FIS Technical Director Joe Cilia talks with Nathan Bath a Director at Kent Electrical Solutions to understand the issues on scheduling from electricians view point.
Joe started by asking Nathan what’s the first thing to consider?
‘It’s important to get the contractors and all trades co-ordinated and communicating as early as possible for every job. In fact, it can add cost and time to any project if this doesn’t happen. So ask at which stage of your project the trades need to get on site, how much material needs to be moved around the site and stored securely.
Nathan added ‘We work on all kinds of commercial projects, from office fit outs to warehouses. Our works include reconfiguring existing electrical and data installations through to installing new. There are certain things to remember whenever you need electrical work for whatever type of project you are planning.
- Electrics should never be an afterthought. It’s no good designing a state-of-the-art, hi-tech office space and then halfway through the build discovering that it won’t be possible to lay cables where they are needed – or worse, forgetting that cabling will be needed. Your electrical installer should be involved at the design stage to advise on wall, floor or ceiling space required for cabling, sockets, and any service openings required, which may need fire stopping after installation.
- Always consult your electrical contractor before removing partition walls. Any office space with partitioning will have cables laid and databoxes fitted to serve each partitioned space. This cabling structure won’t necessarily work when the partitions are removed. And it’s highly unlikely they’ll serve a new partitioned configuration either, without being re-laid or repositioned.
- Make sure flexible workstations can function flexibly. The post-Covid landscape has seen many businesses offer flexible working hubs and co-working spaces. With different people using the facilities with various tech needs, it’s vital to be able to support the variety of needs. Make sure all the necessary electrics are on-hand so anyone can plug in and go.
- Wellbeing in the workplace. Another shift in workplace culture to come out of Covid is the wish to offer staff a designated and useful place to have some down time. Whether that includes computer games consoles, cabling and wiring for music and sound, or controllable lighting, this all needs to be planned in the initial design phase and incorporated so that it’s not interrupting the flow of the space and offers enough options for different types of user.
- Lighting upgrades in fit outs or refurbs. When planning or working on a commercial fit out or refurbishment, it is always worth looking to upgrade any existing lighting to LED. There will be an installation cost, but the long-term energy savings will quickly outweigh that. This is particularly beneficial in retail or commercial spaces with a good deal of strip or panel lighting.
- Cabling upgrades in fit outs or refurbs. Just as it’s worth planning to upgrade lighting, so it’s cost effective to upgrade data cabling when working on fit outs or refurbs. We’d recommend upgrading to CAT6 cabling for futureproofing and efficiency.
We are committed to helping our clients invest for the future. By working with fit out and refurb companies from the start of every job, we can project manage each one. This makes sure we are contracted at the right point on the project, which ultimately saves cost and time. We can, of course, be drafted in at any point, so it’s better all round to get your electrical contractor lined up at exactly the right point. And we’ll never just rip out all existing electrics if they can still be used.