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Monday, 20 May

Demistifying Key Electrical Regulations

Chris Cerisola

Chris Cerisola takes a look at changes to electrical regulations (Edition 18) that he believes all FM and estate managers should be aware of - and all electricians should know inside out.

 

RCDs

This is every electrician’s favourite subject in the designing of new electrical installations or additions to existing installations.

As per the 17th Edition, socket outlets required the additional protection of a 30mA RCD on circuits 20 amps and under, this has now been changed, under the 18th Edition, to socket outlet circuits 32 amps and under (BS7671:2018 page 59 reg - 411.3.3).

Interestingly, NOTE 3 suggests 'luminaire track systems, etc.' are not regarded as a socket outlet.

In addition to lighting, domestic lighting now also must be RCD protected in accordance with Regulation 411.3.4.

 

Installation of cables

Regulation 521.10.202 (page 138), covering the clipping of wiring systems with metallic clips, saddles, etc.  We can only assume that this regulation has been highlighted by the tragedy of Grenfell and other such incidents as it is widely known that everything is acted upon on a reactive opposed to proactive basis.

This regulation did previously exist in the 17th Edition 3rd amendment as Regulation 521.11.201 notes 1 and 2 but only covered wiring systems over escape routes. This has now changed in the 18th Edition to all wiring systems.

NOTE 4 of Regulation 521.10.202 covers the types of fixing that would meet this requirement for supporting cables, listing supports previously mentioned and more.

 

SPDs

This is an area that has drawn a lot of attention and the IET have obviously spent a lot of time on. This is also an area that is to be taken seriously as most businesses require large comms requirements for their day to day running.

Surge protection devices (SPDs) are great additional protection for such costly equipment.

Most MI’s (manufacturer’s instructions) give an average life expectancy of SPDs of 7 to 10 years, this, for the facility management companies reading, will generate a visual PPM and remedial works in the installation of SPDs or the replacing of 'out of date' SPDs, whereas, for the estates teams reading this article they have the peace of mind that there is an additional item of protection that will safe guard the sensitive equipment they deem to be business critical.

The selection of such equipment should be determined by Regulation 443.3 points i – iv page 101.

Types of SPDs to be used in different locations around the installation from the origin to the circuit containing sensitive equipment are described in Regulation 534.4.1 page 161.

Finally, a pointer for testers and testing, the insulation resistance testing of SPDs is covered by Regulation 643.3.2 page 232 paragraph 4 states '(SPDs)...such equipment shall be disconnected before carrying out the installation resistance test...'

 

Summary

To summarise, there have been numerous changes from 17th to 18th Edition, the selected few in this article are areas that the company I work for, Artic, have taken an interest in and may affect the day to day business for us in both installations and maintaining our current and future clients’ electrical installations.

Picture: Chris Cerisola, NICEIC Qualified Supervisor (QS) at Artic Buliding Services.

 

Article written by Brian Shillibeer

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