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Topic Title: 17th Edition vs 16th Edition
Topic Summary: Assistance Required
Created On: 03 January 2018 04:46 PM
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 03 January 2018 04:46 PM
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N1ckyJ

Posts: 3
Joined: 22 December 2017

Hi All,

Thanks for welcoming me in.

I am currently reviewing H&S Policy/Procedures at an hotel in London and have hit a sticky wicket with the Facilities Manager.


Issue: Hotel constructed/signed off according to 16th Edition. Routine Checks haven't been completed or documented since construction.

I highlighted this to the Facilities/Maint Manager quoting Guidance Notes 3, 17th Edition which states Routine Checks should be completed Annually and Installation Inspection 5 yearly. He pointed out I was quoting 17th Edition NOT 16th which applies in this case as construction was done to 16th Regulations. He stated that 17th Edition States that 17th should not be applied retrospectively. I am aware of this but surely this applies to subsequent work after 17th was introduced.

I am and Engineering Manager of 25 years and know that procedures should be followed to the latest regulations...

Question: Is there anything in 17th Edition that states where applicable procedures laid down in 17th Edition supersede previous regulations where applicable?

Please help as i am getting a bit frustrated by this chap...lol
 03 January 2018 05:08 PM
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mapj1

Posts: 9784
Joined: 22 July 2004

Well actually the normal approach is that the only set of rules that applies for inspections is the current set - 17th for now. BUT, most installations do not, of course comply in every detail, being built before the latest changes, so a list of non compliances is generated, but then these are rated by severity, and only anything that is actually dangerous needs fixing - so just being 'not to current standards' is probably OK, but needs looking at line by line to see what exactly is non-compliant.
So as examples
Fixed wired in the old colour cable is not an issue, and a warning note is usually put somewhere,
but sockets without RCD may or may not be a problem, depending on where they are and what they are used to supply (wet hands and jet-washer or in a laundry may attract more interest than an office photocopier for example).
Even quite big non compliances, like no earth on lighting circuit, whcih is been in since 1970 or so, may be OK to remain in service if all fittings are plastic, but it needs managing to make sure that no-one substitutes a metal lamp fitting without realising.
sections that are worth reading around include..

621.1 Where required, periodic inspection and testing of every electrical installation shall be carried out in
accordance with Regulations 621.2 to 621.5 in order to determine, so far as is reasonably practicable, whether the
installation is in a satisfactory condition for continued service. Wherever possible, the documentation arising from
the initial certification and any previous periodic inspection and testing shall be taken into account.

and perhaps

622.2 In the case of an installation under an effective management system for preventive maintenance in
normal use, periodic inspection and testing may be replaced by an adequate regime of continuous monitoring and
maintenance of the installation and all its constituent equipment by skilled persons, competent in such work.
Appropriate records shall be kept.


-------------------------
regards Mike
 03 January 2018 05:53 PM
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AJJewsbury

Posts: 16178
Joined: 13 August 2003

The general approach is that new work - whether the design/installation/inspection of an addition or alteration - or periodic inspection - should be done according to the standard that was in force when that work commences. As BSI will tell you, the 16th Ed (BS 7671: 2004 and earlier) have been withdrawn.

As Mike says though, that doesn't normally create any major problems - most differences between the 16th and 17th would attract at most a C3 on EICR (so wouldn't of itself prevent a satisfactory result) and most additions and alterations to the 17th can be hung off an 16th installation with little more trouble than having to chunk in an extra RCD here or there.

I highlighted this to the Facilities/Maint Manager quoting Guidance Notes 3, 17th Edition which states Routine Checks should be completed Annually and Installation Inspection 5 yearly.

Are you sure it says exactly that? I don't have the latest version to hand, but earlier versions only tabled recommended periods for the initial period following a new installation - each subsequent period should be determined by the inspector following each inspection, i.e. the inspector should be expected to decrease the recommended length of time between inspections if the results were poorer than expected (e.g. due to poor maintenance or unexpected wear and tear) - likewise the inspector might feel it appropriate to increase the period if no significant problems are found. Besides the GNs are guidance notes, not regulations. As far as I recall the general gist (if not the precise numbers) was the same under the 16th and 17th anyway.

- Andy.
 03 January 2018 06:30 PM
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GeoffBlackwell

Posts: 3812
Joined: 18 January 2003

I am not sure from your post if there is any system in place to ensure that the electrical installation is maintained in a safe condition.

The hotel is a public place and it is also a work place.

Regardless of the relatively minor material differences between the requirements, in this respect, of the 16th and 17th editions of BS 7671 - you need to satisfy yourself that the Facilities Manager has in place a system that meets the statutory requirements of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.

In particular Regulation 4 generally and 4.2 specifically. The HSE have published a Memorandum of guidance on the Electricity at Work Regulations. This calls for maintenance, inspection & testing and recording of same.

