Proposed Wiring Regulations chages to cable colour codes

I've had some feedback from the IEE consultation on the proposed changes to BS7671 to implement harmonised cable colour coding for fixed installations.
I've posted up the following documents here :
http://www.pcls.freeserve.co.uk/IEE /
Compilation of comments on colour coding9.12.03.doc 03_520_626 Amd 2.2004 3.12.03.pdf (Revised ammendments) 03_520_625 Impact assessment 10.12.03.pdf
It all still seems likely to go through - all in the name of harmonisation rather than for any REAL reason. However we can all rest assured that the DPM's new Part P regs will guarantee that no-one will ever mistakenly stick black or blue wires in the wrong place. (It would be quite shocking to imagine that otherwise there might be some blackened sparkies uttering blue words...)
--
Paul




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intriguing - ex page 6 of last document:
(a) 7.2 Existing Installation There is no intention that the cable colours of existing installations should be changed to those of the new harmonised colours.
really?? and just how long will it be before the bldg socs/estate agents/solicitors get in on the act & declare mixed colours dangerous & require a rewire before the house can be sold??
(b)7.3 Domestic Installations The Committee believe that only benefits will accrue from the change to the new colours for domestic installations. >>>>>>>> It will be particularly beneficial to DIY where the cable colours will relate to those found on flexes to appliances and cabling within equipment
Isn't the govt about to ban diy elec wiring (part P)? (& with it all but the simplest handiwork about a home - elec wiring pervades every wall of my home
So why the mention of diy? It's almost as if the iee has a grudge against people who are able to do elec wiring.
However we can all rest

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northern snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (northern_relayer) wrote in message

It doesn't make sense. It's not an advantage - anyone who doesn't know that neutral = black in wall = blue in plug, and live = red in wall brown in plug probably shouldn't be wiring anything!
It would only be confusing if the live colour in one system was the neutral colour in another system, but no one would be stupid enough to choose such colours, would they? ;-) (serious note: I realise it's the best compromise for 3-phase across Europe).
For domestic DIY, having _different_ colours for in-wall and on-appliance cable/flex makes good sense. It makes it immediately obvious when some idiot has used flex to wire up light switches or power points, and acts as a deterrent against this.
Still, for domestic single phase installations, I don't suppose it really matters either way - though red and black are differentiable in lower light levels. After April 1st, fewer people here will care anyway.
As for the April 1st 2004 regulations, I wrote to my MP, and he followed it up for me. The reply was that the only difference for me as a DIYer was that I'd have to get my work checked. I haven't replied yet - the issue for me is that having it checked will cost x per visit, and one of the advantages of DIY is being able to finish one room at a time - electrics, floorboards, fill/plaster, paint, carpet, furnish. I'm a pathetically slow worker, and I can't leave the whole house "open to view" (without plaster and floorboards and furniture) until I've got round every room, and live in it at the same time! However, I don't think an inspection visit per room will be very cost effective, and the state of the installation at that stage probably wouldn't "pass".
Still, I'm on track to finish before April next year - I hope a sensible consensus will have emerged by the time I move house again!
Cheers, David.
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Flex colours used to be black red and green, and were changed in the interests of compatibility across Europe - but also to make them less easily confused by someone with poor colour vision.
I can't really see the problem with bringing permanent wiring into line.
--
*Black holes are where God divided by zero *

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@argonet.co.uk London SW 12
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Dave Plowman wrote:

The problem is that ALL existing installations won't be brought into line, so as the proposed new colour codes are in some respects COMPLETELY contradictory to the existing meanings (Black changing from neutral to phase and Blue from phase to neutral), there may be many situations where you will be unable to tell whether changes have been installation and in what colour coding, unless there is very clear and unambigous labeling of the fact, (and the conductors). What's the point of having a colour code, if you can't trust it to mean what it's supposed to mean, and therefore have to further label all the terminations to be sure ! - You may as well have no colour coding at all, and just rely on labelling. (or guesswork, but that's enough about French wiring!)
For domestic installations, the problem isn't so serious, as you are usually only dealing with single phase, and sheathed cables, so it may be relatively clear if any cables have a different combination of colours, but there will still be plenty of scope for confusion when any termination marking falls off (or was ommitted) on the black or blue wires on a multiway lighting circuit, hidden in a rats nest of wires. We often enough get the queries here - 'I just disconnected everything, and can't work out how to ut it back together.' Just imaging the potential confusion in 20 years time, when the majority of installations have become mixed.
The commercial situation when you're dealing with individual cores of 3 phase and control wiring in conduit or trunking, will be impossible unless you can rely 100% on any changes having been correctly and permanantly labelled, but that will only be at the terminations. Mid run you have no changce on knowing what a black or blue wire means if there's a mixture of R/Y/B/Bk and Br/Bk/Gy/B. What might seem relatively simple jobs, will become a chore of trying to identify cabling and circuits that should be obvious from the colour codes (that's why we have a colour codeing - for identification). Some will still resort to guessing (or making reasonable assumptions) and testing by seeing if the main breaked explodes when switched onto a dead short, which isn't such a risk at the moment.
It seems that the move isn't even (yet) related to furthering the free market in cable, as different cable specifications proliferate anyway, aside from the colour difference. Of course it will all be different when we're all using unfused plugs on radial circuits in a harmonised fashion... (a rant I'll save for another time ...)
--
Paul


