Garden Lights

One of the frustrating thing that an estate can experience is the constant tripping of garden lights especially along walkways which are heavily used. Architects often design with the ambience in mind when placing these garden lights. However, being exposed to rain and shine wears out these lights faster than those in the shade.

When a garden light trips, one could check if it were due to the light bulb fusing. If it were, a quick replacement would solve the problem. Often when an estate is already 4-5 years old, these trips are due to water / condensation getting into the light itself. The seals would have hardened and broken, unable to do its job of keeping the moisture out of the inside of the light. Electrical contacts when in touch with moisture would result in a trip. Another culprit would be the underground cable buried in the soil. If moisture were to get in, it would result in a trip too.

An inexpensive way to solve the tripping may be to replace the seal of the garden light. However, if that does not work, replacement of the whole garden light may be necessary. Issue is when 1 garden light is replaced, often it is different in design compared to the earlier installed garden lights. Since the other garden lights may also be near the end of their lives too, it may make sense to replace all at one go. The underground cables may need to be replaced too. A judgement call by Council is needed on the replacement of the garden lights and cables then.

Estate's Electricals

Under the law, all estates have to engage a Licenced Electrical Worker (LEW) to handle all the electrical switchgears in the estate.

Typically in an estate, there is a substation with 415V 3 phase electricity supply coming into the estate. This supply is connected to a switchgear in the substation. Electricity going out of this switchgear is then distributed out across the estate to a few major points (switchboards) and also to the individual units. Your LEW is suppose to help your estate manage this electrical installation. The 415V switchgear is dangerous and only trained personnel like the LEW are allowed to operate it. In fact, no one is suppose to be allowed into the substation except the LEW. As part of the LEW’s duties, a half-yearly inspection is needed from him/her by the Energy Markets Authority (EMA). For this reason, the estate has to pay the LEW an annual retainer fee. In addition, the estate has to apply for a licence to operate this electrical installation and to renew the licence annually. Failure to do so would incur penalties.

For the minor installations like lights, 3 pin sockets etc, the electrical voltage is 230V, single phase and the current normally doesn’t exceed 13A per outlet. For such installations, the estate can engage an electrician to change or repair the installation. The LEW is not needed.