Be prepared for 18th Edition updates

Gary Parker, ECA Senior Technical Manager tells you what you need to know about Amendment 2 to the Wiring Regulations…

There have been major events and changes since the release of the 18th Edition Wiring Regulations. Since the ubiquitous ‘blue book’ was published in 2018, the electrical contracting industry has encountered Brexit, Covid-19 and material shortages, Building Safety legislation and various green technology and other opportunities. Some of these have shaped the way we look at and think about electrical installations today.

On March 28, 2022, the second Amendment to the 18th Edition was released. The new book (brown this time) is filled with important updates that electrical contractors need to know about. 

Here we shall look at a few of the major changes in BS 7671:2018+A2:2022 (from now, referred to as Amendment 2).

Implementation and information

The last update to the Wiring Regulations will be withdrawn on September 27,2022. Any new work from this date must conform to the new Amendment 2.

Some of the wording has also been clarified. For example, some readers took the word ‘recommended’ to mean ‘mandatory’. This has been made clearer throughout, and should now be easier to understand. 

RCD risk assessments

These updated requirements relate to Regulation 411.3.3 – RCDs and socket outlets. Previous Editions allowed building owners to omit RCDs in some cases where a risk assessment had been done.  

This is still an option, but the requirements have been tightened up. Amendment 2 now insists that an RCD must be provided where children or disabled persons are present, regardless of whether a risk assessment has been done.

Additional earth electrodes

Some new wording has been added to Regulation 411.4.2 recommending that an additional connection to earth, by means of an electrode, is provided to PME earthing systems. As mentioned earlier, the word ‘recommended’ is key here. This is just one option, and not mandatory. 

The existing Regulation 114.1 still remains and says that where a supply is given in accordance with the Electricity Safety, Quality and Continuity Regulations (ESQCR), it shall be deemed that the connection between earth and neutral is permeant.

Arc fault detection devices

AFDDs are now mandatory for circuits supplying socket-outlets with a rated current not exceeding 32 A in:

• Higher risk residential buildings (HRRBs)

• Homes in multiple occupation (HMOs)

• Purpose built student accommodation

• Care homes

This clarifies the specific locations where AFDDs are required. Of course, this does not restrict their uses in other locations. That is up to the designer, but it is worth noting that some limitations do remain regarding AFDDs. For instance, they are single-phase only and may require a minimum load to function correctly.

Further Amendment 2 updates to be aware of:

• Protected escape routes

• Protection against overvoltages

• Bonding of outbuildings

• Solar PV systems

• Prosumer electrical installations

• Certification

You can learn much more about AMD2 in an ongoing series of articles, videos and podcasts available at 

www.ECAtoday.co.uk. 

To speak to ECA NI and 

ROI Regional Manager, Alfie Watterson 

call: +44 (0)28 9147 9527 or 

email: [email protected]