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Thread: (state of the) electrical industry

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    (state of the) electrical industry

    it is quite clear by the articles in the sparks magazine that people are starting to realise that there are some serious problems in the industry...wow imagine that...

    A statement made by mark palmer in the mag.

    ", and that the AIAs must be ruthless in this regard.
    should i ask for a show of hands from registered persons supporting this line of policing? i think not"

    maybe this is the whole problem with the industry...everyone is out to protect the electrical contractor...what about the public? who by the way is what all these regulations etc are designed to protect...taken from the very book electricial inspectors refer to...sans

    page 70 "5.1.3.2 people,animals and property shall be protected against harmful earth fault currents by protective measures such as ....."

    maybe he should be asking the same question to a mother of a 2 year old child who is electriciuted to death because of some regulation neglected or overseen or misinterpreted (the favourite in the electrical industry) during an inspection...which was wired by some unskilled labourer who was dropped off on site to do the entire installation...because he knows how to do it..

    people need to understand that electrical regulations are design to protect people not electrical contractors or inspectors...i personally dont believe having a private organistion like the AIA will solve the industry problem...i have already been involved in an investigation where the customer was bullied by the AIA and the electrical contractor who according to my customer where joking like old buddies during the meeting...i am so bummed i missed that meeting...that really gets me intested when customers are bullied like that.

    my view is if you are not skilled enough to be carrying out inspections...then why are you doing it...

    i also believe that every single COC should be recorded in data bank and random checks by suitably qualified personel should carried out on a daily basis employed by the utilities...eskom etc...country wide to verify these COC are legit.

    Companies which charge less than R750 per inspection should be should be targeted first because i cannot understand how a person charging R450 can be doing the inspection report correctly...if you can please invite me along on your next inspection i would love to see how you do it...and as long as people like the AIA have the attitude as mentioned above (seems to be the same as the ECA)...there will be no improvement to the industry.

    there should also be a huge clamp down on people who do gate motors...airconditioning...swimming pools...or any other type of work which involves part of an electrical installations.

    and lastly it doesnt help targeting only the people doing inspection...
    when an illegal installation is found...an enquiry into who actually did the work should be held so that that person can be held accountable for his/her work...i do realise this is a virtually impossible task but it where it needs to start...

    you dont wear your seat belt you get fined and it doesnt even endanger other people...yet people can get away with horrific electrical installations and get away with not even so much as a slap on the wrist...something wrong with this picture...here in durban you can literally get away with murder...and i say this because i found an electrical installtion which was so illegal and yet nobody was prepared to investigate unless someone had died on site....eeeeish very sad.

    lets see what this ERIC organisation is all about...something which made me take note...they mention a "customer protection act"

    my first question is what are they trying to achieve...is it gona stay a voluntary organistion with no monetary interest in the industry or what do they want out of it in the long term?

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    mikilianis (20-Oct-10)

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    OK - so what are you suggesting?
    • Tougher policing? (and who should be doing the policing?)
    • Harsher punishment for infringements? (Fine, suspension, loss of wireman's licence? 1,2,3 and you're out? Or are you allowed an error percentage?)
    • Full blown investigations for every infringement found? (How do you grade infringements from minor to major - without a severity grading system a contravention is a contravention, finish & klaar).

    Put another way (and this is a bit more of an acid test on regulatory strategy than you might think):

    Do you strive for high standards, or do you demand perfection? Every time?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    To start with...i believe the people who are responsible for testing need better training...and it should be like an engineer where you need credits to keep you license...seminars refresher courses etc.

    whenever there is an ammendment to the codes all inspectors should have to attend a seminar within a time frame to makes sure they are aware of any changes to the code...this goes for single phase...IE and MIE

    how many old MIE havent even worked in the industry for years...the regulations have gone thru such major changes ove the years...even the 4 books (codes) which we used to write the test are no longer even used for inspections...how many MIE even own a set of all the new codes...i also believe the MIE should be seperated into more specialised catogories like pertol...gasses etc...dust...or something to that effect.

