Tuesday, 18 May 2010

The Glamorous Platforms

FE was very lucky to be involved for the second year running with the Absolute Return for Kids charity (ARK) annual gala dinner at the old Eurostar Terminal in Waterloo. Now of course being based in the terminal and basically knowing it inside out especially from an electrical point of view, we would always be involved to a certain extent but to see the platforms transform into a spectacular event really was nice to see. FE has had their offices in this terminal for some 15 years and this place has seen many changes over that time and Eurostar leaving the terminal was a sad day and took the life out of the building, so to have so many people in this building again was great to see.

Now of course events like this do not happen overnight (rumour has it £10k per ticket!), they are planned months and months in advance and it wasn't much different with our role. There was a lot of testing to be done as well as energising and livening up in the vast area that is this terminal. Plus it was not just the platforms that were used for the event but the old departures concourse was where guests like Naomi Campbell and Eva Herzigova arrived, the departures lounge area was the walkway where guests made their way up to the platforms for the dinner and auction. The rest of the departures area was used for 'backstage' purposes so all the old shops like WHSmith were transformed into dressing rooms and refreshment spots for all the staff hired for the evening. The Killers & Groove Armada had their own private area in the old Business Lounge.

On the lead up to the event it really was all hands on deck as we worked alongside the events electricians and assisting with their needs, even when The Killers required 110 transformers from our store room so that they could perform at their rehearsal. We were even helping out The Old Vic theatre the day of the ARK event with their production of Ditch in the tunnels under Waterloo as they too were using a small part of the terminal as a backstage spot for their performers. Mr Arpad Busson was even seen wondering about the terminal making sure everything was going to plan.

At one point it was hard to imagine the event was going to happen as there was so much still to be done but these event companies are pros and know exactly what they were doing, especially as it was their second year at the terminal. 6pm came and a few of us went up to the platforms to see the final result before the guests arrived and security got even tighter which we soon realised was because the beautiful Queen Rania of Jordan was the special guest of the evening.

Steve and Fred were our two electricians on standby on the night, they were here until long after the event finished which didn't see the last guest leave until the very late hours of the morning. When everyone had left, works started straight away to start clearing the terminal. Our electricians job at this point was to bring up the front and back of house lighting so that this was possible for the events company.

A week on and the terminal is still being stripped out with anything that was to do with the ARK event and each day it gets closer to its old self. The good news though is The Railway Children production starts soon so there will still be lots of activity going on here but just of a different kind.

We think events like this are a great way of using a disused terminal, what do you think?

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Safety of Portable Appliances Provided by Landlords

If you are a landlord then generally you will supply your tenants with appliances such as fridges, washing machines and electric kettles as part of the tenancy agreement. As I'm sure you are aware The Landlord and Tenancy Act 1985, you are required to ensure that these appliances are safe for continued use.

The Electrical Safety Council recommends that such appliances are tested either by a business competent in PAT or an electrician that is registered with an industry recognised accreditation like NICEIC. This should be at the start of each tenancy and at regular intervals during any long term tenancy.

The checks that need to be carried out will include an inspection to ensure the following;

1) connections inside a plug are correct and secure
2) the fuse inside a plug is of the correct rating
3) no bare wires are visible other than at the terminals inside the plug and appliance
4) There is no sign of internal damage, overheating or entry of liquid, dust or dirt

The competent person carrying out the testing for you will use a portable appliance test instrument to check the electrical condition of the appliances you have and supply you will a portable appliance safety certificate when testing is complete and all items are agreed safe. In some cases you will also be issued an asset register on each of the items tested for your records.

With most fatalities in the home by electric shock being caused by appliances, faulty plugs and leads, I'm sure you agree the importance of such testing. In fact whether your a landlord or not shouldn't we all be thinking about having such testing at work and at our homes on a regular basis considering we all use these type of appliances in our everyday life? Just think how often do you put the kettle on to make you and your colleague a cuppa in the office or you and your family use the hair dryer or toaster at home?

Have you had PAT in the your office or at home?