What is Construction Products Regulation and what does it mean for your network?

When Construction Products Regulation, or CPR for short, was introduced in 2017, it was considered the biggest change for the cabling industry in decades. What is it all about and why should you care? 

CPR 'lays down harmonised rules for the marketing of construction products in the EU'. What that means in layman’s terms is that all cables used in permanent installations within buildings must come with a fire rating in accordance with the CPR’s classification system.

It means that when you’re deciding which cables to install, as part of boosting your IT infrastructure, you can make informed decisions according to the environment as well as the level of risk. The safer the cabling, the safer the environment.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT SAFETY GROUPS?

The regulation classifies products into one of seven classes known as ‘Euroclasses’. These are: 

   Aca: Does not contribute to the fire

   B1ca: Minimum contribution to the fire

   B2ca: Combustible, low flame spread & heat release contribution to the fire

   Cca: Combustible, moderate flame spread and heat release

   Dca: Combustible, moderate flame spread and high levels of heat generated

   Eca: Combustible, limited fire spread of less than 425mm

   Fca: Combustible, fire spread of more than 425mm

Euroclasses B to D will also be classified according to smoke production (classified as s1 to s3), flaming droplets (d0 to d2), and smoke acidity (a1 to a3). That’s why you might see a classification like Cca s1b d2 a2.

Manufacturers are required to send their cables off to be tested by an authorised test house, known as a Notified Body. Once the tests have been made, the cable will be given a Declaration of Performance, which is the official certificate showing how it was classified.

At Euroclasses Cca and above, the factories manufacturing the cable will be regularly audited and cables retested by an approved third party. It is unlikely that many cables will adhere to Class B1ca and Aca requirements, simply because of the materials used in their manufacture.

DO NETWORK CABLES NEED TO CONFORM WITH THE CPR?

In short, yes. No network cable can be placed on the market for permanent installation inside buildings without first being tested and given a Euroclass rating.

As per British Standard BS6701:2016+A1:2017, all network cabling used in new installations or for the refurbishment or extension of existing data cable networks within the external fire barrier of a building shall, as a minimum, meet the CPR compliance requirements of Euroclass Cca s1b d2 a2.

Due to the construction of data network cables, and the way they are routed, fire can rapidly spread through a building should a cable alight. Given the growing bandwidth demands – with a large number of devices now being networked in the case of most systems – it’s crucial that cabling is manufactured to minimum standards.

Now, you can assess what cabling you might need in line with your networking demands, and minimise the fire hazard. At least, in theory…

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO?

Attempting to understand what exactly it is that you need when expanding your IT infrastructure can be difficult. That’s where Whitestar Solutions comes in.

Initially, we’ll come and carry out a commitment-free site survey. By visiting the site, we can work out your exact requirements and help you understand your safety risk.

From there, we’ll provide you with a number of options – explaining how each one fits in with the CPR – so you can make those informed decisions which will impact you and those people who work in the building.

Whatever option you go with, you can rest assured that our in-house qualified network infrastructure design will create a system to keep your company’s network safe and secure.

To find out how Whitestar can improve your data cabling infrastructure in line with the CPR, get in touch with our team today.


Vehicle charging point

Is It Worth Investing In Electrical Vehicle Charging Point Installation Services For Your Business?

