortunatley here in sunny south africa we cant even setup an inspection authourity that functions correctly

    and i would be more concerned about the new installations catching on fire than the older ones...because the older installtions where done by correctly skilled artisans...and time wasnt more important than money.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Debbiedle View Post
    How long can one fairly expect electrical installations to last?
    A plug point on a verandah or balcony in Ballito? About 5 to 20 years depending just how much exposure it's getting from sea breezes.

    Earth leakage units? I've kept electricians company more than a few times where it was working fine for the first few trips, and then.... total failure needing replacement of the unit.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    I CANNOT UNDERSTAND WHY THESE PLACES LIKE OLD AGE FRAIL CARE HOMES AND PLACES OF SAFETY DONT HAVE SMOKE DETECTORS INSTALLED BY LAW....AND THEY SHOULD BE TESTED DAILY BY LAW.

    THE OWNER SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE AND CHARGED FOR MURDER IF PEOPLE DIE FROM A FIRE ON THE PREMISES...IF THEY DONT HAVE A PROPER FIRE DETECTION SYSTEM IN PLACE AND ENOUGH STAFF TO MOVE PEOPLE TO SAFETY WHEN A FIRE BREAKS OUT....OUTHERWISE EACH ROOM SHOULD HAVE SOME TYPE OF FIRE BARRIER BETWEEN THE ROOMS SO THE FIRE CANNOT SPREAD...I SUPPOSE I CAN DREAM..

    I SHOULD BE SENT IN TO TEST EVERY SINGLE ELECTRICAL INSTALLATION IN THE OLD AGE AND FRAIL CARE HOMES...IT DOESNT HELP REPORTING THEM BECAUSE NOTHING GETS DONE ABOUT IT...OR THE RESPONSE YOU GET IS WHAT IS ALL THE FUSS ABOUT...DEAD PEOPLE...THATS WHAT THE FUSS IS ABOUT.

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    Earth leakage units? I've kept electricians company more than a few times where it was working fine for the first few trips, and then.... total failure needing replacement of the unit.
    If your failure rate is more than 1 : 500 when new, it's time to review your component brand.

    Quote Originally Posted by murdock View Post
    I CANNOT UNDERSTAND WHY THESE PLACES LIKE OLD AGE FRAIL CARE HOMES AND PLACES OF SAFETY DONT HAVE SMOKE DETECTORS INSTALLED BY LAW....AND THEY SHOULD BE TESTED DAILY BY LAW.

    THE OWNER SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE AND CHARGED FOR MURDER IF PEOPLE DIE FROM A FIRE ON THE PREMISES...IF THEY DONT HAVE A PROPER FIRE DETECTION SYSTEM IN PLACE AND ENOUGH STAFF TO MOVE PEOPLE TO SAFETY WHEN A FIRE BREAKS OUT....OUTHERWISE EACH ROOM SHOULD HAVE SOME TYPE OF FIRE BARRIER BETWEEN THE ROOMS SO THE FIRE CANNOT SPREAD...I SUPPOSE I CAN DREAM..

    I SHOULD BE SENT IN TO TEST EVERY SINGLE ELECTRICAL INSTALLATION IN THE OLD AGE AND FRAIL CARE HOMES...IT DOESNT HELP REPORTING THEM BECAUSE NOTHING GETS DONE ABOUT IT...OR THE RESPONSE YOU GET IS WHAT IS ALL THE FUSS ABOUT...DEAD PEOPLE...THATS WHAT THE FUSS IS ABOUT.
    I don't know what the legislation is off the top of my head but in a commercial building usually zone pressurisation is used for containment in conjunction with a BMS. Smoke alarms would be an integral part of the fire detection system and would be test cycled at regular intervals automatically.

    Old age homes and hospitals invariably suffer a higher death toll with a fire due to the immobility of the occupants. They reported that over eighty people were successfully evacuated so there's a good chance that their fire systems were fully functional and correct procedures were followed. Their may be no case of negligence for the owner to answer.

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    Gold Member Sparks's Avatar
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    Don't start this fire. I have just given a quote to install a few dedicated and a few standard socket outlets in the infirmary of an old age centre that for years has been making use of an extension cord running through the ceiling to an outlet in the diningroom. Last week the nightshift staff pulled the plug out to plug in a heater. I doubt this was the first time.I will be doing the installation tomorrow.

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    Some food for thought then. I think the block of flats where my mom lives is about 50 years old and whilst the flat itself was rewired when we bought, I don't think the building has had anyone look at the cabling since installation....
    Regards

    Debbie
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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Debbiedle View Post
    Some food for thought then. I think the block of flats where my mom lives is about 50 years old and whilst the flat itself was rewired when we bought, I don't think the building has had anyone look at the cabling since installation....
    Ask the building management to show you a valid Certificate of Compliance. As a tennant it wouldn't be an unreasonable request.

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    Well guys, there you have it on today's newsradio, ALL old age homes are to be inspected by the DOL and they have to be fully compliant. (or else?)

    So, start your bakkies and start calling....
    If it is not broken, fix/test it until it is.
    This is my opinion and I stick to it.

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  1. electrical fires
    By murdock in forum Electrical Contracting Industry Forum
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    Last Post: 09-May-10, 06:44 AM

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