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.
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.