(JANUARY 2019) WHY BS 7671 18TH EDITION GOVERNS FULL FIBRE INSTALLATION INSIDE HOMES AND BUSINESSES
Since January 2019 it has been necessary to install FTTx cabling with metal clips inside all buildings according to chartered Fire Safety experts Malcolm Broomfield Safety Consultants, here are some of the implications for optical networks across the UK.
Malcolm Broomfield CMIOSH: “It has been known by the industry that BS6701 A1 2017 (Telecommunications Equipment and Telecommunications Cabling) legislated for the design and usage of fibre optic cabling and included fire safety standards. However, this standard does not include the installation of telecommunications and in particular fibre cabling in buildings – which is actually governed by BS 7671 18th Edition. BS 7671 points to BS 6701 for telecommunications cabling installation and as a result BSI have acted to implement requirements appropriate to the world of telecommunications cabling within the published Amendment. The implications for installers across the UK are quite large.
BS7671 18th Edition requires that ALL cabling is installed using metal fittings which prevent premature collapse of cables in the event of a fire – which in the past has caused death to firefighters from entanglement. Cable fittings which melt or burn such as adhesives or plastic clips and cleats should be replaced by metal fixings. Which means that any cable installation since January 2019 just using adhesives or plastic fixings alone are technically non compliant. This has huge implications not just for installers today but into the future where cables have been installed incorrectly since January 2019 – without metal fixings.
It was not realised until late in 2020 that BS 7671 governs BS 6701. This means that possibly many hundreds of miles of test cabling installed into buildings since January 2019 may have been installed incorrectly, which would need to be addressed. It also means that a metal clip solution for installing cabling under BS 7671 needs to be found to cover installers going forward. One such is the Firefly Push Grip clip which has been specifically designed to support small cables and does protect fibre cable as narrow as 0.9mm from damage.
The Firefly Push Grip clip was commissioned and fire tested by the leading network installer in the UK. It is important that all installers catch up fast as full-fibre installation starts to unroll into homes and offices.
Malcolm Broomfield Safety Consultants has produced a 12-page EVIDENTIAL report launching January 2021 explaining the connection between BS 7671 and BS 6701 which can be downloaded from the Firefly website click here.
Senior design engineer at Firefly Fixings, David Banks-Fear, says: “We do have a solution available which covers cable sizes 0.9mm, 2.0mm, 3.0mm and 3.8mm and these are manufactured in the UK. They are fast and easy to install and practically invisible to the eye and they are specifically designed to protect fibre cables. All you need is the correct size drill bit and a simple tool to push the clips into the wall/ceiling recess accurately. The recommended spacing is 300mm between clips.
Firefly has a range of metal cleats which hold larger cables in place in sizes from 12.5mm up to 50mm diameter and dress the cabling beautifully. We have also produced custom clips to fit inside point-of-entry boxes to prevent cable collapse if these boxes are ever caught in a fire”.
With the industry now set to roll out fibre cable to the home and to business premises it is imperative that the correct fittings are now used to install fibre cabling to prevent premature collapse in a fire.