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Why is the 18th edition so important? - Sp8tium

Why is the 18th edition so important?

Professionalism in electric work is a must. Because of the high level of injury risk, standards and procedures must be understood by all professionals involved with the planning, alteration, and execution of electrical work. The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and the Standards Policy and Strategy Committee have issued the 18th edition. But what is the 18th Edition and why is it so important? This article will expound upon the creation and the necessity of the 18th edition. Read on to find out more.

What is the 18th Edition?

The 18th edition is the blueprint book which all electricians must follow in order to maintain standards and safety regulations. As the name suggests, the 18 shows that it is 18th in a list of prior publications. The first publication was made in 1882 when the IET, then known as Institution of Electrical Engineers, and has periodically been updated. Issue 17 was released in 2008 and updated in 2015. Until now, the 17th edition has been the standard which electricians have gone by. However, with the new edition, which was published in July 2018 and came into effect in January 2019, electricians must adhere to these new standards over all other editions.

Is the 18th Edition a legal document?

No. The 18th edition, sometimes referred to as BS 7671:2018 or Wiring Regs, is not a legal document. It is the standard which electricians will be held to should there be any issues of safety, planning, or implementation. The laws which pertain to the proper adherence to standards are based on the 18th edition. So, while the book is not a legal document, it is the book which is referenced by the legal standards. This is like a lawyer referencing law books to find case numbers to use in a law dispute. While the law book is not a legal document, it references legal cases and situations which are used in court. The Wiring Regulations book gives the examples and standards to be used.

Who should use the 18th Edition?

You may think that only electricians should use the 18th edition. Yet, this would be a mistake. The book is designed for anyone who has anything related to electric work, design, planning, or implementation. This could include fire alarm set up, kitchen designers, and construction workers who must work around, move, or interact with the electrical work. For example, a kitchen plan may show plugs above the counters, junction boxes at the dishwasher and stove, and a garbage disposal under the sink. Regulations will tell the electrician how to install the outlets, whether they need to be waterproofed, if the junction boxes need to be on their own breaker, and such.

Do I need the 18th if I am qualified for the 17th edition?

Professionals who have previously received qualifications under edition 17 must still get qualifications under the 18th edition. Those with a completed Level 3 NVQ will need to prove that they are up-to-date with the current edition. Those who wish to register with a new ECS Check System will need to have 18th Edition qualifications. Most companies will not hire someone who is not familiar with the newest edition of electrician standards. The reason behind this is that if there is a non-compliance issue, the company is held liable. Also, noncompliance can cause wiring faults, loss of life or property, reputation damage, branding damage, and/or losing your electrical qualifications and licensing.

New to the 18th Edition

One reason why electricians must adhere to the 18th edition is the changes which have been updated with the latest edition. Every new edition changes the prior edition. While it is important to know the regulations of prior issues, the new edition supersedes any regulations or standards from previous editions.  Some of the major changes within the 18th edition include:

  • Protection Against Electrical Shock
  • 30mA RCDs mandatory on Sockets with 32A
  • Extra Protection on AC circuits
  • Protection Against Thermal Effects
  • Regulation 421.1.7 (new regulation)
  • Selection and Erection of Wiring Systems
  • Additional changes to Regulation 521.10.202
  • Electrical Vehicle Charging Installations
  • PME Supply (regulation 722.411.4.1) changes
  • Appendix 17 changes

These are but some of the recent changes in the 18th edition. As an electrician, or someone who is involved with the electronics of any project, it is critical that you familiarize yourself with the book’s contents. It is not expected that you memorize the entire book, as it is quite large. However, you should know the basics of the content and be able to properly reference any material in the book based on the job at hand.


The IET 18th Edition is a rather comprehensive book and therefore it is reasonable that you may have questions about the material within it. Questions should be addressed directly to the IET or to a qualified IET representative. Qualification training for IET 18th Edition is available from several sites within the UK. Ensure that you research the training and qualification testing of the facility you choose as you will be held to the 18th Edition’s entirety. Should you have questions regarding your Level 3 NVQ, ECS Check System, or compliance, contact your local electrician certification/qualification authority.

Further training for IET’s 18th Edition is available at various facilities and through online courses.


The IET 18th Edition (BS 7671:2018), Wiring Regs, is the book which sets the standards for all electricians. While the book is not a legal document, it is used as the guide to instruct professionals in the proper way in which to plan, implement, and execute many electric works. Adherence to the standards found within the book is mandatory for any professional. Proper proof of qualifications pertaining to 18th edition is needed for professionals to maintain their licencing, qualifications, or to gain new work. Non-adherence can lead to safety related issues, including but not limited to wiring faults, loss of property, or loss of life.


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