Wiring Regulations History (1882 to 2024)

Wiring Regulations History

Here we will take a look back at the UK wiring regulations from 1882 to the current and future regulations.

1882 1st edition of the ‘Wiring Rules’ issued. Entitled ‘Rules and Regulations for the prevention of Fire Risks Arising from Electric Lighting’

1888 2nd edition

1897 3rd edition Entitled ‘General Rules recommended for Wiring for the Supply of Electrical Energy’

1903 4th Edition of the IEE Wiring Regulations, called ‘Wiring Rules’

1907 5th Edition of the IEE Wiring Regulations

1911 6th Edition of the IEE Wiring Regulations

1916 7th Edition of the IEE Wiring Regulations

1924 8th Edition of the IEE Wiring Regulations ‘Regulations for the Electrical Equipment of Buildings’

1927 9th Edition of the IEE Wiring Regulations

1934 10th Edition of the IEE Wiring Regulations

1939 11th Edition of the IEE Wiring Regulations, Revised issue (1943), reprinted with minor amendments (1945), Supplement issued (1946),Revised Section (1948)

1950 12th Edition of the IEE Wiring Regulations launched, Supplement issued (1954)

1955 13th Edition of the IEE Wiring Regulations launched, Reprinted, 1958, 1961, 1962 and 1964

1966 14th Edition of the IEE Wiring Regulations published Reprinted, 1968, 1969, 1970 (in metric units), 1972, 1973, 1974 and 1976

With the publication of the fifteenth edition it was decided that in future reprints of the same edition (amendments) would be contained in one of five different coloured covers red, green, yellow, blue and brown, a new edition would be published when the brown covered reprint required updating.

1981 The 15th Edition of the IEE Wiring Regulations launched

1991 16th Edition of the IEE Wiring Regulations published (adopted as the BS in 1992)  Electricity at Work Regs. (Northern Ireland) come fully into being

2004 Part P of the Building Regulations becomes law  BS 7671:2001 Requirements for Electrical Installations (Incorporating Amendments No 1: 2002 and No 2: 2004), The IEE Wiring Regulations (Sixteenth Edition)

2007 17th Edition BS 7671:2008+A3:2015 (the 17th edition incorporating Amendment 3:2015) issued in 2008 and updated (“Amendment no. 3”) in January 2015 and mandatory from July 2015.

2018 18th Edition of the IEE Wiring Regulations.  BS 7671:2018 was published on 1st July 2018

Current Regulations

We have selected the following book’s which we think are essential for all UK electricians :-


7 thoughts on “Wiring Regulations History (1882 to 2024)

  1. Jose Ponte

    This is brilliant as I’m one of those old electrician’s that started with the 13th Edition and it was great , please do note that this is my second leguage and in the begining I found it somewhat difficult but in the end I made it and qualified .
    We all in the electrical industry have a duty and a moral code that we insure that our standers are kept to a very high level .

  2. David McNeil

    It is interesting to read and note that the changes to BS 7671 over the years have been driven by technology. I remember the days of the standard tester which measured continuity and insulation with a flick of a switch on the side and the instrument was wound by hand. The instrument had two scales with a moving coil instrument movement.
    Now, with the 18th edition arriving possibly next year I have heard that ring final circuits will (possibly) not feature within them.
    The reason? The ring final circuit was the answer to the problem of socket provision. There is no limit to the number of sockets on a ring final or, for that matter, on a radial final.
    Older installations were all radial. Each room had one light, one socket, finish. The introduction of the ring final meant that a fairly large amount of power could be supplied by this means in a household. Ring finals were, initially, not confined by the floor area as they are currently.
    What is driving this? It looks like the move to lighting that uses less power and the move to less powerful socket fed appliances is responsible. We know that appendix 15 speaks of limiting socket fed loads to 2kW but there is a little bit more to this. Further, vacuum cleaners are now destined to draw less current and it is possibly only a matter of time before the power consumed by other items is also limited by one means or another.
    This means that the total power needed from a socket circuit is reducing with time. It could be that edition 18 may not include ring socket circuits and may only speak of radial socket circuits.
    I know that there are arguments for and against ring and radial circuits. One argument against ring finals is that one circuit protective device protects two conductors. Some, for a long time, have said that this is ill-advised. Appendix 15 states that loads should be equally shared around any ring final but is this easy in a modern dwelling?

    1. stan hall

      Ring circuits are useful when portable electric space heaters are plugged in. You cannot get reduced power space heaters. I hear the cry; No one uses plug in space heaters!
      People also use all other kinds of portable plug in appliances such as ; dehumidifiers, air conditioning units .
      This is change for no good reason.
      Ring mains have provided years of trouble free service , leave them alone.
      Stan Hall

  3. Bluesman007

    It’s still a Big ripoff dropping in and out regulations and chapters to suit themselves and then charging you £90 for a new Regs book that you HAVE to use.

  4. Jamie Weston

    Found this page when looking for something else, wow I didnt know the dates about all the old regs, not seen them before, but its good info to read. And interesting to know the history.

  5. p dean

    Great to read about regs history. I started in 1980. Lost all the books i had. I would be very interested if anyone has the ” code of good practice” from 1980.


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