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Discuss CU Max Height According to Building Regs in the Electrical Wiring, Theories and Regulations area at ElectriciansForums.net

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dixon9

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Part M requires that reasonable provision be made for people to gain access to a building and use its facilities. The approved document prescribes that switches, socket outlets and “other equipment” needs to be at appropriate heights, these are defined as between 0.45m and 1.2m from finished floor level.


Other equipment includes the consumer unit, as it contains devices such as MCB’s and RCD’s that may need operation or resetting by the user of the dwelling.

The consumer unit should therefore be accessible, with the devices mounted at a height no greater the 1.2m above the floor. In addition the consumer unit should not be in a location that would make it difficult to access such as an under stairs cupboard. Neither should it be placed in a position where is likely to be damaged by impact.


Hmmm...seems a bit low! Are you lot mounting them at this max height?
 
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S

Shakey

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  • #2
Part M requires that reasonable provision be made for people to gain access to a building and use its facilities. The approved document prescribes that switches, socket outlets and “other equipment” needs to be at appropriate heights, these are defined as between 0.45m and 1.2m from finished floor level.


Other equipment includes the consumer unit, as it contains devices such as MCB’s and RCD’s that may need operation or resetting by the user of the dwelling.

The consumer unit should therefore be accessible, with the devices mounted at a height no greater the 1.2m above the floor. In addition the consumer unit should not be in a location that would make it difficult to access such as an under stairs cupboard. Neither should it be placed in a position where is likely to be damaged by impact.


Hmmm...seems a bit low! Are you lot mounting them at this max height?
well if it was new build then yes it should, but remeber Part M only applies to new builds, as long as equipment is no less accessible than it was previously
 
C

Cirrus

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  • #3
Wow! Explains why my CU is so bloody low the kids can **** about with the MCB's! Very useful...not!
What I don't get is this...... Is the UK so full of disabled people now? I know that in some parts of England such as the forest of dean there are brother / sister type things going on that muddy the gene pool a little but come on, are there REALLY that many people with disabilities that EVERY new house must be built with them in mind and not the able bodied??
 
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Grae79

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  • #4
daft really innit...you don't see new builds with wider doorways/access ramps/disabled bathrooms as standard....so why the lecs :(
 
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PAUL M

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  • #5
Wow! Explains why my CU is so bloody low the kids can **** about with the MCB's! Very useful...not!
What I don't get is this...... Is the UK so full of disabled people now? I know that in some parts of England such as the forest of dean there are brother / sister type things going on that muddy the gene pool a little but come on, are there REALLY that many people with disabilities that EVERY new house must be built with them in mind and not the able bodied??
i think its so the disabled are not being discriminated against or some tosh of that ilk,i think thats why new builds have to have a downstairs w/c as well.
 
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Cirrus

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  • #6
Yeah, I know exactly why it is fella, just don't agree that we have to bow down to the minority all the time in this damn country.
 
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sparkyork

i do agree that we need to look after disabled folk, i mean anyone of us could become disbled at anytime. and i also doint really agree with putting these boards at this sort of height. ive seeen too many with cracked casings etc from furniture been bashed into them! also if were not supposed to discriminate against them then how come there arnt 5ft pendant drops so they can change the bulbs? and y arnt these house automatically supplied with stairlifts if they dont wanna discriminate?
again i dont have anything against them but surely it should be full access for them or no access at all!!
 
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dixon9

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  • #8
well if it was new build then yes it should, but remeber Part M only applies to new builds, as long as equipment is no less accessible than it was previously
But what if you make a CU change with perhaps 1-2 new circuits? This would require an (D)EIC wouldn´t it? And if it´s a new circuit..........and any changes to circuits nowadays have to be to the 17th.....and if they are to be to the 17th.....?
 
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sparkymark

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  • #9
No dixon, im pretty sure if there was an extension to a old house part m does not apply. i did my 17th last week and the lecturer said we didint need to change all the heights for the new bit.
 
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Cirrus

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  • #10
i do agree that we need to look after disabled folk, i mean anyone of us could become disbled at anytime. and i also doint really agree with putting these boards at this sort of height. ive seeen too many with cracked casings etc from furniture been bashed into them! also if were not supposed to discriminate against them then how come there arnt 5ft pendant drops so they can change the bulbs? and y arnt these house automatically supplied with stairlifts if they dont wanna discriminate?
again i dont have anything against them but surely it should be full access for them or no access at all!!

LMFAO!!!
 
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wayne

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  • #11
the db i just put in would need the floor digging out to make it fit!!!(24 three phase ways)
do i have to build a ramp out front if i get any building work done on my house???
 
