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Cable Size.

The size of cable is given by the cross sectional

area (CSA) of each conductor in mm2 -

Insulation. Copper
conductor area.

For example, 3 core 1.5mm2 flex would

have 3 conductors (L/N/E) each of
1.5mm2 cross sectional area (CSA).
OSG: Appendix 11 pg. 171 -

Identification of Conductors (Cable).

Red L1 L1 Brown
Yellow L2 L2 Black
Blue L3 L3 Grey
Black N N Blue
Single phase-red & black become brown (L) & blue (N).
3 phase-red/yellow/blue become brown (L1)/black (L2)/grey (L3)
This also applies to 3 core + CPC flat profile cable (6243Y).
OSG: Appendix 11 pg. 171 -

Identification of Conductors (cont).

In a single phase installation, all line conductors must be
identified by the colour brown, such as when using 2 core or 3
core + CPC flat profile cable for switching of lighting circuits.

e.g. for 1 way switches L

e.g. for 2 way switches L
Identification of Conductors (cont).
New installations -
Between 31st March 2004 & 31st March 2006, one
or the other colours may be used.
New colours must be used from 1st April 2006.
Existing (mixed) installations -
Single phase: Only a warning notice is required at
the consumer unit.
3 phase: A warning notice is required at the
distribution board and both sets of conductors
must be identified L1, L2, L3 & N at any joint.
OSG: Appendix 3 pg. 105 - New colours are now in force.

Domestic Cable Types

Fixed Wiring Only Refer to catalogues for sizes.

Flat profile cables are

the most commonly
used domestic cable.
BS 6004 BS 6004

Twin + CPC 6242Y 3 core + CPC 6243Y

BS 6346
BS 6004
SWA 6942X Meter tails 6181Y
11 for underground supplies to garages etc.
OSG: Appendix 3 pg. 105 -

Domestic Flexible Cords BS 6500

Portable appliances/final connections to equipment).

2182/3182Y 2183/3183Y

Light or standard PVC flex for appliances & tools etc.

3 core - 3093Y Multicore - 2094Y

Heat resisting (HR) flex for immersion heaters etc.

12 Will withstand surface touch temperature of up to 850C
OSG: Appendix 3 pg. 105 -

Cable Installation Considerations.

Cables and flexes may be used indoors or

outdoors if suitably protected from
Mechanical damage.
Extremes of temperature
Ambient, & from other equipment.
The effects of sunlight.
Ingress of liquids / corrosion.
Chemical or solvent damage (creosote etc).
Expanded polystyrene insulation material.
13 Damage caused buy flora and fauna.
OSG: Appendix 3 pg. 105 -

Installing Thermoplastic
PVC Cable Outdoors.

PVC thermoplastic cable & flex, including steel

wire armoured (SWA) cable, must
Not be used where the ambient temperature is
consistently freezing, or installed when the
temperature is less than 50C
Be protected from direct sunlight (although the
black sheath colour of SWA offers some
Not be buried directly in concrete (possible
chemical reaction).
Be protected against corrosion by proper
14 installation and use of cable glands.
OSG: Appendix 4 pg. 111 -

Cable Clipping and Support.

Cables in conduit, trunking, ducts or

inaccessible places (under floorboards
etc.) only require further support if
running vertically over a distance greater
than 5 metres.
Cables fixed direct in accessible positions
should be supported by clips or cleats at
maximum spacings as per OSG table 4A
pg. 113.
Cable Clipping and Support.

Cables must be protected against stress, strain

& mechanical damage -

Clipping optional

5M Clipping

OSG table 4A

Duct or CCU
trunking Service
OSG: Table 4A pg. 113

Spacings of Supports in Accessible Positions

(based upon major axis d of cable).

d 9mm
Correct example for 1mm2 twin flat cable -
Correct type
of clip used
<= 250mm
for cable.

Bending radius
supported equally Nail under cable to
each side by clip. support weight.

<= 400mm
Flat profile cable must not be
twisted or clipped on edge, as this
may cause mechanical damage.
Cable Bends.

