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Article Date: 24th June 2016

Hager Inspires Amendment 3 Design for 17,000 Barratt Developments

Barratt Developments - Wiring Regulations - Consumer Units - Distribution Boards

Hager UK - Barrett Homes

Barratt Developments plc has been working proactively alongside leading electrical manufacturer Hager to ensure the recent wiring regulation changes would have minimum impact on its construction process while maintaining high quality interior design. As a result, it has specified Hager’s Design 30 consumer unit into 17,000 new homes for 2016.

On 1st January 2016, changes brought in by Amendment 3 to the wiring regulations BS 7671 came into full effect. The changes were driven by investigations into several fires involving plastic consumer units by the London Fire Brigade, which concluded that a key cause of the fires was substandard cable connections made by the electrician. These resulted in overheating, which eventually ignited the plastic enclosure. The legislation outlines that all domestic consumer units fitted in the UK from January 2016 have to be made of a non-combustible material.

These new regulations have been long anticipated giving manufacturers, installers and specifiers time to adjust. However, the changeover has not been without its challenges. For companies installing the new consumer units on mass, such as national housebuilders, many elements need to be considered such as stock availability, familiarity, ease of install for their installer base, aesthetic suitability for its properties, unit location and ease of access to comply with recent changes to building regulations (Part M).

Barratt Developments plc, for example, began carrying out in-depth research, engaging its installer subcontractors and supplier base to explore the best path to complying with the new legislation. As a developer of premium quality five star homes, aesthetics were of particular importance.

Hager has enjoyed a long relationship with Barratt Developments’ 27 housebuilding divisions and is a highly rated supplier, ranked in the top quartile of all suppliers. As far back as 2014, Hager initiated an extensive project to develop a new range of Amendment 3 compliant consumer units and accessories.

Hager UK - EngineerResearch

Ahead of the Amendment coming into force, Barratt Developments plc worked with a number of its sub-contractors to gather feedback and understand practical issues around install on various Amendment 3 compliant products in the market. The Design 30 by Hager received overwhelming feedback from installers with regards to the ease and speed of install. In an industry where more time on site equals increased expense, this was an important contributing factor.

Installer safety

As part of the changeover, Barratt Developments plc also worked in collaboration with its supply chain to ensure retention of key features on new product design.

In a market where health & safety regulations influence much of the decision making, the housebuilder required a consumer unit that would comply with its robust health & safety strategy. As part of this it requires all consumer units to provide a locking mechanism that will ensure the safety of its workers – an original feature created with Hager on the previous plastic consumer units.

The health & safety lock has now been carried over into the Amendment 3 Design range allowing the board to be isolated for the safety of tradespeople during construction of a building. It allows electricians to use it when working on a circuit while keeping the rest of the installation live for functionality.

Electric style

Part M of the building regulations for England and Wales states that the location of wall mounted switches and socket outlets should be easily accessible and with sufficient space around to operate switches and protective devices. More often or not this means consumer units are on display in new homes. There has been much concern in the construction industry around metal being a less visually attractive material than its plastic predecessor. Consequently, Barratt Developments plc was mindful that the chosen consumer unit would still have to retain an element of style in order to maintain its high standard of interior design.

Hager UK - Barrett HomeIn parallel to Barratt Developments’ planning phase, Hager had been working since 2014 to ensure the Amendment 3 compliant consumer units were aesthetically pleasing. The Design 30 is an enhanced version in the range which is designed to be more visually appealing for applications where the board is on show, which made it a natural contender for Barratt Developments.

Jon Walker, Group Procurement Manager at Barratt Developments said: "The appearance of the Design 30 is more streamlined and it is important that we specify products that support our strategy to build five star homes."

Furthermore, Hager’s manufacturing plant is based in Telford in the UK giving housebuilders easier access to the products they specify. Jon added: "Hager is valued as a trusted and reliable business which is able to stock up to meet our volumes while offering cost effective solutions. Similarly, all their products are manufactured in the UK which means they have more control over their capacity."

This proactive and considered approach has led to Barratt specifying Hager’s Design 30 for all 17,000 of its new build properties in 2016 and has already installed at over 200 sites.

Steve Matner, UK Residential Key Accounts Manager at Hager commented: "Not only is the Design 30 compliant with the legislation changes, it is positioned as a competitively priced, premium model of consumer unit. We believe there is a need for companies to pay closer attention to the standards of electrical distribution equipment as we are still seeing poor quality, imported products being installed across the UK. We are thrilled that Barratt Developments has chosen the Design 30 to be installed in all 17,000 of its new homes this year as it is championing quality electrical products."

Hager’s Design 30 has been a popular choice across the market and is currently projected to be installed in 40,000 new homes across the UK this year.

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