News

17th Edition: What It Is, Why It Matters & How it Affects You

Feb 05, 2015

Over the next year the electrical industry faces changes to the status-quo. It has already started with the introduction of BS 7671: 2008(2015) - Amendment 3 to the 17th Edition of the IET wiring regulations - on 1st January 2015 and will continue through to 2016.

It is important that installers and contractors understand what the amendment is and how it will affect them.

Why the change?

BEAMA, the independent expert knowledge base and forum for the electrotechnical industry for the UK and across Europe, has said that the primary root-cause of fires in consumer units is loose connections. Additionally, the London Fire Brigade has found that fires involving consumer units have increased to approximately five incidents each week.

It’s clear that a change needs to be made to protect consumers from potential harm. 

The London Fire Brigade LFB has been working with Electrical Safety First, BEAMA and other industry organisations to make edits to Amendment 3 requirements that will directly improve personal safety and quell the risk of residential fires. 

                                          

What it Means?

To address this issue Amendment 3 will provide a degree of enhanced fire risk protection, requiring switchgear assemblies – including consumer units - to have their enclosures made from a suitable non-combustible material, or be installed in a cabinet or enclosure comprised from a suitable non-combustible material, for example steel.  This is all covered within Chapter 42 with the addition of Regulation 421.1.201.

MK Electric will be making the mandatory changes to their consumer units, using metal enclosures, which will be available at the end of March. This new range will be available alongside their MK Sentry insulated consumer unit portfolio. 

Enhanced fire safety is also referenced in the new Regulation 521.201, which outlines the requirements for wiring systems which are above escape routes, to be supported by fire-resistant fastenings and fixings. All cabling must be supported such that it cannot prematurely collapse when exposed to extreme heat. Once again there is a hint towards the use of metallic materials, although this is not prescribed. 

Amendment 3 also puts more responsibility on the installer. 

Chapter 41 examines the use of RCD protection on socket outlets. The regulation now requires RCD protection in accordance with regulation 415.1 for socket outlets up to 20A and for mobile equipment with a current rating not exceeding 32A for outdoor use, for all installations. However there is an exception, for socket outlets up to 20A, where the socket outlet is specifically labelled, or where a documented risk assessment determines that RCD protection is not necessary.

Chapter 61 makes a new reference to ‘Skilled person (electrically)’ which has the added condition of the person being competent in inspection, testing and certification work. It also notes that supplies up to 100 amps have a new, more detailed schedule of inspections. 

Additionally, for installations greater than 100amps, a model list of items that require inspection during initial verification is provided in Appendix 6. This list, along with a documented risk assessment of any permitted exceptions to the list must be appended to the Electrical Installation Certificate and the declaration signed. 

                                               


Dates to Know 

Over the next year and into 2016 there will be key dates that both manufacturers and installers need to keep in mind to comply with the updated regulation.

1st January 2015: BS7671:2008+A3 was published. Installations designed after this date may comply and be certified to these new standards or be designed and certified to BS7671:2008+A2 (for a maximum transitional period of 6 months)

1st July 2015: BS7671:2008+A2 Installations designed after this date must comply fully with BS7671:2008+A3

1st January 2016: Regulation 421.1.201 comes into full effect (this doesn’t preclude conformity beforehand)

MK Electric is Ready​ 

MK Electric will shortly be announcing details of its new metal consumer unit range for compliance to regulation 421.1.201. The range will be available from the end of March.

Additionally, MK Electric is offering electric installers and contractors the opportunity to take part in Continuing Professional Development Accreditation for Training to better understand the regulation. 

More specifically the session will address how the regulation affects installers, specific changes to be aware of and information they will need to counsel their clientele. 

Training sessions are available from February. For more information or to schedule please contact Amy Westwood at Amy.Westwood@Honeywell.com.



Jan 05, 2015

In recent months the London Fire Brigade have reported an increase in domestic fires involving consumer units.  This was not due to defective products but as a result of arcing on cables where tightening of terminals has not been sufficient, resulting in overheating of the terminals which eventually ignited the plastic enclosures.

Consequentially, Amendment 3 to BS7671:2008 introduces a new regulation relating to the enhancement of Fire Safety, as follows:

Regulation 421.1.201 – Protection against thermal effects – Consumer Units

Within domestic (household) premises, consumer units and similar switchgear assemblies shall comply with BS EN 61439 3 and shall:

Have their enclosure manufactured from a non-combustible material, or

Be enclosed in a cabinet or enclosure constructed of non-combustible material and complying with Regulation 132.12

Amendment 3 was published on 5th January 2015 and will apply to all Electrical installations designed after 1st July 2015; however Regulation 421.1.201 will not be mandatory until 1st January 2016.



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