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To know the scope of BS7671 Wiring Regulations is essential for anyone working as an electrician in the UK. The 17th edition of BS7671 Wiring Regulations does not cover every field of electrical installation. It is important that electricians know which areas are covered by BS7671 and which areas are not.
Out of scope for BS7671
It is not possible to define in a single sentence the scope of BS7671 Wiring Regulations but if the following apply, it is likely to be not covered by BS7671 and specialist knowledge and qualifications are required to undertake work on the installation:
The circuit voltage is greater than 1,000 VAC, or 1,500 VDC
The installation is related to machines (aircraft, boats, vehicles, trains, industrial equipment, lifts)
Mines and quarries
Distribution of electricity, lightning conductors, electric fences
Scope of BS7671
Electrical installations which the public come into contact as part of their normal day to day activities are generally within the scope of BS7671.
Residential, commercial, public, industrial and agricultural premises
Caravans, prefabricated buildings, fairgrounds, marinas, building sites
External lighting, roadside equipment and lighting
Low voltage systems
It is important that all electricial contractors have a good understanding of the scope of all wiring regulations and that if your skills, experience and qualifications are limited to BS7671 Wiring Regulations, you bring in qualified contractors for work not covered by BS7671. In general, the Regulations are non-statutory; however, they can be used as evidence to claim compliance with a statutory requirement and non-compliance can lead to serious legal consequences.
Our previous post in this series talked in detail about the structure of BS7671 Wiring Regulations. Now we take a look at how the Parts and Sections are numbered.
One of the secrets of success with the 17th Edition is to be able to find your way around the Regs book. This is made much easier by understanding the numbering system. With understanding you can quickly locate the relevant regulations both to assist you in your work as an electrician and beforehand when aiming to pass City & Guilds 2382-15.
The numbering of the 17th Edition Wiring Regulations follows the pattern of the technical intent of Standards developed at the European CENELEC level (which is not affected by Brexit). The system is based on the harmonisation documents HD60364 series of standards.
Or, in language the rest of us understand, the numbering system has designed to be consistent, easy to follow and easy to update.
For the old timers amongst us who wired our first socket under the 16th Edition Regulations, the most obvious change is that the 17th Edition Wiring Regulations has dropped the dashes and now uses a point/dot numbering system, based on the IEC numbering system.
So, what does this show?
It shows Regulation 524.1 which is ‘The cross-sectional area of each conductor in a circuit shall be not less than the values given in Table 52.3, except as provided for extra-low voltage lighting installations according to Regulation 715.524.201.’
The Regulation is located in Section 524 – Cross-sectional areas of conductors
Section 524 is located in Chapter 52 – Selection and Erection of Wiring Systems
Chapter 52 is located in Part 5 – Selection and Erection of Wiring Equipment
Easy! All the BS7671 Wiring Regulations are numbered in this way.
But, because we are British and are working with a European institution (Cenelec), we of course wanted something a little bit special for ourselves.
From Amendment 3 regulations which are numbered .200 to .299 are applicable to Britain alone. This is a change from 1st and 2nd Amendments of BS7671 where UK only regulations were numbered .100 to .199. Going forward all .100 regulations will be changed to .200 regulations when that regulation requires a substantial rewrite.
In the example above, you can see reference to Regulation 715.524.201 ‘The minimum cross-sectional area of the extra-low voltage conductors……..’. That the Regulation number is 524.201 shows that it is a regulation for the UK only and has been substantially rewritten (and in this example: 15 is the Section, which is in Chapter 1 of Part 7).
The Wiring Regs is organised into parts, chapters, sections and regulations.
Each part contains a chapter, each chapter contains sections, each section contains regulations. The Regulations themselves may contain multiple clauses.
Although there are 7 parts and 16 Appendices, the 17th Edition Wiring Regulations can best be understood by considering it as organised into four chunks of information:
Part 1- Scope, object and fundamental principles This section outlines general requirements for installations
Part 2 – Definitions This section details the 290 definitions which are used in the Regulations
Part 3 to Part 7 This is the body of the regulations, each part deals with a critical area of wiring regulations. Parts 3 to 6 describe general regulations in details and the longest part, Part 7 deals with special installations and locations.
