What is the 18th Edition and Why is it So Important?

The 18th Edition is the term commonly used in the industry when referring to the latest British Standards BS 7671:2018 Requirements for Electrical Installations, IET Wiring Regulations.

You may also hear it referred to as:
  • Wiring Regs
  • The Regs
  • 18th Edition wiring regs
  • BS 7671

What is the 18th Edition?

The IET Wiring Regulations is a British standard for the installation of electrical wiring and is considered to be one of the most important documents for electricians in the UK. The regulations apply to the design, erection and verification of electrical installations, plus additions and alterations to existing installations. As such the Wiring Regulations is an essential publication for all professionals working in the electrotechnical engineering services industry.

The 18th Edition Wiring Regulations (BS 7671:2018), written by the IET (The Institution of Engineering and Technology) and the Standards Policy and Strategy Committee, was published in July 2018, and came into effect in January 2019. This replaces the 17th Edition, which was first published in 2008 and updated in 2015, and includes changes such as new and revised regulations, new chapters and restructured sections.

You might be surprised to hear that the first document was published in 1882, and has since been updated on a regular basis to reflect new developments and best practice.

You might also be surprised to learn that the BS 7671 isn’t a legal document in itself. It does, however, contain the guidelines and processes by which all electrical installations must adhere in order to comply with the legal requirements of the Electricity at Work Regulations. Therefore, it is treated in a similar way and is widely recognised in the industry as an authority.

Who needs the 18th Edition?

If you work in electrical installation you will need to make sure that you are designing and installing to the latest regulations to ensure the protection of persons, livestock and property, as well as the proper function of electrical installations.


Why do I need to know about the 18th Edition?

If you work on electrical installations in the UK then you need to know about the BS 7671 as this applies to the wiring installation you will be working on.

If you don’t have the 18th Edition, or don’t know what the regulations include, your installations may not meet the current standard, which could mean that your installations are unsafe or inefficient.

The IET Wiring Regulations is an extremely detailed book (referred to by some as the ‘big blue book’). It is accepted that most people won’t memorise it from front to back, and that’s Ok as no one would expect this. However, what you are required to be is fully aware of its contents and to understand how to reference them and relate them to specific situations.

What you will need, if you want to work in this industry is the 18th Edition qualification. You will also find that when looking to register as a domestic installer on a competent persons scheme, you will need to prove you are up-to-date with the latest qualification even if you have previously completed a Level 3 NVQ. You will also find that when looking to register with the new ECS Check System it is a requirement that you hold this qualification.

If you don’t have this qualification you may find it hard to secure work with large companies and agencies, as they may require that electricians working for them have this qualification as a minimum.

Please be aware that by holding the 18th edition qualification does not mean you are qualified to work as an electrician.

What are the key changes in the 18th Edition?

Examples of some of the significant changes in the 18th Edition are listed below:

Protection against electric shock – Chapter 41 (Section 411 contains a number of significant changes)

Metallic pipes entering the building

  • The maximum disconnection times for some final circuits.
  • Regulation 411.3.3 has been revised and now applies to socket-outlets with a rated current not exceeding 32A.
  • A new Regulation 411.3.4 requires that, within domestic (household) premises, additional protection by an RCD shall be provided for AC final circuits supplying luminaires.
  • Protection against thermal effects - Chapter 42
  • A new Regulation 421.1.7 has been introduced recommending the installation of Arc Fault Detection Devices (AFDDs) to mitigate the risk of fire in AC final circuits of a fixed installation due to the effects of arc fault currents.

Selection and erection of wiring systems - Chapter 52
This is a significant change. Regulation 521.10.202 requires cables to be adequately supported against their premature collapse in the event of a fire and applies throughout the installation, not just in escape routes as previously.

Electric vehicle charging installations - Section 722
This section contains significant changes to Regulation 722.411.4.1 concerning the use of a PME supply. Changes have been made to requirements for external influences, RCDs, socket outlets and connectors.

Energy efficiency – Appendix 17
This is a new appendix that provides recommendations for the design and erection of electrical installations.

What course options are available?

Here at TS4U we offer a full 3 day full 18th Edition course as well as 1 day update options for those who have recently achieved their 17th Edition, 3rd amendment. We also offer weekend options and online courses. You can view the full list of our 18th Edition course options on this page.

The 18th Edition course is essential for all electricians working in the UK and training is highly recommended to ensure that all installers have a thorough understanding of the new regulations. The 18th Edition is also one of the most recognised qualifications by employers.

Holding this qualification could be an indication of a person’s commitment to ensuring good practice within the industry.

This course isn’t only appropriate for practicing electricians and domestic installers, it’s also popular with allied professionals, such as electrical engineers, contracts managers, consultants, designers, surveyors. It is also popular with those working in other related trades who need to update and enhance their understanding of the IET Wiring Regulations.

If you are interested in finding out about the other courses we offer please visit our course finder page, alternatively please speak to a Course Adviser on 0800 856 4448, who will be happy to help.

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