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Cable Standards and Quality Assurance


The most universal standardising authority for cables is the International Electro-
technical Commission (IEC), although comparatively little commercial business is
placed directly against the IEC standards. This arises because IEC standards cater for a
large variety of permissible options and serve mainly as a basis for the preparation of
national standards, which are usually prepared in accordance with the IEC require-
ments. Furthermore the IEC standards represent a consensus of national opinions and
hence take several years both to prepare initially and for agreement to be reached on
amendments. If all minor points were to be included, the time period for resolution
would be extremely lengthy, especially in dealing with new developments. Countries
such as the UK which have always been well to the fore in cable development are
therefore able to issue much more comprehensive and up-to-date standards.
This can be seen from the number of items in the lists below of the relevant IEC and
British Standards. Whilst it might have been of interest to include standards from other
countries, these tend to be even more numerous, e.g. in the USA where in addition to
national standards for materials and components there is widespread use by industry at
large of cable standards issued by four bodies: Underwriter's Laboratories (UL),
Association of Edison Illuminating Companies (AEIC) and jointly by the Insulated
Cables Engineers' Association and the National Electrical Manufacturers' Association
(ICEA/NEMA). In the UK some large organisations have separate specifications for
their own use but many adopt the available British Standards and only add any
requirements necessary for their particular purposes.

British and IEC Standards

Cables and flexible cords
BS 638: Part 4:1979 Welding cables
BS4553:1991 600/1000V PVC-insulated single-phase split concentric
cables with copper conductors for electricity supply
BS 5055:1991 Elastomer-insulated cables for electric signs and high-
voltage luminous-discharge-tube installations

Cable Standards and Quality Assurance 109

BS 5308 Instrumentation cables:

Part 1:1986 (1993) Polyethylene insulated cables
Part 2:1986 (1993) PVC insulated cables
BS 5467:1989 Cables with thermosetting insulation for electricity supply
for rated voltages of up to and including 600/1000 V and
up to and including 1900/3300 V
BS 5593:1978 (1991) Impregnated paper-insulated cables with aluminium
sheath/neutral conductor and three shaped solid
aluminium phase conductors (CONSAC), 600/1000 V, for
electricity supply
BS 6004:1995 PVC-insulated cables (non-armoured) for electric power
and lighting
BS 6007:1993 Rubber-insulated cables for electric power and lighting
BS 6141:1991 Insulated cables and flexible cords for use in high
temperature zones
BS6195:1993 Insulated flexible cables and cords for coil leads
BS 6207 Mineral insulated cables with a rated voltage not exceeding
Part 1:1995 Cables
Part 2:1995 Terminations
BS 6231:1990 PVC-insulated cables for switchgear and controlgear wiring
BS 6346:1989 PVC-insulated cables for electricity supply
BS 6480:1988 Impregnated paper-insulated lead or lead-alloy sheathed
electric cables of rated voltages up to and including
BS 6500:1994 Insulated flexible cords and cables
BS 6622:1991 Cables with extruded crosslinked polyethylene or ethylene
propylene rubber insulation for rated voltages from 3800/
6600V up to 19000/33000V
BS 6708:1991 Flexible cables for use in mines and quarries
BS 6724:1990 Armoured cables for electricity supply having
thermosetting insulation with low emission of smoke and
corrosive gases when affected by fire
BS 6726:1991 Festoon and temporary lighting cables and cords
BS 6862 Cables for vehicles
Part 1:1971 (1990) cables with copper conductors
BS 6883:1991 Elastomer insulated cables for fixed wiring in ships and on
mobile and fixed offshore units
BS 6977:1991 Insulated flexible cables for lifts and for other flexible
BS7211:1994 Thermosetting insulated cables (non-armoured) for electric
power and lighting with low emission of smoke and
corrosive gases when affected by fire
BS 7629:1993 Thermosetting insulated cables with limited circuit
integrity when affected by fire
IEC 55 Paper-insulated metal-sheathed cables for rated voltages
up to 18/30 kV (with copper or aluminium conductors and
excluding gas pressure and oil-filled cables)
110 Electric Cables Handbook