Is It Worth Investing In Electrical Vehicle Charging Point Installation Services For Your Business? EV or hybrid vehicles are regarded by many as the future of motoring. An increasing number of people are choosing to buy new electric cars – over two million electric vehicles are now being driven around the world – and approximately 14,000 charging stations are in the UK alone. Clearly, it is not a fleeting trend and business’s that want to adapt to this and stay one step ahead of their competitors should be considering the installation of EV charging point stations on their premises. ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND BUSINESSES ARE THE FUTURE Awareness of the devastating environmental impact of diesel and petrol vehicles has finally hit the mainstream. Electric vehicles are the future and for savvy companies, the benefits of adopting the facilities of the new technology are plain. MAKING YOUR BUSINESS MORE ATTRACTIVE TO CONSUMERS As well as reflecting your company’s core values as an environmentally friendly business, the improved service offering of EV charging stations will appeal to your consumer. As the electric vehicle industry continues to burgeon, the impetus to provide your customers with added services so that they are more likely to choose you over your competitor is vital in these times. Offering EV charging solutions increases customers “dwell time” and subsequent spending, simultaneously meeting their demands of EV drivers arriving at their destinations. If your business is the type of company that stands to benefit from an increase in footfall, investing in electrical charging point stations is worth it to upgrade amenities and future-proof your premises. MAKING YOUR BUSINESS MORE ATTRACTIVE TO EMPLOYEES AND CLIENTS Attracting and keeping the right employees is also vital for your business. Employers must start to think seriously about supporting those that are choosing EV. Your staff will enjoy instant peace of mind as they will no longer have to worry about finding the nearest charging station or the worst-case scenario of their car running out of power in the middle of a journey. EASE OF MANAGEMENT As the business owner, you will have full control over who can access your electrical vehicle charging points. Moreover, with the latest technology, such as Dynamic Load Balancing and installation by experienced professionals at Whitestar, you need not worry about grid overload, as available electricity is evenly and automatically distributed to all the charge points that are connected. Our advanced load management system enables the safe charging of multiple charging units, without adversely affecting the inbound power capacity. WHY CHOOSE US? It’s clear that integrating electrical charging points for cars into your business premises can provide a range of benefits. However, it is vital to enlist expert electrical contractors to implement the charging points too. If you are looking for quality electric charging point installation services for your business, look no further. Whitestar Solutions will be with you every step of the way; from initial advice to installation and aftercare. Our technicians are all highly experienced electrical engineers and groundworkers, so you can be sure that the workplace EV car charger will be installed appropriately. We have the knowledge and expertise to implement these systems into your business without disruption and with your individual requirements in mind. We can provide bespoke solutions to ensure that our services cater to your needs. Use our services and look forward to paving the way to a low-carbon future. If you would like more information, get in touch here. The key regulation differences between legacy buildings vs new buildings and why you should care The key regulation differences between legacy buildings vs new buildings and why you should care To rewire or not to rewire is the big question when it comes to an older – or what we refer to as ‘legacy’ – building. The short-but-inconclusive answer is: it depends. When wiring a new building – be it school block, hospital ward or office block – the process is relatively straightforward. You need to build to regulations, with cables which are up to the job and don’t pose a fire hazard. As per our blog post on the Construction Products Regulation (CPR), every power, data and telecommunication cable that is intended to be permanently installed in a construction works now must display a CE-marked label and have a Declaration of Performance (DoP) drawn up and made available. SHOULD YOU REWIRE YOUR LEGACY BUILDING? Legacy buildings aren’t subject to the CPR in the same way that new buildings are. If the cabling in the building isn’t posing any health and safety risk – and isn’t hampering operations in any way – it doesn’t have to be ripped out and rewired with CE-marked cabling. But that isn’t to say you shouldn’t do a complete rewire anyway. As we said, it depends. So, what does it depend on? If your building has undergone any recent damage, or there are lights and sockets that have ceased to function as normal, then these are signs that the building needs to be rewired. Damage to the casing of wires can be a serious hazard. So, if you find any exposed wires then the best thing to do is get in touch with a contractor who can assess the full extent of the issue and advise on the next steps. WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS?   If you’re not sure when the last rewiring of the building took place, or the electrics are showing signs of damage, then it could be time for a complete rewiring. From a health and safety point of view, it’s your safest bet. But it’s not your only option. After all, a complete rewire doesn’t tend to come cheaply. Whitestar Solutions can carry out electrical testing and inspection which will reveal the condition of the electrics throughout the building. Deficiencies found during the inspection and testing might then be remedied such that the installation may continue to be used in safety. We offer a complete range of electrical testing and inspection services for commercial and industrial premises. We
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The key regulation differences between legacy buildings vs new buildings and why you should care

