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The 3rd Amendment & What You Need to Know

By March 30, 2015 News No Comments

What has changed?

Changes to the 3rd Amendment (BS 7671:2008) were confirmed in November 2014 by The National Wiring Regulations Committee.

You will easily be able to spot the third amendment to BS7671:2008 IET Wiring Regulations from the bright yellow cover, but it’s what’s inside that has the real impact.

regs-bookWhen will it happen?

As of the 1st of January, 2015 the third amendment to BS 7671:2008 was introduced. From this date, contractors have a transition period of six months to come to terms with the changes so that their designs and installations follow the new government standard.

From the 1st July, 2015 all electrical installations must comply with the updated regulations and must hold a copy of BS 7671:2008, including Amendment 3 for future assessments. Protection against fire caused by electrical equipment will come into full effect in the first month of 2016, under regulation 421.1.201, where all electrical enclosures within dwellings are required to be made from non-combustible materials.

Why have these changes been introduced?

After investigations conducted by the London Fire Brigade into why several fires involving plastic consumer units had taken place, it was suggested that a key cause of these fires was below standard cable connections, made by electricians, resulting in overheating which subsequently ignited the plastic enclosure.

All new consumer units installed in UK homes (domestic households) must have their fittings manufactured from a non-combustible material, or be enclosed in a cabinet manufactured from a non-combustible material. As a result the use of metal enclosures is now expected to increase.

Also all cabling routed above escape routes is now required to be secured with non-combustible fixings, so that in an event of a fire cabling will not present a hazard to escaping individuals. Sadly many lives have been lost in the event of fires due to fire fighters and members of the public becoming entangled within fallen electrical cabling.

Amendment 3 to BS 7671

The following presents a summary of the changes following the implementation of the Third Amendment to BS 7671: 2008, The IET Wiring Regulations.

The Implementation Dates:

1st January 2015 – The Third amendment to BS 7671:2008, The IET Wiring Regulations, became effective on this date. Following this, contractors have a six month transition period to get up to speed with the changes and can design, install and certify to either the new or previous standard.

1st July 2015 – From this date it is a requirement that all new electrical installations are designed and existing installations are periodically inspected using the updated regulations. Contractors will be expected to hold a copy of BS 7671:2008, incorporating Amendment 3, for any assessment visit taking place after this date.

1st January 2016 – Regulation 421.1.201 (PROTECTION AGAINST FIRE CAUSED BY ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT) comes into full effect.

A summary of the key changes:

New Numbering System

The Third amendment recognises UK only regulations and these are now identified by a new numbering system. Regulations with a .100 number are CENELEC requirements and those with a .200 number are specific to the UK.

Part 2 Definitions

The definitions section of the new Amendment, will be expanded and modified including the introduction of some new symbols. A list of abbreviations used in the Regulations has been added. The definition of ‘competent person’ has been removed and it has been replaced with ‘instructed person (electrically)’ and ‘skilled person (electrically)’. These changes have been reflected throughout the entire wiring regulations.

Chapter 41 – Protection against Electric Shock

There is now a requirement for RCD protection for socket-outlets up to 20A for all installations, however exceptions are permitted for:

  • a specific labelled or otherwise suitably identified socket-outlet provided for connection of a particular item of equipment, or
  • where, other than for an installation in a dwelling, a documented risk assessment determines that the RCD protection is not necessary

Maximum earth fault loop impedances given in tables 41.2, 41.3, 41.4 and 41.6 have been revised to take account of the Cmin factor. Cmin is the minimum voltage factor to take account of voltage variations depending on a number of considerations.

Chapter 42 – Protection against Thermal Effects

Due to the number of consumer unit fires reported within domestic premises, Regulation 421.1.201 (UK only) has been added and requires consumer units and similar switchgear to have their enclosure manufactured from non-combustible material or be enclosed in a cabinet or enclosure constructed of non-combustible material and complying with Regulation 132.12. This complies with Regulation 132.12. This will be implemented on 1st January, 2016.

Chapter 51 – Common Rules

Section 551 concerning compliance with standards requires all equipment to be suitable for the nominal voltage and also requires certain information to be noted on the Electrical Installation Certificate.

Chapter 52 – Selection and Erection of Wiring Cables

A new regulation 521.11.201 (UK only) has been included giving requirements for the methods of support of wiring systems in escape routes.

The regulations concerning selection and erection of wiring systems have been re-drafted. Reference to “under the supervision of a skilled or instructed person” has been removed. A new requirement concerns cables that are concealed in a wall or partition (depth of less than 50mm) to be protected by a 30 mA RCD for all installations, if other methods of protections such as cables with an earthed metallic covering are not employed. This applies to a cable in a partition including metallic parts other than fixings.

The exception for cables that form part of a SELV or PELV circuit will be retained.

Chapter 55 – Other Equipment

A new section 557 Auxiliary Circuits is now included and all auxiliary circuits are defined in Part 2.

Section 559 – Luminaires and Lighting Installation

Outdoor lighting installations and extra low voltage lighting installations have been moved to new sections 714 and 715 respectively.

Part 7 – Special Installations or Locations Section 701 Locations Containing a Bath or Shower

There is now a requirement for RCD protection to be provided for:

  • low voltage circuits serving the location
  • low voltage circuits passing through zones 1 and 2 not serving the location.

Appendix 3 – Time/Current Characteristic of Overcurrent Protective Devices and RCDs

This includes changes in connection with maximum earth fault loop impedance to take account of the Cmin factor given in CLC/TR50480:2011.

Appendix 6 – Model Forms for Certification and Reporting

The schedule of inspections (for new work only) has been replaced by examples of items requiring inspection during initial verifications (which must be appended to the Electrical Installation Certificate).

A small number of changes to the Electrical Installation Condition Report and associated notes have been made, including a requirement to carry out an inspection within an accessible roof space where electrical equipment is present.

This summary is not a definitive guide to all of the changes introduced by Amendment 3. The new requirements set out in the amended IET wiring regulations demonstrate the importance of the work electrical professionals do and the standards they need to adhere to in protecting themselves and those in contact with electrical installations.