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Shakey

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  • #12
well its all boll**s

i mean lets say you fit a fan in the bathrrom, you should fit a double pole isolator so you should have isolation for maintenance,

but you have to install the isolator low enough for a disabled person in a wheelchair to operate it

erm.....how do they get up the fan to clean it:confused::confused::confused:

and like you say, great, they can isolate the lighting circuit, but how do they get up there to change the lamp in the ceiling rose:confused:

and before you start with 'offending disabled people' and they 'have the same rights as everyone else', my wife has had MS for a number of years, so believe me, I know what its about!;)
 
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dixon9

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  • #13
Still not convinced by the replies (with all due respect).

I understand that we have to conform to new regs and requirements - and they say max heights of 0.45 and 1.2m for sockets and CU´s (centre of the CU). If we are providing new installations or new circuits or new extensions to circuits then they must conform (no matter the inconvenience).

There is probably a bit of connundrum here between Part P, Part M and the 17th? What does the 17th say on this?
 

benji

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Arms
weve got some MG 24w tp dbs with cts for metering & 160a tp contactor in bottom compartment controlled via em.stops,the bloody things are 1.5mtr high and take two to lift
yours benji
 
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sparkymark

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  • #15
it wont apply for a commercial/industrial building as M regs only applies to dwellings (see page 68 of electricians guide to the building regs). db's in comm/ind should only be touched by the maintainance dept so wouldn't require them to be lower down
 
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Shakey

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  • #16
Still not convinced by the replies (with all due respect).

I understand that we have to conform to new regs and requirements - and they say max heights of 0.45 and 1.2m for sockets and CU´s (centre of the CU). If we are providing new installations or new circuits or new extensions to circuits then they must conform (no matter the inconvenience).


There is probably a bit of connundrum here between Part P, Part M and the 17th? What does the 17th say on this?
no Dixon, sorry you are wrong

new circuits and new extensions do NOT need to conform

The approved documents to both Part M and Part P expressly say that; it is quite acceptable to mount them at a height inkeeping with the existing property

even in build it does not apply to the kitchen and garage

and part p and the 17th have nothing to do with each other!
 
D

dixon9

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  • #17
no Dixon, sorry you are wrong

new circuits and new extensions do NOT need to conform

The approved documents to both Part M and Part P expressly say that; it is quite acceptable to mount them at a height inkeeping with the existing property

even in build it does not apply to the kitchen and garage

and part p and the 17th have nothing to do with each other!
Well yes Shakey, I´m quite aware that the 17th and Part P or Part M aren´t directly connected!

Although ín the real world a domestic spark would need to be aware of part p, some sections of part M and the 17th, yes?!

I came across this on the web - interesting stuff and it pretty much backs up what I´m saying re "connundrum" above. (You will find that Part M has been ammended now anyway according to the author). The conclusions seem to be; it is not clear, CU height on new builds BUT best practice to put the CU at the new height:


Steve Dyson explains why most new housebuilds fail to meet Part P and Part M of the Building Regulations.


When it comes to mounting consumer units, Part P and Part M of the Building Regulations have left many in the industry confused.

Traditionally, the consumer unit is positioned either high up on the wall out of eye line, in the downstairs toilet or perhaps in a cupboard under the stairs. Judging by much of the new build that we see, most people clearly still believe that this is where it should stay.

Unfortunately this does not meet with the requirements of either Part P or Part M. In fairness the legislation is hardly clear on the matter.

Part P section 1.6 states that: “Wall-mounted socket outlets, switches and consumer units should be located so that they are easily reachable where this is necessary to comply with Part M. Approved Document M shows ways of complying.”

This seems to be clear enough. Unfortunately, if you then refer to Part M, there is no overt mention of consumer units, hence the muddied waters. Here you need to dig deep, and it is probably not a surprise that few bother. If you want to comply with the Building Regulations, however, you must.

Section 8 of Approved Document M, which applies to new dwellings, includes the objective of “assisting people whose reach is limited to use the dwelling more easily, by locating wall-mounted switches, socket outlets and other equipment at suitable heights, so that they are easily reachable for use.”

The NICEIC indicates that “other equipment” includes circuit breakers and therefore the consumer units that they are sited in.

Suitable heights for switches and socket outlets are between 0·45 m and 1·2 m from the finished floor level.

However, a more limited height range of 0·75 m to 1·2 m above finished floor level is recommended for simple push button controls, isolator switches and circuit breakers that require limited dexterity. So the maximum height should be 1200 mm to the centre of the switches and controls. If you are using a multi-row enclosure, then all the devices must be within these height ranges.

In fairness, this clearly complies with the spirit of Part M. Consumer units should be accessible so that people can operate circuit breakers in an emergency and for the routine testing and resetting of RCDs. This means that they must be in reach as defined by Part M.

“It is time for the industry to be aware of all Part M requirements”




In addition, they should not be installed in a lockable cupboard – which is, after all, hardly accessible. Any consumer unit that complies with BS EN 60439-3 and has switches that are located behind a cover is fit for purpose.