The key regulation differences between legacy buildings vs new buildings and why you should care To rewire or not to rewire is the big question when it comes to an older – or what we refer to as ‘legacy’ – building. The short-but-inconclusive answer is: it depends. When wiring a new building – be it school block, hospital ward or office block – the process is relatively straightforward. You need to build to regulations, with cables which are up to the job and don’t pose a fire hazard. As per our blog post on the Construction Products Regulation (CPR), every power, data and telecommunication cable that is intended to be permanently installed in a construction works now must display a CE-marked label and have a Declaration of Performance (DoP) drawn up and made available. SHOULD YOU REWIRE YOUR LEGACY BUILDING? Legacy buildings aren’t subject to the CPR in the same way that new buildings are. If the cabling in the building isn’t posing any health and safety risk – and isn’t hampering operations in any way – it doesn’t have to be ripped out and rewired with CE-marked cabling. But that isn’t to say you shouldn’t do a complete rewire anyway. As we said, it depends. So, what does it depend on? If your building has undergone any recent damage, or there are lights and sockets that have ceased to function as normal, then these are signs that the building needs to be rewired. Damage to the casing of wires can be a serious hazard. So, if you find any exposed wires then the best thing to do is get in touch with a contractor who can assess the full extent of the issue and advise on the next steps. WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS?   If you’re not sure when the last rewiring of the building took place, or the electrics are showing signs of damage, then it could be time for a complete rewiring. From a health and safety point of view, it’s your safest bet. But it’s not your only option. After all, a complete rewire doesn’t tend to come cheaply. Whitestar Solutions can carry out electrical testing and inspection which will reveal the condition of the electrics throughout the building. Deficiencies found during the inspection and testing might then be remedied such that the installation may continue to be used in safety. We offer a complete range of electrical testing and inspection services for commercial and industrial premises. We test 100% of your installation, providing a true reflection on the safety of the installation. From there, you will be provided with a number of options depending on your unique environment. For example, as a school your decision making might be different than if you are a business. But at the end of the day, you want to know that your electrical system is safe and reliable. HOW CAN YOU ENSURE SAFETY GOING FORWARD?   Whether you opt for a complete rewire of the legacy building or not, you should seriously consider implementing a robust planned preventative maintenance (PPM) programme which will ensure that safety issues are rectified before they pose a risk. We work closely with businesses across a wide range of sectors to initiate a PPM programme so that our clients have peace of mind in terms of compliance and budgets to ensure their building, their school, their hospital, their shop remains safe for staff, students, visitors and contractors alike. Get in touch with Whitestar today so that we can begin to evaluate your building project. How can our AV solutions be useful within the education sector? How can our AV solutions be useful within the education sector? A classroom is intended to be a place where pupils can be educated and can intellectually develop. Ensuring the right tools and processes are available to teachers is vital to providing a high-quality experience to students of all ages. As in all industries and sectors around the world, technology has a major impact on traditional working methods and the way organisations operate, and the field of education is no exception. Research has shown a positive and direct correlation between the provision of AV (audiovisual) features in classrooms and boosted academic achievement for students at different levels. HOW CAN AV SOLUTIONS BE USED TO IMPROVE CLASSROOMS? Smart AV solutions can be used to create an engaging and interactive setting for student learning while endowing teachers with the features they require to add depth to their lessons and enable students to achieve more academically. There are many ways that installing audio and video technology can help students and teachers at your educational institution, including: Improved behaviour during tasks and concentration Reduction of vocal fatigue of teachers Increased student participation Improvements in student behaviour Reduction in the number of distracted students THE IMPORTANCE OF AUDIO IMPROVEMENT Smart AV solutions used in classrooms vary according to the specific needs of your educational setting, but school sound systems are widely sought after and used. Classroom audio systems are intended to enrich the classroom learning environment by allowing all pupils to clearly hear the teacher during lessons, students during university lectures, audio while watching films and more. 