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Wiring regulations are put in place to ensure that the electrical systems are safe to use. They provide guidelines on how to install, design, and maintain the systems so that they work the way they are intended to and pose minimal risk to those using them.
In the UK, these regulations fall under BS 7671, which is the 18th Edition of the wiring regulations and the current standard used in the UK.
The Wiring Regulations BS 7671 came into effect on 1st January 2019 and is the national standard for electrical installations and wiring safety for domestic as well as commercial and industrial properties.
Read on to find out more about Wiring Regulations BS 7671, what it involves, why it is important, and how homeowners can stay up to date:
The wiring regulations BS 7671, also commonly referred to as the Wiring Regs, The Regs, the 18th Edition Wiring Regs, or simply BS 7671, are the industry standard for electrical installations and wiring regulations in the UK.
Written by the IET (The Institution of Engineering and Technology) and Standards Policy and the Strategy Committee, the 18th Edition Wiring Regulations (BS 7671:2018) were published in July 2018 and came into effect in January 2019.
Considered one of the most important documents for electricians in the UK, the regulations provide guidelines for the design, installation, and maintenance of electrical installations, as well as any additions and alterations to existing installations.
First published in 1882, the regulations have since been updated on a regular basis to keep up with new developments and best practices. The 18th Edition of the wiring regulations replaces the 17th Edition and includes revised regulations and new chapters.
The BS 7671, in itself, isn’t a legal document, but it does contain all the necessary guidelines and processes that all electrical installations must adhere to. For this reason, it is treated as one and is recognised as the industry standard.
BS 7671, also known as the IET wiring regulations, is a big part of electrical safety in the UK. They cover a wide range of topics including the design, installation, testing, and maintenance of electrical systems, wiring, and equipment in domestic, commercial, and industrial properties.
Their main purpose is to ensure the safety of the electrical systems and protect both people and property from electricity-related hazards such as shocks and fires.
The wiring regulations BS 7671 put special emphasis on the proper selection and installation of the electrical wiring as it forms the basis of a healthy electrical system.
They include detailed information on the type of wiring used as well as the right method for installing and removing wires and protecting them from any physical damage.
BS 7671 also covers the testing and maintenance of electrical systems, including guidelines for the initial testing of new installations and periodic checks and inspections of existing installations to make sure they continue to meet the safety regulations.
In addition to guidelines and best practices, they also include procedures for getting electrical safety certificates, which are a necessity for several types of electrical work in the UK.
Electrical safety must never be taken lightly. Unsafe electrics can not only cause inconvenience to the users but also pose a serious safety threat.
To make sure all the electrical installations and equipment are safe to use, there are a certain set of guidelines that need to be followed, aka the Wiring Regulations.
BS 7671 is the national standard for the installation and inspection of electrical systems in the UK, adherence to which is important for ensuring safety as well as legal compliance of all electrical work and installations.
One of the most important aspects of the wiring regulations is their role in protecting against electrical shocks and fires, both of which can be fatal.
Since these regulations provide guidelines and the best practices for properly installing and maintaining electrical systems, the risk of electric shocks and fires is significantly reduced.
Adherence to wiring regulations BS 7671 is important not only for the safety of those using the electrical systems but also for legal compliance.
Compliance with BS 7671 ensures the safety of the electrical systems and minimises the risk of electrical fires, shocks, and other hazards.
They include detailed information and guidelines on all aspects of electrical safety, including wiring, earthing, equipment, and safety devices, all of which help minimise the risk of potential hazards.
Other than safety, adherence to the wiring regulations is also a legal requirement. The standards are a requirement for all electrical work done in the UK, and failure to comply with them can result in hefty fines, legal action, and in certain serious cases such as in the event of an accident or injury, even criminal charges.
Compliance with BS 7671 and having your electrical installations thoroughly and periodically tested minimises the risk of damages, injuries, and other incidents, which is often a requirement of many insurance companies.
If you can prove that your electrical installations are properly installed and maintained, some insurers even offer discounts on premiums.
In the event of an electrical fire or accident, one of the first things that insurance companies check is whether you have taken all the necessary precautions to prevent any mishaps from occurring.
Since the wiring regulations cover all the required precautions and best practices, non-compliance may result in denied insurance claims in the event of a mishap.
Homeowners need to ensure that their electrical installations and systems are safe to use, and the best way to do so is to stay compliant with BS 7671, the British Standard for Wiring Regulations.
Not only will this help ensure the safety of your home and loved ones but also help prevent any legal issues and denied insurance claims.
Here are some of the best ways homeowners can stay up-to-date with the wiring regulations BS 7671:
The first and foremost step in ensuring compliance with BS 7671 is to hire a qualified electrician to carry out all the work for the electrical installations and inspections around the house.
