Following the introduction of the 18th Edition of the IET Wiring Regulations, Bureau Veritas has commented that the new reforms represent the ‘biggest shakeup’ in fire safety protection in decades.
Published on 2 July, the BS 7671 — IET Wiring Regulations 18th edition will apply to all new and rewired installations designed after January 2019.
The new legislation, widely-tipped to provide a greater focus on reducing the risk of fire, goes far beyond initial predictions, according to Nathan Cliff, Electrical Principal Engineer for Electrical Systems at Bureau Veritas.
He commented: “Given that fire safety has dominated the news agenda, and rightly so, for much of 2018, it’s no surprise that the 18th Edition puts a greater emphasis than ever before on reducing the risk of fire presented by poor electrics.
“Indeed, many of the requirements unveiled in the legislation go far beyond what we initially expected and no doubt represent the biggest shakeup in electrical safety protocols for fire prevention in decades.”
One of the most significant recommendations in the edition is that all new installations should now be fitted with arc fault detection devices (AFDDs) to mitigate the risk of fire in final circuits from arc fault currents. However, the exception is in special locations, such as medical facilities, where the explicit advice is not to use AFDDs which could result in a power cut at critical times such as during an operation.
Surge protection devices should also be included in all new installations to improve protection for critical equipment and priceless artefacts, which will be of particular importance in commercial and public sector settings, including hospitals and care homes.
Meanwhile, where previously it was stated that a wiring system located on escape routes had to be secured using metal ties to ensure it did not collapse prematurely in the event of a fire, this mandatory requirement now applies to the whole installation in a building.
Nathan added: “Whilst these new standards are a welcome step in the right direction in reducing the risk of fire, for many electrical contractors it is important to invest time and resources getting to grips with the changes the 18th Edition brings, especially when it comes to the installation of arc fault detection devices (AFDDs) and other surge protection devices.
“Equally important is for building operators to carry out routine inspections to ensure they are providing a safe place to live and work for residents and employees alike as achieving compliance now ahead of the January 2019 deadline will, ultimately, help to save lives.”