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As most of you will have gathered by now, Scottish Wireless take a very ethical approach to how we conduct our business and build our solutions. It therefore took me by surprise when I entered a building last week within a certain council area and found that their cabling was contained by plastic fastenings.

Now some of you will be wondering, so what? Well let me begin in explaining the dangers of this;

Back in April of 2010, two firefighters lost their lives in Hampshire after they were overcome by excessive heat. An inquest found that they had become entangled in fallen cables which had trapped them and caused their deaths. These cables had been secured with plastic fastenings.

That is only one of the many cases that have occurred where people have become entangled within burning buildings resulting in unnecessary injury and loss of life to firefighters and occupants of the dwellings.

Under BS7671 of the IET wiring regulations 18th edition, Regulation 521.10.202 requires that all cabling must be adequately supported against their premature collapse in the event of a fire. This applies throughout the installation and not just in escape routes.

Unfortunately, at 100-200 degrees plastic grips melt, causing cabling to become free and dangle within a building during a fire. As you can imagine a firefighter’s job is extremely dangerous at the best of times but by neglecting to abide by these regulations, taking short cuts on price and not understanding the health and safety impact of the installation under all conditions, could have adverse consequences to people’s lives.

This applies to all installations of electrical wiring, be it for lighting, CCTV installation or door entry. Any type of cabling in a building with inadequate fixings can become detached when subjected to high temperatures, causing entanglement and the risk to life. To satisfy 18th Edition requirement that ‘all cables are secured in ways that minimise risk of premature collapse in event of fire’… it means that since 1st January 2019 every direct-to-surface cable installation, & every length of non-metallic trunking and conduit, will require such non-combustible fixings.

Cabling and cable installation using combustible fixings in high rise buildings can pose three separate issues:

  1. Entanglement hazard to firefighters
  2. Breeching of fire-resistant compartmentation
  3. Hazardous products of combustion (Dioxins)

It is often forgotten by installers and inspectors that firefighters work in a zero-visibility environment and they wear complex and restrictive PPE and breathing apparatus which can impede their view of loose cables.

There are many BS.EN standards and codes of practice for electricians installing cabling into these buildings. In the UK, BS7671 is perhaps most relevant as it outlines how cables should be supported and directed through walls and ceilings.

It seems that during tender process of electrical installations, some companies will deliberately avoid using the proper fixings due to being hungry to win the business at all costs in a very competitive market, however, I would ask them; Is taking shortcuts against regulation to make the deal worth risking life?

If something has the potential (and can be seen through unfortunate documented evidence) to cause danger to one’s life then the clear answer is NO!

Scottish Wireless are therefore offering to help and assist any council or housing association with an estate of legacy wired buildings in running an audit of their buildings and finding where installations breach regulation and cause a danger to people’s lives.

Scottish wireless will also offer to supply and fit the correct metallic fixings and materials to bring the installations up to standard. These fixings are fire tested and can withstand heat of 970 degrees for 2 hours, making them 18th edition compliant and more importantly a preventative of failure in avoiding entanglement in the circumstance that there is a fire within the buildings.

Thanks for taking the time to read.

Thank you.
Peter Nevans

For further information or to arrange a meeting with Peter please contact him directly at: [email protected] or call # 0754 932 7108.

Scottish Wireless fibre backhaul and superfast network system throughout the building provides building owners with the opportunity to open up a Catalogue of Services for prospective and existing tenants – plus the release of additional revenue streams

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