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This was also the case with flex when the regs changed. Now I know it's simple for (most) of us lot to work out which was which when faced with an odd appliance flex, but this wasn't so for the great unwashed.
So in industrial installations where three phase is in use and the cables are singles, care will have to be taken until time resolves things. After all, only pros should be working on such things.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@argonet.co.uk London SW 12
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In an earlier contribution to this discussion,

Surely the thing about appliances is that each appliance only has one mains flex - which is either old spec or current spec, but not a mixture - so it's pretty obvious what is what - even for the great unwashed!
Contrast that with house wiring - or worse still, 3-phase industrial wiring - where you can potentially have different specs of colour coded cable all joined up together - and it's a rather different situation.
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Cheers,
Set Square
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Or even worse a telecoms site. Mains wiring and DC wiring (-48V usually, +24V common as well). That gets screwed up as well, was blue (-48), black (0V) and red (+24), becomes grey, blue, brown respectively.
--
Steve


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No - flex from 'foreign' appliances came in all sorts of colour combinations - even green for line.

Well, you either accept the need for standardisation or you don't. If you do, somewhere in the world someone will have problems.
--
*Why does the sun lighten our hair, but darken our skin?

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@argonet.co.uk London SW 12
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wrote:

But the same / need / for standardisation does not exist for immovable structures (and thus the wiring in them), people who choose to work in a country other than their own should learn the countries 'code' surely ?
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Jerry. wrote:

It's a very pertinant point, that appliances and their flexes are portable, and made by manufacturers the world over, who are trying to sell as few variations of a product as possible, without having to have different specifications for every single country. You also don't want appliances with contradictory non standard colour coded flexes appearing on the market, having just slipped over the border, for obvious reasons. Appliance cords are always wired in to a plug, or a fixture where the difference between the flexible cable and fixed wiring is obvious, so the fact that the colour coding is different is not a problem.
There is still a strong argument that only flexible cords on portable appliances (which are traded across borders) should have been changed to the IEC colurs, leaving flexes for installation work the same as the fixed cabling to they are connected. (eg. light pendants, heating equipment connections, control gear pendants etc. I.e. items which are not cross border traded consumer items, but fitted as part of an installation.)
For fixed installations, however, even with harmonised colour coding, there still won't be many free market benefits, as the actual cable types in differnet IEC countries will still be different. As far as the free market in labour goes, since the majority of installations will still have the current wiring colours for at least the next 30 years or so, any one wishing to carry out electrical work in the UK will still need to be fully au fait with current practice, not just the new situation, and all the ambigous inferface issues.
There are of course other market distorting issues, in that the majority of the costs involved sill fall on British firms and organisations that will have to change their product lines, literature, and re-train staff.
The only benefit with the proposed changes, is that 3 phase flexes will change from the useless Brn/Blk/Blk to a combination that will indicate phase rotation again. However, it will take a while to be able to remember which way round it's supposed to be used, and you won't necessarily be able to trust which way the last guy bodged it back to the RYB.
I wonder, does anyone know what the situation will be for those other Commonwealth countries which still use the same IEE wiring standards as the UK? Will they be forced down the same route or might they choose go their own way?
--
Paul


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Err right.
When I asked one of the GU about flex colours, I was informed:
Brown - must be earth, because earth is brown. Blue, colour of sky so that's neutral. Yellow and green, stripey like a snake, dangerous, that must be "live".
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wrote:

mains
it's
At which point such stupid people will be eliminated by 'Darwin's law' kicking in....!
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Do you not understand the reason for these changes!! Harmonisation with Europe, to help our Exports!!! We must ensure that all buildings that are exported to Europe comply with local wiring codes. It really is very simple!! or is it just Bliar and his control freak cronies gone daft again Surly some mistake Bob
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"David Robinson" wrote | > Isn't the govt about to ban diy elec wiring (part P)? | > Still, for domestic single phase installations, I don't | > suppose it really matters either way - though red and | > black are differentiable in lower light levels. After | > April 1st, fewer people here will care anyway.
Of course it's only in England and Wales that DIY wiring is to be banned. It will still be legal in Scotland.
Owain
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Except they're not banning it. They'll just charge you 1000 quid to inspect your new kitchen socket. Probably cheaper than finding an electrician after 3/4 of them are banned.
Christian.
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The comment document makes interesting reading... Quite a few of the guys at the sharp end of the industry (installers & contractors) are openly saying this is crazy, will lead to incidents and fatalities, with the confusion running on for 50-60 years. The response is little more than "go away and shut up". In a country with one of the safest electrical systems in world, with fatalities due to fixed installations running at 1-2/year, and the great and glorious committees of the IEE/BSI pander to political dogma and reverse something as simple and fundamental as the colour coding off all the circuits. The "justification" is complete and total whitewash. Crazy world.
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Steve


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On Thu, 11 Dec 2003 23:23:34 +0000, Steven Briggs

Seems ages since I've had a dig at my former employers ...
It used to be the in-house joke at Savoy Place (the great Italian marble lined /cherry wood dining room/state of the art lecture theatre/fantastic wine collection) - HQ of the IEE that if they ever got a bit short of money that they'd change the colours of the wiring so all the publications would have to be re-issued at great profit.
Having had a look at their web site recently I see the IEE and the MEchs are planning a merger - I wonder if they are getting a bit short???
Or am I too cynical?
Barley Twist (Please put out the cats to reply direct)
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On Fri, 12 Dec 2003 00:10:48 UTC, Barley Twist

They keep writing to me, asking me to join...that's obviously why!
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Bob Eager
rde at tavi.co.uk
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