Our latest news

Get up to date

How to Become More Energy Efficient

Energy usage is a growing, global concern that is affecting us every day and could have even bigger implications on the environment and society in the future.

This energy use comes from multiple sources; home and work, transportation and industry in the form of fossil fuels as well as nuclear power, solar and biomass energy plus more. The main end goal and purpose of this is to produce electricity and gas to power the world.

How is energy use affecting the environment?

Using any form of gas or electricity requires large amounts of energy. When this energy is in motion, greenhouse gases are produced. This pollutes the air and causes damage to land, water, wildlife and public health, as well as global warming emissions. The effects of this are demonstrated in changing temperatures, damage to our ecosystems and a wilting planet that needs saving…and fast.

Why should I become more energy efficient?

Obviously worldwide energy use is a huge, intangible thing that one man alone is not going to be able to reduce. This is why there is no quick solution for minimising the impact it is having on the environment. However, small changes made by a large mass of people will start to make a difference and improve carbon footprint which will then hopefully encourage a lesser impact on the planet.

What can I do to make a change?

There are many steps you can take to reduce your individual carbon footprint and begin to also implement doing so into larger organisations such as your workplace, to make an even bigger change. The easiest way to do this is by making small changes around the home or workplace, reducing the amount of electricity you use and therefore the energy and money that you could be wasting.

At home:

  • Keep heating low – smart thermostats allow full control over when your heating is switched on meaning it is not wasted when you are not in.Installing a Home Automated Control System
  • Switch to LED bulbs – more efficient lighting options can reduce your energy use by half and save you money on your monthly bill.
  • Insulate your house – insulation in your loft, walls or floor is a worthy investment as your house will stay warmer for longer meaning you won’t need as much heating. This includes upgrading to double glazed windows!
  • Install a form of Microgeneration – using renewable energy is much healthier for the environment. Solar panels are most effective on south-facing roofs at an angle of 30 degrees. Or why not consider a wind turbine if your location allows it or if you’re lucky enough to live near a suitable river to have a water turbine installed!
  • Get an automated control system – These systems are very clever, but also budget dependent. An automated control system performs tasks such as only heating up certain rooms in the house. It can also turn off lights in unoccupied areas, turn down or off heating demands when a property is unoccupied and much more!

Although some of these suggestions may sound pricey at first, we can assure you that they are a worthy investment and you that you will save money and energy in the long run.

Our domestic electrical services include lighting control systems, installations and advice.

Cost Saving LightingAt work:

  • Switch off equipment when not in use – set your computer to sleep when not using it throughout the day when on break or in a meeting and ensure to fully shut down at the end of each day so nothing is running overnight. This also applies to other appliances such as the printer and air conditioning.
  • Update old equipment – old IT equipment can actually end up costing you more than upgrading to newer models as they tend to be more clunky and use unnecessary power to keep working.
  • Conduct an energy audit – regularly checking how much energy you are using will enable you to work better to reduce it and create a more efficient environment. You can even get a free audit from the Carbon Trust fund. To find out whether you are entitled to any government funding via the Carbon Trust, check out their Green Business Fund page here.
  • Promote sustainability – encourage others to change their habits, this could include recycling, reducing plastic use, printing less, walking/cycling to work etc.
  • Install a BMS system (Building Management System) – Either make small changes to your existing system or if possible, get a BMS system. We highly recommend BMS systems for new installations in particular.

To ensure you comply with workplace guidelines, our commercial electrical services include PAT testing, data cabling and installation of back-up generators as well as advising on electrical energy saving in your establishment.

How can I encourage others to be more energy efficient?

As previously mentioned, just one person making these changes isn’t going to have much of an impact. Encouraging the people around you to change their habits, whether it be family or work colleagues, will have a much bigger long-term effect on the environment and make a substantial difference.

At Point Electrical, we care just as much about providing efficient electricity use as we do about reducing carbon footprint. Get in touch to find out more about how our services can enable you to become more energy efficient.

