Meet The Experts:
Dec. 2 2019
Here we speak to Michael Kenyon, technical lead for the electrical discipline at Bureau Veritas, about innovation, changing customer needs and much more.
I am technical lead for the electrical discipline, which involves overall responsibility for technical governance for all electrical activities in BV UK. This includes:
Electrical compliance is complicated; there is no direct statutory obligation to test and inspect electrical installations, but a series of guidance notes. We support clients by creating bespoke specifications to fit within their current maintenance schemes and achieve overall compliance.
Education is also a big issue in electrical compliance. I personally deliver duty holder training to our clients, focussing on responsibilities of a duty holder, electrical safety and developing a comprehensive compliance strategy.
Challenges can also come from innovations in technology and subsequent regulation evolutions, like the adoption of electric vehicles for example. We offer advice and guidance to our clients on subjects such as AFDDs (arc fault detection devices), electric vehicle chargers, SPDs (surge protection devices) and the updates to regulations, such as the current 18th Edition of the IET Wiring Regulations.
In 2018 we saw the introduction of the 18th edition of the IET Wiring Regulations, which included AFDDs and additional requirements for RCDs, electric vehicles (EVs) and SPDs. EV technology is the biggest innovation at the moment, with the wiring regulations being amended outside of the usual review schedule to keep up with advances in technology.
Innovation can also refer to new ways in which to complete electrical inspections safer and more efficiently, such as the use of drones. We offer thermal imaging with drones, which can deliver a safer, quicker and less disruptive inspection without compromising on quality or compliance.
We are currently developing a new reporting software built around our clients’ evolving needs. Managing information is key for our clients and it’s not enough these days to have a report which gets filed. Clients rightly want to know more and more information, they need access to that information and they need it to be secure.
We are also developing new services around technologies such as EV and drone inspections, helping to make sure that our services are evolving in line with the needs and demands of our clients within their own sectors.
Without a doubt it’s competence. This is a must across all aspects of testing and inspection but it’s sadly lacking in many parts of the industry. Ongoing training is important, including CPD (Continuous Professional Development) for all, and we have worked hard at Bureau Veritas to develop an outstanding programme for our employees.
One of our main points of difference is impartiality. Our comprehensive code of ethics ensures that we are 100% impartial and we don’t make any money from remedial repairs like many electrical contractors. This ensures we can deliver a trusted service at all times.
We also stand out for training and competency management; as a business we are set up to comply with UKAS 17020 as a category A inspection body, achieving the same standards as 17020 through comprehensive training and assessment of our engineers.
Compliance doesn’t just start and stop with our inspections, our inspection services should be just one part of an overall compliance strategy. Often clients will have inspections done to tick a box or because an insurance company said they should, but to be truly compliant remedial repairs need to be done and followed up, along with an array of other activities such as planned preventative maintenance and daily user checks. It comes back to knowledge and competency again – these gaps in knowledge and understanding can cause issues.
We work with major clients across many sectors and drive consistency across all of our services thanks to our detailed inspection procedures, training and guidance.
We are also part of SAFed Safety Assessment Federation (I sit on SAFed Technical Committee 3 TC3), which works to standardise inspection processes across inspection bodies such as Bureau Veritas.
I should also mention our digital platforms such as Building in One, which has been developed to offer step by step property compliance across the largest of portfolios – in one simple, safe and secure platform.
Educated duty holders, employing competent engineers to help deliver a comprehensive compliance strategy and promote a positive safety culture. It’s sounds straightforward but it’s a constant challenge across the industry to achieve this.