It has been been over a decade since the launch of Part M of the Building Regulations and Schneider Electric has called on electrical contractors to be mindful of the regulations and to look for opportunities above and beyond the statutory requirements.
Installers are on the front line when it comes to delivering government targets, and while compliance is a priority, some of the latest technology solutions can offer so much more for building users.
For the electrical contractor, Part M of the Building Regulations outlines some key criteria around the use of switches, outlets and controls within four key areas; ease of operation, visibility, height and freedom of obstruction. These four fundamental factors ensure everybody has access to, and the use of, buildings in line with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 2005.
While the onus falls on the electrical contractor to specify and then install the correct accessories, some of the latest technology solutions such as wireless controls and automation solutions, can enhance facilities, making them even more user-friendly.
Tim Barber of Schneider Electric’s Lifespace business said: “Compliance with regulation can often feel like a burden to installers when in fact it presents a huge opportunity if they are willing to grasp it. With the evolution of home and building automation technology, electrical contractors have the potential to make a huge difference to the lives of so many people.”
Lighting control solutions and home automation are just two examples of the way in which technology can improve the lives of those with disabilities, providing them with the independence to do simple everyday tasks, sometimes without even touching a button.
Technology now means homeowners can benefit from a totally holistic solution with the ability to control everything from the TV and audio devices through to the lighting, blinds and security systems. With the ability to access everything remotely and from a simple keypad, users can be self-reliant and have the freedom to use accessories and appliances throughout the home, with relative ease.
From a security perspective, friends and family can also potentially have access to the system providing peace of mind when caring for elderly or disabled friends and relatives.
Barber concluded: “It’s vital that we continue to provide solutions that not only meet with legislation but that improve lives on a practical level. While some may see home automation as a ‘sexy’ add-on in the home, for others it can provide much wanted freedom and independence around the property; a factor we shouldn’t forget when considering the elements of the Building Regulations.”