Lighting up the industry

Helen Patterson at JHP Electrical proves that traditional values can sit alongside professional expertise on any project, writes David Chadwick

Turning the floodlights on a commercial electrical contractor highlights the variety of skills needed to install, revamp, service and maintain electrical equipment. The range of jobs they usually get involved in cover everything from industrial scale installations and refurbishments to specialised floodlighting for sports and other activities. One company that provides complete electrical solutions for a wide range of clients is JHP Electrical, who count sports clubs, schools and colleges, NHS hospitals and clinics amongst their customers, as well as commercial property developers.

Speaking to Helen and Jonathan Patterson, co-founders of the company, I was interested to hear that providing floodlighting for golf ranges figured largely in their expertise, and even more astonished to find out that the golf ball tracking systems that they supply and install alongside floodlighting are rapidly becoming a must-have feature for most golf ranges. As a keen golfer I will come back to more of that later.

JHP Electrical is a family run company based in Hertfordshire. The business, set up in 2001, is run on traditional family values - both Helen and Jonathan work together as a team and value an open-minded approach where they can learn and grow JHP together. Helen has been the main driver of this approach, which is reflected in the professional attitudes of their team and the respect shown to the company by employees and clients alike.

JHP acts either as a subcontractor on large-scale developments, working with principal contractors, architects, surveyors and interior designers, who know and appreciate that the company can cover every aspect of a full electrical fit-out, from planning and design drawings to final installation and certification. They know that they are employing experienced, approved and reliable electrical engineers and that they can always rely on the quality of their work.

The company also deals directly with customers on specific electrical projects, working for NHS premises such as hospitals and clinics, or for educational establishments. They have ongoing contracts with a number of schools within the Herts, Middlesex, London and Hillingdon areas. The type of work undertaken ranges from refurbishments of lighting systems and kitchens to larger upgrades like the installation of power, benching and data for projects like school and college ICT suites.

Working for hospitals such as Hillingdon, Mount Vernon, Stoke Mandeville and Milton Keynes, during the COVID-19 lockdowns meant that JHP were given key worker status whilst they worked on ward electrical refurbishments and A&E expansions.

As specialist fit-out contractors, JHP also works directly with retailers and other private sector clients and business owners to offer a comprehensive electrical fit-out service underpinned by NICEIC approved electrical engineers.

JHP Electrical can also set up maintenance and service schedules for any type of client, with regular inspections culminating in the provision of an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) detailing outcomes and recommendations - otherwise known as landlord certificates. On the practical side Jonathan believes that despite the introduction of LED lighting, which is generally quoted as being maintenance free, regular maintenance is an essential part of any lighting installation.

A build-up of dirt can affect the mechanical control gear and reduce the equipment's lifespan. A service, repair and maintenance contract would typically include things like floodlight cleaning, alignment checking and the replacement of defective lamps, and would also include mast and foundation maintenance in accordance with BS EN 12193:2007. In addition, what is often forgotten is that equipment, such as failed lamps and electrical components that are being thrown out, fall under the category of hazardous waste - and, of course, there are further regulations that deal with that.

A large part of the work that JHP Electrical get involved in involves sports halls and facilities. JHP offers companies involved in their management advice and technical support on the options available to them and the type of lighting they should be installing to suit particular sports or activities. That advice is often extended to local parish and other councils who are entrusted with maintaining the harmony between public sports facilities and private housing - in other words preventing the enjoyment of one facility from encroaching on the lifecycles and comfort of its neighbours - and who have the power to grant or deny their approval dependent upon designs and their compliance with regulated industry standards.

Sports stadia, halls and courts may also have substantially different lighting requirements depending on the sport or activity involved, the amount of light required for its enjoyment and whether constraints need to be put in place to prevent light diffusion, or where the venue may be used regularly for TV coverage. Jonathan mentioned three levels of professional lighting which should cover most types of sport or venue. As an aside, and although it wasn't discussed, I would have thought that there is a difference between the focus and positioning of lighting required for football as opposed to cricket pitches - where a lot of critical action entails skied cricket balls.

Multi-user games areas (MUGAs) obviously have more complex lighting requirements, and JHP are able to advise on suitable combinations of different types to enable the venues to be used to their maximum throughout the year. As a result of their involvement with many sporting associations and sports clubs, JHP has become a member of the Sports and Play Construction Association

Golf ranges are particularly vulnerable to light pollution, as golfers need to follow balls over greater distances, covering every corner of the range. JHP Electrical's driving range lighting provides floodlighting that doesn't diffuse over areas outside the range, and enables golf ranges to extend their opening hours, especially in winter months, thereby increasing their revenues.

JHP have also switched lighting technologies to maintenance-free LED technology, cutting back banks of 1100 watt lamps to just 300 watt systems, which reduces the running costs considerably. They are also easier to direct and minimise light pollution in the air and at the sides of the ranges, whilst providing sharper, brighter lighting.

What I find fascinating, though, is the growing use of technology to assist golfers in following the trajectory of their practice balls after each stroke. Many ranges now offer one of two types of golf ball tracing technology, namely Toptracer or Trackman. Toptracer is a double-camera based system that triangulates and records the exact position of balls in flight, whilst Trackman users radar technology to do the same. Golfers can replay each strike on the accompanying screen beside their practice tee to see whether their ball has been sliced or hooked or has, in fact, gone exactly where they intended it to. Time to dig out my rusty clubs and put it to the test.

For any golf pro running a range, lighting designs and quotations can be returned very quickly and JHP reckon they could get you up and tracing by the end of mid-summer.

As an Approved member of the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contractors (NICEIC), JHP is inspected every year. The company is also a member of trade bodies such as Construction Line, Trust Mark and Safe contractor. All of its employees are CRB checked and ECS approved and every job it undertakes is risk assessed.

But JHP goes further than that, as it values training and development for all its employees, most of whom are currently enrolled on apprenticeships, including both Helen, who is on a Coaching Professional apprenticeship and Jonathan, who is currently studying Management and Leadership at West Herts College. Every new employee is invited to enrol on any apprenticeship scheme that improves their skills, expertise and professional abilities - helping build loyalty and quality of outcomes for the future.

Professionalism is an apt topic to end on, as both Helen and Jonathan are determined to maintain it as the motivating force within their company. For them it means being able to complete a task to the full satisfaction of a client, and it applies to every trade within the construction industry, from the smallest subcontractor to the largest organisation. JHP Electrical fulfil this role admirably.