Regards

Geoff Blackwell
 03 January 2018 09:18 PM
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alancapon

Posts: 6977
Joined: 27 December 2005

Originally posted by: N1ckyJ
. . . He stated that 17th Edition States that 17th should not be applied retrospectively. I am aware of this but surely this applies to subsequent work after 17th was introduced. . .

This is one of the most mis-quoted phrases. I believe that it was designed to counteract the "Oh look - a new regs book. You need a re-wire now" reasoning. Geoff has given you some good advice - it is really the Electricity at Work regs that you need to comply with, as these are law.

. . . Question: Is there anything in 17th Edition that states where applicable procedures laid down in 17th Edition supersede previous regulations where applicable? . . .

Yes, but not in the regs book. You need to remember that the Wiring Regulations is now a British Standard. Your help actually comes from the British Standards Institute. The 16th edition was known by them as BS7671:2001 to give it its proper name. If you look on the BSI website here: BS7671:2001 you will see that that particular standard has been withdrawn, and its replacement is BS7671:2008+A3:2015, which is the latest revision of the 17th edition. Any inspections must be to this standard, as it is the only available version which is listed as "current".

Regards,

Alan.
 04 January 2018 12:01 AM
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John Peckham

Posts: 8806
Joined: 23 April 2005

Nicky J

There was a requirement set out in the 16th Edition for Periodic Inspection and testing. My GN3 to the 16th Edition also recommendeds a maximum period for the 1st periodic inspection for a hotel to be 5 years.

The expression the Regulations are not retrospective is commonly trotted out quite wrongly. When carrying out a periodic inspection and test the installation is compared to the current editions of the regulation not some historic edition. Clearly some requirements in past editions nowadays would be considered dangerous it just depends how far you want to go back.

Having compared the installation to the current edition the inspector will report defects and non-compliance's with current edition and will Code them in his/her observations and recommendations for consideration by the duty holder. The inspector cannot compel the owner/duty holder to do anything just recommend.

As Andy above says if the installation did comply fully with the 16th edition then most non-compliances will be a C3. However in my experience the installation would have not complied with the regulations prevailing at the time, any certificate issued would have been a fabrication at least in part and the installation would attract a good few C2s and be unsatisfactory.

No doubt you will have an electrical installation certificate for the original installation so what has been entered on that for the next date of test. Also no doubt in compliance with the 16th edition a Periodic Inspection warning label is prominently displayed what does that say about the date of test and the next date of test?

Given that the installation must now be at least 10 years old it must have degraded with age and use? What maintenance records are there about routine maintenance of the installation? As Geoff has said above the EAWR and other statutory documents require the installation to be maintained and records kept.

What does the hotel's insurance company say about their requirement for routine inspection and testing? It may be worth asking them before you have a claim.

If your facilities manager is the duty holder for the hotel you can only advise him of his personal obligation under Regulation 3 of the EAWR. I would do so in writing and keep an off site copy for my protection just in case the brown stuff hit the nearest A/C unit.

Some years ago in a previous job for a national public body when a well known firm of consultants came up with the money saving idea of doing away with expensive people who supervised contractors and replacing them with a paper based system. I told the very senior man about the risks of doing this and I was ignored. After I left the organisation I got to hear about a serious accident involving a contractor that the HSE investigated. The man who ignored my advice, and other people's, but accepted the advice of the consultants was summonsed to appear before the magistrates court for the absence of supervision of contractors. Apparently he was even more concerned when he was committed for trial in the Crown Court and advised he could get 2 years in prison. He pleaded guilty and received a large fine which the organisation paid and he left the organisation soon after. If he had pleaded not guilty I would have happily gone in to the witness box for the prosecution to tell the court he was warned by several people and myself of the consequences of his decision.

Some of the worst installations I have seen, and I have seen a lot, are hotels.

What other maintenance, inspection and testing is being omitted? Fire Risk Assessment, fire alarm certification, emergency light testing, portable appliance testing,lifts and hoists, pressure vessels, legionella, fire extinguishers, smoke extract, Life Safety Services supplies, food hygiene etc?

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

http://www.astutetechnicalservices.co.uk/
 04 January 2018 11:24 AM
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N1ckyJ

Posts: 3
Joined: 22 December 2017

Thanks very much for your input guys/girls (?)

I understand that guidance notes are non-regulatory but correct me if i am wrong but omitting to observe/follow guidance notes is not a defence as John Peckham nicely demonstrates above means that you can be prosecuted in Crown Court as these refer to regulatory standards which in turn are covered by EAWR & subsequently HASAW which is an 'Act' therefore law.

In this case there are no effective maint records/inspections/checks regarding electricity at all. I understand this constitutes a non compliance. The only document presented was the original certification of the electrical system.

If i can give some background you may understand my issue a little better. I am just consulting so have no influence or allegiances to the hotel.

Original design was to 16th Edition but construction was delayed post 17th however this construction was completed to original design which is allowed. The reason this issue came up was a light fixture fitted (original fitting on construction) in zone 2 in a bathroom which had deteriorated due to condensation. I pointed out that this should have been highlighted on routine checks or picked up as part of an effective maintenance program as per 17th Edition (as quoted by most of you above). The FM stated that as it was designed according to 16th Edition he only had to observe/apply these regulations. Despite pointing out that many very old buildings were constructed even when there were no regulations but there was still a duty of care to maintain these systems in a safe manner according to the latest regulations.

