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#136263 - 03/24/03 09:47 AM New laws for U.K. Domestic wiring?
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
I've taken these extracts from the current issue of the IEE publication "Wiring Matters," which was discussed in a thread started by Joe recently.

{.....} indicates where I've cut sections of the article to keep it reasonably short here.

 Quote:
{.....} At the present time, electrical installations in the dwelling are excluded from the scope of the building regulations in England and Wales, although this is not the case in Scotland where the Building Standards (Scotland) Regulations apply.

The Department of Transport, Local Government and The Regions, now called the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, has published proposals to include requirements for electrical installations in the regulations. {.....}

Requirement P, to be added to the schedule of the building regulations, is reproduced in Figure 1.

Fig. 1 *****************************************
Fixed electrical installations in dwellings.

P. Fixed electrical installations in dwellings shall be suitably designed, installed, inspected and tested so as to provide reasonable protection against their being a source of a fire or a cause of injury to persons. {.....}
*************************************************

The Draft Approved Document P is a 20-page document and is available on the web.

The basic requirement is that electrical installations should meet the fundamental principals {sic} of Chapter 13 of BS7671 :2001 (or other EEC countries wiring rules). {.....}

Persons generally will be required to give notice to the Local Authority when they are to carry out any electrical installation work in a dwelling. This includes not only work in new dwellings, but also work in existing dwellings. However it is not necessary to notify electrical installation work to building control bodies in the following circumstances:

i) Where persons of a class or description prescribed in relation to these matters by the Secretary of State undertake the proposed installation work.

ii) Where the proposed installation work is minor work and does not include the provision of a new circuit, see Table 1.

Persons who would not need to notify the local authority building control are persons (this legally includes firms) who are registered with an accredited certification body. {.....}


Table 1. ***************************************

Minor electrical installation works in dwellings which need not be notified.

1. Additional lighting points (light fittings and switching) on an existing circuit [1].

2. Adding socket-outlets to an existing ring or radial circuit [1].

3. Replacement of accessories such as socket-outlets, control switches and ceiling roses, but excluding circuit protective devices.

4. Installation and/or upgrading and testing of main equipotential bonding.

5. Upgrading and testing of supplementary bonding.

6. Replacement of the cable for a single circuit only, where damaged, e.g. by fire, rodent, or impact [2].

7. Re-fixing and/or repairing the enclosures of existing wiring systems [3].

8. Providing existing mechanical protection to existing equipment [4].

Notes:

1. Only if the existing circuit protective device is suitable and provides protection for the modified circuit and other safety provisions are satisfactory.

2. On condition that the replacement cable is identical in manufactured specification, follows the same route and does not serve more than one sub-circuit through a distribution board.

3. On condition that the circuit's protective measures are unaffected.

4. On condition the circuit's protective measures and current-carrying capacity of conductors are unaffected.


Well, that certainly raises quite a few questions in my mind, but I'll throw this out for discussion before I jump in with my 2 cents' worth.

The documentation referred to in the article is available in PDF format at: www.safety.odpm.gov.uk/bregs/consult/electric/pdf/build.pdf

(You have to read through the usual bureaucratic waffle to find the salient points. The extracts above seem to summarize it pretty well, though.)

{Edited for typos!}


[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 03-25-2003).]

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#136264 - 03/25/03 05:28 AM Re: New laws for U.K. Domestic wiring?
C-H Offline

Member

Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 1508
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
This proposal has aroused much anger among the British D-I-Y community, as virtually all electrical work will require a license.

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#136265 - 03/25/03 10:01 AM Re: New laws for U.K. Domestic wiring?
j a harrison Offline
Member

Registered: 05/22/02
Posts: 112
Loc: southampton, england
O K then try this for size.

How then if these rules are to be brought into play do we prevent, we ? mrs, or mrs, D I Y disaster from purchasing such items ?

do we A, stop the local DIY store from
selling such equipment ?

B, stop the local supply houses from
selling to non approved,
or qualified contractors ?

