The British Approvals Service for Cables (BASEC) is stepping up its scrutiny and testing of cables on the market in the UK, with the support of the British Cables Association:
The number of cases of non-compliant cable on the market in the UK is growing, and there are examples of potentially dangerous products being uncovered. As part of its rigorous procedures, BASEC
conducts a full range of tests on manufacturers' products and regularly re-tests them to ensure that manufacturing processes remain robust and consistent.
BASEC also purchases a range of products from the open market to check conformity. End users also approach BASEC when they experience problems with cable they have purchased. On testing, many of these are found not to comply with British Standards, and some could be considered as dangerous.
Dr Jeremy Hodge, Chief Executive of BASEC, said: "Non-compliant cables may cause problems for installers during installation, or suffer reduced life expectancy. Worryingly, we are seeing more examples of cables which could be a danger to end users either through electrocution or fire."
One recent example discovered by BASEC while 'mystery shopping' was a cable claiming to be a heat resistance flex - commonly used in lighting applications. On heat ageing both the insulation on the live core and the sheathing material became brittle. In use, this could result in a short circuit, fire or electrocution.
Another example recently brought to BASEC's attention is a 'fire performance cable' claiming to comply with BS 5839-1 requirements. Testing revealed very poor fire performance, and conductors made of aluminium. BASEC assessors are still dealing with the case.
Dr Hodge said: "This is a classic example where an unscrupulous manufacturer has deliberately made a cable looking like the real thing but without the required characteristics. This cable is dangerous and if installed it needs to be removed and replaced urgently.
"We are still tracking down the origin of this cable and don't know yet where it might have been installed, but it is on the worldwide market. Finding where such cables come from can be difficult, particularly as they often come from overseas."
Specifiers and end users are encouraged to always ask for BASEC approved cable, to check for the 'BASEC' marking, and to report any suspicious cable.
More about BASEC:
BASEC is the recognised sign of assurance of independent cable testing and approval. A non-profit making Government-nominated body, BASEC has been a leader in product certification services for electrical cables, data and signal cables and ancillary products for more than 30 years. All products are rigorously tested to meet necessary and appropriate British, European and international standards through detailed examination of manufacturers' production processes and controls.
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