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I have just come across a report about a garden shed fire in Kent. The Fire Service said that there was "A model train set in the shed and a workshop and we believe the fire started due to an electrical fault." They went on to urge householders to employ qualified electricians to carry out electrical wiring, so I assume the fault was in the mains wiring, not the 'train set' !
Full details at http://www.kentonline.co.uk/aroundkent/new...ticle_id=403944
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John Webb
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
An interesting comment, Gary. At present the 12-15 volt wiring on a model railway counts as "Separated extra-low voltage" (SELV) wiring and does not come within the requirements of the IEE Wiring Regs (BS7671) on electrical installation in buildings other than to be kept at a minimum distance from the mains wiring. So it would require a major change in both the Wiring Regs (and Building Regulations?) to cover such wiring that was independent of the building.
It might be argued that in clubhouses and at public exhibitions you need to show that such wiring is alright, but I suspect that the danger is very small. However, the larger currents used by a DCC layout or by the Hornby live steamer, for example, might end up being considered a higher hazard.

We'll have to wait and see.

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John Webb
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Having worked on aspects of fire safety for 28 years before I retired, I am more and more convinced that things getting "banned by Health and Safety" are mostly incorrectly attributed. It is far more often the insurers of a venue, event or the like who demand that this and that be done over and above the "reasonable and practicable" requirements of Health and Safety legislation. And why does this happen? It's because in the past two decades greedy individuals have been increasingly encouraged by greedy lawyers to claim, causing the said insurers to protect their profits by demanding more from their clients.

Right - my rant is over!

I think having the mains equipment checked to Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) standards before it's taken into an exhibition is quite reasonable. After all, while the building's installation should protect every one if faulty equipment is plugged in, it may do so at the expense of cutting off the power to a number of other users. This at the least is inconvenient, at most it mght severely interrupt the exhibition and the pleasure of those attending while the fault is found, isolated and power restored.

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John Webb
 

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Ravenser,

I quite agree with you regarding the need for adequate wiring. I run a Hornby 'Live steamer' in which the one loco takes up to over 6 amps. I've used 1 sq mm wire on my layout, which isn't a large one (3.2m by 1.6m) and this wired in a 'ring' round the layout works very well. Bearing in mind that accessories as well as locos are supplied through the DCC feeder rather than a separate supply then the wiring does need to cope with minimum voltage drop.

Re the legal position on home wiring: The newish (Jan 2005) Part P of the Building Regulations requirements:
No need to notify the local Building Control bodies:
Installation work carried out by an individual or firm recognised as competent by an authorised scheme;
Minor works including replacement of accessories and minor replacement of wire.
To be notified to Building Control prior to the work:
Work in a kitchen, bathroom, shower-room, outdoors and other 'special areas' (excluding replacements)
and all other work involving a new circuit.

DIY people can continue their own work but besides notifying Building Control of intended works must also pay a fee to Building Control for their work to be tested and inspected by the local authority on completion.

Portable equipment that plugs into a socket does not come under Part P.
Regards,
John Webb
 
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