    Inspections should be carried out by people who specialise in testing only and it should compulsory to belong to an organisation which does random checks on the inspectors to make sure they are carrying out thier duties correctly...and disiplined if not ie...point system 5 points for example and your license or suspended for a period of time...10 points and your licenses or cancealed...to get it back you would need to redo everything tests practical the lot and then have to reapply for your license...i dont think this is too harsh...because surely if you make get pointsa against your name you must be doing something wrong .


    every single COC be it for 1 addtional plug or an entire site...they should all have to be recorded on a data base...which would randomly select COC for checks.

    i dont believe a company should have people employed to work and test...inspectors should be employed to oversee work being done and then carry out a fully inspection report with the knowledge of progress during the installation.

    the support for inspection requires a major overhaul and there needs to be a centre where an inspector can go to or contact to clear up any misunderstanding when it comes to the sans book or get advice on an installation if he/she is uncertain...it should either be the supply authority or DOL...but who ever is responsible should make sure they have suitably qualified people on staff not as contractors....i believe this is one of the biggest problems in the industry at the moment...not having someone to turn to when you get stuck with a problem or you are uncertain about an installation.

    more focus should be aimed at getting the pirate contractors and others who do illegal electrical installations out of the habit...by enforcing fines.

    i believe education is the key to success...i cant see how heavy penalties could be enforced when there is still so much confusion in the industry.

    i also believe one organisation needs to take on the reponsiblitly of setting up the rules and enforcing them...not try palm the work off onto private contractors...

    nobody is perfect or will ever be not even me

    higher standards...i think the electrical standard/codes are good its the workmanship standard which requires a major boost...the reason for this is the unskilled people and lack of proper supervision...the problem is also the electrical installations which have been installed already...what do you do about them?

    installations which have fallen apart due to the lack of good maintenance...would need to be repaired and bought up to standard.

    the big question is who pays for it???

    the major factor is always the budget.

    people like myself and i am sure there are others who took pride in their work and could stand back take pictures (i have photo albums full of all the pump stations all over the country...factories...etc i have built) and be proud to be an electrican...not anymore...i am actually embarressed to be an electrician...i am actually so sick and tired of going to work everyday and having to fix...fix...fix...fix all the time...i ask myself why...i know the answer...people just dont give a damn...i am starting to become like that...i am beginning to look at how much money i can make and how quickly...by doing the bare minimum...knowing i can get away with any crap i do...you know the saying do as the africans do in africa...we live in a 3rd world country which is becoming more and more of a reality.

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    Dave A (21-Oct-10)

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    Gold Member Sparks's Avatar
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    I agree with you and the article whole-heartedly, with the exception of your last paragraph. Nowadays there is no such thing as pride in one's own work because everyone wants to follow the quick cash route and bugger the conseqences. I have touched the subject before and will probably end up in my grave before seeing the industry where it should be. As for AIA I do not have experience, but ECA I can say stink! I will never become a member. They should call themselves the EC Union rather.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Bloody hell, Murdock - I think you nailed it!!!

    All we need now is to get you a positive attitude...
    the support for inspection requires a major overhaul and there needs to be a centre where an inspector can go to or contact to clear up any misunderstanding when it comes to the sans book or get advice on an installation if he/she is uncertain...it should either be the supply authority or DOL...but who ever is responsible should make sure they have suitably qualified people on staff not as contractors....i believe this is one of the biggest problems in the industry at the moment...not having someone to turn to when you get stuck with a problem or you are uncertain about an installation.
    Funnily enough this was what actually kicked me up the butt to launch this website.

    I'd been gently pursuing the idea of a regulatory support website as an add-on to another business community website (Business Warriors). The owner wasn't as excited about the idea as I was, and truth be told I wasn't really that highly motivated about the idea anyway.

    To cut what could be a long story short, I'd been relying on the ECA/ECB for guidance on regulatory interpretive issues, and had steadily discovered that the guidance was inconsistent and unreliable.

    The final straw was a "ruling" on a db mounted about 500mm directly above a built-in stove top hob.

