Toby Hepworth is our ‘Sparky of The Month’.
Toby Hepworth, Managing Director of Hepworth & Crockford Electrical Services, talks to Zano Controls about lighting on a few famous film sets, current frustrations within the electrical industry and why Hepworth & Crockford choose Zano for their LED dimming projects.
Name: Toby Hepworth
Company: Hepworth & Crockford Electrical Services Ltd
Location: Cranfield, Hampshire
How did you start out as an electrician?
I left school at 16 with the intention of starting an electrical apprenticeship, but I struggled to find a placement as there just weren’t many out there, so I decided to go travelling. When I got back, I enrolled on an electrical apprenticeship course at college instead and won ‘Apprentice of the Term’. A firm called the college to ask for a recommendation and they recommended me. That’s how it all started!
Why did you decide on this career?
I’ve always been interested in electronics and the way things work, and I really enjoyed electronics at school. I wanted to be in a job that was technically minded; something with structure.
What do you enjoy about your job?
I like it when a job comes together, and the customer is satisfied. I also enjoy installing lighting. We worked on a job where our customer asked us to design and make bespoke light fittings, which we had a lot of fun with.
Is that the most interesting job you’ve worked on?
Yes, definitely. The customer let us know what she wanted, we pulled some materials together and showed her a few options of how it could be made. Then we made it. A lot of LED lighting went into this job. One of the bespoke fittings we worked on is for a child’s bed that had LED lighting all around it. It also shined different colours onto the wall at night.
It actually started out as a small job - moving a few sockets and light switches – and snowballed into a massive job, rewiring the house and making bespoke fittings!
Do you feel LED products have improved in recent years?
Not too many years ago, LED was rubbish. A lot of people at the time were willing to make the change to LED to save money, but really the light output was terrible. It has given LEDs a bit of a bad reputation, but we try to take samples to new customers to show them just how much the products have changed. Overall, lighting is definitely moving over to LED – we haven’t installed a halogen light fitting for years now.
There’s also so much that you can do with LED technology now. There’s a lot more variety. You can even control them with mobile phone apps, which is pretty cool.
Have Zano products played a part in this improvement?
Yes. We probably use about two or three Zano dimmers a month. Zano are spot on with their technology, but there are still LED products out there, from other manufacturers, that just aren’t compatible. What’s great about Zano is that they test other manufacturer’s fittings with their products and can test products on request, so you know for sure that the technology is compatible.
What are the biggest challenges you face?
Overcoming poor workmanship. We often come across poor installations that have been fitted by previous electricians, or worse - DIY electrical jobs. Something that really bothers me is when certain builders do a bit of electrical work on a job. They go to B&Q and buy a box of 20 non-fire rated downlights, which just aren’t up to standard anymore. We visited a house recently which had 144 downlights, and not one of them was fire rated. It’s dangerous. I don’t actually think that wholesalers should be selling products that are no longer used as standard by professionals. It’s just asking for trouble.
There’s also a lot of competition out there. Hepworth & Crockford are based in Clanfield, and there are hundreds of electricians in the local area, with more and more starting up every week. I often come across work that has been installed by supposedly reputable electricians that I would say is not 100% up to standard. It makes it hard for the rest of us because it damages customers’ trust in the industry.
If you could rewire anyone’s house, whose would it be?
We have worked on a number of film sets, installing lighting to the sets created, which is always an incredible and surreal experience. These include Barbie, Black Widow and Wonka, amongst others. So, if I could pick someone’s property to rewire, it would be The Chocolate Factory from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory – can you imagine the perks?!
Think you have what it takes to be our next Sparky of The Month? Be sure to share your installations and projects with us, and it may just be your face appearing in our next Sparky’s Corner! For any project or product enquiries, please call the team on 0345 519 5858 and we will be happy to help.