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How safe is your wiring

Electrical inspections can really show up some incredible things! Whats above your ceiling? The picture above was from a recent shop inspection. At first sight, everything looked OK but above the ceiling there was a complete jumble of poorly installed cables. Some of which were in contact with the back of hot ceiling lamps causing a fire risk. The important moral of the story is if you are moving into a new office or shop, get it checked before you exchange contracts, otherwise you could be inheriting a mess like this.

Here is an example of a really neat fuse board with an excellent standard of work in a church recently inspected. Upon a closer look you then find the main tails come through separate 20mm holes in a metal board.

Why is this dangerous?

With the latest edition of the IEE electrical regulations update, fuse boxes are now metal enclosures. One thing to watch out for is that the live and neutral cables are bought into the box through the same point. Failure to do so can create a magnetic field, causing heat which ultimately damages the cable.

This is an example of an isolator with the main switch wedged on and a very burnt Red Phase (L1) main conductor. This quite often can happen from a bad connection which again can be a fire risk.

Here, a joint box has been found with a Circuit Protective Conducter (CPC), otherwise known as earth not connected to anything. Any fault will result in all the metal connected light fittings becoming live.

This redundant cable was left coiled up in the ceiling and as can be seen using a volt stick, it is still live. It can be dangerous though to rely on this kind of tool and all cables should be checked properly with a proper voltage proving kit that accurately measures the voltage of any cable. It is important that inspections are done by qualified personnel using the correct test equipment.

To summarise, maintaining this kind of installation is almost impossible. Finding out before moving in can save you a lot of money! If you are moving to a new shop of office call Stromtechs to carry out an electrical inspection before you move in. Any problems found can become part of the purchase negotiation.

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