Mechanical damage can be caused by

bending cables too tightly -

OSG: Table 4E pg. 116

Minimum Internal Bending Radi

(based upon major axis d of cable).

Correct example for 1mm2 twin flat cable -

Clip supports the
cable above &
below the bend r = 30mm d <= 10mm

Internal radius r = 30mm min

(3 x 10mm)

OSG: Section 7.3.1 pg. 59

Cables through Joists.

Where cables pass through
joists, they may be passed
through holes not less than
50mm from the top or
bottom of the joist.

Safe-plate to mechanically
protect flat PVC cables in
notches as an alternative to
steel conduit
Building Regulations Part A.

Structure -
The requirement is not to cut, drill,
chase, penetrate or in any way
interfere with the structure so as to
cause significant reduction in its load
bearing capacity.
NO notches or holes are allowed in
roof rafters for cable installation.

OSG: Section 7.3.1 pg. 59

Holes & Notches in Joists.

Maximum depth
of notch = 0.125 x 50mm
joist depth. minimum


Holes on
centre line. 50mm minimum
Holes & Notches Zones.


Depth & Location of Chases.

Vertical chases no deeper than

1/3rd wall thickness.
Horizontal chases no deeper
than 1/6th wall thickness.
Not positioned so as to impair
stability of wall, particularly
where hollow blocks used.

For cavity walls,

thickness = leaf thickness.
OSG: Section 7.3.2 pg. 60 A 30mA RCD is also now required
in all domestic installations.

Safe Zones in Walls.

OSG: Section 7.3.2 pg. 60

Cables in Walls.

Most safe zones within walls run vertically &

horizontally in line with a visible wiring
If not in a safe zone, then cables must be
installed -
50mm deep or greater (difficult to achieve), or
In earthed metal mechanical protection.

Cables Passing through Floors,
Ceilings & Walls.

Compliance with other building regulations is

required (Chapter 10, IEE guide to the Building
Part B: Fire safety.
Part C: Resistance to contaminants & moisture.
Part E: Resistance to the passage of sound.

We will be covering this in greater detail in

Unit 001 Applicable Building Regulations.
OSG: Section 7.4 pg. 61

Proximity to Other Systems.

Cables must be kept away or protected from

services producing heat, smoke, fumes or
condensation (distance depends upon situation) -


Hot Pipe

28 Mutual detrimental influence.

OSG: Section 7.4 pg. 62
OSG: Section 2.3 pg. 18

Separation from Gas Services.

Where gas installation pipes are not separated by

electrical insulating material from electrical equipment,
including cables, they are to be spaced as follows -

150mm min
150mm min
25mm min

Gas pipes up to 35mm diameter.

OSG: Section 7.4 pg. 61

Voltage Bands.

Band I circuit: Extra low voltage not

exceeding 50V ac or 120V dc -
ELV supplies, telephone, data.

Band II circuit: Low voltage not

exceeding 1000V ac or 1500V dc -
Mains circuits.

OSG: Section 7.4 pg. 62

Segregation of Band I & II

In a domestic situation, segregation is best
normally achieved by maintaining a distance of at
least 50mm between cables, otherwise mutual
detrimental influence may occur -
(band I)
50mm min
Lighting circuit
(band II)

Band II voltage appearing on Band I circuit?

OSG: Appendix 3 pg. 106

Cables Underground.

In a domestic situation, steel wire armoured

(SWA) cables should be used with additional
mechanical protection if required.
Regarding depth, BS 7671 says -
at a sufficient depth to avoid damage by reasonably
foreseeable disturbance of the ground
The NIC recommend a minimum depth of 600mm.
The location of the buried cable should also be marked
by placing route marker tape just below ground.

Preferably 30mA RCD protected.

OSG: Appendix 4 pg. 112 -

Cables Overhead - Best Methods.

