FM professionals need to know Amendment 3 of the IET Wiring Regulations BS 7671:2008, which provides essential requirements and changes for the industry, says Geoff Cronshaw.
1 July 2015 | By Geoff Cronshaw
The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) launched the latest update (Amendment 3) to the IET Wiring Regulations BS 7671:2008 in January.
This sets out the national standard to which all new and amended electrical installations have to comply and features a number of new changes that all FM professionals need to familiarise themselves with before 01 July 2015.
The amendment - which follows on from Amendment 1, published in 2011 and Amendment 2, published in 2013 - has some important changes that reflect recent demands within the electrical sector.
The IET, through the JPEL/64 committee, has revised the IET Wiring Regulations to ensure that they are relevant and meet the needs of professionals operating in the electrical or built environment sectors.
By complying with the regulations set out in BS 7671:2008+A3:2015, FM professionals can give themselves the peace of mind that the buildings and facilities they oversee are safe for both the public and their own employees.
BS 7671:2008+A3:2015 was published on 05 January 2015. As usual, there was a six-month lead-in period, meaning that the amended regulations were due to go live at the start of July.
Chapter 41 - protection against shocks: A significant change introduced by Amendment 3 is in Chapter 41, which highlights the precautions necessary for protection against electric shock.
Regulation 411.3.3 requires that, in accordance with 415.1, socket outlets up to 20A must have RCD protection.
This will be compulsory for all types of installations, whether for commercial, domestic or industrial purposes. The exception to this requirement is where socket outlets are specifically labelled or (for other than domestic) where a documented risk assessment deems that RCD protection is not necessary. For mobile equipment used outdoors RCD protection is required for socket outlets up to 32A.
Chapter 52 - selection and erection of wiring cables: The new amendment requires that cables that are concealed in a wall or partition at a depth of less than 50mm should be protected by a 30 mA RCD (for all installations) if other methods of protection - including the use of either an earthed metallic covering or mechanical protection - are not used.
This will apply to a cable - irrespective of the depth of that cable - in a partition where the construction of the partition includes metallic parts other than fixings. However, the exception for cables that form part of a SELV or PELV circuit will be retained. All of the requirements for the selection and erection of wiring cables can be found in Chapter 52.
Sections 559, 714 and 715 - luminaires and lighting installations: Amendment 3 introduces a number of notable changes to align the BS 7671 requirements with the latest versions of both the IEC and CENELEC standards. Examples of these intended changes include:
- Moving the requirements for outdoor lighting and extra-low voltage lighting installations from Section 559 to two new sections, Section 714 and Section 715; and
- Requirements for the type of devices that are to be used for the connection of luminaires to the supply and the protection of cables against heat and UV radiation effects within luminaires.
Section 715 - extra-low voltage lighting: Amendment 3 makes a number of notable changes to align the latest IEC requirements with the latest CENELEC requirements, including:
- The types of wiring systems permitted;
- Voltage drop in consumer's installations; and
- Requirements for isolation, switching and control.
Section 714 outdoor lighting installations: Amendment 3 makes only minor changes to outdoor lighting installations.One important change is that individual circuits will be required to be isolated.
Changing industry standards for the better
The new requirements set out in the amended IET Wiring Regulations demonstrate the importance of the work electrical professionals and FM professionals do, and the standards they need to adhere to in protecting themselves and those in contact with electrical installations. Although Amendment 3 varies in terms of the changes it introduces in each section, it is still vitally important that all FM professionals get to grips with what is required of them and ensure that their work remains safe and up to the required standard. The lowdown on the IET Wiring Regulations is available now, both in print and through digital subscription.
Geoff Cronshaw is chief electrical engineer at the Institution of Engineering and Technology