You have probably heard about an amendment to the IET Wiring regulations. You probably may not have paid attention because you thought that the amendments did not directly affect you. That’s not entirely true. While most of those rules are targeted for the electrical contractors and engineers, they also touch on you, the consumer. Furthermore, all these rules are mainly meant to protect the consumers. Allow me to bring you up to speed with the regulations.
The British Standards 7671 regulations are meant for supply circuits of 1000 volts AC or Direct Currents (D.C) of 1500 volts or less. The house you live in, the office you work in or even your business premises are covered under this regulation. The regulations started off as ‘Rules and Regulations for the Prevention of Fire Risks arising from Electric Lightning’ in the year 1882. The rules, however, were not accepted as British Standards until 1992, 16 editions down the line. The current amendment was issued in 2008 and updated in January 2015 but the amendments took effect in July 2015 with enforcement of others starting in January 2016 when the rules hence take full effect.
While most of the amendments affect electrical contractors in terms of how they design and install electrical fittings and the definitions concerning their skill, others affect you more directly. The requirement that all outlet sockets of 20A or more be RCD protected to protect you from electric shocks is one such regulation. The exemptions to these regulations are clearly identified or marked sockets for specific appliances or where a risk assessment has been done on a premise that is not a dwelling and it has been determined that RCD protection is not necessary. Also, effective January 2016, all consumer units or other switch gear enclosure should be made of non-combustible material or be enclosed in a non-combustible cabinet. This was inspired by the large number of fires caused by overheating of consumer units in dwellings. Therefore, when you see a metal consumer unit into a house that you move into, remember that the law was made with your safety in mind.