SWA cable supported by a catenary wire -

Fixed at intervals not exceeding those specified in
OSG table 4A column 6 (pg. 113), and
Meeting the span / height rules specified in OSG table
4B row 5 (pg. 114).
PVC/PVC flat profile cable (T&E) installed in
20mm steel conduit -
Consisting 1 continual length of conduit, and
Meeting the span / height rules specified in OSG table
4B row 2 (pg. 114).

Use of PVC/PVC Flat Profile (T&E)
Cables with a Catenary Wire.

So long as the cable is SUITABLY

PROTECTED, a flat profile cable installed
overhead between a house & garage should
be supported at both ends and a catenary
wire used -

Selection & Installation of
Components and Standard Circuits.

1mm2 or 1.5mm2
PVC/PVC flat

6A B type Batten/pendant switch or
MCB or 5A set or luminaire. dimmer.
We will cover lighting circuits in more detail in Unit 004.
OSG: Appendix 8.5 pg. 161 -

Immersion Heater.
2.5mm2 PVC/PVC 1.5mm2 heat
flat cable & resistant (HR)
clips. flex.

Switched fused (13A) Typical 3kW

16A B type MCB heating element.
connection unit.
or 15A fuse.

A separate circuit must be provided if the capacity of

the storage vessel (tank) exceeds 15 litres.
10mm2 PVC/PVC 10mm2 PVC/PVC
flat cable. flat cable.


Minimum 32A B
type MCB or 30A Shower unit,
fuse. 7.2kW upwards.
45A double pole
(D/P) switch.
A larger protective device will be required for more
38 powerful (higher kW) showers.
OSG: Appendix 8.4 pg. 160 -

MINIMUM 6.0mm2 6kW (typical)
PVC/PVC flat cable

32A B type 45A double pole Cooker connection

MCB or 30A (D/P) cooker unit (optional). 2.4kW
fuse. control unit.

One switch may control 2 cooking appliances up to a total of

15kW. It should be positioned in the same room as and
within 2 metres of the appliances.
OSG: Appendix 8.2 pg. 158 -

Sockets & Spurs.

Single or twin
outlets (can be
2.5mm2 PVC/PVC switched or un-
flat cables. switched).

A1 Ring - 32A B type

MCB or 30A fuse. Fused
or connection
A3 Radial - 20A B (spur) units.
type MCB or fuse.

Lets take a look at the rules for ring & radial circuits -
Socket Outlets.

Socket outlets can be wired either radial or ring

Ring circuits can also have non-fused & fused
spurs connected to them.
There are a number of Regulations that relate to
the design of socket circuits. These are
summarized in Appendix 8 of the 17th Edition IEE


A spur is basically a cable that is connected to a

ring circuit but is not part of the ring.
A spur cable can supply a single or multiple socket,
or a fused connection unit (FCU).
Spurs can be fused or non-fused, depending on
how they are connected.
These are not spurs, they are fused connection
units (FCUs) -
Switched or
FCUs, with or
42 without neon.
Fused & Non-Fused Spurs.
Non-fused spurs are connected directly to the circuit.
Fused spurs are wired to the Out (load) terminals of a fused
connection unit (FCU).



unit. FCU
Radial (A3) socket outlet circuit.
What is the typical
size / type of MCB &
cable to be used?

What is the maximum

number of sockets and
FCUs allowed?

What is the maximum

floor area served?
Sockets are used for portable equipment.
44 FCUs are used for fixed equipment.
Ring (A1) socket outlet circuit
(with junction box).
What is the typical
size / type of MCB &
cable to be used?

What is the number

of outlets allowed?
30A 3 terminal
junction box.

What is the
maximum floor area

Ring (A1) socket outlet circuit
with non-fused spurs.
What is the size
cable to be used for
the non-fused spur?

What is the
maximum number of
non-fused spurs
allowed on the ring?

How many outlets

can be connected to
a non-fused spur?
46 _______________
Ring (A1) socket outlet circuit
with fused spurs.
How many outlets
can be connected to Load (out)
a fused spur?

What is the
maximum floor area Supply (in)
Supply (in)

Supply (in)

Load (out)
What is the minimum
sized PVC
thermoplastic flat
cable that can be
used to feed sockets
on a fused spur?
What must not be connected to a
ring or radial socket circuit?