    My company did the test, recognised the situation and (just to double check as it was a first for us) called the ECA/ECB to confirm that the db needed to be in an S15 enclosure.

    Three days after submitting our recommendations and quote, I got a call from a very irate client calling us every name under the sun. She had got a second test done and the (ECA member) sparky had signed off the installation as compliant.

    Now the client was no fool - she had phoned the ECA and queried the discrepancy before she called me. Guess what they said?

    Suddenly there was no problem with the standard db located over the stove top - and it didn't have to be in an S15 enclosure - it would just be better if it was - essentially implying this was optional.

    Oh man - the telephone wires burned that day.

    Skipping the details, I realised the ECA/ECB was not the industry's "guardian of standards" organisation I thought it was - and that ultimately there was nowhere else to go.

    The very next day I started setting up TFSA.
    Last edited by Dave A; 21-Oct-10 at 08:44 AM.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    to cut along story short...i was a member of the eca for more than 10 years...promised the world and cant say they ever delivered...the meeting dont help the small contractors like myself...and an outstanding bill for a company they sent letter blah blah never had a cutomer pay out fro many letters ever sent...and the fact now that if you belong to the eca you have to pay addtional fees to the bargaining council just put the cherry on the top.

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    an S15 enclosure is a fibreglass weather proof box for a socket outlet...

    regardless of regulations...i have just moved a stove from belong the DB...which had a COC done recently and passed...

    the question i asked the customer was if the stove is on fire and the wiring goes to earth but doesnt trip for some reason how do you switch off the main switch...like the sticker below the main switch states...in case of accidently leakage switch off main switch immediately...how do you do this...

    the stove was the first thing i moved...its called common sense

    and if i had to take the time to look in the sans book there will be a section that covers protection from enviromental conditions...steam coming from the pots will cause condesation in the DB unless it is a weather proof one...it is bad enough having the stove isolator above the stove...who would be that stupid to mount a stove isolator directly above the stove never mind a DB

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Sorry - should have said S15 rated enclosure (I think). I certainly wasn't referring to the part code

    I'll check the SANS code in the morning if you like, but the situation is pretty specifically mentioned. Ultimately it requires a weather resistant db board to cope with rising steam and condensation...

    Agree with you it's a dumb location anyway, but kitchen designers don't consult electricians much when they're doing their layout plans on refits.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    back to my earlier discussion...aircon installers...gate automation...etc...etc...and kitchen cupboard people...back to the elctrician who does the upgrade needs to sign over a COC for the alterations and addtions...at that point the installation should be done correctly...and if not thats when action needs to be taken against the idiot who designed the kitchen as well as the elctrician if they used one or the pirate contractor or kitchen installer...whoever did the electrical work...who will turn around and say he does know the electrical regulation...then he should have consultated with the electrician to find out what the regulations are....this is a typical example of why this industry is in such shambles.

    its called passing the buck...

    then you come along 5 years later when the property is sold...tell the customer the DB needs to move...electrical installation is illegal and they turn around and tell you they havent done any electrical since they moved in and cant understand why there are all these problems...yet the plugs are all brand new in the kitchen there is twin + earth plastered directly into wall etc...i could write a book on all the crap i have heard from some customers...some of them must think i have idiot wrtten on my forhead and only became an electrician the day before...they are as bad as some of the electrical contractors out there...people like this i dont have any pity...even go down to the finer details and add to the list things like pipes not sealed at the top of the DB...where electricians just push twin +e down the pipe and dont seal the pipe at the top.
    Last edited by murdock; 21-Oct-10 at 11:20 PM.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    That's why we need to get you a positive attitude - it tends to take all that pain away

    The situation is what it is. You didn't create it, you just found it. You're just doing your job.

    The client isn't angry at you, they're angry at the situation. You just happen to be the person in front of them right now.

    Let them blow off steam. Be that shoulder to cry on. They're on an emotional journey...

    Be part of the support team. Rubbing salt in the wounds just causes more pain.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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