What EICR Code for No RCD?

What EICR Code For No RCD?

What EICR Code For No RCD?

BE AWARE, this guide is quite comprehensive and thus will be a long read. If you don’t have time to read everything when you just need a quick reference, just check the the Table Of Contents and it will guide you to what EICR code for no RCD applies to each specific requirement.

When you are completing EICRs on older installations then it is often common to come across instances of circuits which do not have an RCD fitted.

This can often leave you wondering “what EICR code for no RCD?”

In this guide we will break down the different reasons a circuit needs RCD protection, how to check these & finally answer the question: which EICR code for no RCD

The guidance for the EICR codes recommended on this site is the Electrical Safety First Best Practice Guide 4. This gives various examples of issues and the EICR codes recommended to be given in each circumstance.

The main other piece of guidance for this topic is a book called Codebreakers by NAPIT. Whilst most of the guidance is aligned, there are a couple of instances where the Codebreakers book reccomends slightly higher codes than that outlined in BPG4.

The EICR classification codes outlined below are related to the examples in BPG4 and can be referenced back to that particular guide when checking What EICR code for no RCD?

RCD For Fault Protection

Certain types of installation earthing arrangement (TT mainly) produce external loop impedance figures which are way over the maximum allowed by BS7671 in order to trip in the specified time.

As such these installations need an RCD in order to meet the tripping times, due to the extreme sensitivity of an RCD to low level earth faults.

This can take the shape of an ‘up-front’ RCD, which is often time-delayed on older installations to allow some level of discrimination between up front RCDs and those fitted to final circuits. Alternatively a modern RCBO equipped board can cover each circuit with it’s own 30mA earth fault proptection.

If, when inspecting an installation, you determine that it is of a TT earthing arrangement, then you must ensure that each circuit has some form of RCD protection to cover the much higher Earth Fault Loop Impedance encountered here.

If any circuit does not have an RCD then this must be recorded as a C2 – POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS as an MCB or fuse will not trip in the required time leaving items potentially dangerously live.

RCD For Additional Protection

Aside from the need to provide an RCD to ensure tripping times, there are also a number of times where the wiring regulations stipulate the need for an RCD for ‘additional protection’

What EICR code for no RCD can differ depending on which particular requirement is being inspected.

These are covered in much more detail in the rest of this guide.

RCD or RCBO?

In almost every instance discussed in this guide, the use of an RCD or RCBO is interchangeable.

Whilst modern RCBO boards offer the best selectivity and division of circuits, 17th edition dual RCD boards can still be compliant to these requirements for RCDs as long as the circuit has an RCD covering it.

This can be either directly in the case of an RCBO, or as a group in the case of dual RCD boards.

Equally, whether for fault protection or additional protection, the use of an up front RCD or individual RCBO, both are equally valid.

What EICR Code for No RCD? - RCBO or RCD
What EICR Code For No RCD? RCD or RCBO?

No RCD on socket outlets

RCDs have been a requirement for virtually all socket outlets under BS7671 for quite some time now.

When completing EICRs there are 2 particular inspections which you need to judge the installation on.

Sockets serving mobile outdoor equipment

The first is inspection ??.?? which relates to “socket outlets <32A which are used to supply mobile outdoor equipment”. In this inspection you need to consider what is going to be plugged into the socket itself.

Obviously anything electrical used outside, where the user can be in contact with “true” earth, creates much more of a risk to safety.

For domestic inspections, this would be outdoor sockets, garage sockets or anything of that nature. We would consider this to also apply to household sockets on the ground floor where items can be plugged in with an extension lead.

How many times have you seen a lawnmower plugged into an extension lead through the window?

There have been a couple of instances of people getting fatal electric shocks when cutting through lawnmower cables where there has been no RCD on the socket.

In commercial EICRs, expect to be looking for sockets which have a reasonable expectation they could be used to supply portable equipment outdoors. This could be 13A sockets, or even 16/32A sockets on 3 phase.