55-1 Part 1 - T e s t s
55-2 Part 2 - Construction
I E C 92 Electrical installations in ships:
There are m a n y parts o f this standard, of which those
relevant are 92-3, 92-351, 92-352, 92-359, 92-373, 92-375
and 92-376
I E C 227 Poly(vinyl chloride)-insulated cables o f rated voltages up to
and including 450/750 V:
227-1 Part 1 - General requirements
227-2 Part 2 - Test methods
227-3 Part 3 - Non-sheathed cables for fixed wiring
227-4 Part 4 - Sheathed cables for fixed wiring
227-5 Part 5 - Flexible cables (cords)
227-6 Part 6 - Lift cables and cables for flexible
I E C 245 Rubber-insulated cables o f rated voltages up to and
including 450/750 V
245-1 Part 1 - General requirements
245-2 Part 2 - Test methods
245-3 Part 3 - Heat-resisting silicone-insulated cables
245-4 Part 4 - Cords and flexible cables
245-5 Part 5 - Lift cables
245-6 Part 6 - Arc welding electrode cables
IEC 502 Extruded solid dielectric insulated power cables for rated
voltages from 1 kV to 30 kV
I E C 541 C o m p a r a t i v e information on I E C and N o r t h American
flexible cord types
IEC 702 Mineral insulated cables and their terminations with a
rated voltage not exceeding 750 V
702-1 Part 1 - C a b l e s
702-2 Part 2 - Terminations
I E C 800 Heating cables with a rated voltage of 300/500 V for
comfort heating and prevention of ice formation
I E C 1138 Cables for portable earthing and short-circuiting

BS2627:1970 (1985) Wrought aluminium for electrical purposes. Wire
BS 3988:1970 Wrought aluminium for electrical purposes. Solid
conductors for insulated cables
BS4109:1970 (1991) Copper for electrical purposes. Wire for general electrical
purposes and for insulated cables and flexible cords
BS 5714:1979 (1987) M e t h o d of measurement of resistivity of metallic materials
BS 6360:1991 Conductors in insulated cables and cords

I E C 228 Conductors of insulated cables

228A First Supplement: Guide to the dimensional limits of
circular conductors
Cable Standards and Quality Assurance 111

Insulation and sheathing (non-metallic)

BS 6234:1987 Polyethylene insulation and sheath of electric cables
BS 6746:1990 PVC insulation and sheath of electric cables
BS 6746C: 1993 Colour chart for insulation and sheath of electric cables
BS 6899:1991 Rubber insulation and sheath of electric cables
BS 7655 Insulating and sheathing materials for cables
BS 7655 comprises a number of parts and sections and will
replace both BS 6746 and BS 6899 in cable specifications.
Part 0:1993 General introduction
Part 1: Elastomeric insulating compounds
Section 1.1:1993 Harmonised types
Section 1.2:1993 General 90°C application
Section 1.3:1993 XLPE
Section 1.4:1993 Oil resisting types
Section 1.5:1993 Flame retardant composites
Section 1.6:1993 Coil end lead types
Part 2: Elastomeric sheathing compounds
Section 2.1:1993 Harmonised types
Section 2.2:1993 Heat resisting types
Section 2.3:1993 General application
Section 2.4:1993 Welding cable covering
Section 2.5:1993 Sheathing compounds having low
smoke and acid gas emission for
general applications
Section 2.6:1993 Sheathing compounds for ships' wiring
and offshore applications
Part 3: PVC insulating compounds
Section 3.1:1993 Harmonised types
Section 3.2:1993 Hard grade types
Part 4: PVC sheathing compounds
Section 4.1:1993 Harmonised types
Section 4.2:1993 General application
Section 4.3:1993 Special applications - R F cables
Part 5: Crosslinked insulating compounds having low
emission of corrosive gases, and suitable for use in
cables having low emission of smoke when affected
by fire
Section 5.1:1993 Harmonised crosslinked types
Part 6: Thermoplastic sheathing compounds having low
emission of corrosive gases, and suitable for use in
cables having low emission of smoke when affected
by fire
Section 6.1: 1994 General application thermoplastic types

IEC 173 Colours of the cores of flexible cables and cords

IEC 304 Standard colours for PVC insulation for low frequency
cables and wires
IEC 391 Marking of insulated conductors
IEC 446 Identification of insulated and bare conductors by colour
112 Electric Cables Handbook

