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Take cover

Mar 2018 Cable & Wire | Comments Off on Take cover
Take cover

Even on the most well-organised project it can be a challenge to ensure products are delivered and installed without incurring any damage. With switches and sockets, the vulnerable frontplate is often an issue on a busy site. Emma Segelov, head of marketing at MK Electric, discusses how to improve their installation and protection

With so many people and parts moving around on the average construction site, keeping track of delivered items can be difficult. As such, it can be incredibly easy for smaller products, such as wiring devices, to be mislaid or damaged.

What’s more, in the housebuilder market particularly, recent Government comments have created new pressures to build at speed, making the importance of hassle free installation, and minimisation of damage-related delays, more pertinent than ever before.

From a contractor perspective, this means recommending products that make life easier on site, while also offering additional design appeal to the client, whether that’s for a commercial or a domestic build.

In recent years, an increasing number of contractors have been looking for wiring devices that offer a two-step installation process. This means that while the functional module can be installed when required, the final frontplate can be ordered separately and most importantly, installed much later – even just before client handover. This will eliminate the risk of frontplate loss or damage, such as paint splatter, knocks and scrapes or plaster abrasion and – given that damaged product costs the construction industry an estimated £156m a year – this is no small consideration.

However, these products have historically come with their own issues. For example, the two parts are typically packaged together and so arrive at the same time, meaning that while the functional module is successfully installed on arrival, the frontplate can be mislaid or damaged in the period between delivery and final fit.

Another problem is usability. Although fitting the frontplate at the latest possible moment keeps it safe from on-site damage, often the functional module alone does not meet British Standards, and therefore, socket outlets, for example, may not be usable as a power source while work is still ongoing.

Solution is separation

With this in mind, innovations are entering the market which combine the benefits of two-stage installation with solutions to the above considerations.

For example, MK Electric last year launched MK Dimensions, a screwless range of wiring devices. Products from the MK Dimensions range come as two individual components, each with separate part numbers. Unlike many other two part solutions, this means that components can be ordered and installed separately to align with the project schedule, therefore removing the potential for loss or damage during fit out.

Furthermore, the functional module is supplied with a recyclable clear plastic coverplate, meeting British Standards and as such providing a fully usable device, such as a socket outlet, while on site. Ticking the boxes for convenience and safety, this removes the need to find an alternative power source, which in many cases may be metres away from the area being worked on.

Additionally, contractors should look for two-part products, which reduce installation time, in order to meet the mounting pressure to build at speed.

Certain manufacturers are able to offer wiring devices which include multiple features designed to simplify and speed up the fitting process. For example, contractors should look out for products that include backed out and captive screws, and in-line and upward facing funnel entrance to terminals.

Small features such as these can make a big difference to labour time on site – in fact, comparable products that do not include these benefits can take about 15 seconds longer to install.

Style as well as function

MK Dimensions offers the above installation benefits alongside a number of style and flexibility considerations that meet the needs of the developer. Screwless design across a range of eight modern finishes allows for ultimate scalability across a
build, whether that be hospitality or housing developments – allowing single rooms or entire developments to be fitted out with a single common design aesthetic.

Clip-on, tool-removable, frontplates allow for ease and affordability of upgrade when the time comes for an interior to be updated. This also translates to an on-site benefit – as the two device parts are ordered separately. This creates the opportunity for installers to continue work while catering for late changes to the design brief, including alterations to the colour or the material of wiring devices used in the space.

Screwless wiring devices have proven to be incredibly popular over recent years, and the next generation of these solutions hasbrought a whole new range of benefits to the table.

For contractors working on busy sites, under extremely rigorous schedules, this latest wave of devices can offer a multitude of improvements – from ensuring sockets are usable without compromising the safety of the frontplate, to separate ordering capability which minimises the risk of part loss and damage.