This year a range of regulatory updates and government-led initiatives are expected to have an impact not only on the electrical trade, but also on the broader construction industry, potentially affecting thousands of tradespeople across the UK.
2018 could be instrumental in terms of making – or preparing to make – significant changes for electricians and the services they deliver. To help professionals in the trade, ElectricalDirect has produced an overview bringing together key changes.
Changes to Wiring Regulations are due to be announced in July 2018.
Co-published by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and the British Standards Institution (BSI), the 18th Edition updates are likely to be wide-ranging and will affect the whole electro-technical industry. From 1st January 2019, it will be a requirement that all electrical installations designed after this date comply to the updated regulations.
Associations such as the NICEIC will also be providing electrical contractors with resources including 18th Edition training courses.
Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety
Following the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017, the government launched an independent review into building regulations and fire safety. Led by Dame Judith Hackitt, the review is examining the regulatory system around the design, construction and ongoing management of buildings in relation to fire safety and related compliance, as well as enforcement issues and international regulation and experience in this area.
An interim report[i] was published in December 2017 which stated that the current regulatory system for ensuring fire safety in high-rise and complex buildings has been deemed “not fit for purpose”.
Speaking about the report, Dame Judith said: “There is plenty of good practice, but it is not difficult to see how those who are inclined to take shortcuts can do so. Change control and quality assurance are poor throughout the process. What is initially designed is not what is being built, and quality assurance of materials and people is seriously lacking.”
Electricians are advised to familiarise themselves with the findings when the full report is published in the Spring 2018, since it could bring about changes to working practices.
Halogen Lighting Ban
In September 2018, the industry will see multi-directional halogen bulbs (including candle and traditional-shaped bulbs) phased out. The ban will also prohibit the import and sale of the average 60W halogen bulb that many homeowners still use in their properties.
To adhere to this ban, contractors and consumers could either use CFLs (energy saving bulbs) or LEDs, and it will be up to electrical contractors to advise their customers on the best suited option for the job.
Additional Funding for New Homes
The Autumn budget provided positive news for the construction sector which should start to filter though during 2018.
£15.3 billion of additional funds have been made available to facilitate the construction of 300,000 new homes a year over the next five years. In addition, the skills shortage in the construction sector has been addressed with the Chancellor setting aside £204 million to train younger trade professionals.
The government will also be introducing the new Technical – or ‘T Levels’ – and increasing the hours of training for technical students aged 16-19 by more than 50%.
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