What is driving the changes?
Investigation into several fires involving plastic consumer units, by the London Fire Brigade, has concluded that a key cause of the fires was substandard cable connections made by the Electrician. These resulted in overheating, which eventually ignited the plastic enclosure.
The new Regulation 421.1.201 is expected to state: Within domestic (household) premises, consumer units and similar switchgear assemblies shall comply with BS EN 61439 3 and shall: I. Have their enclosures manufactured from non-combustible material, or II. Be enclosed in a cabinet or enclosure constructed of non-combustible material and complying with Regulation 132.12. Note 1: Ferrous metal e.g. steel is deemed to be an example of a non-combustible material. Note 2:* the implementation date for this regulation is the 1st January 2016. This does not preclude compliance with this regulation prior to this date.
What impact will this have?
This would mean that eventually all new consumer units installed in UK homes, i.e. within domestic (household) premises must have their enclosures manufactured from a non-combustible material, or be enclosed in a cabinet or enclosure constructed from a non-combustible material. This is likely to result in an increased use of metal enclosures