With technology on the rise, high voltage cables are becoming easier and easier to work with. There was once a time where underground cable joints on old paper insulated cables was an incredibly involved task. Some joints you had to pour melted solder into a lug connector to make an electrical connection. These days manufacturers have developed a much easier approach to jointing and terminating high voltage cabling. Plastic XLPE cables are at the forefront of the industry, providing a more adaptable approach to the varying types of installations in the industry. With a wide variety of cable accessories which now range from heat shrink, cold shrink or slide on components it has opened the door for unqualified personnel trying their luck with terminating and jointing high voltage cables.
Basic electricians on construction jobs around Australia were attempting to join and terminate these cables with minimal training or experience. This resulted in a multitude of failures once energized. Contractors were trying to claim their manufacturer warranties under the assumption that the cable accessories were the cause for the failures. Once manufacturers began to dissect the installations it became evident that poor workmanship of the cable preparation for termination was the cause of the failures. This put a lot of stress on the industry as it diminished the integrity of quality jointers and their high standards of workmanship.
Manufacturers began to provide training on cable preparation techniques suitable for specific types of cable accessories. No longer was it a requirement to have a jointers license to work on high voltage cables. This had a severe negative effect on the industry as the quality of installations became worse and worse over time and more and more failures were occurring. This forced some regulation into the industry requiring not only jointers to be fully qualified by obtaining a jointers license but also have manufacturer specific training on the cable accessories to be used on an installation. This then ensured that contractors utilising suitably qualified and trained personal would not void their warranty with the manufacturer.
For already fully qualified jointers this was a frustrating scenario as it forced them to obtain manufacturer specific training for products even when their licenses already proved their competency. Manufacturer training generally was not a cheap process however it did clean up the shotty workmanship in the industry rather quickly. Contractors now generally do not consider training general electricians for specific tasks but rather hire suitably qualified and competent personal to ensure the integrity of their installation is maintained.
Have you experienced poor workmanship on your work site? We would love to hear your stories in the comments section.