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Ready for a year of change

Throughout 2018 Hager has been busy working with professional electricians to provide the answers to questions on all things 18th Edition. Marketing Manager, Ian Smith, outlines the five key topic areas identified by the electrical community as the countdown to January 1st 2019 gathers pace.

The electrical industry is about to face a new regulatory landscape come January 1st 2019. The 18th Edition of the IET Wiring Regulations becomes mandatory from that date and will see the culmination of over 12 months of work and preparation to ensure manufacturers and electrical contractors remain fully compliant.

Hager has been at the forefront of efforts to ensure the electrical industry has easy access to the guidance and information it requires ahead of the 18th Edition. Their proactive approach has given all stakeholders a clear understanding on the safety-driven technical changes and new responsibilities that will come into force in 2019.

At the heart of Hager’s support has been its industry-leading chatbot ‘Reg’. Over the last few months, Reg has been busy answering lots of questions and queries from the UK’s electrical contractors looking for guidance on important areas such as product specification and installation methods.These have focused on Arc Fault Detection Devices (AFDDs), Residual Current Devices (RCDs), as well as all things surge protection.

In particular, the top 5 most popular questions posed to Reg centred around: an explanation about AFDDs, changes to RCDs, where AFDD solutions are required, what type of RCD should be used, as well as enquiries about surge protection.

1.What is an AFDD?

AFDDs are used to help protect electrical circuits in a way that will reduce the risk of it being the source of an electrical fire. An AFDD offers additional protection to measures already in place as they are designed to detect low level hazardous arcing which other devices such as circuit breakers, fuses and RCDs are not designed to detect.

2.What are the changes for RCDs?

The regulations covering residual current devices technology selection have been completely revised. There is now a requirement for specifiers to select the appropriate RCD from the range of four types available. RCDs can prevent fatal electric shocks and is a generic term that covers a range of products including RCCB, RCBO, SRCD, FCURCD, CBR and MRCD. They offer a level of personal protection that ordinary fuses and circuit-breakers cannot provide. The changes specify that the designer has to now take into account the type of equipment which may be connected to the protected circuit and specify the appropriate device.

3.Where are AFDDs used?

The new regulations state that arc fault detection devices are recommended as a means of providing additional protection against fire caused by arc faults in AC final circuits.An AFDD should be placed at the origin of the circuit to be protected and examples could include: premises with sleeping accommodation, locations with a risk of fire due to stored materials such as wood-working shops and stores of combustible materials, wooden buildings and locations containing irreplaceable goods.The AFDD adds an additional level of protection for electrical circuits and further improves the safety standards for domestic and commercial electrical installations.

4.What are the different RCD Types?

Type AC RCD - Type AC RCD is able to detect and respond to AC sinusoidal residual current only.

Type A RCD - A type A RCD is able to detect alternating sinusoidal residual current and residual pulsating direct current suddenly applied or smoothly increasing.

Type F RCD - A type F RCD is able to detect and respond to high frequency residual current as well as pulsating DC residual current.

Type B RCD - A type B RCD is able to detect and respond to all types of residual current including smooth DC residual current.

5.What are the changes to Surge Protection?

Transient excessive voltage levels in a building which occur over a short time period can be disruptive and dangerous. The 18th Edition simplifies previously issued guidance so that electrical professionals are clear about what they need to consider for the installation of surge protection devices.

The regulations now state that protection against transient overvoltages should be provided where the consequence of an overvoltage results in serious injury or loss of human life, results in the interruption of public services or damage to cultural heritage, or results in the interruption of commercial or industrial activity that affects a large number of co-located individuals.

It is now mandatory that the electrical designer considers and carries out risk assessments. To remove any doubt, the 18th Edition recommends that where the result of overvoltage could result in any of the scenarios outlined above then overvoltage protection should be provided.

2019 is set to be a year of transition and change for professional electrical contractors as they fully get to grips with the new rules and regulations. Hager is fully committed to helping the industry adjust to the new landscape by offering not just compliant product solutions, but also expert advice and support via a number of channels including our accessible and informative chatbot.

Posted: 3rd December 2018

For further information please contact: Hager Ltd, Hortonwood 50, Hortonwood, Telford, TF1 7FT. Telephone 01952 675612, Fax 01952 675557, Web: www.hager.co.uk, Twitter: @hageruk