Why changes to the electrical regulations cost you money?
Since January 1, 2019, qualified and regulated electricians working at your home have been working on the 18th edition of the IET wiring codes BS 7671: 2018. Most electricians have updated their qualifications in recent months to reflect this change.
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So how does this affect you?
The main reasons for the updated rules are to improve safety and to take into account the latest technological developments. The changes have been extensive and there are some fundamental changes in BS 7671: 2018 that, as a result, have to pay the customer for additional equipment for even the most basic electrical installations.
The most important changes that influence the costs of a new electrical installation.
1) Requirements for Metal Cable Supports:
When new wiring is installed, it must be supported in a certain way to prevent premature fire collapse. This is to ensure that in the event of a fire, escaping people or fire service personnel entering a property do not get entangled in the dark with loose cables. The days of applying trunking with sticky back or a few plastic cable clips are over. Cables must now be supported by metal clips and holders. Plastic trunking can still be used, but a sufficient amount of additional metal restrictions must be used.
This will save lives.
Small extra material costs.
2) Requirements for RCD Protection:
In fact, these changes mean that all circuits in a home require RCD protection, while previous requirements omitted some circuits, e.g. lighting.
This prevents electrical shock.
Extra material costs.
3) Requirement to Prevent Unwanted Circuit Breakers:
RCDs are very fast-running devices that disconnect the current in the event of a fault, resulting in large amounts of “RCD,” thus avoiding the risk of an electric shock. During normal operation, modern electrical equipment can also generate a very small amount of the same ‘earth leakage current’. In some cases, if there are multiple items of electrical equipment on the same circuit, the cumulative amount of “earth leakage current” may also activate an earth leakage circuit breaker. The new regulation provides a number of solutions to prevent these unwanted journeys, the most practical being to use a single RCD (RCBO) on each individual circuit. This is likely to double the cost of equipment for a new fuse board.
This prevents electrical shocks and avoidable unwanted trips
The costs of the equipment have risen enormously
4) Requirement for Adequate Protection against Temporary Spans of Atmospheric Origin:
To meet this in certain circumstances, your electrician must install an ‘Overvoltage protection (SPD)’. An SPD is a small device that fits into your new consumer unit and protects your entire electrical system from damage caused by lightning and power surges from the electrical supply.
Our houses are full of electronic equipment on which we rely on our daily activities. Almost everything you connect to a power outlet is destroyed by a lightning strike or a surge without SPD and this can cause a fire. If you work from home, you can lose valuable and irreparable data from computers and backup disks.
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For most buildings with the exception of individual homes (your home) an SPD must be mounted on new work. In most individual homes, the risk is considered to be low enough that you do not need to have SPD installed, although you can choose to do this. If an SPD is mounted on a new fuse board, this can add £ 100 – £ 200 to the costs.
SPDs save lives and property.
The costs of the equipment have risen enormously.
While electricians and the electrical industry are getting used to the new regulations and how they are interpreted, it is important that the customer makes sure that his electrician is aware of the latest IET wiring regulations BS 7671: 2018 when requesting quotes for household electrical work.
Do not worry….
The regulatory change does not mean that your current electrical system is now unsafe or that an electrical test conducted after January 1, 2019, will not pass, but these must be applied to new installations. If in doubt, consult a registered electrician.