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Cable management has constantly evolved throughout the years, from traditional methods such as on-site installation to pre-assembled cable solutions – it’s ever changing with the times. HellermanTyton takes a look at the current, and future, cable management landscape.

Electrical contractors have always understood the advantages of effective cable management. It’s not just about the virtues of a tidy installation – although that of course helps – but the other benefits that a good cable management system can bring.

Whether it’s to save time during installation, to simplify the increasingly complex electrical infrastructure in our homes and businesses, or to make buildings safer, cable management can play a vital role.

Modular systems

Modular buildings are being seen as a solution to the demand for new build construction, and with good reason. Modern Building Services reports that modular systems typically reduce on-site installation times by up to 70%.

Modular building manufacturers are therefore looking for new ways to manage their appliances and cables to reduce downtime and costs. 

New methods such as refabricated connectors and pre-assembled cables can mean a reliable and flexible wiring solution that performs significantly better than alternative systems – in less time to install. Offering pre-assembled cable solutions reduces excessive management from electricians, therefore reducing any on site risks for the installer.

Installing or working with a modular cabling system requires minimal maintenance, allowing spare time to be put to good use elsewhere. 

Site waste and cable snagging, two of the most common issues with traditional wiring systems due to inadequate cable management, are reduced or eliminated with modular cable systems. This brings great safety on the site. Quality assurance is guaranteed because the modular approach uses a controlled environment to test the wiring accessories. 

The electrical wiring and accessories sector is gradually evolving and taking up new technologies and methods of construction. Not only is there a new skilled workforce ready, but the sector is also learning to become prefabricated, lean, and green. This is promising, particularly in a period when on-time and within-budget are the two main expectations of projects.

Smart buildings and IoT 

Smart buildings are now designed for more than merely keeping out the elements; residents expect the latest technology and comfort in this modern age. With a large diversity of smart devices, Wi-Fi and data centres, cable management has never been more crucial to keep smart buildings functioning efficiently.

Whether a business is constructing a new premises, or adapting an existing location, it’s beneficial to consider at a reasonably early stage how the building’s cabled nervous system will be installed or adapted.

Safety and regulations 

As cable management adapts, so do the regulations, ensuring all safety standards are met when working in a modern environment. However, keeping up with the recent regulations as they change is a vital part of workplace safety whilst changing with the times.

The latest regulation change, the 18th Edition Wiring Regulations, has implications for cable management, as HellermannTyton’s John Brodie explains,

 “Cable management is important in many fields, such as IT, communications, power distribution, facility wiring, local area networks and much more. Keeping all occupants safe whilst out on the job is imperative; working to the most recent regulations ensures all bases are covered within the workplace.  

“In January 2019, the 18th Edition of the IET Wiring Regulations (BS 7671) came into force. While previous IET wiring regulations referred to “escape routes”, the new regulations have now expanded the scope of coverage to include “access or egress routes”, meaning both entry routes in and exit routes out of the building are covered. 

“When fixing cables to exposed surfaces vertically and horizontally, the spacing of metal fixings should be approximately 250-400mm. HellermannTyton does not recommend that plastic fixings are used as the only method of fixing and should only be used in addition to sufficient metal fixing.

“In addition to BS 7671, there are other standards to consider for new installations. BS 5839 gives recommendations for fire detection devices and fire alarm systems for buildings and BS 5266 gives recommendations for emergency escape lighting. 

“Both standards recognise the danger of collapsing cable supports in a fire, a danger which will be reduced with the introduction of the requirement of metal fixings in the 18th Edition.”