The NICEIC also makes the point that consumer units must be accessible for safe working. Regulation 15 of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 states that to avoid injury “…adequate working space, adequate means of access and adequate lighting shall be provided at all electrical equipment on which, or near which, work is being done in circumstances which may give rise to danger.”

For a consumer unit, such work should include the measurement of maximum prospective fault current, a test that may give rise to danger. It should therefore be mounted at a height that allows adequate access for such work to be carried out safely.

Mounting a consumer unit at a suitable height for inspection, testing and maintenance is also necessary for compliance with the accessibility requirements of Regulations 131-12-01 and 513-01-01 of BS 7671.

You will note that this article only refers to new build. You do not need to move a consumer unit to Part M heights for a house rewire or for building an extension. It might, however, be considered best practice to do so.

One final point, if a consumer units is fitted in the garage, then it must also comply with Part P and Part M. You should choose a position where it’s unlikely to be damaged. Back walls are generally better than side walls.

It is time for the industry to be aware of all Part M requirements and to at least draw the main contractor’s attention to its legal obligations. The fact that this might cause some builders inconvenience is not an argument.

Arguments about aesthetics are not a barrier to complying with the regulations. Indeed, many boards have modern aesthetic designs. If a board sticking out of the wall will cause a hazard then install a flush fit unit.

Many of the issues which are currently surrounding Part M are due to be clarified by the end of this year. In the meantime, make sure that you at least draw attention to the regulations.

According to one recent blog, an electrician told the NICEIC inspector who rejected a consumer unit installation to shove Part M. While this may have been satisfying, it carries no legal weight.

Steve Dyson is Hager’s product manager for LV distribution
 
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kiwisparks

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  • #18
I recently read a EDF document,dated 12/07,recommending a meter height of between
1.8m and 450mm,(it makes the the CU a handy step to read the meter!!)
In my early days i always flushed in the CU at eye level,in my case 1.8m,completely out of harms way,i could never understand anyone putting them down under bench height in a cubboard,maybe because i had trouble getting in to it!!.....KS
 
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sparkyork

yeah lot of good info there, cheers.

if i can just confirm something, ive got my nic inspection on the 22nd august and theyve got a consumer unit to look at, it was a direct replacement i did and it is located in a kitchen cupboard, low down. hoping this nic man int gonna start ranting about part m? shouldn do tho should he?!

also ive got a 3 ph board to install soon and looking today the only logical place for it is above a door frame (6ft 6 ish) and then continuing up another 4 ft to the top of the board, is this acceptable?

cheery
 
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wayne

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  • #21
off top of my head;1.this isnt domestic so heights dont count
2 .could someone say above a door where people are going through is not reasonable access for maintenance /inspection?
 
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sparkyork

yeah kinda what i was thinking about, its above a disabled wc door tho so its not gonna be that busy
 
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wayne

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  • #23
yeah but they are kind of more sensitive to disability .but if its your only option ....
 
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sparkyork

ill give it a bit more thought 2moro when im on the job, will be posting some pics up of this bit and the job itself 2moro aswell
 
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lionel10

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  • #25
"new circuits and new extensions do NOT need to conform

The approved documents to both Part M and Part P expressly say that; it is quite acceptable to mount them at a height inkeeping with the existing property"


Desperately trying to find this quote where exactly can i find it in the appeoved documents?
Any help would be much appreciated,
 
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Shakey

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  • #26
"new circuits and new extensions do NOT need to conform

The approved documents to both Part M and Part P expressly say that; it is quite acceptable to mount them at a height inkeeping with the existing property"


Desperately trying to find this quote where exactly can i find it in the appeoved documents?
Any help would be much appreciated,
will have a look tommorrow matey, aint got it in front of me
 
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sparkyork

when i had my nic assesment the assesor asked a few questions on this, i replied by saying all the standard height things should be at etc. he pointed out that if the customer states that they dont want consumers at certain heights as well as switches and sockets etc, that you dont have to fit them at this height. he said so long as you make a note on the certificate that the customer is aware then its ok!!

whether he's full of poo poo i dont know i must admit i was suprised to hear it, he was talking new builds as well?!
 
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GAZHUDDS

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  • #28
Ive also heard this Sparkyork, in fact im doing rewires now for connect housing in leeds and we are putting everything back to the same heights as before as this is what the customer wants.
 
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tony.towa

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  • #29
If you look in the osg it says that a way of satisfying building regs is to mount sockets etc at the heights they show. Your installations cert is done against wiring regs not building regs so noting the customer requirement on the cert covers you for wiring regs but I think the building inspector might pull it on building regs requirements in a new build. Another classic example of the right hand not knowing where the left hand is, let alone what it's doing!!!!
 
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sparkyork

yeah it didnt really wash with me either but he did seem quite certain that if the customer wants to not comply with building regs on socket heights then it ok (but not really!)
 

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