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It realises when you are on the move to another location and can alert others that may need to be aware of your movements. Think of a smart building as your own PA, that also happens to communicate with everyone else’s PA constantly. Safety protocols such as checking the health of fire extinguishers can be done in real-time by your smart building, alerting you when they require maintenance. Automating manual tasks like this can greatly increase the productivity of staff, saving large amounts of time while reducing energy costs. THE BEST SOLUTION FOR YOUR BUSINESS There is no one-fits-all solution to making your building smart, but planning ahead is key since there is no point in being smart today if this does not continue into tomorrow. As your business grows, so too will the need for more bandwidth and increased flexibility. In the past, this meant adding more cables and access points, but it is not always possible to employ this method economically. Simply adding more cable may help you reach more areas, but this may put extra strain on your available bandwidth and lead to connectivity issues. You might not be able to place the access points where you would like, and you end up making compromises in your design. Installing more cables and components after the event can be a major headache and turn out quite costly, and even then you may be just patching a hole that will need to be fixed again later anyway. WHAT TO CONSIDER IN SMART BUILDING DESIGN? In the past, connecting devices used to mean pairing a laptop to a phone. Nowadays, connectivity extends across a vast range of devices. We are connecting more and more devices each and every day and can only dream of what device may need to be incorporated into our network further down the line. This means planning ahead for power solutions and data transmission. Now, more than ever, we need a reliable infrastructure that can guarantee constant uptime and deliver the performance required to keep productivity as high as possible. Recruiting an expert who knows how to design a structured cabling system as early in the process as possible is key to achieving a high-quality smart building that can cater to your individual needs. Careful planning to overcome the issues and challenges for your particular location is what will determine if your building will be truly smart or not. WHERE TO START Smart building solutions need to support all of today’s devices, as well as all future generations of every device, without the need for additional restructuring. Any latency or bottlenecks that arise from overloading existing networks can be detrimental to the productivity of the company as a whole. If your choice of cabling is not able to meet these ever-increasing demands, it may turn out to be too late or too costly to fix it. It is important to future-proof our building so that we can expand without worrying about whether our network can handle it. This is where expert network installers come into their own and save us numerous headaches further down the line. Experts in smart building solutions, Whitestar Solutions provide a fully tailored networking solution to ensure that you not only meet today’s demands but also get the future-proofing necessary to ensure your building will remain smart. Contractors can provide expert advice on what is required for your individual network to keep up with new technologies and help overcome challenges. Enlisting an expert for advice on how to design a structured cabling system will save you time and money in the long term while ensuring that your employees get to enjoy the many benefits that smart building design brings. Consult an expert as early in the design process as possible in order to achieve the best results. To find out more information, get in touch with a member of our team here. The key regulation differences between legacy buildings vs new buildings and why you should care The key regulation differences between legacy buildings vs new buildings and why you should care To rewire or not to rewire is the big question when it comes to an older – or what we refer to as ‘legacy’ – building. The short-but-inconclusive answer is: it depends. When wiring a new building – be it school block, hospital ward or office block – the process is relatively straightforward. You need to build to regulations, with cables which are up to the job and don’t pose a fire hazard. As per our blog post on the Construction Products Regulation (CPR), every power, data and telecommunication cable that is intended to be permanently installed in a construction works now must display a CE-marked label and have a Declaration of Performance (DoP) drawn up and made available. SHOULD YOU REWIRE YOUR LEGACY BUILDING? Legacy buildings aren’t subject to the CPR in the same way that new buildings are. If the cabling in the building isn’t posing any health and safety risk – and isn’t hampering operations in any way – it doesn’t have to be ripped out and
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How to ensure your construction or building project is compliant with the latest legislation and fire safety standards If you are carrying out electrical installation work, as part of a construction or building project, it’s essential that you comply with the rules set out in the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. It doesn’t bear thinking about if a user of the building you’re responsible for should come to any harm due to a fault in the electrics – that’s why safety needs to be paramount.  