Beginning this month, we are taking a fresh look at Ideas That Work. This column has been part of ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR Magazine for many years, and most submitted ideas have been time saving and practical. Many of these ideas previously submitted have been tricks of the trade and great tools to have in your tool-belt for a good productive day. These ideas have added value and helped carry on the legacy of electrical industry time savers. As our industry continues to change, our Ideas That Work contest needs to progress. In the paragraphs below I will further explain this need for progression, but let’s first start with football.

Football season is just getting started. We are all looking for our home team to come up with game changing strategy that will win games. The great strategy needs to be coupled up with endless hours of practice and hard work. Each year, we hope that our teams pull off great plays and ingenuity that wins games and ultimately advances to the playoffs. I believe that electrical contracting works the same way. The great thing is we don’t have to hope for good ideas or strategy. We actually get to come up with it ourselves! If not, you most likely won’t win the games or great jobs.

As electrical contractors, we need to think ahead and move faster if we want to keep up with technology within an ever-changing industry. We need to generate new ideas that work within every area of our business.  We need GAME-CHANGING ideas!

So, you may be asking what constitutes a game-changing idea, and how can I submit a great idea that will win a prize and get published? The answer is in three P's:
1. Production Ideas—Ideas that make our work more productive, faster and more efficient.
2. Professional Ideas—Ideas that improve communication, management and IT as it relates to our business.
3. Protection Ideas—Ideas that keep us safe while producing.

Here are some example ideas to help the LED inside you to activate:

Production idea
Temporary Lighting Stringers
Most Electrical Contracts include temporary lighting, and many times our best option is to go with temporary stringers. While installing temporary stringers, we are often at risk working on 10-foot Ladders on metal decking. You may also be working near the edge of an unfinished building with potential fall hazards.

Here is a simple Idea that works: Install ceiling wire with a drilling extension pole. Lay out your temporary stringers on the metal decking, and hang the temporary stringers on the ceiling wire utilizing an extension pole. The result is labor savings coupled with safer work conditions.

Professional Idea
Innovative use of Tremble Total Station
Many construction projects are now using BIM and 3D modeling; however, the technology frequently gets underutilized. Here is an idea to help out when excavating through rock on these sites: Take the BIM model and plot out the rock layers. Overlay the rock layers with conduit layers. This process will identify key areas that require rock blasting or heavy hammering. After you identify clashes, use the information to negotiate excavation to your favor.

Protection Idea
Use Your Cell Phone for Safety Awareness
A picture is worth a thousand words. Use your cell phone to take pictures of potential jobsite hazards. Create a team group text for construction crews to make each other aware of potential issues. This simple action could be worth more than a thousand words.

With these ideas in mind, send us your Ideas That Work today!