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[ Focus: Cable management ]

having to work harder and smarter in order to secure reasonable margins and minimise time on site. However, manufacturers are also under pressure. Paul Diggins, sales director at Marco Cable Management

explains: ‘The cost of raw material is having a major impact on the cable management industry. Steel and PVC prices have rocketed during the last 12 months – the former by more than 30 per cent. With these price hikes, we have seen an increase in our production costs which cascades down onto what we charge our customers.’ The result of this is that quality has become a major issue.

Cablofil’s Paul-Edouard Courson, explains: ‘As suppliers fight for market share, the pressure is on to compete on price but, by definition, this strategy means that something has to be sacrificed in return. We have taken it as an opportunity to differentiate on the basis of product quality and excellent service.’

A solution The need to reduce costs has led to the growing use of prefabricated and modular wiring systems that are assembled and tested off-site. A complete installation can be achieved from the distribution board to the furthest point of a circuit by linking connectors or using a home run. This approach allows consulting engineers to design the electrical system early in the project and source the system/ components from the same manufacturer. Marco Cable Management’s Paul Diggins, says: ‘We have definitely seen a growth in this area. We recognise

the need to be versatile, both in terms of our approach to customer service and product adaptability. With contractors and end users looking at cost saving, labour efficiency and fast track construction methods, we must keep up to speed with their demands.’ The great advantage of a prefabricated system shows itself

during the second-fix stage. Although the initial purchase price may be higher than that of hardwire products, at second-fix the speed of connection is indisputable. It has the added advantage that it allows project managers much greater flexibility of management to free up personnel more quickly to tackle other work. Adopting a prefabricated approach does call for a change

in working practices, since more design and planning is done in advance. By supplying project drawings, manufacturers can evaluate the electrical requirements of the scheme, measure the lengths of cables required and, once given the go-ahead, fabricate the components, which are then sent to site fully factory tested and boxed up ready for installation.

Looking ahead The cable management sector has moved with the times and there are many factors that have to be considered when designing and manufacturing these solutions. For contractors, taking the time to understand the benefits of the different types of products available will save time and money, and provide a cost effective and appropriate system.

Adopting a prefabricated approach does call for a change in working practices

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