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Get the Facts – The importance of planning work and producing drawings

Hands up those of you who like spending more than you need to on electrical services? Thought so.

Yet time and time again, the AES team sees examples of how bad planning and a lack of drawings end up causing clients unnecessary costs.Have you co-ordinated your services?

One of the key causes is failing to co- ordinate services. We have carried out a variety of projects where this has been the case: for example, a plumber wants to install a radiator where the electrician has already installed a socket in an office; or a gas heater has been installed where a light fitting needs to go in a factory.

The result is that somebody ends up having to do their job twice, or install equipment in a different position, resulting in additional costs to the client in ‘variations’. It also causes frustration for all parties involved and, in some instances, it can lead to bad feeling between the different trades.

Are you risking a bill of thousands of pounds?

We once worked on a factory installation where the pipe work contractor had installed a large number of pipes in the exact position where we had agreed with the client to install cable containment. It cost the client an extra £4,500 for additional supports to be installed.

The client would not have had to foot this bill if the works had been co-ordinated, as we could have talked to the pipe work contractor and agreed on a common support system to run the electrical and pipe work systems. It is also cosmetically better for all the services to be installed together.

The importance of drawings

Most important, producing drawings helps to ensure that equipment is installed where it can easily be maintained. Not only will this result in cheaper maintenance costs but it will also be safer.

We have a customer who needed to stop his machinery to maintain the lighting in his factory. This meant that either the work had to be done out of hours, resulting in a 30% increase in labour costs, or the customer had the inconvenience and cost of stopping production while the lights were worked on.

Our solution was to reposition the lights where they could be maintained without having to work over the top of the machinery – saving the customer time and money.

Drawings are a vital record

Detailed drawings aren’t just there for the ease of installation, they are also a vital record of where and how your services and equipment are installed. As this helps to speed up future maintenance, the result is lower costs for the customer.

Legal reasons for keeping records

Other records, such as electrical installation, emergency lighting and fire alarm certificates, are essential to help you comply with the requirements of your insurance and health and safety legislation. These need to be kept in a safe place at all times.

The importance of finding machine drawings

Knowing how machinery works is important for good maintenance programmes, but if you are moving a large machine, which needs to be disconnected and then reconnected, having electrical drawings is crucial.

We have been called out more times than we can remember to machinery that has been moved by other contractors and then doesn’t work. Without any drawings to consult, it can take days (our record is seven) to get a machine working correctly. This long, time-consuming process not only results in extra costs for the engineers’ services, but also for the resultant down time for the machine.

In essence, it all comes down to good planning and getting the right people involved at the right time.

When drawings go missing

If you have all your drawings and certificates that’s great, but these things seem to have a habit of going missing. The logical place to keep machine drawings is in the control panel of the machine, but what if the drawings aren’t there when you need them the most?

It’s worth keeping at least one full set of spares; even better, why not scan them and keep the drawings in electronic format so that they can be printed off as and when required. This may take a little time, but it’s well worth the effort in the long run.

For advice on planning work and drawings, please contact our sales team on 01924 283 737.

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