What are the IEE 17th Edition Wiring Regulations?
The Regulations themselves purely outline a standard by which all electrical installations, using mains generated electricity, are installed in domestic and commercial environments. The Wiring Regulations are co-published by the IEE and BSI (British Standards Institution) with the IEE taking on the role as the authority on electrical Installation.
The Wiring Regulations are designed primarily to keep both the public, electricians and building safe from harm of any kind which could be associated with electrical wiring and it's connection through electrical circuits.
The History of the IEE Wiring Regulations
In 1882, the first edition of the wiring regulations (The Regs) was published as a guidance structure for preventing fires which were caused by electric lighting, a problem which was prolific in the late 1800s as people latched on to this new form of lighting.
The first electric light was actually made by Humphrey Davy in 1800 but the filament burned out very quickly and subsequent inventors and scientists embarked on the search for a filament that would glow without burning.
In 1879 Thomas Edison discovered that passing a current through a carbon filament held in an oxygen free glass bulb, would glow for over 40 hours without burning. He worked on this design for the next few years producing, in 1881, a bulb which would glow bright for over 1500 hours.
Throughout this time however, less robust bulbs and burning filaments were responsible for a great deal of fires as the unattended, burning filaments fell onto flammable items. The Wiring Regulations were born only at that time and they were referred to as rules.
In 1897 the 3rd Edition was published and they were called “General Rules recommended for Wiring the Supply of Electrical Energy”.
Electric cables were now being installed to carry electrical current to all parts of the house. These cables could easily overheat, causing fires, and this added to the problem caused by the low grade lighting filaments.
The Wiring Rules became the Wiring Regulations in 1903 when the IEE (institute of Electrical Engineers) had become recognised as an authority after being founded in 1871 and then changing their name from The Society of Telegraph Engineers and Electricians in 1889. In 1921 the IEE was incorporated by Royal Charter.
In 2006 the IEE became the IET (The Institution of Engineering and Technology. More about the history of the IET can be found here.
History of Editions of Wiring Regulations
|1st Edition||1882||The Wiring Rules|
|2nd||1888||The Wiring Rules|
|3rd||1897||General Rules recommended for Wiring for the Supply of Electrical Energy|
|4th||1903||IEE now responsible for Wiring rules|
|5th||1907||Changed to IEE Wiring Regulations|
|8th||1924||Changed to IEE Regulations for the Electrical Equipment of Buildings|
|11th||1939||Revised in 1943, reprint with minor amendments in 1945, supplement in 1946, further revised in 1948|
|12th||1950||Supplement issued 1954|
|13th||1955||Reprinted in 1958, 1961, 1962, 1964|
|14th||1966||Reprinted in 1968, 1969, 1969 again (metric units 1970 (in metric units), 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976|
|15th||1981||Various reprints until 1988|
|16th||1991||Reprinted with amendments 1992, 1994, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2004|
|British Standard adopted||1992||BS 7671|
|Brought into Building Regulations||2004||Part P was born. See our separate project on Part P|
|17th Edition||2004||current standard as of April 2015. See notes below|
Thanks to Wikipedia for the information contained in the table above.
As a point of interest, because DIY Doctor is visited by people from so many countries, our wiring regulations are also used as standard practice in Mauritius, Saint Vincent, Sierra Leone, Trinidad & Tobago, Sri Lanka, Cyprus, St Lucia and Uganda.
A Word of Warning: To complete electrical works you must comply with Electrical Regulations - Click here for more information, as well as reviewing the information below.
What is BS7671
BS7671 (The IEE Wiring Regulations) are the national standard to which all domestic and industrial wiring must conform. The 17th edition contains substantial changes to align with European documents.
What is the British Standards Institute
The British Standards Institute (founded 1901 as the Engineering Standards Committee) was set up to provide a standard (an agreed way of doing something). For a full explanation of standards and what they can be defined as can be found here on the BSI website.
"Providing a realisable basis for people to share the same expectations about a product or service while enhancing consumer protection and confidence" - The BSI Group Ltd
When working to British Standards, organisations are expected to use a quality management standard, health and safety standards, security standards, construction and energy standards as well as the standards that apply in their own industry.
British Standards are guidelines only, they are not enforceable by law, however individual organisations can insist that any products or services supplied comply with all recommendations contained in any given British Standard. This is certainly the case with the Electrical Regulations and BS7671.
Guidance on the Application of the Requirements of 17th Edition IEE regulations
The British Standards are compiled using the collective wisdom of a number of bodies. In the case of the IEE Wiring Regulations 17th Edition, the technical guidance concerning the application of the requirements of BS7671: 2008 (IEE Wiring Regulations 17th Edition) has been discussed and agreed by a forum.
This forum of members comprises of technical representatives from the following bodies, hosted by the Electrical Safety Council. (further information on each body can be found on their respective websites that can be visited by clicking on each company logo below).
- Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors: The aims of the APHC are to provide heating and plumbing engineers with benefits and support which enables them to run their businesses profitably and successfully. They also exist to encourage best practice and training within their members to make sure the consumer enjoys quality workmanship and good service
- BEAMA (British Electrotechnical and Allied Manufacturers' Association): is a Trade Association representing manufacturers of products which are used to provide electrical infrastructures and systems. Some of their work involves trying to gain a level of standardisation in political and regulatory issues in the UK (and at European and International levels)
- BSI Product Services: The testing and certification arm of the British Standards Institute
- Gas Safe: Official list of engineers who have reached a level of competency that allows them to install and rest gas equipment
- ECA: The Electrical Contractors Association is a Trade Association which has at heart the interests of the consumer and it's members by representing the contractors who provide, install, inspect and test electronic and electrical equipment and services
- ELECSA Ltd: Providing inspection, assessment and certification services to contractors working across the building services sectors. Especially designed to inspect and certify for Part P of the building Regulations
- Electrical Safety Council: An advisory body ensuring that everyone in the UK has an understanding of the importance of electrical safety
- NAPIT Registration Ltd: The National (Trade) Association of Electrical Inspectors and Testers A competent persons scheme designed to ensure the quality and reliability of tradesmen
- NICEIC Group Ltd: The National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting. Providing regulation and training for quality electricians who meet all required standards
- OFTEC: Oil and Renewable Heating Technologies. A trade association providing competent persons for gas and renewable energy installations
- SELECT: Scotland's Trade Association for the electrical and electronics communications system industry
How is Safety Information Regarding the Wiring Regulations Given to the Public?
A large amount of the responsibility for getting safety messages regarding the application of the wiring regulations to consumers and contractors alike is given to the Electrical Safety Council who do this through their website called Electrical Safety First.
Electrical Safety First is a charity dedicated to reducing injury and death caused by electrical accidents. Advice is provided by experts via an advice and guide section which explains how to stay safe with:
- Visual checks on appliances and installations in the home
- Safety first on electrical DIY
- Kitchen electrical safety
- Bathroom electrical safety
- Electrical safety in the garden
- Fire safety
- Earthing and Bonding help
- Fuses - What they do and how they do it
- Circuit breakers - What are they
- Residual Current Devices
- Checking the age of your wiring
- Electrical Dangers round the home
- Checking the condition of plugs, flexible cables and sockets
- Adaptors and extension leads
The electrical regulations (encompassing the IEE regs, Approved Documents etc....) cover pretty much all aspects of wiring and electrical installation and although some see them as a pain and hindrance, they are absolutely essential in ensuring that those carrying out electrical work and the end user of any installation work is kept safe from injury from start to finish!