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Designs on consumer units

Jun 2017 Enclosures & Racks, General | Comments Off on Designs on consumer units
Designs on consumer units

Steve York, market manager, residential and building automation at Hager, looks at how an ongoing evolution in consumer unit design can help electrical contractors meet safety, regulatory and aesthetic challenges across different properties

Hager’s range of consumer units has been a focus of continuous innovation to ensure it develops products that not only meet the requirements of the latest regulations, but also suit the changing needs of homeowners and properties, particularly new builds where space can sometimes be limited.

The 17th Edition Amendment 3-compliant (UK) Design range of consumer units is appropriate for most properties and includes three versions: Design 10, Design 30 and Design 50.

Design 10 is suitable for installations where the board will not be on show, for example, in a porch, utility room or understairs cupboard.

Design 30 is a more aesthetically pleasing surface mounted unit with additional installation benefits, including a cable clamp to reduce the strain on the incoming main terminals and a cable protector plate to protect cables from sharp edges coming through the rear of the board.

Fitting it all in

As dwellings tend to become ever smaller with less wall space available, the number of circuits in a residential application is going in the opposite direction with extra dedicated circuits required for kitchens and electric heating. There is an increased requirement for extra devices to be housed in the consumer unit such as surge protection or the ability to have dual supplies. These additional demands are making the enclosure wider and wider. To prevent this from becoming an issue, Design 10 and Design 30 offer a comprehensive range of two-row boards.

Innovation and style

Design 50 is said to represent a new dawn in consumer units that does not compromise the aesthetics of a home. It has been added to the existing product portfolio to provide a solution offering the highest levels of safety alongside a flush, aesthetically-pleasing look that means it can be installed anywhere in a home without causing an accident or detracting from the interior finish.

It offers tangible benefits to installers looking for flexible and high performing units, while its innovative wall flush design ensures it can sit seamlessly and unobtrusively within the home’s interior.

The innovation behind the development of the Design 50 unit is based on an adjustable chassis that ensures the cover of the unit will always fit correctly to the nominated wall and the internal devices always fit correctly within the unit’s front cover.

From an installation perspective, the ability to install the back box of the unit as part of the first fix phase of construction is a positive step. Removing the chassis during the messy plastering stage guarantees there is no possible contamination of the devices or terminals by building debris, thereby ensuring excellent performance and the absence of future potential issues following construction completion.

From an aesthetic viewpoint, making consumer units more appealing can be extended beyond shape and style. Design 50 is available in any RAL colour, in up to five anodised effects and can be vinyl wrapped to a custom design to suit the interior design. This option could be used to help blend the unit seamlessly with its surroundings or make a bold statement.

Safety first

To aid a safety first culture, Design 50 also provides protection against the possibility of accidents and incidents when trades are working in almost complete premises where electrical circuits are energised. It offers a robust and patented safety locking system to allow only essential circuits to be on during construction completion phases, for example, smoke detectors and heating.

Design 50’s health and safety locking solution is secure and does not require holes to be inserted into the unit’s front cover. By simply taking away the locking system, all traces of the lock go with it, removing any requirement to fill holes on completion or the removal of the cover to enable the locking system to be taken out. It guarantees a safe working environment for busy tradespeople and convenience for the property owner.

Hager’s consumer units support contractors to be in harmony with the variety of unique homes they work in, build timescales and potentially having to deal with less available space in which to install a consumer unit. For home owners, such design and non-intrusive installation potential means they can focus on other areas of their home, safe in the knowledge they have a quality-built consumer unit to take charge of the electrical distribution required in their daily lives.