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. This has been rumoured by Mark Coles of the IET.
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.
JPEL/64 is informed by the UK’s commitment to the Internal Electro-technical Committee (IEC) and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC). The relationships between
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.