NAPIT Codebreakers #15

NAPIT Codebreakers #15

Need help with cracking those EICR codes? The technical team at NAPIT, with the help of the 18th Edition Codebreakers publication, answer your latest coding queries. Click on the photos for a closer look!

P FRIEND: What a great start to this EICR! The cupboard was built around the DB and I had to drill a section out to access the cover screws. The cover was also siliconed to the wall, cos why not, eh? 


When the 18th Edition of BS 7671 was introduced, there was a subtle change to Reg 132.12, which required that electrical equipment shall be installed to ensure access for replacement of parts and inspection and testing, etc.

Regardless of the previous requirements, we must Code to the current version of BS 7671, even though earlier versions of BS 7671 only stated ‘where necessary’ in this Regulation.

This consumers unit (CU) may well have been installed quite correctly and even conformed with the latest Regulation when it was commissioned; however, the placement of the kitchen units has diminished the correct access to it without extensive modifications.

As we look at the picture, we can see a large gap between the cover and the devices which could indicate damage and/or access to live parts, which would attract an immediate C1.

As the inspector has highlighted the work done to access the board and that it was siliconed in, I am going to assume that they have begun removal of the front cover to access the CU internals.

If the devices themselves were accessible to isolate and reset, there were no signs of mechanical damage, IP infringements, or thermal damage; I would see this as a C3. There is no potential threat to life in this scenario, however, there is room for improvement.

As I said earlier, if the board is in this state before removal of the front cover, then the potential damage and misalignment could give access to live parts, which is a C1, especially if someone were to try and switch off or reset the circuit breaker.

If the inspector is removing the front cover and has caused the misalignment, I’d be concerned that the devices and CU were still live as both the main switch and circuit breaker are indicating the ‘on’ position. They may well be isolated elsewhere, which we can’t tell from this picture. Safe isolation is of paramount importance and can’t be stressed enough.


ASHLEY CLEGG: Here’s what I found when I took off this single socket outlet 55mm from the wall to the plasterboard. The single box is 25mm deep, and the terminals are not protected from the plasterboard or from other elements from the air gap.


As we look at this, it may seem there is an issue – some may say the cpc’s sharing the same sleeve is an issue, but in reality, it isn’t a problem, as they aren’t twisted together. Even from a periodic testing perspective, they’re very unlikely to cause a problem.

As the reader points out, there is a large gap between the rear of the finish plasterboard and the back box.  We require specific IP ratings for enclosures, those being IP2X on all sides (416.2.1) and IP4X on the horizontal top surface, where it is readily accessible (416.2.2).

That said, in this instance, we need to look at the likelihood that the conductors are accessible during normal service.

When the installer first fixed the back box, they may not have known the finish plaster depth, and so it’s a general practice to fit a 25mm box as standard and expect the plasterboard to be not too far away unless a deeper box is required for bulky conductors/second fix accessories etc.

The keywords here are “readily accessible”; are the conductors readily accessible during normal service? The answer can only be given by the client and the inspector; however, we can be reasonably sure that there is a very limited likelihood of an ordinary person coming into contact with the conductors with the accessory in place, so there is no problem there.

Is there a likelihood that foreign objects and wildlife can access the rear of the accessory? This is a possibility, however even an IP4X requirement would not stop the onslaught of insects that may cause a problem in a very extreme case. If we look at larger wildlife, the general rule of thumb is that a mouse can squeeze through a hole the diameter of a standard pen, so that rules out any protection afforded from the IP2X requirement.

The prospect of anything larger being there would need a call to pest control and not anything the electrical designer could foresee in a general installation. Things become a little more in-depth with thatched roofs, farms and remote installations, but the considerations here are generally confined to conductor and cable damage from wildlife.

Although at first glance this may seem to be a problem installation practice, in reality, there is unlikely to be a problem, and I don’t see as it needs to be coded; indeed, I’d struggle to find a Regulation that it directly infringes. There is also the reality that to remedy it would be impractical as the wall structure coverings would need to be removed entirely and replaced, which isn’t likely to happen.

So, for this observation, I feel no code can be given.

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