18th Edition Seminar: the lowdown
We look back at our 18th Edition Seminar and what effect AFDDs will have…
As contractors are fully aware, BS 7671:2018 was issued in July this year and will come in to effect on 1st January. The new regulations apply to the design, erection and verification of electrical installations, plus additions and alterations to existing installations.
Due to the amount of changes from the 17th Edition, Hager recently held a very successful seminar at BEW’s Ilford branch to untangle the new regulations.
Biggest challenges discussed
1. Protection Against Electric Shock
Section 411 contains a number a significant changes and proved to be one of the most popular topics of discussion. In particular, the amends to socket outlets, which are now required to have RCD protection at 30mA or less should their rating be up to 32A. This has increased from the previous 20A rating. Also of important note was the fact that dwellings now require every socket outlet to have RCD protection, no exception. "The small change to the RCDs is a problem for contractors, but it mostly comes down to cost," Terry informed BEW.
Arc Fault Detection Devices are designed to detect and disconnect dangerous electrical arcs in fixed wiring and connected equipment that could be the source of a fire. "This is the biggest challenge for contractors," Terry Harris, Hager’s Technical Engineer and seminar speaker told us. "As they are only a recommendation in the new regulations, they are still hotly debated". During the seminar, some contractors argued that AFDDs are of no benefit to the electrical industry, whereas others were in favour of the additional protection against fire.
3. Protection Against Transient Over-voltages
Chapter 44 carries a big change – previously, the requirements to provide surge protection devices or not was rather complex. However, this has all been removed, with the 18th Edition now requiring protection against transient over-voltage in specific consequences, such as results in serious injury.
4. Supporting of cables
Amendment 3 to the 17th Edition caused a great deal of confusion among contractors with the term ‘escape routes’. But the 18th Edition has now clarified this and made it clear that all wiring systems should be supported to ensure they will not be liable to premature collapse in a fire (not just those above an escape route). This was an important subject at the seminar, as it also covered the need for effective and efficient fireclips.
5. Overload Protection
In the new regulation 5126.96.36.199, the 18th Edition states that ‘RCBs and switches do not provide protection against overload, so they shall be protected by an overcurrent protective device’ – the seminar covered the three different overload protection methods available.
The biggest takeaway? Contractors were advised to use a consumer unit which is 100A rated with 100A RCCBs fitted as standard to conform to RCCB and switches overload protection requirements.
It seems that a lot of contractors know what they need to do to comply with the 18th Edition, and Terry is confident that most of you are happy with the changes and are taking a proactive view. "On the whole, the contractors left the BEW seminar feeling more prepared and informed," he told us. "There is just a huge concern surrounding the AFDDs – it’s a very grey area and no manufacturer has the capacity to supply the UK market at the moment."
James Brooks, Manager at BEW Ilford also agreed, but added that "surge protection is the biggest and most confusing change, and no one knows just how solid it is."