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Topic Title: Have I gone mad or did i just hear that right ? No plastic fuseboards.
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Created On: 01 October 2014 03:20 PM
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 01 October 2014 03:20 PM
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24Hour

Posts: 269
Joined: 06 April 2006

Amendment 3 says that all domestic consumer units are to be all ferrous metallic ? from 1/1/2016.
I can see the logic,but for the joe blogs or a cowboy installer this surely will reduce safety not make it better , imagine all those rough as a badgers edges and no grommets etc.

Mr cable has been rehearsing !.

http://www.3rdamendment.co.uk/...P,2U7ZR,6VOB1L,ABEE7,1

-------------------------
Yes i do do 24/7 everyday of the FLAMIN year.
 01 October 2014 03:42 PM
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Bhilly

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The alleged reason is to improve electrical fire safety due to concerns about the number of plastic consumer units going up in flames. Won't actually stop the fires, just contain them for longer...have a look at a recent Forum discussion re. consumer fire in new house - lots of differing opinions

Cheers
 01 October 2014 04:09 PM
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John Peckham

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No you might have heard that but it is wrong. AMD 3 will require non combustible boards in domestic premises and says for example metal. There is a delay period introducing this reg. no doubt to clear the shelves of combustible boards to the unsuspecting public. I feel sure the. Manufacturers will be producing non combustible plastic boards very soon.

-------------------------
John Peckham

http://www.astutetechnicalservices.co.uk/
 01 October 2014 04:46 PM
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mikejumper

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Originally posted by: John Peckham
I feel sure the. Manufacturers will be producing non combustible plastic boards very soon.

Does that mean that the plastic boards available now have no particular fire retardent properties?
If so. I'm surprised.
 01 October 2014 04:52 PM
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AJJewsbury

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It seems a odd it's even being raised as a BS 7671 issue - surely the requirement for performance of an particular item of equipment should be dealt with by the equipment standard e.g. BS EN 60439 / BS EN 61439.

I can see it turning into a complete can of worms if they did go down the mandatory steel clad route though - it'd create huge problems for TT systems (you couldn't just put an up-front RCD in a separate insulating enclosure, as that itself would be classed as 'switchgear' and so subject to the same requirement), and then what about situations that require IP rated/corrosion proof enclosures - how many steel ones have you seen that satisfy that?

Won't actually stop the fires, just contain them for longer

Although without the plastic case, there would be a lot less fuel for the fire, so the fire should be a lot smaller, and on a TN system allow ADS to remove the energy source sooner.

I can't see the manufacturers being too happy about having all their expensive injection moulding equipment being turned into scrap overnight and will surely lobby hard against it. (Judging by the pro-RCD changes of recent years, CU manufacturers do seem to have a voice!)

- Andy.
 01 October 2014 04:56 PM
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AJJewsbury

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Does that mean that the plastic boards available now have no particular fire retardent properties?
If so. I'm surprised.

Some certainly seem not to - I think Andy (sparkingchip) did a few experiments with a cigarette lighter with dramatic results. London Fire Brigade seem to have some similar evidence.
- Andy.
 01 October 2014 05:01 PM
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Zoomup

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Originally posted by: John Peckham

No you might have heard that but it is wrong. AMD 3 will require non combustible boards in domestic premises and says for example metal. There is a delay period introducing this reg. no doubt to clear the shelves of combustible boards to the unsuspecting public. I feel sure the. Manufacturers will be producing non combustible plastic boards very soon.


Non combustible insulated boards like the old respected solid Wylex 604 IVY. Now, they would not catch fire easily, and if they did get very hot they smelled like fish as a warning. I loved 'em.

Z.
 01 October 2014 05:11 PM
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sparkingchip

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Has the new revision of BS7671 gone to the printers yet?

Seeing how much it costs I hope there isn't going to be an addendum to sellotape into it shortly after publication once the final decisions have been made!

