The third Amendment to BS 7671:2011 (IET Wiring Regulations Seventeenth Edition) which was published in January 2015 and came into effect on 1st July 2015 includes a new regulation requiring consumer units and similar switchgear assemblies in domestic premises to have a non-combustible enclosure. The implementation date for this regulation is 1st January 2016.
The new regulation comes into effect six months later than the effective date of Amendment 3 as a whole. The purpose of this delay was to allow a period of co-existence of both metal and plastic enclosed consumer units, allowing time for manufacturers to work existing and new products through their supply chains. Nevertheless, as is also indicated in Note 2, the delayed implementation does not preclude compliance with the regulation prior to 1st January 2016.
The reason for this new regulation is safety, in recent months the London Fire Brigade has found that fires involving consumer units have increased to approximately five incidents each week. The aim of this new regulation, as far as is reasonably practicable, is to contain any fire within the enclosure or cabinet and to minimise the escape of flames.
The wording of the regulation:
421.1.201 Within domestic (household) premises, consumer units and similar switchgear assemblies shall comply with BS EN 61439-3 and shall:
(i) have their enclosure manufactured from non-combustible material, or
(ii) be enclosed in a cabinet or enclosure constructed of non-combustible material and complying with Regulation 132.12.
NOTE 1: Ferrous metal, e.g. steel, is deemed to be an example of a non-combustible material.
NOTE 2: The implementation date for this regulation is the 1st January 2016, but does not preclude compliance with the regulation prior to that date.
Find out more on the IET website
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MK Electric now offer a full range of metal consumer units, from 4 to 21 module units, that are fully compliant with BS 7671 (2015), including Amendment 3 (effective July 2015). The new units have a stronger, more robust design with a top hinged door that prevents the door being left open after use, which could lead to a possible fire risk. To learn more about the updated range visit the MK Electric website