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When it comes to the materials used in schools we expect that all measures are taken in order to prioritise and protect public safety.
These materials also need to stand up to the test when something goes wrong. For example, if there were a fire in the building we would expect the materials to perform and resist the fire, and would think everything possible has been done to ensure only the best materials were in place.
If, however, the materials used have been sourced to cut costs then this can mean the materials are less suitable for the job, ultimately increasing risk to the occupants and being unpredictable - even in normal conditions.
This is definitely the case for cable safety. If you consider a large and complex building, such as a general hospital, think of all the cable needed to distribute power throughout that building.
Fixed cables above false ceilings should be low smoke, zero halogen (LSOH) and flame retardant, otherwise if the structure is compromised by fire the cables can quickly release toxic gases and seriously increase risk of injury. During installation, the cable sheath should also strip easily and predictably, removing the risk to installers when installing and fixing cable.
The number of final connection cables will also be vast. These are the cables that connect the fixed distribution circuits into building services such as air conditioning and lighting. Another key feature for this type of cable in addition to it being LSOH and flame retardant is its need to be flexible for extended periods of time. If a cable does not meet this flex requirement, the outer sheath can crack, exposing live conductors and increasing the risk of fire.
Afflex cable by Prysmian, in fact, exceeds over 30,000 flex cycles as per the specification before any sign of tiring occurs, which is above and beyond what is expected in a product’s life time. In fact, we know that cheaper cable does not have the same resistant values as that of higher quality cables, such as Afflex from Prysmian. In fact, a product has been discovered that failed at 800 cycles and didn’t meet the standard.
BS EN50525-1 is the specification for low voltage flexibles, published in 2011 that all cable of this stature should abide to. This standard specifies to the cable maker the exact size, material, voltage and a range of testing procedures that should be performed and followed on the cable in order to confirm its safety for use in buildings.
Without using this type of cable, you again increase the risk, both on install and when in use.
Prysmian now supplies LSOH cable of the highest standard that is able to cope with all the elements of an internal building environment. From supply, such as cable at entry to buildings connecting to your mains in your building, to power distribution (cables exiting your main distribution point in the building, perhaps running cable overhead), and right through to the final connection into your building services devices.
For more information on Prysmian Afflex and its full range of products, please find more information at http://www.afumexcables.co.uk/