How to Deal with a Power Cut in a Commercial Environment

Whatever the size and type of business you run, whether it’s office-based or retail, a power failure will likely have the same impact on your bottom line, your customers and your staff. With electrical systems now running the majority of organisations UK wide, it’s important to be aware of the potential impact an electrical outage could have on your business. Preparation and planning will help reduce its impact and ensure your business can recover quickly without incurring long-term problems as a result.

Prevention

While some power failures may be out of your control, it is also common for electrical faults to occur due to faulty equipment, lack of regular servicing of your electrical equipment, or faulty electrical installations by unregistered or unskilled contractors. The best way to prevent this happening is to choose electrical contractors that are skilled, reliable, and NICEIC approved to install and maintain your electrical systems, and to carry out regular inspections (EICR tests), ideally every 5 years.

Electrical Testing

Be prepared

As much as you can aim to prevent power failures from occurring due to problems with your own electrical systems, power cuts can occur due to extreme weather, power station faults and other issues outside of your control. Preparation is key to ensure that when a power cut does occur, the impact on your business is reduced as much as possible. Follow the checklist below to ensure you’re prepared:

  • Emergency lighting – Ensure that you have emergency lights installed and that they are regularly tested. Also, having flashlights readily available and accessible will ensure customers and staff can safely find their way.
  • Set up a power outage plan – it’s important to have this in place but also to make sure that all staff are aware of it to ensure it is followed accurately in the event of a power failure. This should cover:
  • Safety procedures – the safety of your staff and customers will be your immediate priority, so the plan should highlight roles and responsibilities to ensure customers and staff are able to safely navigate and exit the premises.
  • Informing your utility company – this should be a specifically allocated role to ensure one person is responsible for reporting the problem and liaising with your electricity provider to report on the likely timescale of the outage.
  • Equipment operations procedures – you should have procedures in place for the safe shutting down of equipment and how to access and operate emergency equipment (lighting, generator etc.).
  • Have a generator / UPS system in place – If a sudden failure of your electrical systems is likely to cause a loss of data or failure of key operating systems necessary for your business, you should consider having a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) systems in place so that in the event of a power cut, your systems can continue to run in the short term until they are shut down safely. For larger businesses, or businesses that need to ensure there is no interruption to electrical systems and services during a power cut, a generator will provide a longer-term backup system across multiple devices.

Choose Point Electrical for peace of mind

At Point Electrical, our qualified and Which? Trusted Trader recommended electrical contractors provide professional commercial and industrial electrical services for a wide range of businesses across all sectors and sizes. Contact us for advice and a no-obligation quote for electrical inspections and backup systems to prevent an electrical failure affecting your business.

The Importance of Being NICEIC Approved

Whenever you’re hiring a tradesperson or contractor to carry out work on your home or place of work, it pays to choose someone that is registered and accredited in their area of expertise. This ensures work is carried out at a high standard and comes with an industry approved guarantee. For trades like plumbing and electrical where the quality of the work could have a big impact on the health and safety of your family or employees, the NICEIC symbol carries assurance that safety is guaranteed.

 

What is NICEIC?

NICEIC (National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting) assesses and certifies contractors across several building services, including electricians, plumbers and gas and heating engineers. NICEIC registered contractors are assessed regularly to ensure standards remain consistently in line with NICEIC regulations.

For further peace of mind, the NICEIC offer their ‘platinum promise’ which covers all work undertaken within 6 years by a NICEIC registered contractor. This guarantees that any issues as a result of work carried out by a registered NICEIC contractor that has since ceased to trade, will be rectified.

 

The importance of NICEIC registration

Due to the nature of electrical work, homeowners, landlords or employees depend on the quality of the contractor’s work for their safety. With building regulations being updated regularly, it’s important to ensure your electrician is aware of and working to the latest regulations. So, NICEIC approval provides peace of mind not only to the client, but also to the contractor, who can be confident that the work they are carrying out is industry approved and guaranteed. Contractors can apply for registration directly to the NICEIC.

