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Wiring Matters

Wiring Matters 50 - March 2014

Spotlight: Geoff Cronshaw

Geoff Cronshaw is the Chief Electrical Engineer and the Secretary of JPEL 64, the National Wiring Regulations Committee. We are therefore very lucky to have him contribute some of his time to Wiring Matters as the Technical Advisor and author – this month, he writes about the impact of Amendment 3 to BS 7671.

Geoff Cronshaw, Chief Electrical Engineer What is your background?

I started my apprenticeship with W H Smith (Blackburn Ltd), working my way up over ten years with the company to Assistant Contracts Engineer. From there I continued to progress in my engineering career, with some notable highlights along the way, culminating in working for Cumbria County Council as Principal Electrical Engineer. 

In December 2001 I joined the IET and became Chief Electrical Engineer in 2004, so I have now been here for a lucky thirteen years!

What have been your career highlights?

I’ve enjoyed getting into the regulation side of engineering, and as Secretary of JPEL 64 was heavily involved and responsible for the sign-off of the 17th Edition of the IEE Wiring Regulations (BS 7671:2008) – a process I found very rewarding. However, I’ve also been fortunate enough to travel in my role and communicate the importance of BS 7671 and IEC 60364 to a wider audience; for example, in May 2011 I delivered a presentation in Beijing at an International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) event.

I get very involved in the logistical side of standard-setting and, since 2003, I’ve been Chairman of both the International (MT 2) and the European Working Groups (WG 2), whose responsibilities are to develop IEC and CENELEC Standards.

[Editor's note: in December 2011, Geoff was awarded the prestigious IEC 1906 award in recognition of his contribution to the International Working Group.]

However, I’ve also been fortunate to be involved in designing public buildings where health and safety to the general public have been critical – including projects at Manchester airport. Contributing to such socially important building sites is tremendously rewarding.

You sound incredibly busy and very involved in a heavy load of logistics, travel and liaising between important standard-setting bodies. What inspires you to be so driven?

I enjoy all aspects of my work, in particular discussing technical areas of installations with other engineers around the world and solving difficult problems.

Where do you think the next fifty years of electrical engineering will take us?

There are some exciting new developments in the electrical standards industry. Energy efficiency is becoming more important in the design of installations, in particular, the development of the smart installation to interface with the smart grid and manage renewable sources of electricity and technologies used for storing energy.

What is your advice for electricians entering the trade today?

This is a fascinating and rewarding career. There is always something new to learn. There are a wide variety of electrical installations from a small dwelling to a heavy industrial plant for the electrician to work on, which can make for a satisfying career.

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