As a professional electrician working for Birmingham Electrical, I understand the importance of staying up to date with the latest consumer unit regulations. With the introduction of the 18th edition and subsequent AMD2 updates, there have been significant changes to the regulations that affect consumer unit installations.
One of the most important changes is the requirement for consumer units in domestic premises to be constructed from non-combustible material. This means that all new installations must have a metal consumer unit installed unless it is installed within a non-combustible enclosure. This is because plastic consumer units have been known to catch fire due to poor installation practices or faults within the unit.
Additionally, there has been a debate among electricians regarding the use of RCDs or RCBOs for dividing circuits. While dual RCD and split load boards were popular in the past, RCBO boards are now the proper compliance with consumer unit regulations. RCBO boards not only minimize inconvenience to the end-user but also allow for faster fault finding and rectification of issues as it is obvious from the get-go which circuit is involved.
Another important change is the maximum leakage current on RCDs or RCBOs. The 18th edition of BS7671 introduced a new consideration for RCD-equipped devices, stating that the maximum leakage current under normal usage must not be more than 33% of the rated tripping current of the device. In other words, the regular leakage current must not exceed 10mA under normal circumstances. This is particularly important for dual RCD boards, where multiple circuits are shared across one single RCD device, as this leakage current could easily exceed the 33% limit allowed for the single RCD unit.
Moreover, the type of RCD has been brought into question more with the recent introduction of AMD2 to the 18th edition. This section of the consumer unit regulations now requires that type AC RCDs can only be used for fixed equipment with no DC component. This means that at least type A RCDs must be used for socket circuit outlets and any fixed equipment that may have a DC component.
Lastly, surge protection devices have become more important than ever. The 18th edition expanded heavily on their use, and it is now recommended to fit surge protection devices in instances where certain risks from surges are present. This is because they not only protect against surges of atmospheric origin but also constant small switching over-voltages from appliances within the premises. At Birmingham Electrical, our standard practice is to fit these on all consumer unit installations to ensure the lifespan improvements on sensitive equipment.
In conclusion, the changes to consumer unit regulations brought about by the 18th edition and AMD2 updates are significant and cannot be ignored. As an electrician at Birmingham Electrical, I understand the importance of keeping up to date with the latest regulations to ensure the safety and compliance of all installations. From the construction of the consumer unit to the labeling requirements, every detail must be carefully considered to ensure compliance with the latest regulations. It is our responsibility as electricians to adhere to these regulationsRead more