Opt for manufacturer approved parts, says Electrium

With the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations comes new recommendations, as well as increased levels of regulation. Whether that’s in the form of a clarification on existing regulations, or driven by a need for an increased number of protective devices per installation – or simply to accommodate new technology – it’s important to understand what is being asked of installers, explains Jim Hutchinson, National Sales Manager for Electrium brands Wylex and Crabtree.

One of the new regulations, 536.4.203, states that devices and components that are used in low voltage assemblies (to BS EN 61439) such as consumer units, and distribution boards, must only be those that have been declared suitable for that purpose by the manufacturer of the assembly. Or put another way, only use manufacturer approved parts – don’t mix brands of devices or control items.

Each manufacturer of electrical switchgear designs and tests its own products for use in combination with each other, not with other brands. So if someone were to use a mixture of brands, they would be creating an untested assembly, and these aren’t backed by manufacturer guarantees.

Obviously, no manufacturer can guarantee an installation that hasn’t been completed in line with the manufacturer’s installation instructions. But that doesn’t mean that manufacturers won’t permit control items to be added to an assembly. Electrium, for example, offers a custom build facility and will design and build factory-built assemblies that will carry a manufacturer guarantee, even if the assembly includes non Electrium products.

Readers should be aware that the notes relative to 536.4.203 state that if the assembly deviates from the original manufacturers’ instructions, then the person introducing that deviation becomes the manufacturer. So, if you have an installation that requires non-standard arrangements, talk to the manufacturer about how to provide this in a compliant manner.

Using unapproved parts will invalidate manufacturer guarantees and may result in an unsafe installation.

As of January 1, 2019, the new 18th Edition regulations must be used in all designs and installations.

The 18th Edition of the IET Wiring Regulations presents some new opportunities for the industry from the changes. These provide further safety measures for installers to provide for their customers, as well as a focus on energy efficiency.

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