About ELPA

        ABOUT ELPA – The Lightning Protection Association

THE ASSOCIATION (EARTHING AND LIGHTNING PROTECTION ASSOCIATION NPC)

The Earthing and Lightning Protection Association (ELPA) is a CIPC registered Non-Profit Company with a membership base of companies active in the lightning protection industry. Primary outputs from the member companies is the supply, design, installation and maintenance of lightning protection systems to a prescribed standard based on the risk and exposure of the property to be protected. Inspections form a significant part of the outputs to establish the benchmark of quality and effectiveness of the installation. Registered with the CIPC in May 2017 (reg 2017/342017/07).

All ELPA Members in all categories of membership acknowledge and comply to the ELPA Code of Ethics

A Board of Directors from the membership is appointed in accordance with the ELPA Constitution adopted in February 2019.

(Link to ELPA Constitution revision 0.6)

A National Director facilitates the operations of ELPA in accordance with decisions of the Board of Directors and is supported by an Executive Committee and Finance Committee appointed by and from the Board of Directors.

Lightning impacts every facet of our South African existence where lightning may strike a person or an asset. The solutions to appropriate lightning threat mitigation are based on a sound engineering and scientific understanding of the threat and are implemented in accordance with risk conditions and consequences.

ELPA facilitates skills certification across all qualifications and a framework of integration with the qualification and skills governance structures of SAQA, QCTO and SETA to the extent that training centres can be accredited to provide the requisite training such that ELPA can execute final qualification examinations and assert proof of competency.

ELPA facilitates standards and guidelines suitable for the South African consumer to the extent of protecting both living beings and property to within reasonable risk. Sustainable measures must be in place to secure health and safety to the degree demanded by governance (Department of Labour) and facilitated through due diligence demanded by governance (Municipal building regulatory bodies).

ELPA engages with all impacted stakeholders in a synergy to maximise efforts from each industry, sector and community within South Africa to minimise the impact of the lightning threat on those individual industries, sectors and communities.

  • Education:

    • Through open communication with industry, sector and community leadership – ELPA engages with management boards of the representative bodies and management teams of major companies active in the industry;

    • Proactively transferring relevant knowledge to the industry leaders;

    • Endorsing internal teaching strategies disseminated throughout their organisations to proactive lightning threat management;

  • Awareness:

    • Through joint evaluations with the industry leaders – ELPA quantifies the impact of lightning on each industry, sector and community;

    • Proactively supporting the business and core interests within each industry, sector and community and demonstrating the real purposes of lightning threat mitigation as a proactive measure to save lives, minimise damage to property and assets and reduce electrical and electronic systems malfunction.

  • Advocating a sustained drive towards a lightning safe environment:

    • ELPA engages not only to educate South Africans and create an awareness amongst South Africans but also to advocate a lifestyle of safety from the threat of lightning;

    • ELPA works through all levels of each industry, sector and community impacted by lightning with the stages:

      • Conveying the message

With the results:

      • Achieving recognition,

      • Achieving acceptance,

      • Inducing participation,

      • Achieving adoption,

      • Achieve implementation,

      • Achieve results through improved business performance and quality of life,

and finally

      • Achieve integration – where the industry, sector and community finds the optimal way to maximise the lifestyle into their day-to-day activities, standards and practices.

ELPA therefore also engages in the quality assurance service to the industry by enabling support services for the service providers to actively report their projects in accordance with the standards reporting requirements. Inspections address quality defects and provide security to the consumer that quality, in accordance with the design expectations, are being realised.

ELPA undertakes an active role in facilitating compliant products and materials to the South African market and therefore lightning protection system component manufacturers also form part of the membership base.

Where an industry leader determines the impact of lightning to be of such significant proportions that their participation in the Association will benefit both their business and the industry at large, ELPA encourages participation at the highest levels.

ELPA is therefore membership based with the membership representing organisations, industries and communities across South Africa.

Primary membership includes all companies involved in lightning protection from manufacturing of lightning protection elements and products to design of effective lightning protection systems to installers of those lightning protection systems and finally inspectors ensuring the systems comply and remain effective.

Membership includes qualified professional individuals not commercially engaged in the sale of lightning protection systems services, contributing to the body of knowledge within the country.

Examples of industry stakeholder members include insurance companies, consulting engineering firms and property development groups.

