The commercial electrician industry is currently undergoing significant changes, largely driven by advances in technology
With the increasing use and demand of renewable energy sources, smart building systems and homes, and the integration of the internet into everyday items, commercial electricians need to be on their game. Additionally, the growing importance of sustainability and energy efficiency, for the good of the environment and your back pocket, means most businesses are pursuing ways to substantially reduce their environmental impact and energy costs.
These changes coupled with the unpredictability of the Covid-19 pandemic has meant that the industry is also facing a severe shortage of skilled workers. Below we will discuss the ongoing changes and upgrades to the commercial electrical industry of which WACOMM is leading the charge right here in Perth.
With the ever-increasing advancements in technology and the IoT (Internet of Things), smart homes and buildings are becoming the industry standard when it comes to new builds and significant renovations. This is expected to not only continue but increase in demand as 5G becomes more widely accessible. Additionally, as the technology further develops, it is expected that smart technologies will become cheaper making it more accessible to small businesses and homes.
Demand in smart CCTV and alarm systems are the most requested renovation and build that has been seen within the commercial and industrial space in recent years. Investing in security is especially important as it can reduce your costs later by preventing any illegal activities and theft on your premises.
In addition, the installation of artificial intelligence advances has also been hugely popular. Technology which can be automated and activated by voice controls is seeing a growth in demand.
All of this heavy adoption of smart building technology and automation has led to a severely inflated demand and wait for commercial and industrial electricians with this advanced specific type of training. This is also exasperated with the demand for residential electric redesigns.
With the building industry seeing the biggest demand increase it’s ever experience, WACOMM is doing everything it can to ensure that wait times for our expert electricians are not increasing and our projects are finished on time without delays.
Just like the building industry, the electrical industry is putting a lot of research and manufacturing into the prefabricated and modular methods of equipment. Prefabrication means that electrical components such as panel builds and lighting packages are pre made at the warehouse and taken to the construction site once it’s ready to be installed. By prefabricating electrical components, you are able to reduce the time needed at the installation site, staying out of the way for other trades, and significantly reduce costs and make it easier to get an accurate quote before the build begins.
Electric Charging Infrastructure
An Electrical charging infrastructure refers to the network of charging stations which supplies electricity to electric vehicles. In addition to private charging stations situated in residences, offices, and other private locations, the infrastructure also includes public charging stations situated in car parks and other public locations.
There are three categories of EV charging infrastructure which are based on charging speed and power level. Level 1 chargers can take up to 12–24 hours to completely charge an electric vehicle using a typical 120–volt household outlet. An electric vehicle may be fully charged in 4-6 hours using a level 2 charger that plugs into a 240-volt outlet. The quickest charging speeds are offered by level 3 chargers, commonly referred to as DC fast chargers, which can charge an electric vehicle to 80% in 30 minutes.
Hybrid and Electric Cars are not only more readily available but are also becoming more affordable to the average motorist in Perth. This means that businesses are needing to introduce charging stations for their customers and employees alike. This is especially important in the regional tourists hotspots of Western Australia.
Regulations and Codes
As technology is advanced there are increasing needs for updates to the Australian Electrical Standards. This leads to increased training on new technologies, regulations, and codes of practice within Australia. Keeping up to date on these changes is imperative for all electricians and something the staff at WACOMM takes very seriously.
Compliance with the Western Australian Electrician Regulations is managed by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulations and Safety. One of the most recent changes to the regulations included an update to the Health and Safety which came into effect on 31 March 2022. These changes were instructed by the Work Safe Commission of Western Australia.
An emphasis on safety training and the use of personal protective equipment to prevent electrical accidents and injuries has been the main focus of regulation and code changes in Australia for the past few years. This has led to changes in how electricians are trained and how they work on job sites.
The growing demand to address climate change has led to an even bigger demand for renewable energy sources. Renewable energy is generated from natural resources which are naturally replenished and never run out. Popular renewable energy sources include solar power, wind power, and hydro power.
8% of Australia’s energy needs in 2020–2021 were met by renewable energy sources. The percentage is now more than twice what it was ten years ago. According to a Choice.com study, 65% of customers are aware of a company’s carbon footprint and will take it into account when making a purchase. In order to address this and satisfy customers, businesses are now using carbon footprint reduction strategies like nett zero or turning into carbon neutral. Carbon neutrality is achieved by either not releasing any carbon into the atmosphere or compensating for any emissions that are made in other ways. To reach their reduction goals and demonstrate to their clientele, businesses are taking active steps to reduce their carbon footprint by turning to renewable energy. This makes renewable energy very important when designing your business’ electricity needs and plans.
Increased Desire for Energy Efficiency
In addition to the shift towards renewable energy, there has also been a greater emphasis on energy efficiency in commercial and industrial electrical settings. This includes the use of energy-efficient lighting, HVAC systems, and other equipment, as well as the implementation of energy management systems to monitor and optimize energy use. Electricians are playing a key role in implementing these solutions.
Energy efficiency is highly important for building owners. Making investments in their buildings’ energy efficiency can result in a number of advantages, including:
- Reductions in operating and maintenance costs
- Sourcing new tenants quickly and easily
- Fewer tenants seeking better locations
- Increased market value which results in higher rentals and faster sales
- Higher occupant productivity
- Increased brand reputation
In Australia, the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) is a voluntary rating system which measures a commercial building’s energy efficiency. An Australian Government initiative, NABERS ratings measure and compare the environmental performance of Australian buildings and tenancies. A NABERS rating will help potential tenants accurately compare buildings environmental performances in comparison to others and can also identify areas for improvements and electrical savings. NABERS measures greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency, water efficiency, waste efficiency and indoor environment quality in commercial buildings.
In conjunction with the NABERS ratings, the Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) Program demands sellers or lessors of commercial office spaces of 1000 square metres or more to provide an up-to-date Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC). This disclosure includes an up-to-date NABERS energy efficiency rating.
Carrying out an energy-efficiency evaluations for your business can uncover how and where energy is consumed, where to enhance equipment and utilisation, and where to cut expenses.
Staying Ahead of the Changes
Overall, the commercial electrician industry is rapidly evolving, and electricians need to keep up with these changes to remain competitive and in demand. For the team at WACOMM, all of the advancements mentioned in this article enable them to be more collaborative, efficient and safer. Additionally, the ability to streamline projects to be as efficient as possible for customers is a huge bonus.
You can trust WACOMM to be on top of all the industry changes, big or small, to make sure your commercial or industrial electrician job is of the highest quality and meets industry standards.