The BS7671 electrical regulations were changed in 2015, requiring that any consumer unit installed must be made of non-combustible material. Which meant that thousands of plastic consumer units sitting on shelves of retailers and wholesalers were now obsolete. Therefore a lot of angry people wondering if the change necessary?
There is mixed thought on metal consumer units as they have their pros and cons, which we'll look at in a minute. Over the years the requirement of materials of consumer units has been changed from metal to plastic and back to metal. The main reason for changes in the specifications is due to incidents occurring that prompted the committee to review current regulations.
Photo courtesy of Envriograf showing how consumer units made of plastic can quickly catch on fire.
Loose connection caused burning in this consumer unit, which could have quickly cause a fire.
So we can see some very obvious pros that outweigh the cons of metal consumer units. Here at EDB Electrical Services we can't help but agree with the choice of the committee. Especially seeing a photo like below you can look at the hazards of plastic consumer units. In the most recent update of the BS7671, non-combustible materials are still a requirement.
An interesting note is that plastic consumer units are still for sale. Often at much lower prices than the metal alternative on auction websites and private ads. We believe that if you are getting your consumer unit changed to take in mind a few things. First and foremost make sure you are using a fully qualified and insured electrician.
Secondly, if the price is much lower than the rest of your quotes, there is always the possibility that they may be planning to install a non-compliant consumer unit. Whilst this is hazardous and potentially costly if you come to sell your house and it comes up on a survey. Here at EDB Electrical Services we only install compliant, top quality products to ensure years of life for the user and the equipment.
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