 

The risks of using unregistered contractors

Choosing to hire an unregistered contractor to save money is a false economy that is likely to cost you in the long run, in more ways than one. Without the NICEIC accreditation, you have no guarantee that the contractor carrying out your work is working to building regulations, or that it will be of high standard.

So, before booking your contractor, ask to see their credentials and check they are NICEIC registered. Get a few quotes and if one seems much cheaper than the others, double check that they aren’t using the NICEIC symbol fraudulently. The NICEIC have a wall of shame listing contractors who are doing this, so this is a good place to start if you have any doubts.

 

man's elbow leaning on platform

The benefits of choosing NICEIC registered contractors

In summary, regardless of the scale of the work you need to be carried out, you should always check your electrical contractor is NICEIC registered to ensure you get:

  • A high standard of work following regular assessment against industry standards
  • Work that meets the latest building regulations
  • A guarantee on all work completed

 

For peace of mind, choose Point Electrical

At Point Electrical all our contractors are NICEIC approved. We are also listed as a Which? Trusted Trader, as well as being Hertfordshire Trading Standards approved. Our customer promise assures you of a high quality standard of work and reliable, flexible customer service. All our work comes with a 1-year guarantee as standard, and as NICEIC registered contractors, it is also covered by the Platinum Promise. Contact us for more information and to book a quote for your electrical work.

Electrical Safety In The Workplace.
Electrical Safety In The Workplace.

Electrical Safety In The Workplace

Electrical safety is paramount in any workplace. It’s just as important as fire safety and evacuation procedures, as fires can easily be started by improper use of electrical equipment. We look at how both employers and employees can ensure everyone uses electrical equipment safely in their place of work.

Safety at work is primarily the employer’s responsibility, governed by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 which sets out the employer’s duty of care to its employees. The Act also encompasses the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, a set of guidelines to ensure that every electrical device and installation used by employees in the course of their job is safe and fit for purpose.

The law doesn’t specify when checks should be carried out. However, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has recognised industrial guidelines, such as The IET Code of Practice for In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment, as well as Guidance Note 3.

It’s recommended that businesses have an EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) carried out on their fixed wiring by a suitably qualified electrician every five years (in some cases this can be more frequent). In addition, Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) should be carried out annually on any electrical equipment which has a cable, a plug and can be disconnected from its power supply and moved.  Generally, PAT testing is carried out annually but the frequency of testing or inspection can vary depending on the appliance and the environment in which the item is located.  It’s also good practice to keep records of when equipment was last checked, marking portable equipment with the date it’s next due for testing so employees can see that the employer takes their responsibilities seriously and encourages them to do the same.

Man fixing electric socket.

Where are the main electrical hazards in the workplace?

The hazards are more obvious in an industrial environment due to heavy machinery and tools being in constant use. But, even in a seemingly benign office environment, there are risks of electric shock, power cuts or fires.  These could occur if computers, IT and kitchen equipment are not maintained, tested or used correctly.

What is the role of employees in electrical safety?

Employees can do their bit to ensure their own safety and that of their colleagues by performing visual checks on electrical equipment before each use, while it is disconnected from the electricity supply. These inspections can often identify the majority of electrical faults, and should include looking for things such as;

  • Loose, trapped, knotted or frayed cables
  • Damage to plugs
  • Damage to the outer cover of a device
  • Burn marks which may suggest overheating
  • Any exposure to damp or spillages

Whilst they may not be qualified to carry out any remedial action, they do have a responsibility to report any issues to their employer promptly rather than relying on the issue being identified at the next inspection. In addition, employees should avoid:

  • Overloading plug sockets
  • Touching electrical sockets or light switches with wet hands
  • Using microwaves, toasters or any other equipment they think may be faulty
  • Using equipment for any purpose other than that for which it was designed

Trust our skilled electricians

Point Electrical carry out EICR and PAT testing in and around the Hertfordshire area. Our electricians are skilled, positive people who are happy to help, whatever your needs. Find out more about our commercial and industrial electrical services or contact us for any query you might have.

