Provide more technical information on cable products, advises BASEC

The British Approvals Service for Cables (BASEC) is encouraging cable manufacturers and traders to make more technical information readily available to users of their cable products.

BASEC receives many enquiries and sometimes user complaints relating to cable products, where timely technical information from the cable manufacturer or trader could have prevented a problem occurring. The enquiries come from both installers and wholesalers, so this lack of detailed product information has been seen across the supply chain.

Dr Jeremy Hodge, chief executive of BASEC explains: “In some cases these issues relate to the cable parameters not regulated through cable standards or approvals but they are nevertheless important cable specifications needed for safe installation without damaging the cable, and for usability. For example, an important parameter is the manufacturer’s recommended minimum bending radius, especially for armoured and fire performance cables. This is often presented to users as a multiple of the outer diameter of the cable, such as ‘12D’, but manufacturers are at liberty to pick any value. In a few cases the lack of such information and its application has resulted in costly problems for the installer or end user.”

Other types of cable product information commonly being sought include the cable manufacturer’s recommendations for clips/cleats and for glands and terminations.

“Many cable manufacturers and suppliers do offer websites, customer helplines or data sheets containing such information,” continued Jeremy. “But unfortunately it is not consistent from one supplier to another and disparities in the information provided have been observed. Some cable manufacturers offer a range of accessories tailored to their own cables.”

Although this is not currently a pre-requisite of BASEC product approvals, cable suppliers should be reminded that it is a requirement of ISO: 9001:2008 clause 7.2, to provide customers with suitable information about their products. BASEC would like to encourage cable manufacturers and traders to provide consistent technical product information to their customers either in the form of data sheets, information on websites, information provided via wholesalers or distributors, or by other means.