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Essential Amendment 3 Information For January 2016

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 22nd December 2015

With the final 1st January 2016 deadline nearly upon us we revisit the 3rd amendment to BS6761 17th edition and have laid out some key information that installers must be aware of.

1. Metal Consumer Units must now be installed

The first and most crucial bit of information on this date is that from the 1st of January all consumer units designed and installed must be made from non-combustible material. This basically means that most new consumer units will be made from metal rather than plastic as they have been in the past. Although Amendment 3 came into force from the 1st July 2015, the date from which the regulations relating to metal consumer units comes into force is the 1st January 2016. Any installations designed before the 1st January 2016 can comply with the previous regulations. Any installations designed from January 2016 must now use metal consumer units. The reason for this was to give manufacturers enough time to make the switch to producing metal consumer units. Had it been implemented earlier we may have found a lack in supply of the new metal clad consumer units which in turn would have a huge impact on industry.

You should be up to date on all the other key changes to the 17th edition which came into force from the 1st July 2015, however if you are not then you really need to make sure you check out our free online seminar. We have also listed come of the other key changes below, however you should have been up to speed with these since the 1st July deadline.

2. New numbering system

A new numbering system has come into force. Regulations with a .100 number are CENELEC requirements and those with a .200 number are specific to the UK.

3. Definitions

Definitions have been tweaked and modified. There has also been the addition of some new symbols and a new list of abbreviations . One major change has been the removal of the definition of ‘competent person’. This was very surprising especially since the industry had set up http://www.electricalcompetentperson.co.uk/. This has been replaced with ‘instructed person (electrically)’ and ‘skilled person (electrically)’.

4. Protection against electric shock

It is now a required socket-outlets up to 20A for all installations have RCD protection bar a couple of exceptions:

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 tables 41.2, 41.3, 41.4 and 41.6 have been adjusted to take account of the Cmin factor.

5. Protection against thermal effects

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. See the introductory paragraph.

6. 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.

7. Selection and erection of wiring systems

A new regulation has been included which requires that wiring systems within escape routes shall be supported so that they are not liable to premature collapse in the event of fire. This precludes the use of non-metallic cable clips, cable ties or cable trunking as the sole means of support, so yes we still can use plastic trunking conduit but not as the sole support.

8. Other equipment

A new section 557 Auxiliary Circuits has been added. These are defined in Part 2.

9. Luminaires and lighting installation

Requirements for outdoor lighting installations and extra low voltage lighting installations have been moved to sections 714 and 715.

10. Special Installations or Locations Section

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

11. Appendix 3

Time/current characteristics 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.

12. Appendix 6

Appendix 6 introduced a new Schedule of Inspections for initial verification, complete with relevant regulation numbers which is similar in layout to the one used for periodic inspection and the inclusion of the regulation numbers should make it easier to understand and complete.

The Electrical Installation Condition Report includes the requirement for inspection to be carried out in accessible roof spaces where electrical equipment is present. You can download your revised documentation here.

If you need to know more then check out our Free online 3rd amendment seminar or look into taking our full 17th edition course at one of our 3 locations.


Categories: amendment 3

Truly Handy Secret Santa Gifts for Sparkies

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 14th December 2015

So the season of Christmas Parties is upon us and that only means many of us will be struggling to come up with a secret Santa idea for someone else at work. Yes there is a great temptation to get a joke gift, but you would be amazed what you can pick up for under £15 that can really make a difference to a sparky in their day to day job. So below is a list of some super handy gifts which every sparky would love to have in their toolbox this Christmas. 

1. Magnetic Telescopic Extending Light - Super hand for picking up dropped screws and all sorts of bits and pieces. This telescopic magnet light is an absolute bargain at only £6 from Amazon.

2. Super Head Torch with 3 lights - Every sparky will let you know they could not do without their head torch. This one is just £13.95, has 4 settings including a strobe setting which could be super handy on the dance floor at the Christmas party.

3. Automatic Wire Stripper - These wires strippers will save any electrician loads of time by enabling them to quickly and accurately strip a wide range of wires from 0.2mm to 6.0mm. They also automatically adjust to strip round and flat wires.

