Regional NSW switchboard powerhouse, Border Switchboards Sheetmetal & Powdercoating (BSSP), is advocating for an industry-wide leveling of the playing field by raising Standards to even higher levels.
Based in Albury, right near the border between NSW and Victoria, BSSP has grown over the past seven years from five to 40 employees, and has now moved to a new 4,300 sq m premises to support its Australian Switchboard manufacturing, assembly, and testing.
“When it comes to uniform Standards compliance – the higher the better,” says BSSP Director, Brennan Jenvey.
“There is no room for double standards in manufacturing vital technology such as switchboards – we can’t have cheaper non-compliant boards competing with quality compliant product. We have to protect customers by ensuring everyone does the right thing, so they are not exposed to the risks that come with non-compliant products,” he adds.
“The AS/NZS 61439 Standard is a step in the right direction – and it helped to remove non-compliant suppliers who couldn’t provide the right documentation – but I think all of us doing the right thing want to see Standards raised even more.”
“It’s one of the big reasons we became a NESMA member. We could see the focus NESMA has on spreading the safety message throughout the industry, and we wanted to be a part of that. It lets our customers know that we take compliance seriously.”
BSSP not only manufactures switchboards, but also provides an all-in-one service, including sheetmetal fabrication, powdercoating, electrical work, and customisation to suit unique customer needs.
The company services industries such as water treatment, high rise buildings, correctional facilities, hospitals, and defence, and is a licenced assembler of Vector switchboards.
“In addition to being highly customisable, Vector has tested with equipment from leading electrical companies such as NHP, Schneider, and IPD/ABB,” explains Brennan.
“Our in-house capabilities give us an edge because we are able to provide an additional level of customisation, while still being totally Standards compliant, since we can fabricate the sheetmetal on a switchboard, as well as assemble the electrical components,” he adds.
NESMA’s compliance focus
Brennan applauds NESMA’s educational role in spreading the compliance message throughout the industry, and encourages this to be as strong as possible.
“We want our customers to see the NESMA logo in our email signature and know that we have met or exceeded every possible Standard with our switchboards. Without the guidance of a national industry association, it leaves the door open for companies to try to cut corners to save costs – and when that happens, nobody wins,” he says.
“One positive trend we’re seeing is a stronger focus on Australian manufacturing, spurred on by supply chain troubles with imports. Most tenders will specify a certain percentage of locally-made product, and that’s an area where NESMA members can shine.”
BSSP is ideally positioned to service a large area, and Brennan says customers are often surprised at the size of its operations.
“I think people see a regional town like Albury, and expect a small shed, but we always smile when they see our facility – which is larger than most metro-based companies – and realise that we’re the real deal,” says Brennan.
“Regional Australia has huge opportunities coming up, particularly in renewables and EV charging, which requires a large amount of power. Defence spending is also strong, and looks to be an area of growth over the next few years.
“With our broad in-house capabilities, and the Standards focus, backed by NESMA, we are highly optimistic about the future.”