New Regulations regarding Fire Resistant Consumer-boards
As of 1st January 2016, The Institute of Electrical Engineers (I.E.E) have a new regulation:
[ Within domestic (household) premises, consumer units and similar
switchgear assemblies shall comply with BS EN 61439-3 and shall:
1: Have their enclosure manufactured from non-combustible material, or
2: Be enclosed in a cabinet or enclosure constructed of non-combustible material and
complying with Regulation 132.12.(Consumer boards must be accessible for repair maintenance) .]
This was brought in because of the number of fires have increased substantially as in the figures below prove , the report was conducted with the London Fire Brigade:
2008/09 – 21 Fires
2009/10- 54 Fires
2010/11 – 73 Fires
2011/12 – 71 Fires
2012/13 – 220 Fires!
2013/14 – 253 Fires!
If your house has a plastic one , there is no need to panic! It is likely that it will be fine and safe.
The main conclusion behind the investigation was the poor quality of the boards, as with production in other countries with less stringent quality controls and cost cutting measures results in cheap product quality .
The other main reason was due to screws not being tightened correctly , causing overheating then eventual fire.
The result of this all means (at the moment at least ) that any new boards will now be likely to be metal , until a manufacturer designs a plastic non combustible material which will have to pass expensive tests, hence its easier for manufactures to just use metal.
It still all comes down to economics and cost really, which ironically could be argued was the main reason most of them were failing in the first place!
There were certain makes which cropped up repeatedly , but unless you know them it’s very hard to pin down ,as even if you had them fitted during the peak fires years in the table above, the board might have been sitting on a shelf for years at the shop , and manufactured before all the quality issues became apparent.
If all this sounds quite ambiguous , it’s because it is!
No-one want to take responsibility for the poor quality boards which were let through , it’s simply a result of cost-cutting at its finest , to the point of producing products that are not suitable for the purpose , but are the cheapest! and therefore most attractive to installers and customers who normally want the cheapest quote.
If there is anything to be learned from above ,it’s that you normally get what you pay for, and to use a qualified electrician yes, but more importantly one who cares about their work!
Which is not new advise at all Really is it? 🙂