IF they are not for a specific piece of equipment and there is a risk that portable outdoor equipment could be plugged in, you must code appropriately on the EICR.

According to Best Practice Guide 4, any socket outlet which is expected to supply mobile outdoor equipment should be coded a C2 – POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS.

This answers what EICR code for no RCD for this particular inspection, but what about the others?

All Socket Outlets

The 2nd inspection covers the remainder of the sockets (ie: those no expected to serve mobile outdoor equipment)

Inspection ??.?? is basically covering all socket outlets of under 32A, wherever they may be and whatever they may serve.

In domestic settings it would be any upstairs sockets, it could be a flat above ground floor (where extension leads would not be expected to be strung out the window) or else sockets that are intended to serve single items (could be behind a washing machine for example).

In a commercial setting, again, this is just any socket that would not be expected to serve anything outdoors.

This one is pretty self explanatory, the socket is either protected by an RCD or not. So, What EICR code for no RCD on all socket outlets?

The risk is slightly less on sockets that do not have a potential to supply mobile outdoor equipment, and hence BPG4 recommends a C3 – IMPROVEMENT RECOMMENDED would be the appropriate EICR code for this instance.

Cables Buried <50mm from Wall Surface

The next inspection ??.?? deals with the cables themselves as opposed to what the circuit is serving (as in the previous section on sockets).

In most cases where cables are buried within plastered walls (whether stud walls or blockwork), the cable would be less than 50mm (2 inch) from the surface of the wall. Hence this applies to a great number of both commercial & domestic installations alike.

This is one particular inspection on an EICR which generates a huge amount of debate!

The reason this particular inspection generates a lot of debate is because this is one of the very few items that BPG4 & The Codebreakers book both recommend different guidance on what to code this particular issue.

So One Must Be Wrong Surely? – No, not necessarily! Read my thoughts….

Whilst I fall firmly in the BPG4 guidance, in which they recommend a C3 – IMPROVEMENT RECOMMENDED for this issue. Ultimately, the lack of an RCD covering buried cables is a new addition (comparted to a lot of older installations still in use today) to the wiring regulations, granted, and thus needs recording as an issue.

However the question is, does this introduce a risk to the user by not having an RCD fitted? `

I can see both arguements, and would never dismiss the engineering judgement of another qualified electrician.

As I am a QS with the NICEIC, and their guidance is to follow BPG4, I stick to that line. Ultimately if the installation is missing an RCD for large portions of it, then it is likely that other issues will dictate a more complete overhaul of the circuits/installation.

But does that mean that a QS with a NAPIT registered company is therefore wrong to code this a C2?

Rather confusingly, No. The guidance is just that, a guide to what codes to use. It is not strict and the responsibility to decide EICR coding rests with the electrician completing the test.

Final Circuits Supplying Luminaires (Domestic Only)

This is a recent addition to the inspection schedule, rising from the 18th edition latest requirement that all final circuits supplying luminaires in domestic premises must have an RCD for additional protection

If you are doing inspecting a commercial property then this doesn’t apply and a simple N/A should be recorded in the box.

Not to be confused with the requirement to RCD protect cables buried less than 50mm from the surface, this new regulation applies to circuits fed through conduit/trunking or even surface mounted.

This is a simple one to code, BPG4 recommends that a C3 – IMPROVEMENT RECOMMENDED would be appropriate for this issue.

Circuits Supplying Locations Containing A Bath or Shower

This is the final section on the inspection schedule where you need to decide what EICR code for no RCD.

This inspection relates to both the cables AND the item that is being served by the circuit.

A typical list of things which could be encountered in a domestic bathroom which you would need to check include (but are not limited to):

  • Bathroom Lights
  • Electric Showers
  • Whirlpool Baths
  • Shaver Sockets
  • Shaver Lights
  • Extractor Fans
  • Electric Tower Radiators
  • etc….

