A neat idea saves time for electricians

Photo shows: Nigel Chute (left) with Kevin Goff, Branch Manager of CEF Cirencester (right).
Boxmate 2

Cirencester designer Nigel Chute has sparked the interest of electricians everywhere with his latest product. BoxMate solves a problem familiar to all those involved in electrical installation work, especially contractors working on new-build housing projects.

At “first fix “, the electrician secures metal back boxes to interior walls and pulls cables into position. The boxes are then ready to be fitted with cover plates for light switches or socket outlets at a later stage. The electrician leaves the site, and plasterers and other tradesmen move onto the job.

When the “sparkie” returns to fit the cover plates, they often find that wet plaster has found its way into the back box and dried into a solid mass. So, before they can connect the wiring, their first task is to chisel out all the dried plaster — a shocking waste of the electrician’s time and skills.

BoxMate

Birmingham-based electricians and inventors David Bryant and Paul Chapman approached Nigel with an initial concept for a temporary cover plate to keep plaster out of back boxes. Drawing on his extensive business network, Nigel contacted Doncaster-based innovations company Cattano to collaborate on the project. The challenge was to develop a product that would tolerate variations in box size and stay securely in place. After several iterations, Nigel came up with an ingenious design featuring crushable tabs to accommodate size variations. Cattano organised branding, IP protection,  sourcing, production and distribution, and BoxMate was born.

The product not only protects the box from plaster ingress, it also shields cables from damage during plastering. It is now being sold online by Cattano and rolled out to distributors nationally — with the Cirencester branch of CEF being first to stock the product. And electricians across the UK are putting away those chisels.