Appendices The extensive appendices provide detail information related to the Wiring Regulations
In follow up blogs in this series of How to Become 17th Edition Qualified, we will look at those Regulations which are most often referred to in City & Guilds 2382-15 and how you can easily find your way around BS7671 in the exam.
In 1881 the first public electricity supply in the world was turned on in Godalming in Surrey, where gas street lights were replaced by electrical street lamps based on a system supplied by the German company Siemens. No sooner had the system been activated than the technical press reported issues associated with wiring. The lighting in side streets was dim and of poor quality due to the inadequacy of the cabling. There were also reports of children (and drunks) harming themselves on the exposed wires.
In the next year, the first edition of the British Wiring regulations was published. It was published by the Society of Telegraph Engineers and of Electricians and contained just four pages under the title Rules and Regulations for the Prevention of Fire Risks Arising from Electric Lighting.
The purpose of the Regulations were to ensure that workmanship was of the highest order and that the materials used are of suitable quality to do the work required and that the installations were safe.
The wiring regulations remained the responsibility of what became the Institute of Electrical Engineers (and later became IET) and in 1981 became aligned to IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) standards.
Eleven years later, the regulations became a British Standards document and the harmonisation of wiring regulations became formalised. Further international harmonisation of standards aligns wiring regulations to CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization).
The most recent edition of the wiring regulations is the 17th Edition which was published in June 2008 as BS7671:2008. In July 2011, Amendment 1 to the regulations was published under a green cover and came into force in January 2012. In 2013 a Corrigendum and Amendment 2 covering electric vehicles were published.
No company helps more self-study candidates become 17th Edition Qualified than Electacourse. Every year hundreds of electricians use Electacourse study material and our exam partners to successfully achieve 17th Edition Qualification.
On this site we will publish a series of guides to help electricians understand the requirements for 17th Edition qualification.
Follow this series of blogs to keep up to date.
If you want to go further and get your qualification, register with Electacourse – the Electacourse 17th Edition Course is great value and with the combination of self-study and exam centres around the UK, you can fit the course around your busy working life – no need to take time out and spend three or four days in a classroom.
Why is the 17th Edition Important to Electricians?
The 17th Edition is of critical importance to electricians and to all who work in the electrical industry. All new electrical installations need to conform to the requirements of the British Standard 7671:2008 (2015) as detailed in the 17th Edition including Amendments 1, 2 and 3. The 17th Edition is the essential source of reference for low voltage electrical installations in the UK. It is the foundation of knowledge for electrical contractors and installers.
All electricians practising in the UK need to know and need to be able to reference the wiring regulations in order to undertake their work to a professional standard.
The 17th Edition Wiring Regulations is not a statutory document.
However in the event of a dispute, individuals responsible for faulty installations who are unable to demonstrate understanding of the Regulations, are at risk of assuming legal liability. To practice as an electrical installer without possessing the 17th Edition Qualification exposes you to criminal prosecution in the event of an error or accident.
City & Guilds
City & Guilds are the accrediting institution for assessing an electrical installer’s understanding of the 17th Edition Wiring Regulations. You will need to go to an examination centre to take the City & Guilds 17th Edition Exam.
The full name of the 17th Edition exam is: Level 3 Award in Requirements for Electrical Installations BS7671: 2008 (2015) commonly known as City & Guilds 2382-15.
Achievement of the 2382-15 qualification ensures individuals are up-to-date with the latest industry regulations on wiring and the safe use and operation of electrical equipment and installations.
We will go through details of the 2382-15 exam in a post later in this series
If you have read our previous post on preparing for an exam then you will know that a lot of work goes in to making sure that you are ready for your big exam. So with so much effort under your belt, it would seem silly to fall at the final hurdle.
Let us show you some of the key exam day techniques to help you to get even closer to your goals.