( i know of one supply house that on a weekend sells more to the DIY than the genuine contractor )

C, prevent advertisers in magazines
from retailing via the mail all
sorts of equipment for the
installation industry ?
and another question,

How are they going to stop it ??

Any body want my soap box. ?

sorry abouth that but i get sick and tired of replacing equipment that has been installed incorrectly and usually dangerously by people have, in my proffessional opinion, no, or minimal knowledge of what the hXll they are doing,

John H
proud to be an electrician. !

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#136266 - 03/25/03 12:04 PM Re: New laws for U.K. Domestic wiring?
C-H Offline

Member

Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 1508
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Education is perhaps a solution. If people weren't allowed to drive at all unless they had a license for driving not only cars but also motorcycle, lorries and buses, the roads would be full of illegal and dangerous drives in both the cars and the lorries. If you allow people to learn how to drive a car, they hopefully realise that they should stay out of the lorry.

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#136267 - 03/26/03 11:35 PM Re: New laws for U.K. Domestic wiring?
Trumpy Offline

Member

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8540
Loc: SI,New Zealand
Paul,
This sounds amazingly like, what is happening over here, although we already have a system of self-certification, amongst us electrical people.
Now the local Councils, want to throw their weight around, in this debate.
They are looking to go back to the old "permit system".
It's not thier job, to control us, we have shown that we are competent, what gives?.
_________________________
Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green grin

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#136268 - 03/27/03 08:51 AM Re: New laws for U.K. Domestic wiring?
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
OK, I'll climb up onto my side of the soapbox now...

First of all, who exactly is going to be responsible for examining installations and approving them? If it's somebody with the relevant electrical background, then fine, but this proposed new law is going into the general building regulations. Those are usually enforced by a building officer from the local council (which, for our U.S. members, is pretty much the British equivalent of "City Hall"). Are we going to see the existing building control officer sent on some 3-day seminar which supposedly then makes him an "expert" in electrical wiring?

How about some of the items quoted in the article? Let's see:
 Quote:
The basic requirement is that electrical installations should meet the fundamental principals {sic} of Chapter 13 of BS7671 :2001 (or other EEC countries wiring rules).

So it will be acceptable to follow either British rules, or those of any other EU country. Does this mean that the inspector will need detailed knowledge of 15 different sets of regulations? That's what it seems to imply.

From tabvle 1, listing work which need not be notified:
 Quote:
Adding socket-outlets to an existing ring or radial circuit

So the guy who has no idea what he is doing can still tear into the wiring, leaving the ring broken, or string 4 extra outlets on a spur from a ring, with no permit/inspection.

 Quote:
Only if the existing circuit protective device is suitable and provides protection for the modified circuit

And John Doe with his hammer and one screwdriver is going to know if it is suitable???
 Quote:
and other safety provisions are satisfactory.

Meaning what, exactly? And who decides?

 Quote:
Replacement of accessories such as socket-outlets, control switches and ceiling roses, but excluding circuit protective devices.

Er, does this imply that technically one needs to notify the council when replacing a blown fuse??? I know, I'm being pedantic and they probably meant changing an MCB or installing a fuse carrier of a different rating, but that's not what it says!

 Quote:
Installation and/or upgrading and testing of main equipotential bonding.

Why should something this important be deliberately excluded from the new requirements?!

Leaving aside these complaints about the way the law may be drafted, how is it going to be enforced?

For a new building or a major renovation/extension where "planning permission" (building permit) has been granted and the council will inspect the work, then maybe it can be enforced.

But when someone decides to do some internal works in his own home, how is the council even going to know that he's changing the wiring?

There are already rules that require notification for certain internal building works, connecting new bathroom appliances, etc. The general rule of thumb around this area is that you don't tell the council anything, if it can be avoided. That means that if it's inside the house, where nobody can see what's going on, don't tell them! One contributory factor here is that the local council is so hopelessly slow and inefficient that a simple 2-week project could end up dragging on for months. (They sometimes take 8 weeks to just send out a requested form!)