ELPA cannot succeed without the supporting structures of national standards, legislation and policing bodies such as the South African Department of Labour and Municipal engineers.

Education cannot thrive without a sustainable supporting training framework and ELPA engages with the responsible bodies of SAQA and the QCTO whilst supporting the SETA structures driving industrial employment requirements.

The threat presented by lightning is universal and the media plays an enormous role in informing communities and leaders. ELPA seeks to engage appropriately to sustain clear, simplistic and effective measures of lightning mitigation protecting communities from unnecessary tragedy.

The lightning protection industry is made up of many men and women requiring a recognised degree of competence for the level of work they do.

Each level of competency needs to be recognised and historically neither in South Africa nor internationally, has the role been recognised as unique. In the past 15 years several countries have understood the risks and have engaged in collaborative negotiations with governance to accommodate this role. South Africa is no different and it is the responsibility of ELPA to bring about the recognition of the role, the required curriculum, open the doors to formalised training centres and ultimately certified artisans and specialists in this field.

Some 300 hundred practitioners are enrolled or in the process of enrolling and hundreds more are being targeted to enter into the field as part of expanding their business scope or start their own endeavours.

ELPA will anticipate changes in the needs of South Africans and accommodate cost effective solutions aligned to working methods as dictated by the South African National Standards SANS 62305, SANS 62561, 10142 and 10313.

As a regulatory support body ELPA requires compliance with the ELPA code of ethics from all certified practitioners in support of delivering an effective lightning protection system to all clients.

As a non-profit organisation, ELPA will concentrate on measures that best suite South Africa and its people. Appropriate skills development and sponsorship programmes to develop previously disadvantaged communities will be considered in an effort to accelerate the propogation of sound knowledge of the threat of lightning to both people and property. Particular concern exists about the appropriate lightning protection of schools and hospitals in the rural areas.

Background to the formation of ELPA – Development of the core principles

Feedback from and impact on Engineers

  • Meetings with clients, LPS service providers and engineers alike have highlighted the need for a better understanding of the principles dictated by the SANS standards and the purposes behind having such standards in place. The standard is supposed to help the engineer formulate appropriate protection against the risk his workmanship will be exposed to.

  • Tenders are being issued with limited or manipulated criteria to a particular outcome – usually an attempt at reducing anticipated cost of final product.

  • Enquiries are being released with limited briefing of designs and no lightning risk assessment validation,

  • The required bill of materials (BOM) gets largely ignored,

  • The lack of responsible facilitation leads to compromising the conceptual design if one had been procured by the engineer,

  • The primary responsibility to ensure the product will work, frequently defers to the contractor.

Feedback from and impact on Contractors

  • Training has displayed a clear interest from contractors who want to understand more about lightning protection. It is considered by too many to be a ‘mystic science’, when in fact it is a skill/trade which can be taught.

  • The present guidelines and standards have created confusion to the contractor. This has resulted in the bypassing of the Installation Safety Report (ISR) in the Certificate of Compliance (COC), which is set out by legislation.

  • Accountability is needed to uplift the industry.

Feedback from the Insurance Industry – Expectations and Requirements

  • Meetings with members of the insurance industry have highlighted the need for clear direction with regard to minimum requirements for adequate and reasonable protection against the threat of lightning damage.

  • Service providers and engineers are submitting sub-standard documentation not aligned to the reality of the Lightning Protection System installed on site leaving the process entirely open to subjective assessment of suitable work performed and measures taken to minimise damage to property under normal conditions.

Lightning awareness – The facts, statistics and reality

  • South Africa is exposed to (on average) more than 24 million lightning strikes every year.

  • Conservative estimates suggest that we have several hundred lightning related fatalities every year and countless more injuries.

  • This fatality rate from lightning is unacceptably high and considered to be a conservative estimate where superstition influences the cultural perspectives associated with lightning.

  • However, far too few people are aware of what safety measures to take during a lightning storm, and how to protect themselves. This lack of knowledge leads to fatalities.

WHAT IS ELPA?

We are a voluntary registry (member) association and a non-profit organisation. ELPA is self-mandated and disseminates information for the safety of others.

MEMBERS INVOLVED

THE ELPA BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Details of Board of Directors is being updated.

COLLABORATING ASSOCIATIONS (Under Construction - Changing to Advisory Board)

Implementation of the principles upholding the philosophy of the Advisory Board have yet to be finalised by the Board of Directors.