Question: We have been told that the new regulations were brought in to remove ambiguity, but when carrying out ECIRs, we seem to have the same problem as before.
If an office installation has no RCD protection on the socket outlets (ground floor even), I have been told that with a risk assessment from the client saying they would not use the sockets to supply use outside the building, we could mark them a Code 3. My Health and Safety consultant, who is an electrical/mechanical engineer fully trained in H&S, dismisses that outright and says if somebody did use an extension lead outside and something went wrong, I would be in serious trouble for issuing a satisfactory report with a Code 3 rather than a Code 2 rating.
Who is right? It's either a Code 2 or a Code 3 - surely it can't be either? If so, it seems to me that we are back to the issues evident in the old 16th Edition!
Answer: You should refer to Regulation 411.3.3, which is quite specific. In an office environment, the socket-outlets within the office, and which are used to supply equipment such as PCs etc., and which are unlikely to supply portable equipment outdoors, may be under the supervision of a skilled or instructed person. They may not, therefore, require the additional protection of an RCD (see 411.3.3 (a)).
Where, within the premises, socket-outlets are for general purpose use by ordinary persons - such as within a kitchen - then of course 30mA RCD protection will be required.
If these socket-outlets are unlikely to supply portable equipment outdoors and no additional protection is provided, you should classify this as a Code 3.
Where mobile equipment having a current rating not exceeding 32A is used outdoors, then 30mA RCD protection will be required. However, this protection may be achieved by various means such as, for example, a dedicated 30mA RCD socket-outlet, or having socket-outlets likely to supply portable equipment outdoors protected by a 30mA RCD / RCBO. Note that a 30mA RCD adaptor or RCD plug could be used, but generally this is not recommended.
If no form of RCD protection is provided, then you should classify this as a Code 2.
businesses - please note - risk assessment saying "would not use the sockets to supply use outside the building"