PLASA Members’ Area

PLASA electrotechnical standards update – November 2018

27th November 2019

There are various areas of work in progress currently, many of which will ultimately have an impact on members in various sectors. PLASA has representation on a range of standards and industry committees so it is important that members feed back to the association their thoughts and wishes – guidance and standards are only as good as the information put into them which relies on members giving their views to those representing them on the committees.

ESTA Technical Standards Program

There are various ESTA TSP standards in public review at the moment, including several RDM ones; overhead mounting of luminaires; a standard for mass-produced portable platforms, ramps, stairs, and choral risers for live performance events; a recommended luminous efficiency function for stage and studio luminaire photometry and a standard for measuring floor slipperiness. All the ESTA ANSI standards in public review can be downloaded here.

IET Code of Practice for In-service inspection and testing (aka ‘PAT’ testing)

This Code is the most widely used and accepted guide to what has become known as ‘Portable Appliance Testing’. Work has just begun on a revision and given that all members use, rent or hire electrical equipment to varying degrees, the changes are likely to have a major impact on all. As the Code is also used as the core text for the City & Guilds training and qualification, it is likely that this may change too.

Work has only just commenced so the specific changes are not yet known, but early indications would suggest that the Code is likely to be restructured and streamlined, with a greater focus on risk assessment in relation to the types of tests and their frequency. The hope is that it will provide a more pragmatic approach rather than the common practice of annual testing and inspecting. In essence PLASA supports this approach as it links in with the HSE guidance which was revised after the Professor Loftsted review into health and safety legislation some years ago.

ABTT Technical Standards for places of Entertainment

To tie in with the changes to the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations ‘Tech Standards’ is being updated to reflect any changes that may be required.  Work is on-going and it’s hoped that the electrical updates will be published early 2019.

IET Wiring Regulations 18th Edition (BS 7671:2018)

These were published in the summer and come into force on 1st January 2019, when any new installation designed or built post that date must comply. As a temporary system is classed as a new installation each time it is put together, technically that means that the requirements will also apply to tours which started in 2018. It is important to note that it doesn’t apply retrospectively, i.e. to existing permanent installations or resident shows.

There are many changes that are of interest, from non-combustible supports for cables, arc fault detection devices and surge protection requirements. PLASA members can obtain a free summary guide to the changes – please email the office.

BS 7909 – Code of Practice for temporary electrical systems at events and similar purposes

Work on a revision was started in 2017, but the changes in the 18th edition of the Wiring Regulations took up many committee members time so the plan is to re-start this in early 2019. The changes are likely to include some notes on power quality and it will also be revised to take into account the new generator guidance published by the IET, which will involve revised guidance on electrical environments.

IET practitioners guide to temporary systems

This is a new guide that is due for publication on or before January 2019. Aside from reflecting the latest changes to BS 7671 it contains new guidance on the use of generators. In particular it includes requirements for parallel sets, unearthed generating sets, cross-bonding between electrical environments and more. It is contains the latest practice in this area which is causing other standards such as BS 7430 (Code of Practice for Earthing) to be reviewed. Members who are involved in hiring or using generators (or temporary power in general) will find the new content useful.

International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Standards

IEC 60364 is the international standard covering electrical safety and is what BS 7671 and the European HD 60364 align themselves with. PLASA has representation on Maintenance Team 9 which is responsible for special locations, generators and disconnection times amongst other areas. It is the parent committee (TC64) where a recent proposal based on the new IET guidance on generators has been submitted and accepted at the recent meeting in Australia, so it is hoped that in the next quarter a workable draft will be created my MT9.

IEC TR 61000-1-8 ED1 is a new technical report that is part of the EMC series. “Electromagnetic Compatibility – Part 1-8: Phase angles of harmonic current emissions and voltages in the public supply networks, and future expectation” is going to be interesting to watch as it may have a bearing on manufacturers who make equipment such as variable speed drives and dimmers. The EMC suite of standards is vast and it is constantly changing as technology progresses and standards keep up. Again PLASA has representation in this area so if members need more information then get in touch.

British Standards

PLASA is a distributer of Standards published by BSI and members ordering via PLASA can obtain a 10% discount on the cost. It is hoped to get this discount increased, but unfortunately the BSI discount structure works on volume so we need members to buy more! The entire Standards catalogue is available from the online BSI shop. Although if you have any queries about a particular standard (e.g. whether it is the right one for your project) it’s always worth getting in touch with the office to see if any of the technical team have a copy or know more.