There’s no better way of putting a new solution through its paces than getting it in the hands of one of PE’s ‘Product Test’ team. Gary Fisher gives us his thoughts on the Speedy Sparky.
Many of PE’s readers will be used to working on new build sites, operating together with all the trades in one place and co-ordinating between other tradesmen to make sure you’re not behind with the first- or
second-fix stages of the project.
One thing we all have in common is the need to get the work sorted as quickly and cost-effectively as possible, so for us electricians this means getting our wiring and boxes in place before the ‘Dot & Dabbers’ and plasterers get in.
To make life a touch easier for us the Speedy Sparky is a simple but effective device that is very easy to use. Essentially it looks like a small cross but it cleverly has all measurements, markings, holes etc. located on it, so it acts as a template for us to work to so that the process of fixing and marking boxes is both accurate and hassle-free.
“Not only does the product work well on wall surfaces, but it’s equally effective on a plasterboard wall as well.”
How does it work?
The idea is that you place the Speedy Sparky against the wall with the lower part resting on the ﬂoor. At this point the floor is at the finish level, and you can mark the holes where either the metal twin or single box will be located.
The heights are already marked for power outlets in new builds (450mm) and light switches (1,200mm), with A & B letter markings to help with selecting the correct holes for vertically placed boxes (cooker or shaver socket).
Once the height has been marked you simply turn the Speedy Sparky in a horizontal position, placing it on your mark. By using the miniature level that’s permanently fixed on, you then level up and mark your drill hole positions. You can achieve up to 2x twin and 2x single box markings in one hit and, as all metal boxes have the same hole fixings, it’s no problem at all.
Not only does the product work well on wall surfaces, but it’s equally effective on a plasterboard wall as well. Just follow the same routine as before but, when in the horizontal stage, you draw around the Speedy Sparky to give you the size of the box to cut out.
It also works nicely in kitchens where outlets should be 113.5mm above worktop surfaces. Again, all the information is incorporated on the Speedy Sparky so you don’t have to remember it – get the height sorted, turn the item horizontal and mark your boxes/holes etc.
Is it for everyone?
Clearly the Speedy Sparky is a very clever and simple idea that certainly has a place in the construction industry. There’s no doubt that kitchen fitters, new apprentices that are starting out and those that do a lot of new build work will really see the benefits of the product, but I do question how much time it would save in situations where floors are not at their finished levels, walls are in a bad state, or noggins and joists are in the way.
Nevertheless, it’s a great little tool to keep in the van and in the toolbox and one that I’ll certainly be reaching for in the future.