DIY Doctor

New Electrical Regulations.

Postby Andrew Betteridge » Fri Feb 29, 2008 8:05 pm

I am an Electrician who came across this Site whilst searching for some information, having looked through the Forum and some of the advice given in the articles, I have to break the News to you that some of the advice and information on this Site will become oboslete and incorrect on the 30th June 2008, when all new Electrical work will have to comply with the new 17th Edition of the Requirements for Electrical Installations BS7671:2008 published on the 1st January 2008.

Also Part P of the Building Regulations and Notification of certain Electrical Work to the Local Council has been Law now for several years resulting in some hefty fines of £4000 to £1600 beening imposed on people who have broken these Laws.

I have taken and passed the new City and Guilds Qualification for the 17th edition of the Wiring Regulations and know from this that in future every job will have to be assessed individually as to how compliance with the regulations can be acheived.

In Domestic properties the main changes are that in future every Plug Socket will have to be protected by a 30mA RCD, as will vitually every Cable buried in a Wall. this is because people are to be protected from their own carelessness.

One of the downsides to this is if you have had a new Split Load Consumer Unit fitted where some Circuits are not protected by the 30mA RCD or you do not have a RCD fitted at all, you may have to upgrade the Consumer Unit before altering or extending the Electrical Installation, (fitting one RCD upfront for the whole House may not comply with the Regulations).

Manufacturers are starting to produce Consumer Units with two RCD's and RCBO's will become common.

This is why there are so many Consumer Units being offered at Discounted prices as there is a massive stock clearance taking place before they become oboslete or need a row of expensive RCBO's adding to them.

During 2008 Electrical Installation will become more expensive encouraging people to DIY, but be warned you could face a hefty fine if you should have notified the Council and paid the Inspection Fees, but did not do so, plus you have a legal responsibilty to make sure your work is safe, it may be your own Home but when you sell it any dodgy work becomes the purchasers problem and they may decide to seek Compensation from you with the Council bringing a Court case as well.

My life as a Electrician is going to be challenging as when I go to quote for altering the Electrics in a Kitchen it could end up as a quote for the work in the Kitchen a new Consumer Unit, new Meter tails, New Main Earth, New Bonding to Gas, Water and Oil Pipes etc, also a Periodic Inspection Report of the existing Installation to ensure safe reconnection to the new Consumer Unit, an Installation certificate, Notification to the Local council Building Control, all to comply with the requirements after 30th June 2008, people are going to think I am a Conman trying to make money by adding extra work to the Job.

Isn't Life Fun!

Andrew Betteridge
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Simply Build It

Postby ericmark » Sat Mar 01, 2008 12:34 am

Much of what you say has some truth but if you had read through many of the replies given you will see constant reference to Part P. I and many others that the attitude people will always try to do things them selves and not to give any advice will result in people putting themselves and others in danger. If you tell some one they can’t do something because its against the law 90% will still do it. However if you explain how they must first inform building controls and how they will need to fill in complicated forms and buy expensive test equipment and also need to prove they are competent before they can sign the forms and also pay building controls in order for insurance to be valid and to protect their loved ones they are far more likely to pay for a skilled electrician. Plus if they do it themselves it is more likely to be safe.
The new regulations do seem to produce some problems and most of these as you say revolve around the RCD. 531.2.9 for the first time brings in discrimination for RCD’s not only in tripping current but also tripping time. Yet 411.3.2.2 also shows on the TT system the use of S type on final circuits is not permitted so the practice of just replacing the main incoming switch with a 100 mA S type or immediate is no longer allowed so the incoming supply must feed both RCD’s in parallel. This will result in not having a single control to isolate the supply built into the consumer unit but for quite a few years the supply authorities have been providing an isolator so I would not think this is too mush of a problem. Plus there are less and less TT supplies being used.
As to the walls all that has really happened is the recommendations that were in the guilds are now in the regulations and the zones 522.6.6 (v) still exist only with walls which include metallic parts 522.6.8 does the problem arrive. Using metal capping will be a problem as it would not come under screws and the like and would effectively make it a wall with metallic parts so would need an RCD to 415.1.1 (30ma 40ms)
Caravans and mobile homes are also a problem not covered by Part P as they are not buildings but now with more regulation. 708.553.1.13 refers to 415.1.1 yet 721.411.1 also refers to 415.1.1 which would convene regulation 531.2.9 also it stipulates non metallic conduit in spite of regulation 522.6.8 and at last using twin and earth in a caravan is outlawed 721.521.2 I have argued many times over that. Although the minimum size of 1.5mm² was a surprise 721.524.1 I wonder how many auto-electricians know the 17th Edition now involves them?
As to testing more than you work on that has always been the case. Simply connecting a central heating boiler to the FCU has since the 16th was first introduced required the earth loop impedance etc. to be tested and the results entered on the minor works certificate.
As to changing consumer units I can’t see this would really be required although I have seen many fitted with undersize RCD’s only rated at 60 amp not 100 amp 531.2.8 Fridges and freezers can still have a non RCD supply but now the socket will need marking as fridge/freezer only 411.3.3(b)
As to fines for non compliance with Part P when and where has this happened? I have seen work being ripped out and re-done but not found any reports of any fines in spite of having family in legal establishments it would be good to be able to refer to case law in this area.
As to RCBO's becoming common I am not so sure. Unless the price drops only industry where power tripping costs money are likely to use many of these. May be if because of higher industrial demand the price drops then they may be used more in the domestic market.
Since the 1st January 2008 one has been able to use the 17th Edition either may be used until 30 June 2008 but on that date it will not make anything installed before that date non compliant you can still inspect and test and pass an installations as complying with a previous edition. In the same way as we have with all the wiring colours. All bathroom circuits must have RCD protection, but supplementary bonding need not be provided. 701.415.2 halfway down which basically says if the new regulations 411.3.2, 701.411.3.3, 411.3.1.2 have been complied with i.e. 17th edition has been followed not previous version then you don’t need it. When referring to BS7671:2008 it would help if you give where it say it. It is very easy to not realise your in some special section and make mistakes for example I could say the minimum cable size allowed is 1.5mm² which is what the regulations do say but it only refers to caravans and if I include 721.524.1 then others can easily see my mistake and connect it. I realise that web links are not allowed so giving a location on IET website will not work and of course those who are not members may not be able to access it anyway as I note as soon as I log in “Members onlyâ€

