Earthing Services: saving time, money, and lives in the electrical safety sector
Earthing Services makes electrical earthing problems disappear. Offering a complete package of solutions including all surveying, testing, specifying, designing, supplying, testing and commissioning services, Earthing Services and its brand associate FM Sudafix are the right fit for so many customers. With a specific focus on developing the safest electrical earthing systems, Earthing Services’ clients range from infrastructure, facility or asset owners, constructors or consultants working on behalf of a client to fellow sector companies requiring a level of expertise that exceeds their in-house provision. With a legacy of excellence spanning decades of industry activity and vast tracts of the world, the brand partnership of FM Sudafix and Earthing Services has a reputation which is substantiated in our ongoing performance history. Acquiring JMI became essential for then FM Sudafix Group as its team had demonstrated leading expertise and technical ability, which when combined with outstanding levels of customer service and support comparable with FM Sudafix’s own, the synergy was evident. As consultants the Earthing Services team is able to support any project, anywhere in the world, long before the commencement of the build programme. Whether it be architects, consultants, or a member of the constructor’s project management, Earthing Services will be able to support and advise. Whether you require technical consultancy, assistance or the products and components ready for installation, the brand partnership of Earthing Services and FM Sudafix is able to support your needs. Focusing on professionalism, promptness, excellent return on investment and pragmatism the brand partnership’s capacity to add significant value to a project team is the very reason for its in excess of 97.6% customer retention and 98.9% return of customers who explored alternatives only to discover that Earthing Services and FM Sudafix was the right combination to work with after all.
The origins of FM Sudafix were not in design, however. The company was formed by Steve Hutchinson in the 1990s to supply electrical earthing / grounding and lightning protection materials. Whilst still representing excellence in the electrical safety sector FM Sudafix has changed considerably since those early days, and it is the now combined capacity with Earthing Services to supply and design that has helped the organisation sustain an enviable market position. Having supported electrical earthing projects all over the world for decades John Maher, whose previous career benchmarks included being the Managing Director of A. W. Elliott and JMI Earthing, which was then merged into FM Sudafix Group. Managing Partner, Calum Heath explains how the company now functions, “The earlier our technical team gets involved with a project the more money we will save them as they do not miss opportunities to optimise and value engineer an electrical safety system. Our team can undertake a breadth of services for our clients starting at soil resistivity survey stage, which helps them determine the way that the ground into which the electrical current is being discharged will behave under fault conditions; this service informs how the system will be designed. The next stage of design and specification sees the electrical earthing system theoretically assessed for performance to ensure that it complies with the project specification, codes of practice, standards, the needs of the incoming electrical supply and most importantly those of the customer. At this point the electrical earthing system is ready to install and our system materials and products supply arm, which operates independently from the design side to ensure impartiality, can be called into action to get the necessary materials to site to install. Following the installation our engineers can then undertake the final test and commissioning to ensure that a site is ready for connection to the supply and can commence usage safely.”
The achievements of the partnership are almost too numerous to list but many of its customers are delighted with the benefits that working with Earthing Services and FM Sudafix offers. A good example of what Earthing Services technical engineers can achieve for its customers is the case study of how the team developed new electrical earthing methods for one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world for their broadband infrastructure. The new Earthing Services method offered demonstrable improvements on the previous method including: reducing the need for expensive copper products; protecting the small amount of copper installed from thieves or vandals; reducing the labour requirement by over half the time; creating a more stable and safer electrical earthing system; achieving the required resistivity even in challenging grounds; extending the service life of the system by decades; and despite all these improvements it also managed to dramatically reduce the cost of the electrical earthing and ownership of that system forever. Earthing Services Senior Technical Partner, John Maher, was particularly proud of the work of the team, “We like to tick as many boxes as possible when it comes to supporting our customers. We are enthusiastic at developing new strategies to manage fault electrical current in the most efficient way, and a consideration of that always takes into account the quantity of materials required and the level of installation need. The shallow excavation strategies that we have developed really do combine the best electrical earthing design with the most effective conductive concrete we have ever encountered, being Conducrete; replacing either the methodology or the product would not achieve the same results and that is how only that design solution achieves what it does. It is this value system combined with our expertise that is a key strength of the Earthing Services and FM Sudafix partnership over some of the new upstart companies, and over some of the longer established organisations. The new start ups claim knowledge that they often do not possess and either have to sub-contract the work, or they design without the level of experience that a customer may require, frequently citing business buzz-words to bamboozle their clients. The longer established design companies are a far safer bet, and they do have some great people working at them, but sometimes the “purity” of their designs do not include the same value engineering considerations that our team does.”
