New Wiring Requirements
An old-fashioned fuse board is an indication that at least part of a property’s electrical installation is out of date. Modern cabling is coated in white or grey PVC, so if the cables in your property are insulated by rubber, fabric or lead, this, too, is a sign that the wiring needs to be updated. Apart from announcing the fact that the wiring is old, these insulating covers can rot and break down, potentially leading to a short circuit and to fire or electrocution.
The latest edition of the BS (British Standards) 7671 Wiring Regulations demands that all new consumer units include at least two RCDs. An RCD (residual circuit device) is an electrical wiring device that disconnects a circuit when the electric current between the energized conductor and the return conductor is uneven. Because these two wires should be carrying matching currents, a difference indicates an electrical anomaly – i.e. a leakage, potentially very dangerous.
Building Regulations Compliance Certificate
Replacing a consumer unit is a sizeable job. It takes a minimum of four hours, and can easily take twice that. The number of circuits will affect the time the job takes, and so will the location of the unit; if it’s in an awkward position, for example, high up or under the stairs, work will be slower. If you wish to have your consumer unit moved to a new location, this will take a lot more time and planning.
Installation of a new consumer unit is classified as notifiable work, which means that a homeowner is obligated, by law, to provide a Building Regulations Compliance Certificate, stating that the work carried out on the property meets the requirements of the Building Regulations Part P. This document must be completed and signed by an approved person – a contractor registered with a legitimate governing body – who will have carried out the work or checked someone else’s work.
Lee Chambers, Managing Director of LCD Electrical Services, is a qualified electrician with Part P certification, working in strict accordance with guidelines from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and the latest BS7671 Wiring Regulations. He is a member of the Electrical Safety Council and is registered on the Competent Person Scheme.
British Standard Wiring Regulations
It’s so easy to neglect our electrical installations until something goes wrong. The frightening thing about electricity is that when it goes wrong, it can kill. The British Standard Wiring Regulations exist as a safeguard – a yardstick against which to measure all electrical installations. It is advisable to assume that your wiring and consumer unit are not safe unless they meet the latest BS7671 regulations. This way, updating installations will not have to be preceded by injury or tragedy.