The Market Shift In Wiring Accessories
Part M of the Building Regulations focuses on accessibility and ease of operation by specifying locations, and mounting heights and colour contrast.
Consumers are becoming increasingly style–conscious and electrical contractors need to keep abreast of the new trends and specify products that meet the needs of their customers not only in terms of price, quality and design, but also sustainability.
Despite the economic climate, some customers still want to install the most advanced and high specification products they can for their budget, viewing this as an investment for the future. So for installers and contractors, in order to stay competitive, it is essential to provide up to date knowledge and advice of the latest innovations in wiring accessories to both domestic and commercial customers.
One influencing factor is the change in legislation to raise standards within the sector. Part M of the Building Regulations focuses on accessibility and ease of operation by specifying locations, and mounting heights and colour contrast. The introduction the 17th Edition of the Wiring Regulations calls for the increased use of 30mA RCDs. In the home this effectively means every socket outlet needs to be covered. Collectively, this has put a greater focus on quality and safety than ever before.
As such, wiring accessory manufacturers now need to develop products that not only meet these increased electrical safety needs, but also deliver a stylish solution for the end–user. This has resulted in an explosion of new products on the market.
Black Nickel Switch
Created with contemporary interior design in mind, many ranges now include high quality finishes such as polished chrome, brushed stainless steel and black nickel. These variations have been chosen to help designers and installers to achieve a sleek, modern look where they cannot afford to let the necessities of switches and sockets impose on the overall design.
One finish which has emerged as a growing trend in both the domestic and commercial markets is black nickel. With its high gloss appearance, this finish presents a clean and discreet solution with a smoked mirror style surface. Another popular choice is brushed stainless steel or polished chrome accessories, as the reflective surface blends into modern surroundings with ease giving a bright, simple look, which is particularly well–suited to the current fashion for sleek, minimalistic interior design. Alternatively, for those looking for a more classic appearance, many brass finish ranges have been modernised to give a sleek, yet traditional solution.
Offering the utmost in versatility, some ranges also include the modular options for a television, FM satellite telephone and data outlets, providing a mix and match approach to meet every type of home entertainment and communications requirement. Fused connection units, cooker units, a shaver outlet, fan isolator switches and pull cord switches are also included in some ranges, allowing for that all important co–ordination throughout the installation. For the commercial market, manufacturers are looking to incorporate the in ‘vogue’ finishes into the industrial systems, such as multiple switch sockets, modular data and communications grid system to avoid comprising the stylish interiors.
…the emerging range of wire and battery–free switches… use innovative technology to ’harvest’ energy
Dedicated to pushing the boundaries of technology to achieve energy–efficiency, many leading manufacturers have developed stylish yet sustainable wiring accessory solutions.
An example, which is set to transform the face of lighting operations, is the emerging range of wire and battery–free switches. Popular for use in listed buildings and where glass is a key part of the design, these switches offer instant installation and total location flexibility. With reduced installation and minimal disruption, these switches can be incorporated into even the most groundbreaking interior design. Sustainable and self–powered, this new phase of products use innovative technology to ’harvest’ energy, offering your customers both the style and substance they are looking for.
Many of today's commercial spaces and some domestic settings require a high standard solution while creating a consistent modern style. Long gone are the days where a switch or socket is simply a functional product. Today the essence lies in the design and quality of the sustainable products available in the market place and the expanding range will continue to evolve with the ever–changing needs of the commercial and domestic sectors.