Any appliance with a power requirement

greater than 3kW.
Any water heater with a tank capacity
greater than 15 litres (e.g. standard
domestic immersion heater).
Any space heating that is the primary
source of heat for the premises (e.g. night
storage radiators).
More than one outlet accessory from a
non-fused spur taken from a ring circuit.
Dangers with Socket Ring Circuits.

Ring final circuits are potentially dangerous

because they will still work with 1 leg
broken. This can lead to an overload
condition in the remaining leg.
This is why there is ongoing debate about
the use of radial circuits only for sockets, in
harmonisation with European Standards.

OSG: Table 8.1 pg. 70

Equipment - Special Locations.

30mA RCD protection is required for supplementary
protection against direct contact.
Bath / shower rooms (zones)
Must be a suitable IP rating for that zone.
Gardens & outbuildings (exterior)
Must conform to a relevant IP code.
Additional mechanical protection may be required.

Switched metal- I.P. 44

50 clad (RCD) I.P. 56 (RCD) (energy saving)
Masonry Installations.

Surface Installations.

Plasterboard Installations.

Gravity or spring toggles used for

heavier objects on plasterboard
walls / ceilings.


(surface & flush mount).

May be single, double, triple or dual accessory.

Should be deep enough to prevent damage to cable.
Should be earthed &/or CPCs joined in earth terminal.
Metal boxes fitted with grommets if KO removed.

Junction / Joint Boxes.

Correct IP rating for application.

Screw terminals accessible for maintenance.
Correct current rating for application.
Correct number of terminals for application.

3.2 : Understand the Applications of Protective and
Residual Current Devices Used in Domestic

Fuses and circuit breakers.

Residual current devices (RCDs).

OSG: Section 3 pg. 19
OSG: Section 7 pg. 55 -

Protective Devices
Domestic Installations.

A suitable over-current device (fuse/mcb) is

required at the origin of each & every circuit, plus
30mA RCD protection is required for:
All socket outlet circuits.
Circuits of locations containing a bath or shower.
Circuits supplying mobile equipment outdoors.
Where PVC/PVC flat profile cables are installed in the
safe zones of walls or partitions at a depth of less
than 50mm (otherwise the cables must be armoured or
enclosed in earthed steel conduit).

OSG: Fig 3.2 pg. 24

Protective Devices
Domestic TT Installations.

Where the earth fault loop

impedance is too high to provide
the required disconnection time
under fault conditions by
automatic operation of a fuse or
circuit breaker, then fault
protection from shock must be
provided by a 100mA S type
(time delayed) RCD main switch.

3.3 : Select Cables for Current Carrying
Capacity and Voltage Drop.

OSG: Section 7 (Final circuits) pg. 43

Table 7.1 pg. 44 -
OSG: Appendix 6 (Current carrying
capacities) pg. 123 -

OSG: Table 7.2 pg. 52
OSG: Table 6F pg. 134

Temperature of Cables.

When selecting & installing cables, we have to

ensure they will not be damaged or degraded by
getting too hot, either as a result of current passing
through them or from external heat sources.
All PVC (thermo-plastic) cable and flex has a
maximum operating temperature of 700C
If the ambient temperature is greater than 300C or
the cable is not clipped direct during use, a de-
rating factor must be applied often resulting in a
larger cable being required for the same load.
Thermal Effects.

The maximum operating temperature of PVC/PVC flat profile

(T&E) cable is 700C when operating at its tabulated current
carrying capacity (It). This is the heat produced as a result of
the resistance of the conductors plus an ambient (air)
temperature of no greater than 300C.
Cables should be able to dissipate this heat safely without
degrading the cable insulation.

Effects of Thermal Insulation.
Covering a cable in thermal insulation causes the cable not to
be able to dissipate the heat caused as a result of its normal
operation. Result damage/fire?
If we cannot avoid contact with thermal insulation then we
have to increase the size of the cable so that it gives off less
heat under normal operating conditions. Even with thermal
insulation in contact, the operating temperature of the cable
will still remain 700C.
> 700C

Thermal insulation material.

