We can’t quite believe that 2018 is nearly over! We have had another incredibly busy year, with all our services being in demand, not just PAT testing. This year has also seen us launch our new website to help new and existing clients easily find out more about what we do. So, what has been happening within our business this year?
A big increase in demand for Lightning Protection Risk assessments.
We have seen increasing demand for Lightning Protection Risk Assessments for at risk buildings. We have found that insurance providers have become more risk savvy, demanding that their clients have all the required safety systems in place to reduce lightening risks. Our assessments of these buildings have often highlighted that they have no systems in place, putting them at risk. To rectify this, we have designed and installed new systems for our clients so they can demonstrate to insurers that they are addressing the issue.
Increase in demand for a more proactive approach to Air Circuit Breaker Maintenance
Another area where we have seen huge growth is in the demand for a more proactive approach to Air Circuit Breaker Maintenance. This is something we have been advocating to our clients for several years. Our more proactive approach includes proactive upgrades to protection and the purchase of essential spares in the event of failure. This approach has been welcomed by our clients. As 99% of all Air Circuit Breakers are made to order, if a failure occurs our client’s businesses could be left vulnerable and at financial risk. Our approach demonstrates that in these days of IT and Data reliance clients are embracing a proactive approach to maintenance and upgrades.
Increase in use of Thermal Imaging for the detection of heat and energy loss
The use of Thermal Imaging for the detection of Heat and Energy Loss has increased in 2018, with ever rising energy prices and the pressures of meeting environmental targets contributing to the demand for this service. Thermal Imaging is a fantastic way of surveying and identifying thermal losses through pictures, which can easily be communicated to clients in our survey reports. Our reports make recommendations for improvements and we have seen these being quickly actioned by our clients to help make efficiency savings.
Increase in demand for Air Sampling from domestic clients
We undertake Air Sampling for a broad range of commercial clients to ensure the environment is comfortable for employees, however we have seen an increasing number of domestic clients requesting this service. More and more home owners want to understand the quality of the air within their property. We have assisted many domestic property owners in 2018 which demonstrates that individuals are more aware of the impact of their environment on their lives.
Demand for sprinkler service and installation has increased massively
We undertake Sprinkler Service and Installations across the UK and have found domestic service enquiries rise by 500% in 2018!!! This is a huge increase. We have found that 70% of all domestic installations have received no or inadequate maintenance, leading to a high number of non-compliances being identified during our service visits. Increasing pressures from local authorities and insurance companies have seen property owners becoming more diligent when it comes to fire safety and we welcome this increase in demand, as the safety of the individuals occupying these spaces is paramount.
Increase in demand for Power Quality Surveys
2018 has seen requests from existing clients and new clients for Power Quality Surveys increase. These surveys enable our clients to fully realise the quality of their supply and discover where they can save energy. We do this by identifying plant and equipment that is operating inefficiently and at the wrong times. During Power Quality Surveys we identify poor harmonics and power factor, which both increase the cost of the energy used. Following the report, a proactive cost saving payback solution is provided to our clients, which can save them thousands of pounds per year.
We have increased awareness of Power Factor Correction
Power Factor Correction is a drum we beat daily! The importance of an efficient power factor is vastly underrealized. Increased maximum demand requirements and environmental charges can quickly add up and are a hidden cost by electricity providers. We have installed and serviced Power Factor Correction units up and down the country this year, suggesting improvements in the controllers of older units and total refurbishment of some. Our clients usually see a payback for the initial costs within 18 months and from then on enjoy energy and cost savings.
The demand for solar panel installation has reduced but maintenance demand has gone up
We have seen the demand for Solar Panel installations reduce somewhat this year but have seen an increase in maintenance demands. Most solar installations are coming up to ten years old and we are finding inverter failures more common and solar panel damage more evident. Solar panels can be damaged by our winged friends as they see the panels as water and drop pebbles on the panels. In these cases, we suggest netting the pebbles on the roof themselves rather than netting the roof area which is far costlier.
We use Thermal Imaging Cameras to assist in the maintenance of solar panel systems. Contrary to the common misleading opinion that solar panels are most efficient when they gain maximum solar irradiance, not maximum temperature, high temperatures can damage solar panels, leading to the emergence of the hot spots. Hot spots occur when a panel is shaded, damaged, or electrically mismatched causing a decreased power output. Since solar cells are attached in strings, just one hot spot can lead to multiple cells functioning poorly. To solve this problem, all shading should be negated, and electrical connections should be optimized. We undertake a Thermal Image inspection, enabling detection of failing non-compliant solar cells. Any non-compliances will be pictured and detailed within a report and presented to the client.
Increase in Fire Hydrant servicing
We have seen an increase in Fire Hydrant Servicing in both the Domestic and Commercial sectors in the last year. Many clients have negated the maintenance of their systems mainly because they were unaware of where responsibility lies for building maintenance. We work closely with local Fire & Rescue Services to ensure impartial advice is given on the requirements for maintenance in line with the British Standards. This ensures the correct servicing is undertaken and everyone is clear as to where responsibility lies.
Our most in demand service has been the Fixed Wire Test
One the our most in demand services this year has been the Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) or more commonly known to our clients as the Fixed Wire Test. We test over three quarters of a million circuits per year and have seen this grow. Nearly 20% of all fires are caused by electrical faults and we have found insurance companies have become far more stringent in requesting records of this testing and laying down deadlines to get an EICR completed. This has increased the pressure on us to meet client deadlines, an area in which we have excelled this year.
For us, record keeping for our clients is of the upmost importance. We store all records in a cloud-based server and these can be retrieved at any time or place, on any device. We have had several occasions where an installation has been tested by another contractor within the last 12 Months and the client has misplaced the records and the contractor has also misplaced them. This has caused the client to commission us to retest the installation again some 48 Months before its due, which leads to more expense for the client and more importantly more loss of business continuity due to the isolation required for testing. At Equiptest there is no fear of data loss with our cloud storage managed process.
So, as you can see it has been a very busy year! More business and building owners are seeing and acting upon the importance of having well maintained fire safety equipment and systems. Our experienced team and robust record keeping mean we are a safe pair of hands to help our clients insure the safety of their electrical equipment. We are excited about the year ahead. If you would like to find out more about any of our services just get in touch.