After a good night’s sleep you should be up and ready to head to your local exam centre. You will want to leave home with plenty of time and ensure that you have planned your route out.
You will not be allowed in to the exam if you are late and if you get there just in time then you are more likely to feel flustered and stressed as you enter the room.
You should also make sure you have all the right equipment with you in order to complete the exam and always, always take a spare pen or two.
Give yourself up a timetable
When the time comes to opening those papers there is a good chance you are going to feel some panic about what you may find. Just keep calm and work out in your head a timetable of how long to give each question (although this may already be set out for you).
You should try to plan in 10 minutes at the end of the test for proof-reading.
Reading through the questions
Make sure that you read each and every question accurately, take the time to make sure you understand each point as candidates are more likely to lose marks simply because they haven’t read the questions properly. Read each one twice, three times if you have to.
Underline or mark anything that you feel is important in the question and ensure that you can see what is meant by each phrase or point.
There is a good chance that at some point in the exam you are going to draw a blank. When this happens, just take a deep breath, compose yourself and think back to all that revision, it will soon come back to you.
Remember, exams are supposed to test you, otherwise they wouldn’t be exams, so don’t worry if you have to really think about the answer.
If you are really struggling, then try answering all the questions that you are sure of. This will not only give your brain a rest but also boost your confidence as it shows you everything you do know.
Answering the questions
Always make it clear which question you are answering, you should also use correct and up to date terminology, after all this is professional exam. The examiner who marks your answers will not assume anything, so make sure you make every point you know clearly.
Also, don’t forget to use your best handwriting, if the examiner cannot understand what you have written then they won’t be able to mark it for you.
Plan each answer before you put it on the paper and make sure that you are understanding what is being asked of you.
Check and check again
As we have already said, try to leave yourself around 10 minutes towards the end of the exam to check over your work.
During this time, you should:
Make sure you have answered all the questions
Ensure that you have answered questions as precisely and thoroughly as you can
Make sure that you have outlined your workings out if it is a maths questions
Check that you have used all the relevant terminology
Once you have done all this you should have a completed test in front of you. Try to relax and not worry about what you have written. Now is the time just to wait for your results and see whether or not you have qualified.
Electacourse have been talking to Mark Coles of the IET talk about the 18th Edition of BS7671 Wiring Regulations.
When is the 18th Edition coming?
What we know so far about the 18th Edition Regulations is that the current anticipated publication date is July 2018, implementation date for installations to confirm to BS7671 18th Edition will be January 2019.
Electacourse have a number of offers to help our 17th Edition customers who are thinking whether to do the 17th Edition Course now or wait for the 18th Edition. See the chart below.
What changes are likely?
Protection against overvoltages
Clause 443 is likely to be significantly revised. BS7671 is dependent on International (IEC) and European (CENELEC – more about this below) standards. Both IEC and CENELEC have published major updates concerning overvoltage.
It is likely protection against transient overvoltage will be significantly changed in BS7671. Protection would have to be provided where the consequences affect human life, public services and commercial/industrial activity. And in line with the general trend of electricians being required to understand and exercise risk assessment, assessment will need to be made of whether protection is required in light of the potential human and commercial consequences of no protection.
Protection against fire
Chapter 42 concerns protection and precautions relating to fire caused by electrical equipment. It seems likely that BS7671:2018 will include regulations concerning the installation of arc fault detection devices – in response to the fact that RCDs cannot detect series or parallel arcing – faults which do not result in leakage current to earth.
Section 753 will be extended to include embedded electrical heating systems for surface heating. This will include de-icing and frost prevention systems. Major revisions will include regulations relating to the protection against the effects of overheating caused by electrical short-circuits in embedded units and relating to harmful influence between the heating system and other electrical and non-electrical installations.
This major new section will cover several energy efficient areas, such as electric vehicles, lighting, metering, cable losses, transformer losses, power-factor correction, and harmonics
IEC and CENELEC
The wiring regulations BS7671 are decided upon by the UK committee JPEL/64, more information about the working of JPEL/64 can be found on the Wiring Matters blog.