Andy
 01 October 2014 05:13 PM
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24Hour

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Now there is a very good point, what about TT installs , Mr cable and his buddy say metal such as sheet steel, that's not going to work on a TT is it.
If Qvs get on the bandwagon of Chinese metal boards, they will be like there flush knockout boxes , like kitchen foil !.

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Yes i do do 24/7 everyday of the FLAMIN year.
 01 October 2014 05:15 PM
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rocknroll

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As I pointed out on the last thread the majority of the main manufacturers boards satisfy the various standards and requirements of the Building Regulations for safety, fire, accessibility etc with regard to components, and once again my comment if you are fitting cheap boards for whatever reason you are in breach of the Building Regulations.

Most of the evidence surrounding consumer unit fires suggest that in the event of a overload or fault the fire originates outside the oxygen starved unit where the cables are, soft plastic, dirt, dust and other flammable materials such as wood then migrates to the consumer unit, whilst it is true that metal will not suffer in this sense at least you can wire brush and paint the unit with hammerite saving your customer some costs.

Definition of non-combustible:
BS 476: Part 4: 1970 Non-combustibility test for materials.
This test classifies materials as either 'non-combustible' or 'combustible'. It is the most stringent standard for the fire performance of materials and gives a measure of the heat and flames generated by the material under standard heating conditions. Non-combustible materials can be used without restriction anywhere in a building. Their use ensures that hazards due to smoke and toxic gases are "minimised" and that the fabric of a building will not make a contribution to a fire.


regards

-------------------------
"Take nothing but a picture,
leave nothing but footprints!"
-------------------------
"Oh! The drama of it all."
-------------------------
"You can throw all the philosophy you like at the problem, but at the end of the day it's just basic electrical theory!"
-------------------------
 01 October 2014 05:26 PM
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sparkingchip

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I don't think that the Building Research Establishment, London Fire Brigade and Electrical Safety council aka Electrical Safety First would agree with the rather broad sweeping statements that you are coming out with.

The report said that when tested some of the consumer units tested over powered the fume extraction systems in the test lab and had to be put out with fire extinguishers thus aborting the test, though a conclusion had been reached.

I have a Controlgear Direct consumer unit in my garage made of self extinguishing plastic upfront of my installation, what precisely do you have upfront of your installation at home, rocknroll?

Andy
 01 October 2014 05:55 PM
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rocknroll

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I have two supplies one in a garage some distance away and the other in a utility room, they are both MK and fitted by a non-registered electrician of many years standing and fitted correctly.

I am confident along with 99% of the population that I will not come home one day or in many cases one weekend and find a pile of ashes where the house once stood because of a rare consumer unit fire.

regards

-------------------------
"Take nothing but a picture,
leave nothing but footprints!"
-------------------------
"Oh! The drama of it all."
-------------------------
"You can throw all the philosophy you like at the problem, but at the end of the day it's just basic electrical theory!"
-------------------------
 01 October 2014 06:03 PM
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aligarjon

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The Crabtree CU enclosures are much sturdier than most although I haven't fitted one for a long time.

Gary

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Specialised Subject. The Bleedin Obvious. John Cleese
 01 October 2014 06:08 PM
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sparkingchip

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I deem both of those makes of enclosures highly flammable.

Andy
 01 October 2014 06:12 PM
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rocknroll

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You can frighten some of the people some of the time, but you cant frighten all of the people all of the time to part with their hard earned cash.

regards

-------------------------
"Take nothing but a picture,
leave nothing but footprints!"
-------------------------
"Oh! The drama of it all."
-------------------------
"You can throw all the philosophy you like at the problem, but at the end of the day it's just basic electrical theory!"
-------------------------
 01 October 2014 06:35 PM
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whjohnson

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Watch the IET's Mark Coles give an explanation on youtube.
It's on the IET Channel.