Tests on cables and materials

BS EN 10002 Tensile testing of metallic materials
BS 903 Physical testing of rubber
BS 2782 Methods of testing plastics
BS EN 10002, BS 903 and BS 2782 contain many parts and sections
BS 4066 Tests on electric cables under fire conditions
Part 1:1980 (1995) Method of test on a single vertical
insulated wire or cable
Part 2:1989 Method of test on a single small
vertical insulated wire or cable
Part 3:1994 Tests on bunched wires or cables
BS 5099:1992 Spark testing of electric cables
BS 6387:1994 Performance requirements for cables required to maintain
circuit integrity under fire conditions
BS 6425 Tests on gases evolved during the combustion of materials
from cables
Part 1:1990 Method for determination of amount of
halogen acid gas evolved during combustion
of polymeric materials taken from cables
Part 2:1993 Determination of degree of acidity
(corrosivity) of gases by measuring pH and
BS 6469 Insulating and sheathing materials of electric cables
BS 6469 comprises several parts and sections, it is being
replaced by BS EN60811, with the exception of:
Part 5: Methods of test specific to filling compounds
Section 5.1:1992 Drop point. Separation of oil. Lower
temperature brittleness. Total acid
number. Absence of corrosive
components. Permittivity at 23°C.
D.C. resistivity at 23°C and 100°C
Part 99: Test methods used in the United Kingdom but not
specified in Parts 1 to 5
Section 99.1: 1992 Non-electrical tests
Section 99.2:1992 Electrical tests
BS6470: 1984 (1991) Method for determination of water in insulating oils, and
in oil-impregnated paper and pressboard
BS 7622 Measurement of smoke density of electric cables burning
under defined conditions
Part 1:1993 Test apparatus
Part 2:1993 Test procedure and requirements
BS EN 60811 Insulating and sheathing materials of electric cables -
Common test methods
BS EN 60811-1: General application
BS EN 60811-1-1: 1995 Measurement of thickness and
overall dimensions - Tests for
determining the mechanical
Cable Standards and Quality Assurance 113

BS E N 60811-1-2:1995 T h e r m a l ageing methods

BS E N 60811-1-3:1995 Methods for determining the
density - W a t e r absorption
tests - Shrinkage test
BS E N 60811-1-4:1995 Tests at low temperatures
BS E N 60811-2: M e t h o d s specific to elastomeric
BS E N 60811-2-1:1995 Ozone resistance test - H o t set
t e s t - Mineral oil immersion test
BS E N 60811-3: Methods specific to PVC
BS E N 60811-3-1:1995 Pressure test at high
temperature - Tests for
resistance to cracking
BS E N 60811-3-2:1995 Loss of mass test - Thermal
stability test
BS E N 60811-4: M e t h o d s specific to polyethylene
and polypropylene c o m p o u n d s
BS E N 60811-4-1:1995 Resistance to environmental
stress cracking
W r a p p i n g test after thermal
ageing in air - Measurement of
the melt flow index - Carbon
black and/or mineral content
m e a s u r e m e n t in PE
I E C 55 See above
IEC 60 High voltage test techniques:
60-1 Part 1 - General definitions and test requirements
60-2 Part 2 - Test procedures
60-3 Part 3 - Measuring devices
60-4 Part 4 - Application guide for measuring devices
I E C 141 Tests on oil-filled and gas pressure cable and their
141-1 Part 1 - Oil-filled, paper-insulated, metal-sheathed
cables for alternating voltages up to and
including 400 kV
141-2 Part 2 - Internal gas pressure cables and accessories
for alternating voltages up to and
including 275 kV
141-3 Part 3 - External gas pressure (gas compression)
cables and accessories for alternating
voltages up to 275 kV
141-4 Part 4 - Oil-impregnated paper-insulated high
pressure oil-filled pipe-type cables and
accessories for alternating voltages up to
and including 400 kV
IEC 229 Tests on cable oversheaths which have a special protective
function and are applied by extrusion
114 Electric Cables Handbook