Installation Method C.

Clipped direct or
embedded in plaster.

The best method.

IEE Electricians
Guide to Building
Regulations pg. 28.
Installation Method B.

Run in conduit or

IEE Electricians
Guide to Building
Regulations pg. 29.

Installation Methods
100, 101 & 102.

In contact with Method 102

thermal insulation.

See following for

further details
IEE Electricians
Guide to Building
Regulations pg. 30.
OSG: Pgs 52 53.
Method 100

Installation Method 103.

To be avoided, as the
thermal effect can
halve the current
carrying capacity
compared to a cable
clipped direct
(method C).

IEE Electricians Guide

Surrounded by thermal
to Building Regulations insulation 5cm.
pg. 30.
OSG: Section 7 pg. 43
OSG: Table 7.1 pg. 44

Cable Size Selection

Table 7.1 of the On-Site Guide.

Where all of the requirements of Section 7 and

the limitations of Table 7.1 have been met, any
thermal effects caused by the installation
method etc. have already been allowed for
OSG: Table 7.1 pg. 44 (column 4 for the various
acceptable installation methods).
The cable sizes of the Standard circuits
discussed earlier may therefore need to be
increased if in contact with thermal insulation
For example, socket ring circuits installed method 101
will need to be wired in 4mm2 cables.
Final Notes on Table 7.1

Different installation methods alter a cables current

carrying capacity (OSG table 7.2 pg 52).
If a circuit cable is extended, its resistance
(R1 + R2) will go up. This will cause the circuit earth
fault loop impedance (Zs) to be higher, & can lead to
disconnection times not being met.
Volt drop may also be excessive if circuits are too long.
Thats why its important not to exceed the circuit
lengths specified in table 7.1
If a circuit is not permitted (NP) or restricted in length
in Table 7.1, then the reasons are given in the key on
68 page 51 of the On-Site-Guide (OSG).
Worked examples using table 7.1
for Standard Circuits.

What is the cable size / maximum length to be

1. Ring circuit, 30A BS 3036 re-wireable fuse, installation
method C, TN-S system with RCD.
_______________ or _________________
2. Outdoor lighting circuit, 6A type B MCB, installation
method 101, TN-C-S system without RCD.
_______________ or _________________
3. Immersion heater, 15A BS 1361 cartridge fuse,
installation method 102, TT system.
_______________ or _________________

Non Standard Circuits.

Sometimes we will want to install equipment that is

not the standard socket, lighting, cooker or
immersion heater etc.
We will need to work out the cable & protective
device size suitable for our non-standard radial
circuit - taking into account the effects of thermal
insulation, earth fault loop impedance (Zs) & volt
We can still use table 7.1 for this in most
70 Lets install a home sauna kit of power rating 4kW -
Step 1
Calculate Design Current (Ib).

The design current can

be calculated using the

Ib = P
P = Power of load (watts)
V = Supply voltage (volts) I=P

Calculate Design Current (Ib).

Example: A home sauna has a power rating of 4000 watts (4kW).

If the mains voltage is 230V, what current is the sauna drawing?

Ib = P Ib = 4000 (W) Ib = 17.4 Amps

V 230 (V)

= 17.4A

Step 2 Selection of Protective
Device Rating (In).

Once Ib (full load design current) is known,

the rating of the protective device (In) can
be selected using the rule -

In Ib

In simple terms, this states that the rating of the

protective device (In) must be greater than or equal
to the full load design current (Ib) common sense,
otherwise the protective device would nuisance trip.
Selection of Protective Device
Rating (In).

For our 4kW sauna, we must choose a 20 amp (In)

protective device for our radial circuit from table
7.1, as that is the nearest size available that is equal
to or greater than the load design current (Ib) .
We will assume that the CCU (customers consumer
unit) contains type B MCBs to BS EN 60898.

