The release of the 18th Edition of IET Wiring Regulations in July 2018 was the most considerable change that electrical contractors saw in decades. It encompasses all electrical wiring reinstallations that were designed after January 2019.
As an electrical contractor, you need to have a comprehensive understanding of the changes that the 18th Edition Electrical Regulations brought. This is the UK standard that is published by the highest governing body in electrical installation, The Institution of Engineering and Technology, and should be followed by all British electricians.
This article is a discussion on everything you need to know about the 18th Edition Electrical Regulations.
What are the 18th Edition Electrical Regulations?
BS 7671 or the British Standard IET Wiring Regulations is the UK national standard for the safety of electrical wirings in all kinds of buildings—from domestic, commercial, and even particular locations such as parks and medical areas. It is informally known as “The Regs”.
The latest edition of BS 7671 was released last July 2018, thus, making it the 18th edition. It is coded as BS7671:2018.
While it is not a legal requirement, it is recommended that you, as an electrician, and all electricians working in the UK, have a comprehensive understanding of the updated electrical regulations, as these safety regulations are directly involved with any electrician’s work.
To obtain a comprehensive understanding of the regulations, all electricians need to take a course. These courses are flexible and complement your lifestyle and pre-existing knowledge. A discussion of these courses is included in further subsections.
Changes from the 17th edition to the 18th edition?
Here, we’ll cover the most notable differences between the two editions.
Recommendation to specify Arc Fault Detection Devices
All designers should specify the Arc Fault Detection Devices (AFDDs) as a way to prevent electrical fires from arc fault currents.
AFDDs have not been in use up until this point, which is the primary reason why it will impose some challenges. Moreover, AFDDs take up more ways in distribution boards.
That’s why manufacturers are providing AFDDs, as a way to cope with the expected demand from the implementation of the latest edition onwards, in January 2019, and so forth.
Inclusion of surge protection devices
Another recommendation within the 18th Edition of The Regs is to include surge protection devices in new installations. This is to improve the protection with sensitive electronic equipment that is used in commercial and public sectors (like hospitals and hospices).
Change in the security of the wiring system in escape routes
While in the past editions, the wiring systems in escape routes should be secured using metal wires, this is not just the case anymore. Instead, the obtaining of using metal wires to wiring systems should be applied to all installations in the whole building.
Addition of Appendix 17
Appendix 17 is newly added to the 18th edition, and it talks about energy efficiency. Annexe 17 states the requirement to make electrical circuits to be the most energy-efficient. It includes recommendations for the most energy-efficient circuit designs and installations. This addition supports the forward motion that companies and human lifestyle are taking towards a more energy-efficient society.
Recommendation for RCD protection usage
The increased use of RCD or Residual Current Device protection is recommended to protect installers and users from electric shock. While in past editions, RCDs were recommended for sockets up to 20A. But now, 30mA devices should be used for outlets that are up to 32A.
Widened scope for regulations
The 18th edition also includes regulations for electrical shore connections and inland navigation vessels. Such regs for such areas were not included in previous editions.
Courses for the 18th Edition Electrical Regulations
NICEIC provides courses in multiple training venues all over the UK. These courses come in a wide variety and spread throughout the year.
The full course lasts for 3 days and can be administered online or through physical classes. This also includes an in-depth training of the 18th Edition IET Wiring Regulations. At the end of this test is the summative test assessment that will last for 2 hours and include questions about the content of the 18th edition. This is the course to be taken if your work requires a Level 3 Award in the Requirements for Electrical Regulations BS7671:2018.
If you have been working in the electrotechnical field, and have obtained your 17th Edition Qualification in the past, this update Course on the main changes and differences of the 17th and 18th edition is the course for you. This course lasts for a full day and provides an overview of BS7671:2018. Like the full course, you will still need to obtain a passing mark for the 2-hour summative assessment about the full content of the 18th edition. This course can be taken online or through physical classes.
Before actually enrolling on an e-learning course, you first need to take an assessment that will determine if you’re qualified for this and if e-learning will be beneficial for you.
This course is a combination of the full, 3-day course and the 1-day update course.
This is perfect if you are not able to spend extra time and attend physical classes. This virtual classroom course has the same structure and objectives as the classroom-administered ones.
As a supplemental learning material with your 18th Edition Electrical Regulations course, you may buy a book that discusses explicitly this.
Phil Simmons’ Electrical Wiring Residential 18th Edition will be a great additional learning material for your comprehensive understanding of this update.
Fellow electricians who have previously bought this book had experienced success with using this book along with their electrical wiring courses.
This article was a fundamental overview of everything there is to know about the 18th Edition of the IET Wiring Regulations. We’ve covered the most significant changes, as well as the courses that you can take to gain accreditation for BS7671:2018.