Bright sparks go above and beyond regulatory standards, says Niglon

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  Posted by: electime      12th April 2022

A long-established supplier is urging caution when it comes to a surprising change to regulations for electrical installers.

Niglon has been serving the industry for many decades, and the team has been keeping a keen eye on the changes to the 18th edition wiring regulations.

Draft proposals were circulated last year, but the publication of the final amendments has revealed a few surprising last-minute changes, including when it comes to the use of surge protection devices.

Under the new rules, there are three scenarios where surge arrestors must be fitted: where overvoltage could result in serious injury or loss of human life, failure of a safety service, or significant financial or data loss.

But the regulations also state the owner of the property where the circuit is being installed can opt not to have protective devices included (and accept any risk associated) in ‘all other cases’.

Yet Paul Dawson, Commercial Director at Niglon, says he believes most overvoltage issues have the potential to result in injury or worse.

“Whether it’s a commercial or domestic property being fitted out, most of these buildings will have people using them for at least a proportion of time – even storage facilities or data centres, for example, need to be checked by a person regularly. That means the risk to life is always there, should the surge occur when the building is in use.

“Given the very minimal time and financial costs associated with fitting surge protection devices as part of an install, we’d strongly urge contractors to include them as a matter of course (and we know this is already the case in certain areas of the UK which are more prone to lightning strikes).”

Another change to expectations is the extent of circumstances when arc fault detection devices (AFDDs) must be used – they are now required on circuits with socket outlets in care homes, purpose-built student accommodation, residential buildings more than 18m or six storeys high, and Houses of Multiple Occupation (otherwise known as HMOs). This means they won’t be required for the majority of domestic installations – although, of course, contractors can choose to fit them if they wish.

And A Type RCDs are now mandatory for almost all applications (again, an expected change – Niglon halted production of all AC Types a while ago). In theory, AC Types could be used in cases where a fixed equipment load contains no DC components – such as electric heating appliances or filament lighting with no electronic components. But in reality, it’s safe to say A Types are the preferred option in almost all installations going forward.

Paul adds: “Adhering to the wiring regulations is the very least expected of electrical contractors – to ensure the very highest standards when it comes to safety, and subsequently enjoy the type of positive reputation which goes hand-in-hand with this, we’d always recommend going above and beyond the basic regulations.”

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