BCS Electrics is fully familiar with what has come to be known over the years as the ‘factory fortnight,’ whereby all manufacturing stops and workers pack up for two weeks, off to enjoy their summer holidays. But this isn’t the case with our commercial electrical contractors, because the shutdown provides the optimum time for us to up our electrical maintenance schedules, with minimum disruption to our clients across Leeds’ premises. In fact, it’s a busy time of the year for us.
Many manufacturers argue that closing down in the last week of July for a fortnight is an important part of their operations. While the staff get to spend the time with their families and it suits school holidays, the advantage for the businesses is ensuring their skilled workforce is available throughout the rest of the year. Plus the two-week closure allows commercial electrical contractors uninterrupted time to test, maintain, repair and upgrade heating, lighting, data cabling and machinery, as well as energy management systems; and even check the usual fire-alarm catalysts: toasters and kettles.
Many Leeds’ businesses therefore rely on our teams of commercial electrical contractors during factory fortnight: it guarantees that electrical equipment will be reliable when the workers return from their break.
The tradition started in the 1950s; people would plan their holidays well in advance, and hordes of coaches would arrive in factory towns to cart excited children and their parents away to Britain’s busy seaside resorts.
Although in decline due to strong competition from overseas competitors, many commercial enterprises still see the sense in the traditional summer shutdown. One MD of an engineering company near Leeds explains: “It allows us to plan production at a constant rate without the risk of a shortage of employees in every department. It also allows maintenance to have a clear run and to do a thorough maintenance programme while the machines are off.
"At our plant, the machinery is running most of the time, so it means they can do maintenance that they can't necessarily do when they are all running.”
At BCS Electrics, our electrical commercial contractors are increasingly being asked to use thermography by companies’ insurers to coincide with the Electrical Installation Report (EICR), so scheduling such services can be useful during shutdowns, unless testing load capacities, of course, when we need equipment running flat out.
Our sparkies will accordingly check for potentially hazardous ‘hot spots’ that are invisible to the naked eye – undertaking such vital checks – including visual checks of the electrical infrastructure, when a building is quiet and operations uninterrupted will, of course, be of benefit to all.
So while factory workers’ are more likely to take their family to Benidorm or Bali these days than Bognor, the timing of their breaks remains crucial. Many manufacturers believe they would otherwise have to operate at 70% capacity for three or four months of the summer season, which would be more disruptive for their businesses, if they did not facilitate a factory fortnight. From the management point of view, planning a summer shutdown also saves overhead costs like lighting, heating/cooling, and electricity – meanwhile for our commercial electrical contractors, it means we can quietly get on with keeping Leeds’ thriving businesses safe.
For discussion about your summer maintenance electrical work, please call us on 0113 235 0400.