Replacement Consumer Unit

The Electricity at Work Regulations state that all electrical systems and equipment used in the working environment should be in a safe condition.

Electrical Regulations are periodically reviewed and updated to reflect the changing, progressive electrical world.

The current Regulations are the 18th Edition IET Wiring Regulations, BS 7671:2018. They were published on 1st July 2018 and came into effect on 1st January 2019. Our engineers have all trained, been examined and have qualified to this British Standard and all of our work is carried out in compliance with it.

One of the most common jobs we carry out, particularly in the domestic market is the replacement of consumer units. The third amendment to BS 7671:2011 (IET Wiring Regulations Seventeenth Edition), effective from July 2016, included a new regulation requiring consumer units and similar switchgear assemblies in domestic premises to have a non-combustible enclosure.
The reason for directive was because of reports from fire investigators of a trend of increasing numbers of fires involving consumer units having a moulded thermoplastic enclosure.

The wording of the Regulation is:

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.

The intent of Regulation 421.1.201 is considered to be, as far as is reasonably practicable, to contain any fire within the enclosure or cabinet and to minimise the escape of flames.

It is not a requirement that all non-compliant ‘combustible’ consumer units and switchgear must be replaced – instead, an inspection (EICR) of a domestic dwelling’s electrical installation should be undertaken by a competent person in accordance with the requirements of Chapter 62 of BS 7671 and a decision made as to whether the consumer unit and any associated switchgear are still safe and suitable for their function. Such a decision might be informed by the age, condition and installation circumstances of the domestic dwelling’s electrical installation.
Generally, consumer units etc. under wooden staircases in houses or boxed in wooden cupboard arrangements may be seen to have a potential risk of fire due to a probable lack of ventilation and the adjacent combustible materials.

Under Part P of the Building Regulations, all replacement consumer units in dwellings are notifiable to Building Control. As an NICEIC Approved Contractor we are registered to carry out the notification and provide the respective certification to our client on completion of the installation

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