4. Safety Glasses - At just £9.90 these safety goggles are an must have piece of kit. If you have ever had a spark in your eye or a piece of metal then you will know how important it is to protect them when working in certain situations.

5. Portable Kettle - You would not believe how often you can get to a job and not have a means to make a decent brew. With this kettle in the car or van you will never get caught short as it charges from the in car cigarette lighter. A bargain at just £12.45.

6. Gel Knee Pads - If a sparky doesn't own a pair of these then they are going to be in real trouble after a few years. For just £13.99 you can crawl around in comfort. these pads are anti-slip and anti-marking too!

7. Angle Screw Driver Set - Yes there is a theme building up here. Electricians spend a huge amount of time in confined spaces with hard to read items such as screws. This adjustable angle screwdriver set is just £6.99!

8. Electricians Draw Tape - It's no easy task pulling cable through trunking without one of these. A simple but ingenious design makes this draw tape small and easy to use with a handy brake set into the handle.

9. Volt Pen - Every sparky probably has about 10 of these in various places so it will be no problem to add another to the collection. Super handy and only £9.35.

10. Cable Tie Gun - Simple and effective, pre-load this cable tie gun and fire away. It can be set to a range of tensions and has automatic flush cable tie cut off too. A snip at £10.99! 

The list could go on forever, however you won't go too wrong with any of the above tools as they really will save time or help any electrician out on a daily basis.

Categories: gifts, secret santa

Can You Become An Electrician If You Are Colour Blind?

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 10th December 2015

This is a question we get asked time and time again from customer looking to take electrician courses. Generally speaking these days you can work as an electrician with most forms of colour blindness, including the most common form which is a red / green deficiency. However if you suspect you may be colour blind you must make sure when you come across older coloured wires which are easier to get confused, that you use tools or a work colleague to identify the correct ones. Most people with the most common forms of colour blindness can manage their condition as and when required, however for some people (very few who can see no colour at all) colour blindness can mean they can’t pursue a career as an electrician and many other careers. Find out more below:

Electrical Apprentices Need To Pass A Colour Blindness Test

If you are looking to register on an apprenticeship scheme there is a colour blindness test that you must pass in order to proceed. This does not apply however, if you are self-funding your training and simply taking your Tech Certs such as the C&G 2365 courses or training as a domestic installer.

Wire Colours and Colour Blindness

Up until the 1970’s single phase electrical wires were coloured green, black and red. This was an issue since the most common form of colour blindness is where red and green are perceived as identical due a reduced sensitivity to red or green light.

As a result since the late 70’s the colour multi coloured (yellow and green) Earth was introduced, however it was only since 2004 that red was phased completely and brown now represents single phase line and blue represents the neutral. See the images below:

Handy to Know

As such these days colour blindness is less of an issue for those working as electricians particularly in a domestic setting. If you are training as a domestic installer or funding your own training as an electrician then there is no pre-requisite to take a colour blindness test. However it is recommended that you are aware of any colour blindness issues to help protect you and others. Although the red, black and green wires have been phased out it is likely that these will still be present in old installations and in those situations electricians must make sure they get things right. 

Take a test

You can visit any optician for a colour blindness test, however if you want you can take an initial test online. If you take an online test you must be aware that differences in screen settings, colour settings and brightness make it difficult to rely on the result. However as a quick guide it is worth a shot to see what comes up. The following test opens in a new website window. Once you have completed the test the results will tell you how colour blind you may be. Remember to read the instructions before taking the test. Simply put you need to:

State the number you see

State the number of different coloured lines you can see

If you can not clearly see either a number or 1/2 lines then simply leave the field blank

Click on the image below to launch the test:

Some Fun Handy Apps

If you do suffer from colour blindness it is handy to know that these days there are a number of apps that can help you identify the right colours using a smart phone. Search for some of the following on the App Store or Google Play store and have a go:

Color Blind Pal - This is free and works very simply by naming the colours you aim your phone at. The colour descriptions are clear and simple.

Color ID - This is free and works in almost the same way as the above app. The colour descriptions seem to be fairly creative which may make it harder for users to know if its a simple red or green.