The last few years have been tough for electrical contractors but recently there’s been good news, says Simon Wood of Megger. The UK economy is growing and wages are at last rising faster than prices, which means people are going to have more spending money in their pockets. As an added bonus, the night have started getting shorter and the mind turns to thoughts of the warm days of summer.
Why should this put smiles on the faces of electrical contractors? The answer is that it’s going to be easier for them to find profitable business. With the general public feeling better off, they will increase their spending on events like fairs, fetes and concerts. You can be sure that, in response, many more events will be organised. That’s excellent news for contractors because every event involves electrical equipment and that equipment will require testing. And testing means profit!
When testing temporary and mobile installations, most of the work is the same as that needed when testing fixed installations. There is, however, one important addition. In terms of earthing arrangements, temporary installations are often TT systems with their own local earth electrode. The resistance of this electrode must be measured to check that it’s low enough to ensure the safety of the installation.
Contractors can, of course, buy dedicated earth electrode resistance testers but a more convenient and cost-effective option for many of them is a multifunction installation tester, such as a Megger MFT1730 or MFT1735, which can measure earth electrode resistance as well as carry out all of the other tests on installations required by the IET Wiring Regulations. With these instruments, the only extras needed for earth electrode testing are inexpensive earth stakes.
With the MFT1730, users measure earth electrode resistance using the dependable and well-proven three-pole method, which is suitable for the vast majority of applications. The MFT1735 adds a host of additional earth testing techniques, giving test options on even the most complex earthing systems.
When they’re thinking about opportunities at events, contractors should remember that it’s not just the installation that will need testing – there will be a large number of appliances and other assets that need PAT testing. A fairground or a festival site may, however, not be the ideal location for using a high end, high productivity PAT tester. A better choice is likely to be one of the compact, inexpensive and easy-to-use instruments from the new Megger PAT100 range.
The PAT120, for example, provides everything needed to carry out tests on the vast majority of portable appliances, but it doesn’t even need to be connected to a mains supply. It has pre-programmed test groups with fixed pass/fail limits for testing Class I and Class II appliances as well as extension and power leads. It offers insulation testing at 500 V by default, and also has a 250 V option for testing IT and surge protected equipment.
For contractors who want even more flexibility, the PAT150 adds extra functionality, including the option to carry out separate tests for continuity, insulation, leakage, SELV equipment and even plug mounted RCD’s.
We’ve already had enough of winter and wintery economic conditions, so before that the sun’s starting to shine again, let’s prepare for it! For contractors, the numerous events and festivals that next summer will undoubtedly bring can be excellent business opportunities – provided, of course, that you have right test equipment!