Harmonisation of UK sockets with Europe

31 Mar 2006
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United Kingdom
I’ve just been browsing the IET website and came across this document.

It’s the first I’ve heard about it. :confused:

Socket Outlet type changes

Welcome to the socket outlet harmonisation home page which is devoted to promoting awareness of the changes to the socket outlet type for electrical installations in the UK.

This and other promotional activities are coordinated and overseen by The IET and the British Electrotechnical Committee (BEC) through a joint National Safety Group, L/12. The membership of the L/12 committee includes The IET, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), designers, manufacturers and others with interests in the safety of electrical workers and consumers.

Current news

The changes to socket outlet types are reflected in a new amendment (Amendment No 1, 2009) to BS 7671:2008, Requirements for Electrical Installations (the 'IEE Wiring Regulations'), formally published on 1 January 2008. This amendment states the new socket outlet types and includes guidance for alterations and additions to installations wired with the existing (old) socket outlets. On 31 May a new version of BS 7671:2008 will also be published, identified by its blue cover.
The new (harmonised) socket outlets may be used on site from 31 May 2009. New installations or alterations to existing installations may use either new or old socket outlet types, but not both, from 31 May 2009 until 31 May 2011. Only the new socket outlet types may be used after 31 May 2011. For more details see the information sources and directions to links below.

Promotional flyer describing the changes
Amendment No 1 to BS 7671:2008 and guidance publications, and other articles
Impact and rationale behind the harmonisation of socket outlets
Agreement over new socket outlet types

Harmonised Socket Outlets FAQs

Q1. What are the changes that are proposed for UK Socket Outlets?

A1 - For the fixed wiring of an installation, it is proposed to replace the traditional BS 1361 13A socket outlet with the European standard CEE 7/4 ‘schuko’ socket outlet. The proposed socket outlet style will be familiar to anyone who has recently visited mainland Europe, having been used on appliances there for the past 15 years.
The proposed change will implement the use of socket outlets introduced in the revision of European Harmonisation document HD 308: Socket outlet types and standards, and to align with BS EN 60446: 2009 Basic and safety principles for the man-machine interface – Socket outlets

Q2. Why are the changes for socket outlet types necessary?

A2 - Some 28 years ago the United Kingdom agreed to adopt, and has since used harmonized (brown/blue/green-and-yellow) colours for the identification of the cores of flexible cables and flexible cords, and more recently also non-flexible cables used for fixed wiring, but at that time, no move was made towards such harmonisation for socket outlets. Unfortunately, whilst the United Kingdom was contemplating such change, much of the rest of Europe was standardising on the CEE 7/4 ‘schuko’ socket outlet.
When it became evident in 2007 that, within a few years, a new European Standard would require the use CEE 7/4 socket outlets throughout Europe, it became necessary for the United Kingdom to address the socket outlet issue with some urgency.
The joint BSI/Institution of Engineering and Technology committee now responsible for the technical content of the Wiring Regulations (BS 7671) established a Working Group to consider the position the United Kingdom should take with respect to the harmonisation of socket outlet types.
The Working Group concluded that the United Kingdom had no realistic option but to agree to use CEE 7/4 socket outlets for single phase general power circuits.
The Working Group’s recommendations subsequently formed the basis of a United Kingdom proposal which was accepted by the CENELEC countries almost unanimously. Europe now has the opportunity to fully harmonise the whole continent, allowing a greater free trade between countries, with an emphasis on appliance and labour markets.

Q3. How will the proposed changes be implemented?

A3 - It is proposed to issue Amendment No 1 to BS 7671:2008 Requirements for Electrical Installations. To assist with the implementation of the new socket outlet types, the draft amendment includes a new appendix to BS 7671 providing advice on circuit layouts, and protective device selection.

Q4. When will the changes come into effect?

A4 - If the proposals are accepted, the amendment to BS 7671 will permit use of the new socket outlet types commencing on site from 1 June 2009. Continued use of the old socket outlets would be permitted until 1 July 2011, after which time only the use of the new socket outlets would be permissible. During the two year transition period, it would be permissible to use either the new or old sockets, but not a combination of both in the same installation.

Q5. To minimise the number of new installations that will have mixed (old and new) sockets, is it permissible to use the new sockets as soon as they become available perhaps before BS 7671 is amended?

A5 - If a designer or other person responsible for specifying an installation decides to use the new sockets in advance of the amendment to BS 7671, it will be necessary for that person to record on the Electrical Installation Certificate for that installation a departure from the requirements of BS 7671, confirming that the same degree of safety has been provided as that afforded by compliance with the Regulations.
However, as some of the proposed requirements, have yet to be agreed, it may be impracticable for specifiers to provide the required confirmation until such time as all the installation requirements have been firmly established by publication of the amendment to BS 7671. Use of the new sockets before all the related safety requirements have been established and communicated to the industry might be considered inadvisable.

Q6. What will happen to the UK ring final circuit arrangement?

A6 - The proposed change in the United Kingdom to adopt European style schuko socket outlets for single phase general power circuits could, if not properly addressed, introduce the possibility of overloads of existing circuit arrangements due to the unfused style of the CEE 7/4 plug.
However, it is generally considered that the risk is a manageable one. It has been decided that the ring final circuit will no longer be recognised as a typical circuit arrangement, and existing ring final circuits intended to supply CEE 7/4 socket outlets must be fused at no more than 16A.

Click Here for more from the IET website…
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very interesting and informative post
found the links very helpful
thankyou rf
Clearly this is a very ill-conceived idea by the IET - have they not considered the massive cost that will be incurred by Russ Andrews' customers having to upgrade their gold tritinum hyper-dioxide plated power cords?
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Just remind me once more what the Date is today ???
Then surely RF is the fool for it was posted Yesterday ?

Or perhaps it's DIYnot for not updating the forum clock?
What's this?
Johnny Foreigner telling us to do what?!
As if things weren't already bad enough, what with those insipid dull colours they make us use in our wiring!!
Next they will make us drive on the right and eat garlic!!
yep it was posted after midnight the. thing is when i first read it i
just shrugged my shoulders and thought.
oh well here we go again

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