What is EICR Testing?

An EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report), previously called ‘period inspection report’ or PIR for short, is an official report produced following an assessment.

What does an EICR involve?

An EICR involves a thorough electrical inspection and testing for:

  • Faults
  • Adherence to the Wiring Standards
  • Adequacy of earthing and bonding
  • Damage or wear and tear that could potentially be hazardous to the occupants
  • Damage to electrical fittings
  • Identification of installations that could dangerous to humans/livestock or be a fire risk
  • Overloaded electrical circuits
  • Defective electrical work

After completing an EICR report, the testing engineer will produce a certificate detailing any damage, wear and tear or other defects. Also highlighting anything that doesn’t meet present-day standards or may be a risk. An EICR will classify issues detected and any work required, using the following codes.

  • C1 – ‘Danger is present – Risk of injury, immediate action required.’
  • C2 – ‘Potentially dangerous – urgent remedial action required.’
  • C3 – ‘Improvement recommended.’
  • FI – ‘Further investigation required without delay.’

A report featuring C1 or C2 classifications will result in an ‘unsatisfactory’ report. Your electrical engineer will provide a quote for carrying out the work required to address each of the issues outlined. Once any C1 or C2 issues have been addressed, an EICR Certificate of Safety is issued. C3 issues won’t need to be addressed immediately in order for an EICR Certificate to be issued. However, your electrical engineer will make recommendations for fixing these issues before they reach C1 / C2, this is not only the safest, but also the most cost-effective course of action.  FI use is reserved for exceptional circumstances, such as where an observation cannot be verified and the inspector believes that a danger or potential danger exists.

Why are EICRs important?

Electrical cables are usually invisible, hidden inside wall cavities and cupboards, so damage or wear and tear is not always obvious. It’s only through electrical testing that potentially hazardous faults and fire risks can be detected.

When on site, we get asked whether we can see if an electrical installation is safe or not. But, no one can ever tell if it is safe just by simply looking at it. We need to carry out electrical tests with our calibrated testers.

An EICR will aim to:

  1. Find and report any damage or wear and tear to the electrical installation.
  2. Find any areas that do not meet IET Wiring Regulations.
  3. Find any areas that could be hazardous – e.g. potential for electric shocks.
  4. Record the results of the inspection, testing and (following any required work) certify that the electrical installation is safe until the next inspection.
  5. Provide an important record to inform future inspection reports.

How often do you need an EICR?

EICR testing is not technically a legal requirement, but there are laws and regulations. Particularly for landlords (Landlords and Tenants Act 1985) and businesses (The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989), outlining responsibilities for adhering to IET Wiring Regulations (BS7671).

EICR testing is recommended for landlords, business owners and homeowners at regular intervals to prevent the risk of fire and electric shock that comes with old and faulty wiring. Recommended frequencies:

  • Landlords for rented properties –every 5 years, or each time a new tenant enters your property.
  • Businesses – employers are recommended to have a test done every 5 years.
  • Homeowners –every 10 years, or annually if your property has a swimming pool.
  • Educational establishments, hospitals and industrial buildings are recommended to have an EICR test done every 3 years.

It is also recommended that an EICR test be carried out, regardless of whether you’re a homeowner, landlord or business owner when making any changes to your property that might affect any of your electrical installations. Work such as a home or office renovation is included in this.

How much does an EICR cost?

The cost of the EICR test will depend on what your electrical engineer is testing. Wiring regulations advise testing a sample of electrical points/accessories. This is particularly important for larger installations and will help you save on cost.

Costs will vary depending on the scale of the installations, but domestic EICRs are likely to start at around £200+VAT.  You should be wary of electrical contractors offering to carry out an EICR for free – it’s likely that they will then inflate the cost of the remedial works to make their profit.  If you find a contractor who is a lot cheaper than others, it questions whether their testing is thorough enough. We often see EICR reports stating ‘LIM’, meaning limitation. This only leads to further investigation by another engineer and doesn’t particularly tell that engineer and, more importantly, the customer anything at all.

