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Moss Electrical & Top Tubes team up to explain the confusion which surrounds the quality of steel conduit in the marketplace

Throughout the UK market, there appears to be some confusion regarding steel conduit and quality in the market place.

Moss Electrical’s project management facility where vast stocks of steel conduit are held

Moss Electrical’s Operations Director Lindsay Goubel & Mike Upton of Top Tubes team up to explain what Contractors should look out for in this product.

Conduit is sold in 3 different grades or classifications. The class denotes levels of protection afforded the mother steel underneath:

  • Class 2 medium protection ~ example stove enamel/paint inside and out

  • Class 3 medium to heavy protection ~ example stove enamel/paint/powder coated inside and in line applied zinc coating or sherardising outside

  • Class 4 heavy protection both inside and outside ~ example hot dipped galvanised or sherardising

Classes 2 and 3 represent a very small element of conduit demand in the UK and as a result whilst Moss stock a small amount of Class 2 we no longer stock any Class 3 as over 90% of our sales are geared towards the Class 4 product which is reflected in the stock we carry and maintain. Two decades or so ago over 10 manufacturers of Class conduit were evident across the country. Today only 2 brands survive ~ Top Tubes and Barton (Caparo Group).

At Moss Electrical Co Ltd we only support Top Tubes and for a very good reason.

Top Tubes Electrical can supply classes 2, 3 and 4 conduit in a range of diameters. They can supply Class 4 Conduit in traditional 3750mm lengths, and following a successful launch in 2005, can also provide 3000mm lengths which are also available from stock.

A number of distributors source their product offshore, mainly but not exclusively from China and Turkey. Some of this conduit meets the BSI 4568 spec and has been approved accordingly but some does not.

Unfortunately the quality of some conduits we have seen is somewhat suspect and we would urge contractors to have some consideration when procuring product outside the main two suppliers as mentioned above.

Whenever we talk to manufacturers/contractors about steel conduit we tend to have the following questions to ask which will normally highlight the unsatisfactory quality goods:

Does the conduit product conform to BSI 4568 class 4 specifications?

Where is the product manufactured?

Is it definitely hot dipped galvanised inside and out?

Has the product been tested by BSI at Hemel Hempstead or a similar approved testing laboratory and did it pass all the criteria?

If so can I please have a copy of the BSI 4568 certificates of approval?

Lindsay Goubel of Moss Electrical comments "I have been offered conduit recently that claimed to be to manufactured in accordance with BS 4568 standards, was stamped as such but on closer investigation the conduit had never been actually been fully tested to all appropriate BS 4568 testing procedures such as corrosion resistance, bending properties and smooth pull through of wiring, it was merely a stamp on the conduit without any supporting documentation".

Lindsay continued "At Moss Electrical we hold high levels of cable management type products and only align ourselves to sustainable and premium manufacturers such as Tops Tubes, as we believe it is not all about price; quality does and must pay a part".

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