I E C 230 Impulse tests on cables and their accessories

I E C 332 Tests on electric cables under fire conditions:
332-1 Part 1 - Test on a single vertical insulated wire or
332-2 Part 2 - Test on a single small vertical insulated
copper wire or cable
332-3 Part 3 - Tests on bunched wires or cables
I E C 538 Electric cables, wires and cords: methods o f test for
polyethylene insulation and sheath
I E C 540 Test methods for insulation and sheaths of electric cables
and cords (elastomeric and thermoplastic c o m p o u n d s )
I E C 754 Test on gases evolved during combustion of electric cables:
754-1 Part 1 - D e t e r m i n a t i o n of the a m o u n t of halogen
acid gas evolved during the combustion of
polymeric materials taken f r o m cables
754-2 Part 2 - Determination of degree o f acidity o f gases
evolved during the combustion o f
materials taken from electric cables by
measuring p H and conductivity
IEC811 C o m m o n test methods for insulating and sheathing
materials of electric cables
811-1 Part I - Methods for general application
811-2 Part 2 - Methods specific to elastomeric c o m p o u n d s
811-4 Part 4 - Methods specific to polyethylene and
polypropylene c o m p o u n d s
811-5 Part 5 - Methods specific to filling c o m p o u n d s
I E C 840 Tests for power cables with extruded insulation for rated
voltages above 30 kV (U = 36 kV) up to 150 kV (U = 170 kV)
I E C 885 Electrical test methods for electric cables
885-1 Part 1 - Electrical tests for cables, cords and wires
for voltages up to and including 450/750 V
885-2 Part 2 - Partial discharge tests
885-3 Part 3 - Test methods for partial discharge
measurements on lengths o f extruded
power cables
I E C 1034 Measurement o f smoke density of electric cables burning
under defined conditions
1034-1 Part 1 - Test apparatus
1034-2 Part 2 - Test procedures and requirements

Jointing and accessories

BS 4579 Performance of mechanical and compression joints in
electric cable and wire connectors
Part 1:1970 (1988) Compression joints in copper conductors
Part 2:1973 (1990) Compression joints in nickel, iron
and plated copper conductors
Part 3:1976 (1988) Mechanical and compression joints in
aluminium conductors
Cable Standards and Quality Assurance 115

BS 5372:1989 Dimensions of cable terminations for 3-core and 4-core

polymeric insulated cables of rated voltages 600/1000V
and 1900/3300V having aluminium conductors
BS6121 Mechanical cable glands
Part 1:1989 Metallic glands
Part 2:1989 Polymeric glands
Part 3:1990 Special corrosion resistant glands
Part 5:1992 Code of practice for selection, installation
and inspection of cable glands used in
electrical installations

IEC 702 Part 2 See above

BS801:1984 (1991) Composition of lead and lead alloy sheaths of electric cables
BS 1441:1969 (1988) Galvanised steel wire for armouring submarine cables
BS 1442:1969 (1986) Galvanised mild steel wire for armouring cables
BS2897:1970 (1985) Wrought aluminium for electrical purposes. Strip with
drawn or rolled edges
BS 7450:1991 Method for determination of economic optimisation of
power cable size
BS 7454:1991 Method for calculation of thermally permissible short-
circuit currents, taking into account non-adiabatic heating
BS 7540:1994 Guide to use of cables with a rated voltage not exceeding
BS 7769 Electric cables. Calculation of the current rating

IEC38 IEC standard voltages

IEC 71 Insulation co-ordination
71-1 Part 1 - Terms, definitions, principles and rules
71-2 Part 2 - Application guide
71-3 Part 3 - Phase-to-phase insulation co-ordination:
principles, rules and application guide
IEC 183 Guide to the selection of high voltage cables
IEC 287 Calculation of the continuous current rating of cables
(100% load factor)
IEC331 Fire-resisting characteristics of electric cables
IEC 364 Electrical installations of buildings. This has a number of
parts, which are subdivided into chapters, and sections, of
which some have a bearing on cables; the following, which
supersedes IEC 448, is particularly relevant:
364-5-523 Part 5 - Selection and erection of electrical
Chapter 52 Wiring systems
Section 523 Current carrying capacities
IEC 724 Guide to the short-circuit temperature limits of electric
cables with a rated voltage not exceeding 0.6/1.0 kV
116 Electric Cables Handbook