Who should carry out your EICR?

An EICR test can be carried out by a registered electrical engineer. Check your engineer is NICEIC (National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting) registered or another approved electrical governing body. This ensures they have the training and qualifications necessary to carry out the test and inspection, also, any required remedial works.

Point Electrical EICR testing

At Point Electrical our skilled electricians have years of experience working with businesses, landlords and homeowners to carry out EICR tests. NICEIC registered and listed as Which? Trusted Traders, we guarantee a professional, high-quality service every time. Contact us for a quote or to discuss your requirements if you’re looking to have an EICR test carried out on your premises.

What is the difference between a domestic and a commercial electrician?

An electrician is an electrician, right? Well, that depends. All electricians need industry-recognised qualifications and must know their way around a fuse board. However, did you know that domestic electricians and commercial electricians specialise in different areas? So, before you hire someone for your project, it’s good to be clear about what you’re looking for.

What is a commercial electrician?

A commercial electrician is a qualified professional who works in commercial settings and workplaces. These may include offices, schools, retail outlets, restaurants and data centres. Commercial electricians must ensure that these areas are safe and compliant with all the relevant electrical standards and approved codes of practice, some of which are different from those covering domestic premises.

Specialist expertise

Commercial and domestic electrical contractors will have different responsibilities, knowledge and experience. For example, commercial and domestic settings have different wiring setups. Residential homes tend to use a single-phase power supply of 230 volts a.c with the majority of the cabling used being standard PVC sheath cabling. Commercial electrical installations generally comprise of a three-phase power supply of 400 volts a.c and the cabling used is extremely variable. From fire proof cable, to steel wired armoured cable, mineral insulated cable, ‘low smoke zero halogen’ (LSZH) and many more different types.

Different legislation applies for commercial electricians, due to carrying out electrical installation and maintenance in workplaces. They are legally obliged to comply with The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 which governs the maintenance of electrical systems in the workplace. Electrical standards and approved codes of practice may be different too, depending on the appliances or machinery involved. Therefore, electricians must be well-informed in the appropriate standards for the setting they are working in.

Point Electrical staff working on site

The work itself

The types of job you would call an electrician for in your home may include; to upgrade your fuse box, searching for faults after an RCD device or fuse has tripped, or to carry out an electrical inspection report to ensure everything in your home is safe.

Commercial electricians, on the other hand, will typically be responsible for larger-scale projects, dealing with systems not found in residential settings. This could include; server rooms, backup generators, UPS systems and industrial control panels. Although they are well qualified in their own sphere, domestic electricians may not always have the right qualifications or expertise to carry out commercial project work.

How a commercial electrical contractor can help your business

The commercial electricians at Point Electrical are all skilled, positive people who are willing to help. If you are responsible for commercial premises, whether that be an office, shop, medical centre or restaurant, you can count on us to carry out the work needed in a safe and timely manner. Here are some of the commercial services we can offer to your business or workplace:

• Carry out an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) to confirm that your electrics are safe and compliant with the IET Wiring Regulations.
• Reactive call-outs to get the supply back online. (?)
• Installation of new LED lighting systems, helping to reduce energy bills and your carbon footprint.
• Install and maintain emergency lighting, data centres, backup generators, UPS systems, lighting control systems, heat recovery systems and ventilation systems.
• Carry out electrical installation for a new build.
• Offer specialist advice on how you can save electrical energy in the workplace with more sustainable options.
• Fault-finding to get to the root of any problems you are having with your electrics.
• Networking.
• Switchgear installation and maintenance.
• Bespoke lighting designs, created specifically to meet your needs.
• Portable appliance testing (PAT), to ensure that your equipment is maintained in a safe condition.

Want to know more? Find out about our commercial and industrial electrical services.