Without finding and purchasing a copy of the 16th Edition which applied to the original design, is there a statement in current EAWR or any other regulations that informs Duty Holders that they must conform to the most current procedures i.e. 17th Edition. I am not trying to hang this guy out to dry, just set him on the right path but he is being quite obstinate about this point.

Thanks very much for all above...
 04 January 2018 12:42 PM
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AJJewsbury

Posts: 16178
Joined: 13 August 2003

is there a statement in current EAWR or any other regulations that informs Duty Holders that they must conform to the most current procedures i.e. 17th Edition


I doubt you'd ever find a statement like that - the law in general allows duty holders to pick an approach which is best for their individual circumstances - which may well differ from 'ordinary' regulation and guidance. Obedience of fools, guidance of the wise, kind of approach.

Original design was to 16th Edition but construction was delayed post 17th however this construction was completed to original design which is allowed. The reason this issue came up was a light fixture fitted (original fitting on construction) in zone 2 in a bathroom which had deteriorated due to condensation. I pointed out that this should have been highlighted on routine checks or picked up as part of an effective maintenance program as per 17th Edition (as quoted by most of you above). The FM stated that as it was designed according to 16th Edition he only had to observe/apply these regulations. Despite pointing out that many very old buildings were constructed even when there were no regulations but there was still a duty of care to maintain these systems in a safe manner according to the latest regulations.


His argument seems ill founded as the 16th was hardly any different in respect of requiring regular inspection and testing (or continuous monitoring) e.g. the 16th equivalent of 621.1 Mike posted above was:

731-01-01 Where required, periodic inspection and testing of every electrical installation shall be carried out in accordance with the requirements of this Chapter.

731-01-02 Periodic inspection and testing of an electrical installation shall be carried out to determine, as far as is reasonably practical, whether an installation is in a satisfactory condition for continued service.

731-02-03 Inspection comprising careful scrutiny of the installation shall be carried out without dismantling or with partial dismantling as required, together with the appropriate tests of Chapter 71. The scope of the periodic inspection and testing shall be decided by a competent person, taking into account the availability of records and the use, condition and nature of the installation.


- Andy.
 04 January 2018 12:54 PM
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alancapon

Posts: 6977
Joined: 27 December 2005

Originally posted by: N1ckyJ
. . . The FM stated that as it was designed according to 16th Edition he only had to observe/apply these regulations. . .

It would make an interesting day in court watching someone trying to defend their actions based on a withdrawn (out of date) standard. I doubt their case would last long.

Regards,

Alan.
 04 January 2018 01:32 PM
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GeoffBlackwell

Posts: 3812
Joined: 18 January 2003

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 (EAWR) are written under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. They state the requirements of the law.

They are not optional and failure to comply can result in criminal prosecution.

They place duties on the employer, self employed and employees - Regulation 3, as JP pointed out, lays this out. The EAWR applies because this is a work place but other areas of the law will also apply as the hotel business has a common law duty of care to it's customers and the general public.

British Standards like BS 7671 are not statutory, however, they may be used by the courts when determining if sufficient effort has been made to avoid accidents and to minimise the risk of danger to the public and/or employees. The Guidance Notes written by various bodies are not statutory nor are they part of the British Standards to which they refer. However, they might also be used by the courts in a similar way to British Standards.

Regulation 4.2 of the EAWR states:

As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, such danger.

The HSE provide guidance on how this requirement may be met. as I stated above this includes having some system of maintenance, inspection & testing and record keeping.

The guidance also points to standard BS 7671 (amongst many others) as a source of information.

The Regulation does not detail a particular system of compliance but it does none the less require that some form of adequate system is in place.

Please note that the duty of care applies to various individuals right up to the senior executives - all of whom could face prosecution if the law is not complied with.

Regards

Geoff Blackwell
 04 January 2018 07:56 PM
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Weirdbeard2

Posts: 126
Joined: 29 November 2017

Originally posted by: N1ckyJ



The reason this issue came up was a light fixture fitted (original fitting on construction) in zone 2 in a bathroom which had deteriorated due to condensation.



Could you describe the deterioration, and how it was more detrimental to the ongoing safety of the installation dependant on where it was located. Would the same fitting not also deteriorate if it was 1 cm outside of a prescribed zone regardless of a reprint of the regs? Perhaps there is an extraction fan problem that needs sorting before blaming the light fitting.
 05 January 2018 09:34 PM
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mapj1

Posts: 9784
Joined: 22 July 2004

Well if it needs replacement then it does, and there may be other things that are wrong as well - like its the wrong sort of fitting, or as above the ventilation is not up to scratch. Such things are normally interlinked and even in a new building it may take a while for some marginal design decisions to come home to roost.

-------------------------
regards Mike
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