How Do Changes To BS 7671 Come About?

The IET explains how the new changes to BS 7671 have developed, and why the 18th Edition is needed to ensure safety and standardisation within the industry.

BS 7671 has always been about improving the safety of electrical installations, minimising the risk of fires resulting from unsafe wiring, and a way of standardising electrical installation design.

JPEL/64 (the national Wiring Regulations committee) has a responsibility for keeping these standards up to date in-line with new and emerging technologies and industry developments, which are vast and fast moving. When the original ‘first edition’ was published in 1882, no-one dreamed of the uses for generating and using electricity in the ways that we do today. Solar power and electric vehicles would have been within the realms of science fiction, yet these are now part of our everyday lives.

JPEL/64 members also represent the UK on international electrotechnical committees, ensuring that the UK’s requirements are considered in the IEC Standards and CENELEC documents, the technical intent of which, the UK (as a CENELEC member) is obliged to take on.

BS 7671:2018 has been a major undertaking for JPEL/64. A number of new Regulations, or changes to existing Regulations, have been carefully considered, put out for public consultation, and debated within the committee. Examples of both a UK-based, safety-focused change and a change resulting from IEC and CENELEC requirements are as follows:

A new Regulation 521.10.202 is a UK-based change to improve upon the previous Regulation (521.11.201), requiring methods of support of wiring systems to be adequately supported against their premature collapse in the event of a fire. This applies throughout the installation and not just in escape routes, as was previously the case.

A new Regulation 421.1.7, based on IEC and CENELEC requirements, 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.

Arc faults can result from series arcs or parallel arcs. Whilst RCDs can offer protection against earth faults, RCDs cannot detect a series arc fault because there is no leakage current to earth.

Mark Coles, head of technical regulations at the IET, explains further, “JPEL/64, the national Wiring Regulations committee, carefully considers all necessary updates to the Regulations to ensure they best meet the needs of the industry.

“The 18th Edition of the IET Wiring Regulations contains some significant changes to the way all electrical professionals are required to carry out their work in order to safeguard themselves and the public. With this in mind, it is essential that all electrical professionals ensure that they are up to speed with the new requirements.”

“Requirements are constantly changing, and in such a fast-moving industry, the IET Wiring Regulations will need to constantly evolve as technological and environmental factors increase in importance to the way that we live our lives.

The IET is providing everything needed to ensure that you are up to date with the new requirements, offering BS 7671 guidance, online training and digital subscriptions to the Regulations to help industry get prepared for the 18th Edition.

Find out more on the IET website.

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