Following the release of the 18th Edition wiring regulations Mark Krull, Director at Logic4training, explains who needs training, when they need it and the options for installers who are up-to-date with their knowledge of the previous incarnation of the regulations.
By the time you read this the dust will firmly be settling on the newly released 18th Edition wiring regulations (BS7671). While as an electrician or domestic electrical installer you should be aware that you need knowledge of the new standard, what can be confusing is when by.
There is a grace period, but by January next year everyone should be working to the new standard. What level electrical installer you are, however, will dictate when you need to be up to speed with the 18th Edition regulations.
Who needs to be qualified?
From January, anyone applying for an Installation or Maintenance Electrician gold card for the first time will be required to sign up to Registered Electrician status and be qualified to the 18th Edition.
The launch of the new regulations coincides with changes to the ECS card scheme and the introduction of Registered Electricians; existing Registered Electricians will have until July 2019 to update their qualification to the 18th Edition regulations.
It’s not just electricians who need an understanding of 18th Edition. Installers involved with any aspect of electrical installations should also have a comprehensive knowledge – this includes gas engineers and kitchen fitters.
For operatives who are CPS members, or those looking to join a CPS, this knowledge must be complimented by a recognised inspection and testing qualification and experience. 18th Edition training is not mandatory for this group yet, but the best route to understanding the new regulation.
If you’ve kept up-to-date with the regulations and practice them regularly in your day-to-day work, then it may be that you don’t have to undertake the full qualification. There are top-up options, with training just focusing on the new elements of the 18th Edition.
Be warned, however, the assessment is the same whether you complete full or top-up training, covering everything, including the bits from the old standard that haven’t changed. If you feel your knowledge is a bit patchy in places, it may be worth going over the full regulations, just to be on the safe side.
Candidates for the 18th Edition top-up only option must have achieved 17th Edition (Amendment 3).
If you’re going for the top-up only option, these are the main areas you will need to cover:
Protection against overvoltages
The AQ criteria, which focused on whether protection against transient overvoltage was needed, due primarily to lightning risk influence, has been changed to focus on the following scenarios:
- If human life could be affected; for example, if medical facilities or safety might be disrupted,
- If cultural heritage might be damaged,
- If public services might be affected, or IT data centres disrupted,
- If industrial or commercial activity could be affected.
In other situations, a risk assessment would be used to identify whether protection is needed.
A new regulation has been introduced in the 18th Edition, recommending the installation of Arc Fault Detection Devices (AFDDs) to mitigate the risk of fire in AC final circuits of a fixed installation.
Section 743, which focuses on floor and ceiling heating systems, has been extended and now covers embedded heating systems, both indoors and outdoors, including anti-frost and ice systems such as those in lawns and football pitches.
A new Appendix 17 has been added that provides guidance for the design and erection of electrical installations that include local production and storage of energy for optimising efficiency. Much of this appendix will not apply to domestic installations.
A sign of the times, changes have been made to the requirements for electric vehicle charging installations – an area that is rapidly growing in popularity. Just five years ago there were only 3,500 new EV registrations – now there are now over 155,000 EVs on the road.
Beat the rush
The temptation may be to wait until next year to complete your 18th Edition training and assessment, but we predict a rush when the deadlines loom, so getting ahead of the curve will ensure you can study at a time to suit your business.
Logic4training delivers full and top-up 18th Edition training and assessment from its centres in Northolt, Basildon and Luton. For more information visit: www.logic4training.co.uk