JPEL/64 is informed by the UK’s commitment to the International Electrotechnical Committee (IEC) and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC). The relationships between BS761, IEC and CENELEC are well explained by Mark Coles, the Technical Regulations Manager at the IET in his blog – Mark Coles blog.
IEC and CENELEC have their own update schedules. In addition to the likely BS7671 changes indicated above there will be many other smaller changes arising from these other standard bodies which will find their way in to the 18th Edition – these will be in addition to updates originating from JPEL/64’s consideration of electrical installation practice and requirements and the laws applicable in the UK.
What about Brexit and how will that change the 18th Edition schedule?
CENELEC is a European organisation and has a membership of 33 European states (ie more than just the EU states). The consequences of Brexit and the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union should not affect the UK membership of CENELEC. There is no indication at present that Brexit will change the anticipated publication schedule of the 18th Edition for July 2018.
What can you expect from Electacourse?
Electacourse are already a leading provider of courses for electricians and students aiming to achieve their 17th Edition qualification. Together with other industry leaders, Electacourse will participate in the public consultation for the 18th Edition of the IET Wiring Regulations and will have courses and student material available as soon as the details of the 18th Edition are finalised.
For electrical contractors you will be able sign up to the Electacourse 18th Edition Online Course once it becomes available. If you would like us to keep you informed, use the contact form below.
For training companies and FE Colleges, we will be able to offer you a ‘white label’ 18th Edition Online Course. That is, you can sign up with Electacourse for a license to use our 18th Edition material to train your students. The material will be available to your students under your own branding. Use the contact form below and we will keep you up-to-date.
Exams are a nerve wracking time for anyone; not least of all for those who are relying on passing to help their career. This is particularly true for electricians who will need to ensure they have the relevant qualifications in order to provide customers with a service.
Here at Electacourse we have put together some top tips for exam preparation, meaning that no matter how important the exam is, you will find ready to face it.
Reduce your stress
It is normal to feel stressed as a big exam loom on the horizon. This can come in both physical and mental forms and whilst stress is normal, you should try to reduce how much it affects you.
Physical stress can be reduced in the lead up to an exam by making sure that you keep up a positive fitness and eating plan. Not only this, but in the week or so before the exam it is important to make sure that you get enough sleep, otherwise you may underperform due to tiredness when it really matters.
Mental stress can be a little trickier to combat. Fear is a huge part of stressful feelings, especially fear of what questions you may face and whether you will be able to answer them. One of the best ways you can combat these feelings is by sourcing question and answer practice books and guidance notes. These are designed to give you a feel for the types of questions you can expect and give you the confidence to face them on the day.
The temptation may be to cram as much information as you can into your head before an exam; however over-studying can be a dangerous game. Instead of filling your brain up with useful information, over-studying can lead to tiredness and stress.
Instead you should balance your studying with plenty of breaks, if you are struggling to understand something, once you leave it for 10 minutes you might find it becomes all the clearer in your mind.
Set a revision schedule
Preparation is key in so many aspects of life, especially exams. Make sure you draw yourself a revision schedule in the fortnight before your exam. Set out all the topics that you need to cover and slot them into realistic time scales. This means that you won’t be at risk of over-studying and that you can give yourself plenty of time to learn each different topic.
Don’t forget to plan in for your “normal life” too. There is a good chance that you will still have a job, family or other commitments and if this is the case then you should still make plenty of time for them too.
Pick the right study method
Everyone learns in different ways. Reading might be best for some, whilst others need to listen to the words in order to take them in. Identify the best way that you learn and stick to it. After all, there is no-one else sitting the exam in your place, so you might as well personalise it as much as you can.
So there you have it, some of the ways that you can be ready for your exam. Take a deep breath and remember that if you stay calm and believe in yourself and what you have studied, you will be surprised by what you can achieve.
Coming soon tips on how to make a success of the exam once you are at the exam centre.