Electrical Contracting News (ECN) May 2017 - Page 61

WIRING SPECIAL FEATURE FACT OR FICTION? THE MYTHS OF MODULAR WIRING David Draper, interconnection product manager at Wago, discusses some of the myths surrounding modular wiring. M odular wiring is all about saving time and money when installing electrical systems for buildings by having electrical cables and trunking manufactured off site and delivered in ready made sections. All mains power, HVAC connections, lighting, building control cabling and terminations can be pre-wired within trunking if required and tested prior to delivery. Installation time and costs can be signifi cantly reduced, as rather than having to wire every connection traditionally, connectors can simply be plugged together. So why are so many installations still hard-wired? Myth: Modular wiring is only suitable for specifi c building types Modular wirin g can bring considerable improvements in reliability and greater fl exibility. Buildings like offi ces, schools and hospitals, which have several standardised room and fl oor layouts are the best for modular wiring because of their repetitious layout. They can also combine other services that may be required, such as gas or compressed air within the same trunking system. The reality is all building types can benefi t from modular wiring. The system can be reconfi gured at a later date to accommodate changes to fl oorplans or the creation of new rooms and partitions without disruption of hard-wiring. This is ideal for sectors like retail where store layouts can frequently change. Myth: Making changes during the project is diffi cult and expensive It doesn’t have to be expensive, even on complex projects. Effective planning and a close working relationship between installers and suppliers can ensure that installation challenges are foreseen and dealt with prior to installation. Even if changes to specifi cation are made while the project is in progress, on site delays can still be kept to a minimum by unplugging the old cables and connectors and swapping in the new ones. Myth: It makes skilled employees redundant Whilst it’s true that a modular system requires fewer qualifi ed electricians to install, this rarely means redundancies. Any project will still require supervision May 2017 | 61