Electrical wiring regulations have changed – are you aware?

Electricity is a major part of our lives, powering our homes & businesses. We take it for granted that at the flick of a switch a light will come on, but many are unaware as to the changes in wiring regulations and the necessity to ensure safe electrical installations.

The 17th edition wiring regulations was introduced in 2008 and saw a complete re-structure of the wiring regulations and introduced us to 100% RCD protection – essential for ensuring safety, particularly in homes. The new update expands on this but focuses mainly on more thorough inspection and testing.

The wiring code has now been updated – the 17th edition update 1 has been in force as of 1st January 2012 and all new installations and additions must comply.

Summary of changes in amendement 1:

  • Minor updates to regulations
  • Updates to disconnection times
  • Special consideration for Electromagnetic interference – EMI
  • Surge Protection Devices – SPDs
  • Inspection & Testing – ECIRs
  • Updates to special locations
  • Inclusion of Medical Locations to special locations
  • Inclusion of Operating and maintenance gangways to special locations

The changes include minor updates to the electrical wiring regulations to align the UK and European regulations with some additions to special wiring locations, but the biggest changes are to electrical inspection & testing.

An electrical inspection is essentially a MOT on your electrical installation and is recommended for all Domestic, Commercial & Industrial electrical installations. An electrical installation is a fixed wiring system made up of equipment, such as a consumer unit (fuse box), lighting and power circuits, and switches and sockets. Your electrics may look good on the outside, but cables & switches deteriorate with prolonged use, so they all need to be checked and necessary replacements or repairs made in good time.

Every home & business owner has a responsibility to ensure all properties are electrically sound. Particularly landlords who are bound under the landlords and tenants act 1995 which requires landlords of properties to ensure the electrical installation is in good and safe condition when the tenancy begins and maintained electrics thereafter and throughout the tenancy.

The update will see the familiar Periodic Inspection Report change to Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). With this the inspection, testing & reporting and testing is vastly improved with a new inspection schedule broken down into many detailed sections – making it easier for the client ordering the inspection to understand the overall condition of their electrical installation with clear, concise observations and recommendations recorded by the assessor.

Electrical contractors are aware of these changes, Crannis Technology Services Ltd has already invested in new 17th edition update 1 technology – and are currently installing & testing to the new wiring regulations ahead of time.

Be aware that as of 1st January 2012 all new installations, additions & inspections will be required to meet update 1 regulations. If you have concerns about the new regulations the Electrical Safety Council is a good reference. They can be found online at http://www.esc.org.uk

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