The Regulations were set up under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, requiring precautions to be taken by ‘duty holders’ against the risk of death or personal injury from electricity in work activities. Under the rules, duty holders must: have the electrical systems constructed in a way that prevents danger; maintain the electrical systems as necessary to prevent danger (including a five-year fixed installation inspection​); and ensure work carried out on electrical systems is done in a way that prevents danger. BS7671 WIRING REGULATIONS In the guidance document for the Electricity at Work Regulations, the main source of reference is BS 7671 Wiring Regulations. This is the UK’s key electrical safety standard, setting out requirements that detail how to perform electrical installations in a safe manner.  Although not a statutory document, BS 7671 sets the standard for how electrical installations should be done in the UK (and many other countries) and enables compliance with the law. Or, to put it another way, following the guidance set out in BS 7671 when undertaking a building project is likely to ensure that electrical installation work meets the requirements of the Electricity at Work Regulations. And ensure that building users are not put in undue danger. WHITESTAR – YOUR TRUSTWORTHY ELECTRICAL INSTALLATION PARTNER While it’s important that you have an understanding of the regulations ahead of construction, the best way of ensuring compliance throughout the project is to partner with an experienced electrical installation partner.  That’s where Whitestar Solutions come in. We’ve been in the business for as long as the regulations have been in place and service clients across a wide range of sectors including education, sport, commercial, transport and more. All of our electrical engineers are qualified and up to date with the current BS 7671 Electrical Wiring Regulations (18th Edition). So, no matter the extent of your electrical installation requirements, we can design and deliver comprehensive, top-quality solutions. We think compliance with regulations starts with sound workmanship. We will never cut corners and we will always source and use the best materials, meaning that we will not compromise on quality. KEEPING YOU COMPLIANT Once your building project is up and running, it’s important that you periodically have the electrics inspected and tested in order to remain compliant and, more importantly, to ensure that no new health and safety risks have arisen.  We offer a complete range of electrical testing and inspection services for commercial and industrial premises. We test 100% of your installation, providing a true reflection of its safety.  The key to remaining compliant and minimising costs is to have a planned preventative maintenance (PPM) programme in place. We can help you here, too – we can assist in implementing PPM programmes that offer peace of mind by ensuring the building is safe for anyone who spends time in it – be it staff, students, visitors or contractors.  But, let’s take it one step at a time. The first goal is to get your building project up and running with a safe and sound electrical installation. To discuss your electrical installation requirements, get in touch with Whitestar today.  Tackling Enterprise Wireless Demands with Wi-Fi & 5G Tackling Enterprise Wireless Demands with Wi-Fi & 5G Register Now for the upcoming Leviton webinar.  With the rise of IoT, bring-your-own-device policies, and data demands that go beyond gigabit speeds, CIOs and IT managers are now evaluating multiple wireless approaches as part of their enterprise networks In fact, recent studies reveal the majority of executives see both Wi-Fi 6 and 5G technologies as critical for their companies in the years to come. Follow the Leviton playbook as we tackle the topic of wireless coverage head-on. We’ll address:   Enterprise wireless outlook and trends The future of Wi-Fi, including Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and beyond 5G adoption: current and emerging phases and indoor applications Infrastructure offensive strategy: cabling system design recommendations   Tuesday, November 17, 2020 10:00 a.m. PT / 1:00 p.m. ET Whitestar’s values: Our promise to you Our core values and promises are what makes us stand out from the crowd. Read on to find out how Whitestar can help your business grow. How to make your infrastructure project a success Ensuring that your infrastructure is reliable and secure is essential to your business’ productivity. Read more to see how Whitestar can help. Why customer service is key in today’s day and age Why customer service is key in today’s day and age Any business worth its sale knows the importance of providing a quality customer experience. And the best way to achieve that? Providing great customer service. Actually, not just great customer service. Exceptional customer service. Happy customers mean loyal customers. The better their experience working with a company, the more likely they are to come back. Anything less than amazing customer service and businesses risk losing customers forever. MAKING THE BEST IMPRESSION It’s more than just meeting the needs and expectations of customers – businesses need to exceed them. First impressions matter. But so too do second, third, fourth and fifth impressions. In fact, every customer service interaction is key to future success (and sales). The stats prove it: according to research, 96% of consumers say that customer service is an important factor when choosing a brand. And as for those all-important sales: even just a 5% rise in customer retention can boost company revenue by 25% to 95%. Arguably, customer service matters even more in difficult times. During the Covid-19 pandemic, for example, businesses able