110v or 240v? please advise

Discussion in 'Carpenters' Talk' started by fobos, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. fobos

    fobos Member

    Hi all

    I've been a full time site joiner/carpenter for the last two years and things are going well. I've been working for the same smallish builder for most of the time. All my tools are 240v as they have been collected over years of doing domestic diy jobs.

    I'm about to spend a lot of money on a new mitre saw and I'm not sure if to go 240 or 110v. Most of the current jobs we do are refurbs and extensions but I want to be sure that from now on any new tools I buy can be used on most building sites.

    I don't really fancy working on BIG building sites (20 houses) in the future but I'm wondering if smaller sites (say 3 to 4 houses) are also 110v. If they are then maybe a 110v saw would be a good idea.

    Please offer your advise/thoughts/experiences..

    Many thanks, Andrew
  2. sinewave

    sinewave Screwfix Select

    U can use 230V tools on-site as long as they are protected by a 30mA RCD
  3. hammernob

    hammernob New Member

    go 110 & don't limit yourself you might not fancy the big sites but sometimes you've got to go where the work is, iv'e never been on any site that allows 240 rcd or not
  4. Binfield Carpenter

    Binfield Carpenter New Member

    On a site the last word regarding Health and Safety typically lies with the site agent, foreman etc. Most of these have a policy of 110v only so if you have got 240v tools you won't be able to get them out of the van.

    I only work on domestic properties and decided to go for 240v since it avoids lugging around a heavy transformer. In doing that I effectively decided never to work on anything that could be called a 'building site'.

    If I was ever planning on working for a 'builder' or working on a 'site' I would have gone 110v.
  5. -chippy_john

    -chippy_john New Member

    sinewave is right in theory but it doesn't work in practice.

    For starters there will be no 240v supply except in the canteen or the site agents hut, and the site agent won't allow it cos his bosses insurance doesn't cover the use of 240 volt tools on site.

    If you are going to do site work you will need to have 110 volt tools.

    I would also recommend a step up transformer which you can use to recharge batteries without running back and forth to the canteen only to find some numbskull has unplugged yours five minutes after you plugged it in.
  6. fobos

    fobos Member

    thanks for the input.

    When you guys say you need 110v for site work what size sites are you talking about. Is that all building sites or just above a certain size say 20 houses?

    Cheers, Andrew
  7. hammernob

    hammernob New Member

    all sites pal don't risk it h&s is well over the top these days dont get me wrong this is good in most respects but when the day comes you meet a health & safety officer you will know what i mean these guys love their jobs rather like traffic wardens say no more.
  8. two by one

    two by one New Member

    If you do domestic work 240v no problem, anything else 110v and I think tools need pat testing? Even for small jobs some builders insurance requires 110v tools.
  9. lightning bolt

    lightning bolt New Member

    sinewave is correct rcd 30ma they cant say owt to you
  10. sinewave

    sinewave Screwfix Select

    For me as a Sparx I don't need mains tools at all.

    All my gear is Makita Lithium 18v and Bosch Lithium 36v and I can charge all batteries if required in my Van via the 2kW Inverter.

    U lot being Chippies then most will require the use of a Compound Mitre saw etc which will need to be mains or 110v.
  11. Mof

    Mof Guest

    On one job I worked on a joiner used his 240 volt drill on 120 volts it seemed to work just as well! On another job the building firm I worked for used a flip over saw that was 240 via a step up transformer right by the saw and it seemed to be legal,I supose it was because the cable that trailed across the floor was only 120volt.
  12. rox

    rox New Member

    I would stick with 110v tools. All sites Ive worked on, small or large, have had a strict 110v only rule. I had full cordless kit, but batteries cost a fortune and sometimes there just isnt enough beef in them for certain jobs. I mainly do domestic work now, but still use 110v just incase I need to go on site. And besides, I cant see the advantage over 240v? Apart from the fact you dont carry a transformer around, but these are small enough now anyway.
  13. fobos

    fobos Member

    thanks for all you help - bearing in mind what has been said I think I'd be daft to get more 240v tools.

    I don't really want to exclude myself from site work.
  14. back from the grave

    back from the grave New Member

    protected by a 30mA RCD

    no you cant, you may have read it somewhere but i bet you wouldnt find a site manager that would let you
  15. big rick 1

    big rick 1 New Member

    I think that you would find that any carpentry subby would have it written into their method statements and risk assessments that only 110V tools were to be used. the idea that you could use a rcd and 240 is ****. Try it on a site run by any company worth their salt and you would promptly be putting your tools back in your van never to return again. Each site/company has their "site rules" dont obey and they have the right to kick you off.
    rant over!
  16. joinerjohn

    joinerjohn New Member

    "protected by a 30mA RCD" No you can't. so wrote "back from the grave".... what a load of tosh, it was the EU that introduced the bit about allowing 230v protected by a 30mA RCD......
    Anyone here want to go up against the EU??? If your thrown off site for using 230v tools with a 30mA RCD then just complain to the EU. They will back you 100% and you will win your case for wrongful dismissal. Get Cherie Blair to take your case on and you will probably win millions in compo, especially if your from an ethnic minority. (please note, if your British born and bred, your probably an endangered species) Everyone's a winner hey.
  17. imran_

    imran_ New Member

    I think you'll find that you cannot discriminate based on it, but you can still implement "Best Practice". Which basically means no 240v unless you bring along your own inverter (no requirement to supply 240v), bring your own SWA for 240v, etc, etc.

    There's no requirement for a Waitrose employee to WALK you to a product if you ask where it is rather than say "it's over there". But they WILL fire you for not doing it.

    I wouldn't work on a site where there's 240v. The people using it have got no sense of safety to start.

    You can't discriminate against a female brickie who's just told you she needs a week off for fertility treatment, but hands up if you'd employ her!?!?!?!??? (Hands up in the air I mean!!)
  18. back from the grave

    back from the grave New Member

    your problem is that most trades on sites are subbys so there is no issue with hiring and firing

    most large builders have it written into their health and safety policy that only 110v is to be used, i am a contractor and have it written into mine too, and to be honest any joiner who turned up with a load of 240 gear would be seen as a blagger anyway so probably wouldn't last 5 minutes
    we work with power tools out in all weathers and cables constantly being run over why take a risk with 240 when there is no need

    i can understand the lads who do private work in peoples houses using 240 but imho i think it is dangerous and unproffesional
  19. JarraMag

    JarraMag New Member

    I agree, i've just started buying all my corded gear and had the option of 240v or 110v. It seemed stupid to go for 240v really. Obviously it means the extra costs of a transformer and the extra lugging about. But you cant put a price on safety! And it means I can use all my gear on site!

    So why would you go for 240v over 110v? Apart from the price of a transformer and lugging it about?
  20. sinewave

    sinewave Screwfix Select

    Fair points guys, but as stated I don't need 230 or 110v stuff at all, tiz lithium battery power all the way 4 me with the battery chargers safely huming away inside the van on the inveter.


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