I watched it yesterday, and the first thing which struck me was the fact that today's consumer units are deliberately designed by beancounters to be as cheap and as nasty as they can get away with.

Look at the facts.
A couple of years ago, you could get a CU with all-brass terminal blocks complete with brass screws.
There were big chunky pieces of copper present for other main parts.

What do we have now? Tiny narrow brass alloy terminal blocks for the neutral & earth, complete with cadmium-coated cheap n' nasty steel screws with multipoint heads. Two dissimilar metals with two different temp coefficients of expansion into which is inserted and secured, a third metal of copper.

Guess what? Stuff begins to fail. Cause? "Oh!" say the manufacturers; " You cannot have tightened them up correctly!"

Oh! So its nowt to do with poor materials and design is it?

New Rule Time then -

" Let's transfer the blame onto the end-user by insisting that they all go out and blow £200 on a fancy but next to useless torque screwdriver, otherwise their insurance policies and warranties will be invalid. Doesn't stop the fires, but hey ho, it'll not be us paying out."

Time to revise the standards for CU manufacture and to be prepared to pay a bit more for a better constructed CU manufactured to, and which exceeds, rather than only just complies with a MINIMUM standard.

We need those big beefy same-metal terminals back.

We need carcasses which are rigid and robust, and which don't bend in a breeze.

Oh, and before I go, have you seen how little copper there is inside a modern mcb or rcd these days?

-------------------------
Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

Edited: 01 October 2014 at 06:41 PM by whjohnson
 01 October 2014 06:49 PM
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sparkingchip

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I don't think everyone grasps the fact that you cannot judge the fire rating of a plastic consumer unit based on its price or how established the make is.

Yes, a correctly installed consumer unit shouldn't in theory start a fire that results in the plastic enclosure burning.

But then remember the Voltinum MCB recall of Crabtree, Wylex and Volex MCB's sometime back. A faulty MCB resulted in electricians going all over the place trying to recover other devices from the same batch.

It really didn't help did it that these devices were installed in what appears from carrying out a little testing with a cigarette lighter, readily combustible plastic enclosures, did it?

Andy
 01 October 2014 06:59 PM
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whjohnson

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There are 2 kinds of regulation.

Here's the IET youtube video explaining amd 3.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uV-OoV7vTY&list=UUn8dC4EdRfJo5sH9A7zu2yw

The 100 and the 200 series.

One is EU & UK and is most likely derived from the damned EU.

The other is UK-only, a good example is the unique UK Ring Final.

This consumer unit one is, I think, another UK only reg.

-------------------------
Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.
 01 October 2014 07:10 PM
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sparkingchip

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The draft I read had the new regulation 421.1.200 requiring consumer units to be fire rated either being made of steel or plastic that passes a 960 degree centigrade glow test.

I don't want to see steel as the only option for domestic consumer units and similar equipment such as main switches, I sure plasctic has a place in it all.

Andy
 01 October 2014 07:18 PM
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sparkingchip

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Here are some figures for you, explain the increase.

In 2012/4 253 London Fire Brigade recorded fires where a consumer unit was identified as the source of ignition.

Number of fires

2005/06 - 27
2006/07 - 28
2007/08 - 33
2008/09 - 21
2009/10 54
2010/11 - 73
2011/12 - 71
2012/13 - 220
2013/14 - 253

http://www.london-fire.gov.uk/...airs.asp#.VCxE-PldUm1

Perhaps this is one explanation, though I don't think it can be pinned down to one cause.

Deepak Sharad, category marketing manager for Residential Distribution at Schneider Electric commented, 'Following years of campaigning from the LFB and Electrical Safety First, it is great to see that this much needed regulation is receiving approval. Unfortunately, for some time now, there has been an insurgence of manufacturers creating poor quality plastic moulded units and devices which have had an impact on the recent increase of domestic fires and thus standards must be raised.'

http://www.electricalcontracti...f-manufacturer-is-key


Andy
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