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18/04/2017 00:00
New cabling regulation to affect manufacturers, distributors and installers

The British Security Industry Association (BSIA) is advising its members of a change to the regulations for cables sold in the European Union. As of 1st July 2017, only cable compliant with European standard EN 50575:2014 can be sold for use in installed fire and security systems. This follows a 12 month transition period, after the standard for power, control and communication cables was added to the list of standards called up by the Construction Products Regulation (CPR)  on 1st July 2016.

This change will affect all manufacturers and distributors that supply cable products with an intended use for permanent installation in buildings and construction works within Europe. The new standard introduces new testing and certification requirements in relation to the performance of the cables in ‘reaction to fire’. Under the CPR, cabling will need to be accompanied by a Declaration of Performance (DoP) and a CE marking.

As well as affecting manufacturers and distributors, security installers will also be directly affected by the new regulation, as the cables covered by the standard are those intended to be used for the supply of electricity and communications for fixed installations, with the aim of limiting the generation and spread of fire and smoke. Cables affected by the new standard include power cables, control and communication cables and optical fibre cables. At present, the CPR relates to two essential requirements, often referred to as Basic Requirements of Construction Works (BRCW) – reaction to fire and reaction to dangerous substances.

Discussing the requirement for the new regulation, Nigel van Woerdekom, Technical Manager at CQR Fire & Security, explained: “For many years now, low-cost, and sometimes inferior quality cables, have been finding their way into the UK security market, with little or no regulation. The introduction of BS 4737-3.30:2015 has added a level of quality and reassurance for installers, in that manufacturers must declare the conductor resistance and materials used amongst other criteria, which inspectorates can now refer to ensuring that compliant cable is being used.”

“How these cables would behave under fire conditions is anyone’s guess, this is where the Construction Product Regulation (CPR) EU/305/2011 comes in,” he continued. “It will ensure that all cables must have been third party tested and certified using BS EN 50575:2014+A1:2016, therefore giving specifiers and architects detailed information on the cables’ performance, which may be critical when designing buildings.”

Nigel added that “CQR welcome these changes to the industry and the regulation of cables available on the market can only be good for all stakeholders involved.”

Talking about how the new regulation will affect the industry, Paul Phillips, Technical Manager at the BSIA, added: “It will be important for installation companies to be aware of the regulations and check that the cable they purchase is compliant, but cable already in the distribution chain on 1st July is not covered under the regulations.”