New requirements for electrical installations
Posted on 10th June 2022
Updates to the Requirements for Electrical Installations known as the Wiring Regulations have been issued and can be used immediately.
The current version (BS 7671:2018+A1:2020) will be withdrawn on 27 September 2022.
While both documents are still valid, electrical work, inspection and testing must meet the requirements of whichever version is used. They can’t be combined.
The latest version applies to almost all types of installations including:
similar electrical installations.
It also applies to solar photovoltaic (PV) power supply systems and electric vehicle (EV) charging.
What’s new in the Wiring Regulations?
The updated version of the Wiring Regulations (BS 7671:2018+A2:2022) includes:
RCD protection – residual current device (RCD) protection will be needed for sockets up to 32A where most people are likely to use them (that’s BA1 - ordinary persons, BA2 - children and BA3 – people with disabilities) and for mobile equipment for use outdoors. A documented risk assessment from an electrician will be needed if this protection is not provided
Residual Current Breakers with Overcurrent (RCBOs) will be needed for individual final circuits in residential properties. General or Type AC RCDs should only be used for fixed equipment where there are no DC components in the load current.
Photovoltaic cells and generating sets – where solar photovoltaic (PV) cells and generating sets are connected in parallel via a low voltage (LV) assembly such as a consumer or distribution board the additional supply must be taken into account. The rated current of the assembly must include the generated current and be:
• equal or higher than the rated current of the incoming circuit
• equal or higher than the overcurrent protection that’s included in or upstream of the assembly.
Transient overvoltages – although transient overvoltages or power surges are brief they can lead to high voltage peaks. The most common cause is lightning strikes that can damage cabling insulation and increase the risk of fire and electric shock. However, every day electrical and electronic equipment can be affected by hundreds of surges in the power supply network due to switching of inductive loads such as air-conditioning units, lift motors and transformers. A risk assessment must now be carried out to assess whether protection against transient overvoltages is needed to prevent harm to people, to warn them in the event of a hazard, or to prevent financial or data loss.
Identification, labels and notices – safety information for users of the electrical installations has been updated to reflect current best practices.
Arc Fault Detection Devices (AFDDs) – some types of installations have been specified for protection with AFDDs to protect people, livestock and property against burning, overheating and fires caused by electrical equipment. This includes final circuits supplying socket outlets and equipment using fixed currents with ratings of less than 32A.
Fire Safety – the fire safety design of buildings must be documented where there are, for example, protected escape routes and locations with risk of fire. This includes the resilience of cable supports and cable trunking during a fire.
Prosumers Low Voltage Electrical Installations – the update includes a new chapter on prosumers electrical installations or PEIs. These are low-voltage electrical installations in private houses or workshops for example. They can include energy efficiency measures, an interface with the smart grid, an electrical energy management system (EEMS), renewable sources of electricity, and energy storage. PEIs allow users to take advantage of low demand to store the energy when its price may be lower.
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