Following reports from fire investigators that an increasing number of house fires were caused by fires involving consumer units (fuse boards) encases in thermoplastic, a change in electrical regulations will require all consumer units installed in domestic (household) premises after this date to:
- have their enclosure manufactured from non-combustible material, or
- be enclosed in a cabinet or enclosure constructed of non-combustible material and complying with Regulation 132.12.
From 1st July 2015 manufacturers will no longer design consumer units made from materials that do not comply with this new regulation.
The non-combustible enclosure or cabinet must provide a complete envelope (for example, base, cover, door and any components such as hinges, screws and catches) as necessary to maintain fire containment. All blanks, circuit-breakers and other devices must be contained within the non-combustible enclosure or cabinet.
Where the option of installing a plastic-cased consumer unit inside a non-combustible cabinet or enclosure is chosen, the non-combustible enclosure or cabinet must be arranged to afford adequate space for the initial installation and later replacement of individual items of electrical equipment. The non-combustible enclosure or cabinet must also allow access for operation, inspection, testing, fault detection, maintenance and repair, as required by Regulation 132.12.
It is important for the installer to seal all openings into the enclosure or cabinet for cables, conduits, trunking or ducting that remain after the installation of cables.
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