Wiring regulations

Written by justin schamotta
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Wiring regulations
The insulation inside wires must conform to strict colour coding. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

The BS 7671 IEE Wiring Regulations are the national standard to which all of the UK’s domestic, commercial and industrial wiring must conform. As of January 2011, the regulations are in their 17th edition. All wiring must be designed, constructed, tested, inspected and certified to meet the Wiring Regulation’s requirements. The Institution of Engineering and Technology is responsible for producing the regulations.


The 17th edition of the IEE wiring regulations was issued January 1, 2008. It came into effect on July 1, 2008. The 17th edition replaces the regulations outlined in the 16th edition, which had been in place since 1991. The 17th edition is recognisable by its red cover.


The 17th edition of the wiring regulations aims to bring the UK more in line with Europe by changing the colours for the core insulation for all new wiring. An old three-core wire was sheathed in red, black and amber insulation. New three-core wire contains blue, brown and amber insulation. Old four-core wire was yellow, red, amber and blue, while the new four-core is white, black, amber and brown. Other changes include the addition of special locations such as marinas, exhibitions, fairgrounds and amusement parks.

Who’s affected?

Anyone who considers making changes to or repairing domestic, commercial or industrial wiring is required to follow the wiring regulations. As well as homeowners and DIY enthusiasts, affected professions include electricians, surveyors, local authorities, electrical contractors, architects, consultants and architects.

Types of work affected

Electrical work is either notifiable or non-notifiable. Non-notifiable work can be carried out without notifying the Building Control Officer of the Local Authority for the area. Examples include replacing sockets, ceiling roses and switches. Notifiable work must be cleared with the Building Control Officer before it can be started. Examples include adding light fittings to existing circuits in kitchens and bathrooms. Any new wiring that requires connection to the mains requires the person who carried out the work to obtain a certificate confirming that it satisfies the wiring regulations.

Who can do the work?

A competent person registered with an electrical self-certification scheme may carry out notifiable work provided that he seeks permission from the Building Control Officers. Once completed, the work must be checked by a suitably qualified inspector. Non-notifiable work can be carried out by anyone, although it can be prudent to double-check the finished circuit with a professional electrician.

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