New Consumer Unit Regulations – Are You Safe?
BEAMA says that the primary root-cause of fires in consumer units has been clearly identified as resulting from loose connections and this new regulation is intended to provide a level of enhanced fire risk protection in this event.
So, in particular, under Amendment 3 enclosures will need to be made from a suitable non-combustible material, or be enclosed in a cabinet / enclosure made from a suitable non-combustible material complying with regulation 132.12.
An example of such a non-combustible material is steel. The reason, of course, for this likely new requirement of Amendment 3 is to prevent any consumer unit fire from escaping the enclosure – so helping to reduce any fire risk to the domestic property resulting from a consumer unit fault.
Misleading information – a redress by BEAMA
However, BEAMA feels that there has been much misinformation about this likely requirement, so is setting the record straight.
Commented BEAMA’s Deputy Director, Installation Sector, Keith Smith: ”Much has already been written, some of it highly speculatively and potentially misleading, about the forthcoming Regulation 421.1.201 that is intended to improve fire safety in domestic premises.
“BEAMA, on behalf of the leading manufacturers of consumer units, has published a Technical Bulletin entitled ‘Enhanced Fire Safety from Consumer Units’ to give industry guidance and bring some clarity to the intended application of Regulation 421.1.201
“The content of this Technical Bulletin is fully supported and endorsed by leading industry bodies, including ECA, Electrical Safety First, IET and SELECT.
“A further point for clarification is that plastic enclosures manufactured from 960 degree glow-wire rated material would not be classified as ‘non-combustible’ in the context of this regulation.
“Full compliance with this new regulation,” said Keith Smith, “will be required for installations designed after 1st January 2016. However, this does not preclude compliance with this regulation prior to this date.”