Demystifying key electrical regulations

Chris Cerisola, NICEIC Qualified Supervisor at Artic Buliding Services, identifies key areas from the current Edition change that may assist the compliance of Estates and Facilities

Artic Building Services Ltd is celebrating our 21st year in business. We deliver expert and innovative Hard FM Services to a broad spectrum of acute and blue-chip clients with a focus on electricity disciplines, ranging from small to large installations, to both reactive and planned preventative maintenance. However, we are also committed to the FM, HVAC and Electrical Industries, keeping our finger on the pulse of legislation changes.

Due to the current Edition change, of which our electricians are now up to date, we take our electrical knowledge and understanding very seriously.

This article concentrates on a few areas Artic have pinpointed that may assist Estates and Facilities in navigating and understanding key changes that will benefit their compliance and activities.

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 changed, in 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.” is 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, as opposed to a 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 area has drawn a lot of attention and the IET has spent a lot of time on it. This is also an area that is to be taken seriously, as most businesses have 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. However, for the estates teams, they have the peace of mind that there is an additional item of protection that will safe guard the sensitive equipment deemed 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 made from 17th to 18th Edition, the selected few in this article are areas that we know may affect the day-to-day business for us in both installations and maintaining current and future clients’ electrical installations.

If you require any further information, contact Artic. Please find the list of accredited governing or informative bodies listed here: www.niceic.com, www.theiet.org, www.electrium.co.uk, www.hager.co.uk, www.eaton.com.

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