How to comply with Amendment 3 (17th Edition) of the IET wiring regs?
Download our Infographic to see when your Electical Installation should comply with Amendment 3 by using concrete screws and stainless steel cable ties and mounts.
It has now been two years since the publication of Amendment 3 to the 17th Edition of the IET wiring regulations. The revision (otherwise known as BS 7671:2008) was championed by The London Fire Brigade, together with other industry organisations, with the aim to directly improve personal safety and reduce the risk of fires.
Amendment 3 included several changes, however, the most prominent change was to how professional electricians and contractors should install wiring in escape routes. This is deemed as any point that provides access for people to quickly exit a building to be safe from both fire and smoke.
Under the new guidelines, fire-resistant fastenings and fixings should support all cabling installations. In the event of fire this should prevent escape routes from becoming blocked by the premature collapse of cabling installations, where extreme heat has melted their plastic fixings. As a result, the sole use of plastic fixings and cable ties no longer complies with the regulations. Ensuring all cable installations in escape routes are fixed with fire-resistant components will improve fire safety for the occupants of the building, as well as fire fighters, ultimately saving lives.
Concrete screws are inserted directly into the concrete without the need for a plastic plug, providing a secure fixing that can withstand a fire. Whilst we have stocked these items for a number of years, we have recently witnessed a 124% year-on-year increase in Stainless Steel Cable Ties and a 198% year-on-year increase in Concrete Screws sales. Moving forward, we expect the demand for Amendment 3 compliant fixings to continue to grow.
Installers have typically seen stainless steel cable ties as an unnecessary expense, especially when their plastic cousins are so readily available from all wholesalers. However, they are ideal to meet the requirements of Amendment 3 as they provide high strength, reliability and fire resistance. In the event of fire, they are capable of withstanding temperatures of over 500°C, significantly reducing the risk of cable installations collapsing and causing blockages in escape routes.
It’s important to remember that any installation is only as strong as its weakest point, so it’s not worth using stainless steel cable ties if their fixing is still provided using a traditional screw and plastic plug. Therefore, a combination of stainless steel cable ties and concrete screws should be used for cable installations to provide essential support and reassurance.
Amendment 3 does not mark the beginning of the end for plastic plugs or cable ties, as they can still be widely used for cable installations that do not have to comply with the high fire safety standards set in Amendment 3. Indeed, we’ve still witnessed a 13% increase in sales of plastic cable ties during 2016. However, with the introduction of the most recent regulations and with the increasing focus on safety across the construction industry, we could be witnessing the beginning of a shift from plastic ties to stainless steel on a far wider scale – our sales figures would suggest so.