Ib = P Ib = 4000 (W) Ib = 17.4 Amps

V 230 (V)
In Ib nearest device rating = 20A (table 7.1)
Step 3 Select Cable Size for
Current Carrying Capacity (It).

Once we have decided upon a protective device

rating (In), we must select a cable size large
enough to carry all of that current (amps) -

This is already worked

It In out for us in table 7.1

In simple terms, this states that the rating of the

cable (It) must be greater than or equal to the
current rating of the protective device common
sense, otherwise the cable could become the fuse!
Select Cable Size for Current
Carrying Capacity (It).

For our 4kW sauna, we have chosen a 20 amp (In)

type B miniature circuit breaker (MCB).
We have carried out a pre-work survey, and have
ascertained that the earthing system is TN-C-S and
the installation method will need to be a combination
of C (buried) & 100. The sauna is approximately 35
metres from the consumer unit.
What size of cable would you choose, taking into
account Zs, volt drop & any thermal constraints?
Answer (from 7.1) _______________________
76 What about RCD protection? (discuss)
OSG: Appendix 6 pg. 123 -

OSG Appendix 6.

Current carrying capacities and voltage drop

for copper conductors.

Note: This is only for information, there

will not be a calculation in the test.

OSG: Appendix 6 pg. 123 -

Current Carrying Capacities &

Voltage Drop.

There are rare circumstances where table 7.1

cannot be used (e.g. for larger showers).
In this case we must carry out a cable calculation
such that -
It In
Correction factors

the tabulated current-carrying

Where It =
capacity of the selected cable.
OSG: Table 6F pg. 134 -

Current Carrying Capacity (It).

In a domestic installation, correction

factors are most likely to be applied to the
tabulated values of current carrying
capacity for flat PVC cables (twin & earth
These can be found in OSG Table 6F (pg.
134) for the typical reference methods.

OSG: Table 6F pg. 134 -


A 10.5kW shower circuit with Ib = 45.7A

(not in table 7.1) is to be installed in twin
& earth cable using reference method C -
Using the rule In Ib, select a protective
device of the appropriate rating (type B
MCB) Answer: __________________
Using the rule It In, select an appropriate
cable size for that protective device from
table 6F (pg. 134) Answer: _________

I hope we all came to the solution that the

circuit would need a protective device rating
of 50A (type B MCB), & the cable would
need to be 10mm2 (It = 64A).
This would be fine if no other correction
factors apply.

OSG: Appendix 6 pg. 123 -

Correction Factors.

Factor: For: Table/Value:

Ca ambient temperature 6A

Ci thermal insulation 6B

Cg grouping 6C

semi enclosed fuses to

Cc 0.725
BS 3036.
Effect of Correction Factors.

Assuming our shower circuit is to pass

through loft insulation over a length of more
than 500mm -
calculate the corrected value for It using the
It In
As 16mm2 T&E cable is the largest
available, what could we do?
OSG: Appendix 6 pg. 124

Volt Drop.

Following cable calculation, each circuit must be

checked for volt drop.
The voltage drop between the origin of the
installation & the load must not exceed 5% (11.5V
at 230V) at full load (only 3% for lighting).
For our shower circuit wired in 10mm2 cable,
assuming a circuit length of 20M & using table 6F
(pg. 134) for values of volt drop per amp per metre,
calculate the total volt drop using the formulae -
Voltage drop = (mV/A/m) x Ib x L = _______ v
OSG: Table 2D pg. 103

And Finally!

The value of Zs for the circuit must be less

than or equal to the tabulated values in
Appendix 2 (pg. 99-104) for the protective
device & disconnection applicable -
For a 50A type B MCB with a maximum
disconnection time of 5s for a fixed appliance >

Summary (Cable Calcs).

1. Calculate design current (Ib = P/V).

2. Select a suitable protective device with a
current rating In Ib.
3. Decide if any correction factors apply (C).
4. Choose a cable with a tabulated current
carrying capacity of It In /C
5. Calculate volt drop.
6. Confirm Zs is low enough for the circuit.
The End.

Any questions?