Adrian Pendle, Managing Director at Intersafe, the Hampshire based electrical compliance specialists explains; “For most businesses, electrical systems and circuits are business critical, whether that is tills, heating or cooling systems, machinery, tele-communications, safety systems or the IT server, turning them off for testing poses a number of challenges."
However, with some careful planning, Intersafe are confident that their flexible approach can minimise disruption in even the most complex testing environments.
Adrian adds “ Our team starts work with our clients long before the testing starts. We liaise with our customer contacts to consider potential obstacles in advance and ensure we put a plan in place to work around or minimise the impact of these. With over 20 years of experience we have seen most situations and learned that this approach avoids any unforeseen surprises on the day; so our team can complete the testing as quickly and efficiently as possible."
Here are Adrian's list of the most common obstacles which impact on an engineer:
Secure areas, which can include HR offices, night access or high risk environments may require electrical testers to be escorted. This could take someone out of their usual day job, or for out-of-hours testing may require an overtime arrangement. If there is no escort available or cover arranged this may cause delays.
When an engineer is due to attend to complete Fixed Wire testing, make sure that the distribution boards are accessible. Scaffolding, storage units or machinery which block access may result in a delay whilst access is gained, or the engineer may not be able to complete the testing on that visit.
In addition to turning off and testing all of the computers and IT equipment, for a full test the IT server also should be switched off. For many companies, the focus is on providing back-up power in an emergency and preventing a loss of power, so the prospect of a complete shut down is daunting. However, it is good protocol for all companies to have a reboot procedure. Working in advance with IT teams can allow the opportunity for this to be established in good time, ahead of a shut-down, otherwise your contractor will only be able to complete a limited test.
Surprisingly often, the FM's focus is on the main business activity and supporting systems are not considered.
For example, in a Spa hotel, it is obvious to consider the impact on guests of disabling the spa, restricting access to areas where the engineers are working and ensuring the work is completed cleanly and efficiently. But don't overlook the impact of turning off your tills or telephones.
Intersafe regularly conduct out-of-hours testing to minimise disruption to guests, but this could still have an impact on a 24 hour concierge services, or internal comms, so it is important to consider how best to manage this and plan in advance, communicating to relevant departments, guests and customers.
Intersafe works with a number of manufacturers, ranging from high volume manufacturers, bespoke and complex production and clean room environments such as semi-conductors or pharmaceuticals. Often the machinery and plant has a very specific operating schedule and downtime could impact on productivity targets.
Scheduling your contractors to work within pre-planned maintenance windows or outside of operational hours can significantly reduce disruption.
In addition, it is also important to ensure that all members of the team are aware of a scheduled electrical shut down – a team member may innocently start part of a process which can't be interrupted, without cost or time implications, which could cause delays or require a rescheduling.
Whatever your business environment, Intersafe take the time to offer a bespoke service to fit within your operational constraints, which can include careful scheduling, out of hours testing, working to tight timescales or complying with onsite PPE requirements.
If you are looking for electrical compliance testers who offer exceptional quality of work and service, please contact Intersafe today.