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Fire Resistant Cable Supports In Escape Routes

Does your wiring comply with IET Wiring Regulations?


The IET Wiring Regulations (Seventeenth Edition) was published in January 2015 and came into effect on 1st July that same year. It includes a requirement that all wiring in escape routes should have fire resistant supports ...

Fire resistant cable supports must be used in all escape routes! Does your wiring comply?

Fire resistant cable supports must be used in all escape routes! Does your wiring comply?

copyright: auremar / 123rf stock photo (licensee)

Also known as BS 7671:2011+A3:2015 the wiring requirement is included in regulation 521.11.201, which states that wiring systems should be supported such that they will not be liable to premature collapse in the event of a fire.

Non-metallic cable trunking or other non-metallic means of support can fail when subject to either a direct flame or the heat of combustion. This could lead to wiring hanging down across access or egress routes which would hinder evacuation and firefighting activities.

The regulation also precludes the use of non-metallic cable clips, cable ties or trunking as the sole means of support. The cables must be secured at appropriate intervals by proven metal supports that have adequate fire resistance, and that are fixed to the non-combustible substrate of the building.

The reason for the regulation 512.11.201 is to improve the safety of firefighters and others in escape routes under fire conditions. Wiring systems that drop and hang across escape routes due to the failure of a means of support have the potential to entangle people.

In recent years, a number of firefighters have died as a result of being entangled in this way.

It should also be noted that the requirements of Regulation 521.11.201 apply for all types of circuit, systems and electrical service that encroach on escape routes, irrespective of rated voltage. These might include (amongst others):

  • Distribution circuits

  • Final circuits

  • Safety services

  • Data and comms services.

Regulations for fire alarm and emergency lighting systems - BS 5859 and BS 5266 - respectively, also include recommendations and/or requirements about the fire resistance of cable supports and cables.

So, what constitutes an escape route? Well, an escape route is a route 'designated for escape' to a place of safety in the event of an emergency. Escape routes may include not only defined routes such as corridors, stairways and hallways, but also open areas through which escaping persons might reasonably be expected to need to pass on their way to a place of safety.

For premises covered by The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO), which applies in England and Wales, the designation of the escape routes is part of the risk assessment that the FSO requires the ‘responsible person’ to carry out and keep up to date. Similar legal requirements apply in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

"Does the wiring in your escape
routes comply?"

If you'd like us to perform a risk assessment to ensure your organisation complies with FSO requirements, do call me on 0845 287 3622 or click here to send me an email and I'll be in touch.

Until next time ...



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More about Peter Williams ...

While working with Volvo in the late 70’s I realised the way forward in international component distribution was computing. I created a company distributing components for several international manufacturers using the 'new' computers of the day. I quickly realised we needed our own programs so started writing distribution software. I grew the company by developing the software until I eventually sold my shares 20 years later, but retaining the rights to the software. I continued developing the software and supplied it to several similar companies where the software is still used today.

During 1999, I was asked by a friend to develop a facility to video the live sea conditions on the south coast accessible on the internet. Working with a Linux software developer I created our first remote video application. The internet boom of 2000 allowed me to develop a commercial application forming the basis of our systems today.


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