The history of wiring regulations and how it effects electricians

Further changes to the 17th edition wiring regulations came into effect recently, so we are examining these in closer detail and also discussing the potential further changes that could take place in the near future. The evolution of wiring regulations have come a long way with the 1st wiring regulations introduced in 1882, consisting of only 4 pages and contained 21 regulations.

The 17th edition wiring regulations (2008 BS7671)

First introduced in January 2008. When the book was launched it had a red cover and consisted of 389 pages which is 385 pages more than the 1st edition.

Soon after followed the 17th edition wiring regulations amendment number 1 which was finalised in July 2011 and came into force in January 2012. The book was launched with a green cover to differentiate from its predecessor and now consists of nearly 500 pages of regulations. Over 4 years the wiring regulations book was expanded to take into account new changes.

The main changes to amendment 1 to BS7671 in summary are as follows:

  1. New numbering system to accommodate future changes
  2. Chapter 44 – New section 444 introduced to deal with measures against electromagnetic disturbances
  3. Chapter 51 – Modification to temperature ratings regarding the connections of cables to switchgear and the deletion of orange as a way of identifying an electrical conduit
  4. Chapter 53 – New section 534 to deal with installing surge protection devices
  5. Part 6 – Editorial changes to chapter 61 with additional notes and changes to chapter 63 to take into account the changes from a periodic inspection to a condition report
  6. New sections now in Part 7 – Section 710 Medical Locations and Section 729 Operating and Maintenance gangways
  7. Appendix 6 – New forms for reporting and certification

A further change was made in June 2013 with an update to 710 medical locations under the heading Corrigendum June 2013 and was incorporated in the amendment 1 green book from that date.

Amendment 2 was introduced in August 2013 to introduce a new section to BS 7671:2008 specifically for Electrical vehicle charging installations – Section 722. This is a standalone document and has not been consolidated in the wiring regulations book.

Amendment 3 is certainly not far away from being introduced and a recent presentation by Certsure has suggested as soon as January 2015. So we can expect a new coloured book with more pages for sure.

However with the arrival of the amendment 3 it certainly provokes some questions:

Will electricians have to do updated 17th edition courses to comply with the new amendments?

Historically there have been many amendments to previous editions of the wiring regulations and there has been no need to undertake additional training. For example the 15th edition which was introduced in 1981 had 5 amendments before being updated to the 16th edition in 1991. This also had 5 amendments before being updated to the 17th edition in 2008.

When will the 18th Edition Wiring Regulations be introduced?

There has been no talk of this yet and if history dictates the 15th edition which was in force for 10 years and the 16th for 17 years so we probably shouldn’t expect the 18th edition for a few years to come, or at least until couple of further amendments have been made to the existing version.

What are the likely changes to amendment 3?

We cannot be 100% sure yet as the first draft was only made available for public comment recently, closing on 4th March.

Please visit our 17th Edition course for more information

Take a look at our recent blog on all the major changes made to BS7671 17th Edition Wiring Regulations!

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