IEC 949 Calculation of thermally permissible short-circuit currents,

taking into account non-adiabatic heating effects
IEC 1059 Economic optimisation of power cable size

Influence of C E N E L E C
CENELEC, the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation, has an
important effect on the preparation and issue of new cable standards in Europe.
Membership consists of the electrotechnical standards organisations of the countries of
the European Union together with those of the European Free Trade Association
(EFTA) outside the EU. One of the main aims of CENELEC is to harmonise national
standards in order to remove technical barriers to trading. For cables the basic work is
done by a technical committee, TC20, on which all countries are represented. Working
groups are established for individual subjects. The activities of CE N E L E C embrace
a wide field of electrical equipment and regulations concerning its use, including
the harmonisation of rules for electrical installations, at present up to 1000 V. The latter
is covered by Technical Committee TC64, and the outcome of this committee's work
has an important bearing on the IEE Wiring Regulations, BS7671" 1992. Generally,
as for TC20 and TC64, the numbering of the CE N E L E C technical committees is the
same as for the IEC technical committees dealing with the same subjects and, because
of the correlation between the work of the two organisations, it is convenient for
representation for European countries to be the same, at least in part, in the
two bodies.
To achieve the aims, Harmonisation Documents or European Standards are
prepared taking account of IEC requirements and they are published after approval
by the technical committee and other overall committees. Subsequently, and within a
limited time scale, all member countries have to bring their national specifications
into line, without deviations (other than any which may be justified by special
national conditions, which should be only temporary, if possible). To date, in the
cable field, flexible cables and cords, mineral insulated cables and some types of
wiring cables have been harmonised. Harmonisation Documents have also been
produced for certain components or aspects which relate to all or several types of
cable, so that reference can be made to them in the documents for the cables. These
include Harmonisation Documents for conductors, test methods for thermoplastic
and elastomeric insulations and sheaths, the method of numbering of small cores
in cables with more than five cores and a standardised system of coded designations
of cables. In some fields IECstandards are adopted verbatim as Harmonisation
Documents or European Standards. In the cable field this applies to the Harmoni-
sation Documents for conductors and test methods mentioned above, which consti-
tute endorsements of IEC228 and IEC811 respectively, but the Harmonisation
Documents for the cables themselves, while conforming in most respects with the
corresponding IEC standards, include some differences and additions agreed between
the CENELEC countries.
One effect of the CENELEC procedure can be a delay in the up-dating of national
standards. This arises because when work is announced on a new subject a stand-still
arrangement is imposed and no changes may be made in national standards until after
harmonisation has been agreed, unless special permission has been obtained from
Cable Standards and Quality Assurance 117

Harmonised types of cable may be marketed without restriction in any of the EU and
EFTA countries and attempts are made to keep the number of types to a reasonable
minimum. Provided that agreement has been obtained within CENELEC it is still
possible to retain non-harmonised designs as recognised national types if they are not of
interest to members of other CENELEC countries. These tend to be for a wider range
of conductor sizes or for particular wiring practices which are specific to national
standards. Permission would not be given to types which would inhibit the use of
harmonised designs.
Individual customers may still obtain cables manufactured to their own specification
but it is one of the aims to keep these to a minimum and to regard them as specials for
small-scale local use.


In general the importance of quality has always been fully recognised in the cable
industry and quality assurance, which, as the term implies, comprises the planned and
systematic actions designed to give confidence that a product or service will satisfy the
requirements for quality, is an intrinsic feature of a cablemaker's activities, as it is of
reputable suppliers of most other products or services. However, quality has been the
subject of increasing publicity, with governmental bodies lending their support to, and
taking initiatives in, promoting its importance. There has been a growing emphasis on
the formalising and documentation of quality assurance procedures, not only to enable
suppliers to satisfy themselves that their system of quality assurance is effective, but also
to enable them to demonstrate this to their customers and others.

A means of providing evidence that a manufacturer's quality management system and/or
their product conforms to recognised standards is through certification to that effect by a
body recognised to be competent to apply examinations and tests to verify it. Similarly,
for a product for which no recognised standard exists, evidence of its suitability for the
function claimed for it and for its safety may be provided by an approval certificate from
a body recognised to be competent to make a judgement to that effect.
There are, then, three main categories of certification related to quality.