If inspecting a commercial setting, (ie: changing rooms with showers at a gym or similar), then be mindful of other electrical equipment in the room such as potential air conditioning units and fixed heaters.

This inspection also covers circuits which serve OTHER locations, however their cables pass through zones 1&2 in a bathroom. I can’t think of many examples where this would happen, although it is possible that trunking has been used to route cables through this area.

In this instance, you would need to ensure that these cables have RCD protection for the appropriate circuits.

BPG4 recommends that the EICR code for no RCD in this instance would be a C3 – IMPROVEMENT RECOMMENDED.

Be aware that a lot of electricians will code this as a C2 – POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS if there is no supplementary bonding. Although this is technically correct, we generally record that issue under the inspection specifically for the presence of supplementary bonding. Again, either approach is generally fine, as long as the lack of supplementary bonding WITHOUT an RCD is covered off as a C2 at one of the inspection boxes in this section.

Other Part 7 Special Locations

There is a section at the end of the schedule of test results which is for listing any other ‘section 7’ special locations and inspecting any particular regulations which may apply specifically to these areas.

If you are inspecting domestic properties, the following sections may apply depending on the specific installation:

  • Section 702 – Swimming Pools & Other Basins
  • Section 703 – Rooms & Cabins Containing Sauna Heaters
  • Section 712 – Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Power Supply Systems
  • Section 715 – Extra-Low Voltage Lighting Installations
  • Section 722 – Electric Vehicle Charging Installations

If you are inspecting commercial properties and want to check what EICR code for no RCD then you need be aware that just about any of the section 7 special locations in BS7671 may or may not apply depending on the actual installation and it’s use.

The section 7 special locations all apply their own particular additional requirements over and above the regular requirements of BS7671. These locations are all areas where particular heightened risk applies and the specific additional requirements are to try and mitigate that particular additional risk.

In general, they place burdens on the type of equipment that can be used, the IP rating of any accessories that may be used in a particular area, they place additional requirements on specific RCDs that need using in particular areas.

This guide would be 6000 pages long if I wrote each and every extra requirement from section 7. We’ll cover this in our guides to the particular section 7 requirements coming soon.

From an EICR point of view, if anything which is written as specifically requiring an RCD in section 7, but doesn’t have it, then this would generally be a C2 – POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS

Summary

When deciding what EICR code for no RCD. there are many different regulations/requirements and usage factors of the installation to take into consideration.

Apart from everything written above, you may be asking, how do I know if a circuit has RCD protection?

How Do I Know If A Circuit Has RCD Protection?

Well, this can generally be seen from the consumer unit/distribution board. The circuit in question may either have an RCBO with an in-built test button, or else may have an ‘up-front’ RCD on a dual RCD board as per in the picture below

What EICR Code For No RCD?
What EICR Code For No RCD? Dual RCD Consumer Unit – The RCD on the right covers the 5x individual MCBs on the left of it.

If you see an up-front RCD as per the picture above, it can be helpful to trip it using the in built test button and see if it affects the supply to the circuit you are inspecting.

An alternative is to connect an RCD tester to the circuit being tested and run a ramp test. This should trip any RCD which is covering that circuit.

Be aware this method is not really suitable for commercial installations, where an RCD may trip further upstream affecting many more circuits than just the one you are inspecting.

In domestic settings, we have seen RCD fused connection units in lofts above bathrooms. This can provide RCD protection to the bathroom lights when completing upgrades, but is seriously inconvenient in the event of it tripping and the customer having to search through a loft to reset it.

Similarly in commercial properties, there are instances of RCDs being fitted in standalone enclosures. These may not be obvious which circuit they are supplying and can be difficult to trace.

What EICR Code For No RCD?

It’s impossible to answer the blanket question of what EICR code for no RCD?

Each individual separate requirement in BS7671 has a different answer to that question. Even guides such as BPG4 & Codebreakers don’t answer as one whole, rather coding differently depending on what element of risk that issue brings to the installation

I hope this guide has been helpful to answer what EICR code for no RCD?

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