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18 September 2009

Wiring accessories with clip-on cover plates that meet the visibility requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act combined with significant installation benefits are being used in a new school in the London Borough of Lambeth. Approximately 14,000 of Eaton’s COPA accessories were installed in the first phase of the project, which opened in April, and another 16,000 will be installed in Phase 2, due for completion in September 2010.

Five years ago Stockwell Park High School, situated in one of the most deprived areas of London, was underperforming.  This has all changed.  The school received an “outstanding” rating in a recent OFSTED report.  The school is being totally rebuilt under the Government’s Building Schools for the Future programme and will eventually provide the latest educational facilities for 1200 pupils, a 33% increase on the present capacity.

Stockwell Park High School makes full use of modern IT equipment for teachers and pupils.  This called for extensive provision of socket-outlets and data connection facilities.  Teaching areas have one or more “teaching walls” equipped with conventional whiteboards and interactive projection facilities.  Socket-outlets and data connection units are installed in wall boxes and two-compartment trunking and below floor access units.

A novel element of the design is “feature strips” inside the main doorways.  These are brightly-coloured vertical service pillars which house the main lighting control switch and a variety of other control and communication devices including power and data outlets, WiFi access points, CO2 alarms, window controls, thermostats and public address equipment.

Architects, Sheppard Robson, specified that electrical accessories should contrast with their surroundings to ensure compliance with the visibility requirements of the Building Regulations Part M and the Disability Discrimination Act.  After considering various options, Richard Gilbert, Project Manager for electrical and mechanical services contractor, EIC Ltd. of Alcester, selected Eaton’s COPA clip-on plate accessories.

“We wanted accessories with separate cover plates so that we could install them and then leave them for decoration to take place before we clip on the cover plates” explains Richard Gilbert.   Eaton’s COPA accessories satisfied both the visibility and installation requirements.  A grey finish was selected.  This satisfied the visibility requirements and matched the finish of other internal fittings.

The plates are clearly visible whether they are installed in white walls, UPVC trunking or in the coloured feature strips.  COPA accessories span the whole range of devices including lighting switches, power accessories and datacom outlets.  At Stockwell Park High School there is extensive use of twin switched socket-outlets, spur connection units, lighting switches and data connection plates.   In addition, Eaton metalclad twin switched socket-outlets are installed on the floor slab below the service access traps.

COPA accessories are available with a choice of ten different plate finishes.   They are designed for ease of installation and can be fully installed, tested and left energised before the cover plates are fitted.  This means not only that decorators can paint right up to the accessories without damaging or splashing the cover plates but that installation of the plates themselves can be left to the last moment before handover.  Cover plates can be removed safely at a later date to permit redecoration.

Stockwell Park High School is designed by Sheppard Robson Architects and is being built by Wilmott Dixon.   In addition to the main teaching areas, it will include a modern ampitheatre, multi-use games area and sports hall.  There are ICT suites, a special educational needs (SEN) unit and an autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) unit. 


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