17th Edition Amendment 1, Questions Answered

Last week’s blog post “New Year New 17th Edition” sparked an interesting comment from one of our readers Justin Arnold:

“What amazes me is that Section 444 of Amendment 1 wasn’t included earlier. It strikes me as a huge oversight to not have included such detail regarding electromagnetic interference on data cabling. This has caused many businesses problems, especially with wireless networking, but the technology is hardly new, and really should have been included sooner.

With increasing interest in the idea of supplying mains power across data cables it’s likely that this will continue to be an area which is expanded on. Might it be helpful if 17th edition courses indicated the direction future amendments might take within this category do you think?”

We decided that his comments and question deserved a post entirely of its own. So here you are Justin, an answer for you and anyone else interested in the subject.

The development of BS 7671 is carried out in conjunction with the standard BS 0 : ‘A standard for standards’ and, as the title suggests , this provides the principles  that govern the development of a standard of UK origin. This is the responsibility of joint IET/BSI committee JPEL/64 (Low Voltage Electrical Installations), a technical committee formed by the representation of numerous organisations including; ESC, IET, C&G, SELECT, HSE, NAPIT, BSI, UNITE, NICEIC etc.

As part of the maintenance of standards requirement, the committee decided that an amendment was required, to align with the recent development of the associated European standards, since the publication of the 17th edition, as well as other amendments.

As practicing electricians, we will often see new introductions into the industry on a ‘learn as you go’ approach. Typically this is where new technologies and demands for supplies precede a publication of recognition within BS 7671.

A study of the IEC standards, or the CENELEC harmonised documents will allow for a preview of the direction of BS 7671, as these are the standards which it’s development will conform to.

For example, a new section has recently been completed, however it was too late to be included in BS 7671:2008 (2011).
Section 722 – Harmonized charging of Electric Vehicle.
The future standard IEC 60364-7-722: “Low voltage electrical installations: Part 7-722: Requirements for special installations or locations – Supply of electric vehicles”

This new section will be published as a additional guidance note and introduced to the newly amended guidance note when published next year. It will then be included in the next BS 7671 amendment in a few years time.

It also looks like there may be a section 713 – Electrical fixtures in furniture introduced, as the proposed requirements of IEC 60364-7-713 are currently being compared by JPEL/64 in accordance with BS 7671.

The potential scope of BS 7671 is always changing, however the release of amendments and new editions are kept to periodic intervals (contrary to the IET money making beliefs of the many) to maintain a  recognised national standard.

Section 444 is in this case, another example of an area that was not quite ready for release in the 2008 edition, yet was commonly in practice by the time of the first amendment.