External Electrics: Safety First

If you run a business with any kind of outdoor space (and unless your company is in a high-rise, or entirely subterranean, the chances are that you do), you're likely to need some external electrical connections.

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If you run a business with any kind of outdoor space (and unless your company is in a high-rise, or entirely subterranean, the chances are that you do), you’re likely to need some external electrical connections. These might include power for security and emergency lighting, car-park barriers and gates, electric-vehicle charging points for staff and visitors, and so on.


Hospitality businesses might use electric patio heaters, car-valeting companies need outdoor sockets for pressure-washers, and so the list goes on.


Whatever your requirement, one thing is certain – trailing an extension cable out of the window is not an option!



New regulations


Jointly published by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and the British Standards Institution (BSI), the snappily-titled BS 7671:2018+A2:2022 is the 18th edition of a weighty tome first published in 1882. Over 624 pages, it details what is required to make all electrical installations – internal and external – health-and-safety compliant.


It is very much the electrician’s bible. In summary, BS 7671:2018+A2:2022 states that:

  • All outdoor electrical installations must be undertaken by a qualified electrical engineer
  • All electrical equipment used outdoors (lights, heaters, pressure-washers, etc.) must be suitable for outdoor use
  • Equipment must be safe for everyone – users, customers, and members of the public (so no trailing cables, for example)
  • Any external installation, and any equipment being run from it, must be RCD protected.



What is an RCD?


We’ve written about this before, but it’s worth a reminder.


A residual current device, or RCD, is a sensitive safety device that automatically switches off your electricity if it detects a fault. Fixed RCDs (which provide the highest level of protection) are installed in or adjacent to the consumer unit (fusebox) and can be applied to an individual ring or radial circuit, or to groups of circuits.


The RCD constantly monitors the electric current flowing through one or more circuits. If it detects electricity flowing down an unintended path, it will switch the circuit off almost instantly, significantly reducing the risk of death or serious injury. For example, if water in a pressure-washer leaks into the circuitry, the RCD will ensure that the circuit is quickly switched off.



Doing it by the book


We would not expect you to read BS 7671:2018+A2:2022 – that’s our job. We read it, so you don’t have to.


We ensure that all our staff – from long-standing, experienced electricians to trainees, and those in between – are not only familiar with the book’s requirements, but where necessary have been trained in any newly introduced working practices and techniques. We will continue to follow that policy through editions 19, 20, and beyond.


So if your business needs external power, give us a call on 01508 488007 or send an email to enquiries@excelelectrical.co.uk. We’ll be happy to visit your business and advise you on the new requirements – quickly, cost-effectively, and safely.


Excel Electrical. The power is in your hands.



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