The sparky on safety and savings
Yes, Bryce Leckie is one of those people whose name seems destined to define a career. (Of course, he should live in Australia where the colloquial term for sparkies is leckies). He recommends getting your electrician involved as early as possible in a renovation or building project and to ensure lighting costs are incorporated into the overall budget. As a Master Electrician, Bryce takes his company’s reputation seriously: “What you can’t see is as important as what you can.”
10 TIPS FROM BRYCE LECKIE OF LECK ELECTRICAL
1 Even for a small maintenance job such as fixing a light switch an electrician should issue an electrical safety certificate. For installation works, get a certificate of compliance.
2 Replace incandescent light bulbs with LED. What you spend now you’re likely to get back in power savings over four or five years. And because LED bulbs last up to 50,000 hours, you may never have to change that bulb again.
3 Be wary of buying light fittings second-hand or directly from overseas. If you do, the importer/supplier must provide a Supplier Declaration of Conformity for New Zealand. For a secondhand fitting, a good electrician will do the investigation for you, researching where the fitting came from, looking for appropriate markings and performing visual checks and electrical testing.
4 The trend for three pendant lights or a horizontal strip pendant over the kitchen benchtop brings the eyeline down, so they make a space feel a lot smaller – consider if it will work in your space.
5 In bathrooms, there are, understandably, complex regulations that need to be negotiated. Light fittings need to have an IP rating (ingress protection) in most areas of the bathroom as the room is divided into zones around the bath and shower according to New Zealand standards. Your electrician will know whether you can install that gorgeous chandelier you had envisaged in the space.
6 LED strip lighting can be set under the lip of a bath to create a romantic ambience, or recessed behind the mirror so it washes back on the wall for softer light. Mini LED downlights can be put around the perimeter of the shower or installed underneath a vanity on a sensor for those late-night trips to the loo.
7 While good quality functional light is essential in the kitchen, most homes have open-plan living these days so make sure you team this with enough ambient light for the evenings and entertaining.
8 Simple automation – lighting sensors in the bathroom, walk-in wardrobe and scullery – is inexpensive and worthwhile. Smart systems used to control lighting and power are becoming a lot less complicated than they were when first introduced.
9 If something goes wrong, try to resolve the problem directly with your electrician. For extra reassurance, if the electrician is a member of Master Electricians, the body offers a $20,000 workmanship guarantee. The claim period is up to 12 months following installation or Certificate of Compliance issue date.
10 A good electrician will put some thought into disguising the things you don’t want to see. Power outlets can be put inside cupboards, the cord of your heated towel rail hidden in the wall. It takes coordination between builder and electrician to get this work done at the right time. >