British standards BS 7671
The IET (Institution of Engineering and Technology) has published wiring regulations in the United Kingdom since 1882. Since their 15th edition (1981), these regulations have closely followed the corresponding international standard IEC 60364. Today, they are largely based on the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) harmonization documents, and therefore are technically very similar to the current wiring regulations of other European countries.
In 1992, the IEE Wiring Regulations became British Standard BS 7671 and they are now treated similar to other British Standards. They are maintained by the Joint IET/BSI Technical Committee JPEL/64, the UK National Committee for Wiring Regulations. Although the IET and BSI are non-governmental organizations and the Wiring Regulations are non-statutory, they are referenced in several UK statutory instruments.
The BSI publish numerous titles concerning acceptable standards of design/safety/quality etc. in various fields. BS 7671 : 2001 (AMD No 2 : 2004) concerns the safety of electrical wiring in buildings (dwellings, commercial, industrial or otherwise) “generally known as the “Regs” (wiring regulations) and succeeds the previous publication the 16th Edition of the Wiring Regulations.
The On-Site Guide is a handbook that contains some information not in BS 7671:2001. It is meant as a handy notebook reference for electricians working on building sites.
The 17th edition, released in January 2008, is the latest edition of BS7671, and became effective for all installations designed after 1 July 2008. One of the more significant changes is (chapter 41) that 30 mA RCD’s will be required for socket outlets that are for use by ordinary persons and are intended for general use. This improves the level of protection against electrical shock in the UK to a level comparable to that in other EU countries. The 17th edition incorporates new sections relating to microgeneration and solar photovoltaic systems.