Official changes to 18th Edition Wiring Regulations announced

10 Apr 2018

The 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations (BS7671:2018), which is going to be published on 2nd July 2018, contains a major overhaul of the national standards to which all UK domestic and industrial wiring must comply.

Installers involved with any aspect of electrical installations should have a comprehensive understanding of the latest Wiring Regulations and how they will affect their work, including gas engineers and kitchen fitters. Working to the 18th Edition will be necessary from January 2019.

This coincides with changes to the ECS card scheme and the introduction of Registered Electricians; existing Registered Electricians will have until July 2019 to have achieve a qualification in the 18th Edition Wiring Regulations. From January next year, anyone applying for an Installation or Maintenance Electrician gold card for the first time will be required to sign up to Registered Electrician status and be qualified to the current edition of BS7671.

Whether mandatory or not, the best route to understanding the new Wiring Regulations is through training.  

New Qualification

Logic Certification Ltd (LCL) has come together with City & Guilds and EAL under The Electrotechnical Skills Partnership (TESP) to agree a common approach to the new qualification, to ensure standardisation across all Awarding Organisations. 

Our qualification will be available for use from 2nd July 2018 on the on-line assessment system (XAMS).

All related LCL electrical qualifications will be updated in-line with the new Wiring Regulations in-line for January. For more information about our electrical qualifications, click here.

What are the main changes?

On 1 March, IET & BSI launched an official summary of the main changes that the 18th Edition will contain, including:

Protection against overvoltages

Section 443 has been redrafted in the light of updates by the International Electro-technical Committee (IEC) and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation (CENELEC).

The change concerns the AQ criteria focusing on the conditions of external influence for lightning, which are used to decide whether protection against transient overvoltage, such as lightning, is needed.  These criteria will no longer be included in BS7671.  Instead, protection will depend on the potential consequences of transient overvoltage, including:

  • If human life could be affected; for example, if medical facilities or safety might be disrupted
  • If cultural heritage might be damaged
  • If public services might be affected, or IT data centres disrupted
  • If industrial or commercial activity could be affected; for example, hotels, farms and industrial plants

In other situations, a risk assessment would be used to identify whether protection is needed, except for single dwelling units in certain situations.

Fire Protection

The current regulations state that people, livestock and property must be protected against a fire caused by an electrical installation or equipment. Protection against burns and overheating is necessary, and specific fire risks should be taken into account.

Residual current devices (RCDs) can cut the number of fires caused by earth faults. However, they won’t cut the risk of fire where parallel or series arcing occurs between live conductors, as there is no leaking to earth. 

A new regulation been introduced in the 18th Edition recommending the installation of Arc Fault Detection Devices (AFDDs) to mitigate the risk of fire in AC final circuits of a fixed installation due to the effects of arc fault currents.

Surface Heating

Section 743 which covers floor and ceiling heating systems has been extended to cover embedded heating systems, both indoors and outdoors.

This includes a wide range of installations, such as wall and floor installations, and heating systems in any other part of a building.

It will also encompass embedded anti-frost and ice systems such as those in lawns and football pitches. However, it doesn’t cover systems that comply with IEC 60519 or 62395.

Designers will also have to provide more documentation on the materials being used around heating units.

Energy Efficiency

A new Appendix 17 has been added that provides guidance for the design and erection of electrical installations that have local production and storage of energy for optimising efficiency.

The client will be able to specify the level of energy efficiency that the electrical installation must achieve. Much of this appendix will not apply to domestic and similar installations.

Other changes

Changes have also been made to the requirements for electric vehicle charging installations, electrical installations on campsites, and updates to switching and isolation standards for devices.

The changes mentioned above are just a few of the significant changes made by under the 18th Edition Wiring Regulations. 

Download the IET’s latest information on the 18th Edition Wiring Regulations changes, here.