Postby BrianBW » Sun Mar 02, 2008 9:02 am

Hi ericmark,
As someone retired now 10 years and owning a Motorhome, which connects to the mains by flexible cable. [ I am now pretty 'rusty' on the regulations. ]
I was concerned to read your reply and to quote:' and at last using twin and earth in a caravan is outlawed 721.521.2 I have argued many times over that.'
Can you explain what you mean as my motorhome has domestic style wiring and then connected to the owners electric with flexible cable, usually with RCD. Also the earth is connected to chassis!
Look forward to you reply.
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Postby Andrew Betteridge » Sun Mar 02, 2008 1:12 pm

Don't lose youself in the technical stuff Eric, the simple truth is the majority of British homes have oboslete fuseboards which were never designed to take RCD's and RCBO's to provide the protection now required for certain additions to existing Electrical Installations after June 2008.

For a specific example of this all Crabtree Starbreaker Consumer Units made before July 1992 do not have any parts available apart from MCB's, so even though to most people they look like nice new modern units they are effectivly oboslete.

The majority of Homes do not have any RCD protection at all built into the Installation and the overall standard of Electrical Installations in British homes is very low. Hence these Homes will require upgrading prior to some relatively simple work being carried out, with replacing the Consumer Unit being the most cost effective way of complying even at several hundred pounds. Bear in mind in a Kitchen you could have three or more circuits to add RCD protection too, Cooker, Sockets and Lights.

This however means of complying with the regulations will have to be assessed on each job as there are many variables, for example if you wired a new central heating boiler from a existing switched fused spur, ran the cables surfaced fixed in mini-trunking and through the timber floor joists correctly positioned then you would not need a RCD, however if you chased cables into the wall to get to a hard wired room thermostat you would, replace the room with a wireless one, then you wouldn't and so it goes on.

The days of stating "this is how it is done" are numbered with more thought having to be put into design.

Regards the fines for not complying with part P, it is all true!. personally I think Part P is Legislation that needs reviewing by the Government as it was not drawn up correctly, it was never advertised as the Government paid for TV adverts to be prepared then wanted the TV companies to air them free as public information, which the TV companies refused to do, the Councils receive no income from the notification schemes and many shredded the early notifications as they did not have resources to deal with them, only when the Insurance Companies told them to behave did something get done about it. How the Govenment expect the general public to know about or understand the Building regulations Part P I really do not know.

There is now a new system in place where Electricians are being asked to notify the operators of the Competent Persons scheme thay are in of law breaking Electrical work, the scheme Operators will pass the information onto the Local Authority Association who will notify the Local Council responsible for the area then monitor that Council to see that action is taken and the local Building Control do not ignore it.

Strange thing is at the moment if a dodgy Electrician is not caught out in six months nothing will be done about it unless there is death or injury, the Government are taking steps to extend this period to two years.

DIY Electrical work is not illegal, but it is becoming more involved and complicated, with restrictions on what can effectively be carried out due to the added cost of Building Control Notification and Inspection fees making it cheaper to pay a Registered Electrician to do certain types of work.

It will be intresting when firms such as MFI and B+Q start quoting for Electrical work as part of Kitchen and Bathroom replacements to be carried out from June 2008 onwards to see how they deal with the changes and the costs involved.

