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New consumer unit - metal or plastic?


We had an electrical report done on a flat we have bought showing that we had a non 17th edition amendment 3 consumer unit which needs to be replaced to meet new standards.

From some research I understand that they should be metal, or that the consensus is metal units are better? Is this the case as one electrician I got a quote from said "I would use a plastic consumer unit. As long as RCD & MCB in there. It's up to standard." Is this true? I'm aware the regulations are changing 1st January 2016 so after then would a plastic one be non regularion anyway?

Is there any type/brand I should ask for if it is to be a plastic one?


3 Answers from MyBuilder Electricians

Best Answer

Are you sure it needs to be replaced? Just because it's not to 17th edition does not mean it must be replaced!

Many Thanks, Jason.


Answered 22nd Oct 2015

It is true that from Jan we will be fitting amendment 3 compliant D.B's (those of us that are not fitting them already). But you should not have been led to believe you are required to replace your D.B. just because its plastic because that's just not true. existing D.B's are often suitable for a simple upgrade of MCB's to RCBO's (If for instance you take the view to add RCD protection to unprotected lighting circuits) even after Jan and this is perfectly acceptable.


Answered 23rd Oct 2015

Your consumer unit is to 17th Edition probably, but not Amendment 3 for Consumer units. In January this year amendment 3 came in, but fire retardant consumer units not FULLY until Jan 2016. You can still fit the plastic ones until then but it doesn't preclude installing metal ones now. If it's going to have to be changed then get a metal one. Not cheap as plastic ones as they are flogging plastic ones cheap before 2016 to get rid as the regulation fully kicks in then. You can still fit a plastic one after 2016 only if it's in a non combustible enclosure ie metal. Hope this is of some help.


Answered 24th Oct 2015

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