Sparks Electrical News

Following more than two years of hard work, an association for Earthing and Lightning Protection (ELPA) has been established by a group of industry heavyweights who saw the need for a body that would become an industry benchmark and source of information for businesses and individuals seeking to protect their buildings or homes.

Members of Industry

The non-profit organisation also aims to establish a uniform interpretation of the codes of practice, which will help to protect the industry’s image and increase the standard and reliability of lightning protection service providers.

Initially, ELPA started out as a committee that met once a month to explore how best to establish such an organisation and ensure the achievements of its goals.
These early meetings led to the conclusion that a non-profit organisation of voluntary membership was the way to go.

After approximately a year, the founding committee decided to hold its first ‘annual general meeting’ which attracted a significant portion of the industry and where almost all the major companies were represented by their owners. Here, a unanimous vote was taken to go ahead and create an association under the principles presented.

Numerous meetings and discussions have since taken place, resulting in what will be an important addition to the standards of safety in South Africa in terms of the training and certification of qualified designers, installers and inspectors. The University of the Witwatersrand, SAIEE, ECA and LIGHTS have already shown support for ELPA and are currently finalising MOUs.

Since ELPA represents a trade directly involved in the provision of the first, second and third lines of defence against one of nature’s most mysterious phenomena, a pass mark for its examination process will be 80% to ensure the competence of its members. It is upon this rigorous standard that ELPA plans to provide South Africa with a genuinely certified, lightning protection industry.

The provision of a central database of suitably qualified and skilled lightning protection service providers will help people and organisations source specialists skilled in the art, science, and practises of conformant lightning protection designs, components, installations, inspection, testing and certification. The modular nature of the skills training programme will equip ELPA certified specialists in many of the higher aspects of contracting such as quality control programmes, risk identification, analysis and management, amongst others.

Committee members include: chairman, Alexis Barwise (DEHNAfrica), Mike Visser and Jan Jordaan (Power Quality Company), Pieter Human (Tesla Power and Lightning Protection), Nelson Pillay (Vodacom), Doug Kay (Lectro-Tech), Andrew Economou and Kevin Rahn (Pontins),Gary Thoresson (Thor Earthing), Trevor Manas (LPConcepts), Paul van As (Surgetek), Seath Scowby (Lightning Protection Services), Bertie van Zyl (Advanced Lightning Protection), Ron Fourie (PROlightning), Jacques Hannekom (EHL) and Nico van der Berg (Independent Inspectors).

ELPA will launch officially at its second Annual General Meeting to be held at the University of the Witwatersrand on June 19, where Professor Ian Jandrell, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, will give the keynote address. It is here too that the constitution of the organisation will be voted on and approved by a sufficiently broad section of involved parties, enabling ELPA to legitimately claim its appointment as an industry representative.

Until then, interested parties are able to register online via the ELPA website where registered parties can also access the founding statements and constitution in order to petition the chairman for additional agenda items to be addressed. The board is committed to an open, fair and just association dedicated to the continual improvement of its members in an environment of equality where every member’s voice and vote counts. To become a member of ELPA, visit www.elpasa.org.za.

Contact Sparks Electrical News

Title: Editor
Name: Karen Grant
Email: sparks@crown.co.za
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108

Title: Advertising Manager
Name: Carin Hannay
Email: carinh@crown.co.za
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108

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