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Wiring update means its time to train

14 July 2011

The first update to BS7671: 2008, IET Wiring Regulations 17th Edition, has just been issued to introduce significant changes to the Standard, with an effective date for full implementation of 1 January 2012. When this amendment comes into force it will impact all those responsible for electrical installation and safety in the facilities, estates, health and safety and electrical markets.

The most significant changes to the Standard see the introduction of four new specific Sections (444, 534, 710, 729). These deal with measures against electromagnetic disturbances, protection against overvoltage, medical locations and operating in gangways. Also of great importance – and of much wider relevance - is the addition of a new ‘Electrical Installation Condition Report’ to replace the previous ‘Periodic Inspection Report’.

The new Condition Report (detailed in Chapter 63, with model forms in Appendix 6) will become the output from any periodic installation test and it will detail in clear language exactly what has been found and what faults, if any, need to be corrected. The coding of faults has also been changed by the new amendment, from four to three: C1 identifies a danger present, C2 for when there is a potentially dangerous condition and C3 when there is a recommendation to improve the safety of the installation.

Applauding the new amendment, managing director of PHS Compliance, Paul Caddick commented: “The new Condition Report is a very welcome introduction for improved safety. Previously it was extremely difficult for anyone but a qualified electrician to interpret the findings of test results and consequently a dangerous proportion were never acted upon. The style and format of this new report delivers the important information in an immediate and useful way. The Duty Holder can quickly grasp what the test report is telling or advising and then take appropriate action swiftly to rectify faults.”

Whilst PHS Compliance is enthusiastic about the new amendment, many in the industry may be daunted by the implications for those who design, install, test and maintain electrical systems. According to PHS, it requires retraining for every engineer and software updates to all the testing equipment used in the market. The clock is now ticking, with five months remaining for this essential preparatory work to be done, ready for enforcement of the new Standard from 1 January 2012.

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