The skilled individual must possess the right knowledge and experience required to carry out the work and be familiar with the wiring regulations and all their updates.
A competent electrician will not only carry out the work as per UK regulations but will also hold liability for any damages or unexpected incidents.
Electrical systems and installations need regular inspection and testing to make sure they keep working as they should and stay compliant with the wiring regulations. This can be done by undertaking visual inspections to full electrical testing carried out by a certified electrician.
According to the wiring regulations BS 7671, every domestic property’s electrical installations must be regularly inspected and tested every 5 to 10 years to rule out any defective electrical work and safety hazards.
The inspection and testing process starts with a visual inspection that looks for any visible signs of damage or defect in order to highlight any areas that need special attention.
This is followed by an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), which is a comprehensive test that thoroughly checks all the fixed wiring and installations of your home and establishes whether they are safe to use and compliant with the current regulations.
PAT (Portable Appliance Testing) involves the testing of all electrical appliances that are not a part of the fixed wiring of the electrical system. It is just as important to get the portable appliances tested as it is to test the fixed electrical installations.
Some of the most common home appliances that need to be tested include microwaves, portable grills, toasters, coffee machines, kettles, televisions, vacuum cleaners, washing machines, refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, computers, printers, lamps, stereos, portable heaters, and portable fans.
Although homeowners are not legally obligated to get their portable appliances tested, they are required to make sure that they are well-maintained and in good working condition. The best way to go about this is to get the appliances tested every 3 to 12 months, depending on the type and use of the appliance.
When there is a problem with your home electrics, you can often see common signs of faults around the house. This can be anything from something as simple as flickering lights to serious issues such as smoke and burning.
As part of regular upkeep and maintenance, it is your responsibility to keep a check on your house electrics and look for any unusual signs.
Some of the most common signs to look for include repeated circuit breaker tripping, frequent power surges, buzzing noise and discolouration of switches and sockets, shocks and electrocution, burning smell, sparking, dimming or flickering lights, and damaged or exposed wiring.
If you notice any of these signs of electrical faults in your home, the first step is to call a certified electrician and have your home electrics checked right away.
Keeping records of all the electrical work carried out in your home, including all new and existing installations as well as testing and inspections, will help demonstrate compliance with BS 7671 in case there is ever the need to prove it.
These records can be kept in the form of reports and certificates, both of which are generated by a qualified and skilled electrician. They are necessary and used as proof of compliance with BS 7671.
An Electrical Safety Certificate is generally issued after an EICR has been conducted and needs to be regularly updated.
There are four types of certificates of electrical compliance: Electrical Installation Certificate (EIC), Minor Electrical Works Installation Certificate, EICR Certificate, and Part P Certificate.
Although it is not a legal obligation to get an electrical certificate, it can be extremely useful in providing proof of the work you have had done.
It can be used to show proof of the electrical installations meeting the safety standards in case of electric-related injuries, damages, and fires. It also provides evidence that all notifiable electric work within a residential property meets the Regulations and is certified by the local electrical authority.
Make sure that all the electrical equipment that you use in your home meets the safety standards set out in BS 7671 and is approved for use in homes in the UK.
Also, make sure you always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing the equipment to ensure it is used safely and is compliant with safety regulations.
Learning how to safely use the electrical system and appliances in your home can make a huge difference in how efficiently they work and can help you stay compliant with safety regulations.
Other than getting the wiring and equipment installed by a certified electrician and keeping them properly maintained, here are a few tips for electrical safety in homes:
We have been providing electrical services to residential, commercial, and industrial properties for over 40 years and are specialists in all aspects of electrical installations, maintenance, and testing.
All our work is fully insured and we work to meet the standards set by the NICEIC to make sure all your electrical installations meet the current regulations and all the notifiable work is signed off by the local authorities.
If you have unplanned issues within your home or business, we can provide a call-out service to rectify and solve any problems such as circuits tripping, loss of power, broken items that need repairing, or to check if you feel something is unsafe or a potential hazard.
Our team can generate a Visual Inspection Report (VIR) to identify anything visual that does not comply with the standards or looks unsafe, as well as a full Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) where we will identify and test each circuit to make sure they are not deteriorating and are safe for use within the current standards and regulations set by the BS 7671.
We can also provide PAT testing of appliances to make sure that any items such as kettles, computers, and microwaves are safe for use in the home and workplace.
Contact us here or call us on 0800 612 3001 to get in touch with our professional electricians for more information on Wiring Regulations BS 7671 and how you can stay up-to-date.
Or would like us to provide a survey and quote then please contact us and we will be happy to help.Call us on 0800 612 3001