So, as John has asked, how would they go about stopping people? I can just see some bureaucrat dreaming up a scheme whereby stores selling electrical fittings require sight of a council wiring permit before they'll sell to Joe Public. More paperwork and expense for everybody! And how would any such scheme deal with the exceptions listed in table 1?

"Sir, are these sockets you're buying for a new circuit or to add to an existing circuit? If they're for a new circuit, I need to see a permit."

I don't think THAT would work!

Besides, if you prevent people from buying the proper materials for the job, they'll probably just try to "get by" with salvaged, sometimes damaged fittings, flexible cords instead of cable, and so on.

I've seen some attrocious wiring, and the aim of improving the safety of electrical installations is laudible, but I can't see how these regulations are going to have much impact, except on new homes and major renovation projects. For the most part, the rules will just be ignored, as they already are in many other fields.


I agree with C-H here. We need education rather than regulation. With the rising popularity of DIY in recent years, it wouldn't be a bad idea to see some of the public safety films on TV again, like we had in the 1970s.

OK, rant over....... For now!


[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 03-27-2003).]

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#136269 - 03/27/03 09:36 AM Re: New laws for U.K. Domestic wiring?
Texas_Ranger Offline
Member

Registered: 12/17/01
Posts: 2343
Loc: Vienna, Austria
Reading both uk.d-i-y and de.rec.heimwerken I noticed that the attitude is completely different. The Germans are quick at hand with the advice "call a pro and have it done safely" if something exceeds standard DIY jobs (electricity, gas, structural,...) and if the poster's questions seem to indicate that s/he doesn't know enough about the subject. On the contrary, the UK guys keep telling people: You can do everything and f*ck on the officials, they're just there to stand in your way! I remember reading a comment about the BS wiring regs.: Well, what you want to do isn't up to the regs., but since they're not mandatory just go on and do whatever you want. These guys even keep advising people to do live work on the meter tails to avoid having the PoCo reseal their fuse and save a few quid.
Seems we have to change an entire attitude.

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#136270 - 03/27/03 10:15 AM Re: New laws for U.K. Domestic wiring?
C-H Offline

Member

Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 1508
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
The Danish dk.teknik.el takes it a step further: As soon as you ask anything related to wiring, you get the "call a pro"...

Borrowing the soap box for a moment:

There are e.g. gun licenses, which you need to buy guns and bullets. I see no problem in requiring a license of some sort to sell people the electrical gear, provided it is not out of reach to ordinary people.

OK, I'll admit: I want to get myself a license so I can do some limited work, but I don't intended to work as an appy for years to get one.

[This message has been edited by C-H (edited 03-27-2003).]

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#136271 - 03/28/03 12:42 PM Re: New laws for U.K. Domestic wiring?
Dapo Offline
Member

Registered: 03/04/03
Posts: 52
Loc: Australia
I have to agree with the discussion here, and it is going to be hard to stop unlicensed work. In Australia you have always needed an electrical license to do wiring even technically to change a plug top.
The thing is people still do their own work and leave traps for the next poor unsuspecting person. We have just moved town and the house we bought has DIY electrical work, I was under the house cabling computer networks, when I saw electrical connections exposed, not nice when you have kids who play under the house.
I hope one day they at least bring back inspections when properties change hands.

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#136272 - 03/29/03 02:44 PM Re: New laws for U.K. Domestic wiring?
Trumpy Offline

Member

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8540
Loc: SI,New Zealand
Dapo,
Over here in 1992, the Electrical Contracting Industry, was given a massive kick, where it would hurt the most.
They introduced regulations, that would allow the average guy, to install, relocate, disconnect wiring and fittings, much the same as an Electrician, provided that the work was inspected AND was CONNECTED by the inspector, to the switch-board.
Since then, I have never heard of any Inspector performing this service, for any DIY work.
I think that all this legislation has done, is to drive all un-licenced work, further underground.
Someone's going to cop the results of this, one day, and if it's me, look out!.
_________________________
Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green grin

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