Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Roti, Kapada, Makan aur Elctricity!







What is a soul? It's like electricity - we don't really know what it is, but it's a force that can light a room…..Ray Charles

Ray Charles Robinson was an American singer-songwriter, musician and; he was a pioneer in the genre of soul music & as the quote suggests he was a good thinker too! And though in real estate many developers will be sharing his opinion about this so important aspect that is electricity! No fault of them either as even many qualified civil engineers have very less exposure to this science, reason may be two fold, one it’s not part of their academics & second is in the compartmentalized form of today’s working, most civil engineers don’t consider its part of their job at site.
Since long back our nation has accepted three main necessities of the life & they are “Roti, Kapada aur Makan” i.e. Food, Clothing & Home; as these three represents three basic parameters of our civilized life without which its incomplete! In recent time one more parameter has to be required to add & that is Electricity! Just imagine one has all three i.e. roti, kapada & makan but not electricity, & we will imagine how miserable our life will become without this fourth parameter! Unfortunately the Real Estate as well the Govt who is supposed to be the infrastructure provider has been always neglected the importance of this parameter or else we would have been discussing this topic. Look around & you will find especially in towns & rural, maximum jokes on MSEB i.e. our power supply provider organization by State Govt. Right from the full form as “Monday to Sunday Electricity Band” & many such jokes have been formulated on the service regarding the electric supply. Though leave apart the humor, the popularity of such jokes in itself is evident how much a common man’s life is depending on the electricity.

Especially in city life we are too much dependent rather slave to power i.e. electric supply as every our daily needs like charging of our cell phone needs electricity. The real estate is growing as the ever growing population needs homes & these homes needs electricity is a fact. We are short of power supply & so every unit available has to be used with precision & care. When its electricity there are two aspects which needs to be looked after & they are Safety & Saving! As a common man knows little about electricity obliviously while using it there is every chance of accidents & most of them are fatal is what history of such accidents says. If you study the history of accidents caused by fire then for majority of the fires in commercial or residential complexes the main cause of the start of the fire was poor workmanship of electrical wiring which eventually caused short circuit & do mind electricity is a ruthless thing! There is no mercy when it’s wrong or faulty wiring & if we try to save on basic materials like wires & switches then eventually we may lose in multiples. Yet many a developer just out of ignorance compromise with the quality of electrical goods used at site is a fact.

Rather if you observe the trend in real estate except some few builders, most strait way outsource the entire electrical work, eventually loosing the quality control on this front. By outsourcing they feel that they have got reed of the responsibility regarding wiring work but it’s not a good way to do. Even if you outsource, you should be very much specific about the specifications & design of the electric work & if you are not technically qualified for the same then best way is to appoint an electrical consultant who has experience in your types of projects. Again unfortunate thing about real estate is it rarely acknowledges the knowledge leave apart respecting the same! Keeping in tune with this tradition rarely any builder appoints electric consultant & mostly goes with the electric contractors advise who himself wasn’t technically qualified many a times! Though the trend is changing & many large size projects are having special electrical consultant who is qualified & doing the entire wiring accordingly yet the rate is slow.

As the consultant not only assures safety in designing by considering proper sizes of cables & wires but saves electric losses also. Whereas the contractor if not technically competent then can choose faulty cable size which might be a major cause of accidents in coming future. Also the wiring diagram as well cable path & workmanship specifications are equally important as a separate electrical layout of all such wiring needs to be made. This will ensure a technically perfect electrical job making the building safe from any mishap. Then there is saving in electricity consumption also, as a study is necessary that how much light is essential for a particular area & it depends up on various parameters like purpose or use of the space. Commercial buildings will have separate lighting requirements for the same area in compare with residential buildings. A consultant does consider all such aspects of electrical designing of a building. Energy is a costly thing in our country & it has to be used it with precision & for that proper designing of electrical wiring is a must.

Another important aspect when its electricity is lisoning with MSEDCL i.e. MSEB officials as the supply of power is being made by this organization. Today the board (nickname for MSEB) is under tremendous pressure with the task of fulfilling huge demand for the electric load from all segments of the society. The resources are limited & infrastructural works costs are very high. This affects the supply vs. demand relation especially in metros like Pune & you will find clashes amongst officials & developers over costing of electric supply per meter! Here role of electrical contractor is vital as many consultants don’t take responsibility of getting the load sanctioned from MSEB. Right now there are no fixed norms  for load sanctioning for any project but it varies from area wise load availability & as per infrastructure available in that area. This is not a healthy situation for industry as there can’t be transparency about costing involved for electric supply & finally the end sufferer is the flat holder as he has to pay the burden. The electrical contractors’ should take the lead & become a bridge between the board & the developers for working out amicable solution for the norms of load sanctioning. As upcoming projects coming up in a particular area can join hands & share the burden of infrastructure of MSEB in that area & here is where electrical contractor’s/ consultant’s associations can play a vital role. Also lots of awareness is required about the load calculations & the way it’s worked out as many developers go blindly as per the contractor says. The consultants can definitely help here as well they can supervise the quality of electrical works also.

Another vital issue is civil engineers or site supervisors’ attitude towards the electrical works; it’s like they are not concerned with electrical & agreed the academics don’t allow them much knowledge of electrical but then one needs to be curious & ask questions as then only one can get knowledge about the same! Here too lot of training is essential & electrical contractors as well consultants associations can conduct one such. As after all the site in charge is the one who is final authority on certifying the work at site.

One more lacuna is in awareness about energy saving devises & technology as that’s need of the times. But here again both sides i.e. contractors as well developers are poorly informed & we still go by conventional methods & equipments when it’s come electricity. Things like LED lighting which are energy saving, requires very perfect wiring network design or else maintenance costs becomes very high. Similarly things like battery operated vehicles are future so we will have to consider their charging load as well charging facility also while designing our electricity plans. Also all these plans of internal & external wiring should be made in record form after completion of the building & given to the residents so as in case of maintenance they won’t have problem. The end user also should get aware about this important aspect & ask questions to the developer about the specifications of the same, as this is something which is directly related to safety of the building.

Just giving ample electric points doesn’t mean we have done a good job, as the quote says that will light up only the rooms, what we need to do is lighten the faces of people living in those home as well their future, then only we can say yes we have understood the term Electricity!

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

MSEDCL (Power) Committee, Credai, Pune

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