BS 7671:2018 – The Updated Standard ‘Requirements for Electrical Installations, IET Wiring Regulations’ – Effective from January 2019

8th February 2019

The 18th Edition of the IET Wiring Regulations came into full effect from 1st January 2019.

The updated Regulations, which were published in July 2018, apply to the design, erection and verification of electrical installations, as well as additions and alterations to existing installations.  Although this is not a statutory document, BS 7671:2018 will set the standards for how electrical installations should be completed in the UK and enables compliance with the law. Installations designed after 31st December 2018, will have to comply with this new Standard.  The new edition includes new and revised regulations, new chapters and restructured sections.

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 state that all systems shall, at all times, be of such construction as to prevent danger, and shall be maintained so as to prevent such danger.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends that to comply with the Regulations, an inspection and testing program should be undertaken at all places of work. This means that a report on the condition of the electrical installation and associated items of equipment must be obtained to form the basis of a repair and maintenance program. This will in turn guarantee, as far as is reasonably practicable, the safety of a workforce and to keep the flow of business, by minimizing unplanned breakdowns and potential injury to employees or visitors.

The level of testing required for an existing installation may not be the same as that for an initial test. On completion, a periodic inspection certificate and report should be issued, signed by a competent person. The provision of a safe electrical installation system in a building is a legal requirement. It is a requirement to have a current inspection and test certificate or be able to demonstrate a safe method of operation and show adequate maintenance is carried out.

Depending upon the type of establishment, the recommended frequency of inspection and testing can currently range from annually to every 5 years. However, all electrical installations are required to meet the requirements of the IEE Wiring Regulations BS 7671 for the UK and equivalent standards throughout the rest of the world.

In addition, Surge Protection Devices (SPDs)/protection against transient overvoltages (which are not a new introduction) are now required in a number of specified situations, where the consequence caused by overvoltage could, for example, result in:

  • serious injury or loss of life;
  • interrupted public services;
  • interrupted industrial and commercial activity;
  • damage to cultural heritage, or a large group of individuals at the same location being affected.

For other circumstances, a risk assessment must be carried out to determine if protection against transient overvoltage is necessary.  Previously, the requirements of surge protection were determined through risk assessment methods.

Furthermore, as part of the government’s commitment to improve safety standards in the private rented sector, landlords will be legally required to ensure that the inspectors they hire to carry out safety inspections have the necessary competence and qualifications to do so – imposing financial penalties on those who fail to comply.  New guidance will outline the minimum level of qualifications and competence required for inspectors, and will provide ‘clear accountability at each stage of the inspection process’.  The new guidance will be broadly in line with existing regulations in Scotland.

To obtain a copy of the new Regulations, click here.

The S2 Partnership has a team of qualified safety risk management specialists bringing together health, safety, fire, environmental, water hygiene and asbestos expertise.  For assistance and guidance, please contact us.