Andrew Betteridge
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Postby ericmark » Sun Mar 02, 2008 1:18 pm

A motor home, caravan etc. Flexes and is not a rigid construction like a house and of course the wiring in it will also flex. Using a cable designed to be rigid could mean it will after a long time fail. But it would take a long time many years. There were other things about caravans I did not agree with. I would fit a 16 amp MCB but instead of fitting the lights 6 amp MCB in parallel I would put it in series as I felt if one did overload the circuit it was better to trip the one in the caravan than the one on the site. Caravans have in the new 17th Edition wiring regulations been given 10 pages and this does not include the caravan site. The electrical systems should be checked every 3 years or annually if frequent use. A min of 7 strands in any wire. Use of grommets (721.522.7.1) min cross sectional area of 1.5mm for any cable (721.524.1). Must not run through gas compartment except for gas control. Must have a Main Switch which can be ready operated i.e. no more hiding in back of wardrobe. Max length of connecting flex 25 meters (721.55.2.6) and min of 2.5mm. All the pins for the 7 and 14 pin plugs between car and caravan now covered with min sizes. Even min size for Aux battery. And size of battery compartment. If the caravan has no Aux battery compartment the manufacture has to warn that one must not be fitted. Even the size or type of battery charger is covered including solar power and wind charges etc. But this is all only required when additions or changes are made. As with all houses if they were wired to 15th Edition thats OK until next rewire. If new bits are added then new bits must comply. Alterations and repairs done in the caravan repair centers will now have minor works or installation certificates issued in the same way as houses. But there are no teeth yet. Houses have Part P with is the legal backing to 17th Editions and industry has the Electricity at work act. But mobile homes are not classed as buildings so as yet only a recommendation. Although if for example you took your caravan for a rewire and refused to pay because it was wrong type of cable the 17th Edition would be quoted in a court of law to show sub-standard workmanship. chassis should be connected to earth (721.411.3.1). The only odd bit is although cables a buried in the walls only non metallic conduit can be used (721.521.2) unlike houses where the protection against screws etc in walls is now bending towards using it again. But it does have an RCD in fact 2 RCDs protect every caravan without any discrimination between them about the only place it is done where both ends of the flexible feed cable are protected by 30ma RCD to reg 415.1.1 this also says it must trip in 40ms at 150ma.

Postby sparx » Sun Mar 02, 2008 11:18 pm

Hi all, having passed my 17th c&g in the first ever exam group (13 out of 15 passed) I would like to point out to newcomers that they are not alone in worrying about some peoples ability from reading posted questions.
I have replied to 1226 questions but you will find Me missing out many more now than b4 due to there being as Andy says so many variables now that I seriously doubt many 'electricians' capabilities, never mind DIYers.
The fiasco that is part-p is made 10 times worse by the 'defined scope' scheme which should not have been allowed!!!!!
The kitchen fitter I work for occasionally had 16Th ed qualification but decided not to go along that route as he admitted his lack of test kit & ability to use it & fill in forms worried him, he says that at regular meets with Homebase/B&Q he is the only one not doing his own leckie!
The rates they pay for electrics is so poor it CANNOT be done properly.
I will enter replies now only if I feel poster genuinely competent & looking for some guidance as no one has all the answers, I've only been qualified since 1968 so still learning!
regards SPARX
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Postby ericmark » Mon Mar 03, 2008 2:17 am

I must admit I do worry about how the whole domestic electric has moved but it has for many years needed some sort of regulation. I have in the main been an industrial electrician but have done houses from time to time. The one hole one wire seemed to be unknown with domestic, and following plans, what plans, the whole idea of wiring a series of houses using the glossy sales pamphlet as the plan seemed so against the grain. But the regulations have tried to allow for everything that may exist so say things like “unless otherwise recommended by the manufacturerâ€

Postby ericmark » Wed Mar 05, 2008 4:07 pm

Thankyou Andrew Betteridge I had missed 522.6.7 I read 522.6.6 (v) and saw the same position for cables that has been there for years. But this skilled or instructed person bit in 522.6.7 I missed which as you say means an RCD or conduit and as for the list of BS numbers to which conduit or similar must comply I only hope the suppliers know.
Any idea what a flexible class 5 or stranded class 2 conductor is looked at Batt cables site nothing see 721.512.2
Sorry I went OTT with last post must stop answering at 2am

Postby sparx » Thu Mar 06, 2008 9:19 pm

Hi Andrew & Eric & anyone else who has followed this rather long thread, I would guess only leckies would do so, which means we are largely 'preaching to the converted', however In my area of SE England we are slowly winning the battle, I now do work for 3 plumbers & 1 kitchen fitter who 3 years ago did their own!
As a local Town Councillor who sits on the planning committee I have to be careful about ' conflict of interest' but if I see building work taking place I will know if planning permission granted or not, if not I will notify LABC, unfortunately it's not possible to see internal work from unmarked van-man.
Some prog. coming via house sales at last eg. My old dad is trying to move to retirement 'assisted living ' apartment & purchasers of his place demanding certs. for GAS (blr services), FENSA (replaced glazed door 3 years ago), & ELECTRICAL (for upgraded earth bonding & replacement plug in MCB's I did 2 years ago) thankfully all available but could have messed up sale.

regards Both,
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