Whether it is for soil resistivity testing, rail stray current management testing, slope testing, fall of potential testing, dead earth testing, or very low resistance testing the engineers who attend site are experienced, talented and incredibly industrious. It has often been remarked that Earthing Services site teams will outwork the vast majority of trades around them and it is this dedication, expediency and customer focus that ensures its customers return time and again. The level of confidence that Earthing Services engineers inspires is considerable and it is notable that project managers, lead engineers, and clients will frequently call one of our engineers directly for advice or support after meeting them on site and being impressed with their conduct, knowledge and practical approach to completing a job in the right way. Earthing Services Partner, Sean Elliott-Maher, commented on the recurrence of clients speaking directly to testing engineers, “There can be snobbishness in the construction industry, and it is not only unnecessary it is usually incredibly narrow minded. It’s an old fashioned view that stagnated a long time ago, but sadly you still see that if people are wearing high-vis workwear that they are not the people in the know. Maybe that is true at some firms but at Earthing Services we are pleased to dispel the myth, and Kurt and Jake are fantastic ambassadors for the company. They know their stuff, more than many project engineers, and they get the job done effectively. FM Sudafix is proud of its testing engineers, their work is amongst the most valuable in the company and their work rate is enormously impressive.”
The varieties of testing that Earthing Services engineers undertake has become a rite of passage at the company. Earthing Services Managing Partner, Calum Heath, explains, “Our company makes money from solving electrical safety problems, and that is more often than not an electrical earthing system. We are focused on that being the way that the company makes money, and we will not tolerate any distraction from that, and for someone to last at Earthing Services they have to embrace that. As such we insist that everyone who works in the company be exposed to some form of electrical system testing at some point. They have to know what it takes to get the job done, what impacts performance, and what matters to our customers. Too often in this industry do you come across people who do not sufficiently understand what their job is, what their company’s role is, or where one activity stops and another starts. I still recall with horror phrases such as “well I have sent the email so that’s my job done” and whatever a person’s role is that is never the sole responsibility of their job, and it is with great pride and relief that I can say that our team doesn’t have a single person with that mindset. Our company has a responsibility to save lives, protect assets, and ensure that our customers enjoy uninterrupted usage of their facility in connection to electrical earthing, and our staff buy-in to that, or they do not remain in the company.
The Earthing Services team harnesses the best knowledge and experience gained through decades of designing electrical safety systems, and combines it by maintaining state of the art technology so that it is always benefitting from the latest developments and develops new talent in the sector to ensure that this expertise is not lost to the industry as more senior members of the team conclude their working life. Calum Heath was a youthful appointment when he was made Managing Director of FM Sudafix Group (prior to its amended incorporation to FM Sudafix LLP and the launch of Earthing Services when his role was respecified as Managing Partner), and as such he has a unique insight into the staffing strategies at the company, “I think there may be a legacy mindset with some individuals but most forward thinking organisations long ago accepted that talent does not simply reside in the oldest members of staff. We cherish the benefits of experience and take great pains to ensure that the traditional handing down of knowledge continues within the company, yet we also know that our younger staff are often more conversant with current and emerging technologies and frequently have a new perspective that is just as important to consider as the team members who can cite hundreds of successful projects where a particular methodology or approach was adopted. It’s exactly why we harness the experience of people who work on site and take feedback from installation engineers, because we need to create safe electrical systems that are also practical at every stage, and that is where the input of those who are devalued in other organisations are valued at Earthing Services. By valuing all of our team, and creating an environment where opinions are respected we have turned a team with considerable potential into one which warrants the praise it so regularly receives.”