Jamie Groves, Sales Director at cable manufacturer MICC, discusses why wiring systems that were built to last needn’t be a thing of the past.
Historic England has about 400,000 heritage listed, architecturally important buildings in the UK. These buildings, individually and collectively, form the very basis of our culture, our connection to Britain and the fabric of our unique character.
Many of these properties were built to last, not decades but millennia, and are today protected by the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England or the National Trust, and works in these buildings is often carefully controlled by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Casting the net
With the evolution of new and innovative lighting systems and the proliferation of energy saving LED lighting, more and more historic and heritage listed buildings are looking to take advantage of energy cost savings as well as enriching the property’s appeal.
Much of the funding for building modification and enhancement is charity-based and often limited so there is an incentive for the trusts involved for cost savings. This paradoxically runs contrary to the importance and intent of permanency of the buildings themselves.
In respect to electrical works it’s also important that wherever possible the hardware and wiring doesn’t detract from the building architecture itself, so discreet systems which have unlimited life span would seem to be an optimal choice.
For almost 100 years MICC wiring has been a popular choice in these buildings because the solid copper sheathed cable doesn’t age and ‘weathers’ aesthetically in many applications. Being copper it often blends seamlessly with sandstone architecture and, due to its small overall diameter and malleable nature, can easily be hidden or concealed, or bent to conform and lay flush with almost any architectural shape.
On the contrary, plastic cables often need conduit which can increase cost and installation time as well as being more difficult to install and conceal. Although MICC cable is more expensive than normal plastic cables, its major benefit is its longevity.
Many MICC cables have been in service for up to 90 years and because the cable is totally inorganic there’s no reason that they shouldn’t last much longer. This fact overwhelms any cost considerations if a long term ‘Total Cost of Ownership’ is taken into account.
We’re keen for more of the younger generation of electricians to be exposed to a MICC cable installation so that they learn that it’s an easily picked-up skill. The result of a well installed MICC cable is both aesthetically pleasing and professionally satisfying.
Further, MICC cable is purely mineral with no organic parts. Not only do they not deteriorate with age, but they contain no calorific value so cannot burn, are 100% green and won’t impact the environment. The wiring is very discrete – a 2 core 1.5mm2 MICC cable has a diameter of 5.7mm.
Want to become an installer?
Installing MICC cable isn’t difficult – simply a learned technique. It can be picked-up in an hour and the MICC company is happy to organise group training evenings at contractor sites to conduct training sessions.
Having a certificate of competence in MICC cable installation adds an important skill-set to any electrician. It can help to make them more valuable to employers and able to undertake specialised electrical wiring works in some of Britain’s most important heritage buildings.
For more information on MICC cable installation courses visit: www.temperature-house.com