What will be the effect of Brexit on Fixed Wire Electrical Testing in the UK?

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Date: Tue 11 Dec 2018

BS 7671 and the UK's role in developing future standards will be unaffected by Brexit as BSI confirms membership of CENELEC

How are the electrical standards for testing set?

In the UK, all fixed wire electrical testing is conducted in accordance with the guidelines set out by BS 7671 Wiring Regulations produced by the IET (Institute of Engineering & Technology), of which the most up to date 18th edition has just been published and comes into effect in January 2019.

Whilst the BS denotes these to be British Standards, these regulations are actually based on standards which are created at an international level.

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)is a global non-political, non-governmental organisation which prepares and publishes international standards on electrical and electronic technologies.

CENELEC which represents over 20,000 different European Standards works with IEC to influence the development of regulations and adapt them to oversee implementation within Europe as a European Standards.

Often British Standards are the same as the European counterpart and the designated BS EN (European Norm) is used.

How does BS 7671 relate to other Standards?

BS 7671 is actually based on the IEC 60361 the international standard for electrical installations prepared by the IEC. The testing frequency is set at a country level, but the rest of the regulations are largely similar.

How will BS7671 be affected if the UK leaves Europe?

The BSI is the industry body responsible for British Standards. In November 2018, the BSI have confirmed that they have secured membership of CENELEC (the Europe wide assembly for standards), regardless of the result of Brexit.

So what does BSI membership of CENELEC mean for electrical testing?

As the BSI are confirmed as ongoing members of CENELEC, this means that relevant UK stakeholders will continue to be able to shape, influence and maintain best practice standards at a European and International level. British experts will still be able to hold positions of authority within these organisations.

In a press release from BSI, they confirm that “[This decision confirms] BSI's policy position, in place since the referendum, that its membership and continued influence in the development and maintenance of European standards should not be affected by Brexit."

In summary, this means that it is essentially business as usual, and regardless of the outcome from Brexit, there should be no direct impact on fixed wire electrical testing requirements, frequencies or regulations.