(a) Certification of the quality management system: this is a verification that the
supplier's organisation, planning and system of quality control and its operation
provide confidence that the supplier will satisfy requirements for quality.
(b) Certification of product conformity: this is a verification that, in so far as is
reasonably ascertainable, the supplier's product conforms with the standard with
which it is intended to comply, and is based upon the examination and testing of
actual samples of the product taken from the supplier's production or purchased in
the market.
(c) Product approval certification: for products outside the scope of existing standards,
this is a certification that a product can confidently be expected to perform safely
and reliably as required of it. To provide certification in this category the approvals
118 Electric Cables Handbook

organisation needs to go beyond satisfying itself that the product meets criteria
embodied in a standard: it needs to determine the criteria to be used to assess the
likely operational performance and satisfy itself that these are met.

Over a long period in the UK cable industry, in addition to elements of self-

certification on the part of manufacturers, 'second party' certification has been
practised by some purchasers. Certification of a supplier by a purchaser of his products
is often referred to as 'second party' certification. The Ministry of Defence and British
Telecom are prominent examples of organisations that have long operated a practice of
auditing the quality assurance systems and their operation of their suppliers. They, and
several other major cable users who operate similar schemes, are concerned with the
manufacturer's quality assurance as it affects the products supplied to them. However,
the likelihood is that a manufacturer who applies a system to products for some
customers will apply the same system to his production as a whole and those customers
who have not the resources and/or the inclination to audit a supplier's quality assurance
themselves might reasonably be influenced by the knowledge that the supplier is
approved by one or more other purchasers who do operate an auditing scheme and
dispense certificates. Indeed there has been a register of approvals, Register of Quality
Assessed United Kingdom Manufacturers issued by the Department of Trade (at that
time) and published by HM Stationery Office, which can be consulted to ascertain who
has approved whom. In so far as purchasers are influenced by second party certification
by another purchaser, the second party certification is used, in effect, as 'third party'
Strictly, 'third party' certification is certification by an independent approvals
organisation and not an individual purchaser. The certification may cover the supplier's
quality management system and/or a product or range of products and it applies to
these irrespective of who the purchasers may be. Any customer can therefore accept
third party certification of a manufacturer as applying to his purchases, provided, of
course, that the product bought is within the range covered by the certification.
In the UK cable industry third party certification was little used until the 1970s and
1980s. For example, not much use has been made for cables of the Kite Mark scheme
administered by the British Standards Institution (BSI). This is in contrast to many
other countries. In some, such as Canada, Denmark and Sweden, there have been
national approval organisations backed by government. In some instances approval has
been required by law. In some other countries third party certification has been almost
essential for marketing; for example, in Germany VDE (Verband Deutscher
Elektrotechniker) approval is required by many cable users.
The approvals organisation which has become most widely used in the field of cables
in the UK is the British Approvals Service for Electric Cables (BASEC). This
organisation is an independent approvals organisation which utilises the BSI's
laboratories at Hemel Hempstead. BASEC was the approvals organisation appointed
for administration in the UK of the <]HARD mark, devised by CENELEC as a
reciprocal product conformity certification scheme for harmonised cables, which is
explained more fully later. As well as this, BASEC's activities now cover certification of
a manufacturer's quality management systems, certification of product conformity for
non-harmonised cables to British Standards and product approval.
The British Standards which specify requirements for effective quality management
systems are contained in the BS EN ISO 9000 series, which has now superseded BS 5750.
Cable Standards and Quality Assurance 119

BS EN ISO 9000-1 gives guidance on the selection and use of the other standards in the
series. Of these, the most appropriate for cable manufacture and supply are
BSENISO9001 and 9002. ISO9001 is the most demanding in that it requires total
quality assurance in design, development, production, installation and servicing, where
appropriate. ISO 9002 does not include the requirements for design and development. It
is therefore used where products are manufactured to a recognised standard and it is
assumed that compliance with the standard gives an assurance that the design of the
product is suitable for the intended use.
Certification of a manufacturer's quality management system by BASEC will
normally be to the effect that it conforms to BSENISO9001 or 9002 as the case may
be. The first such BASEC certificates, denoting at that time conformity with BS 5750:
Part 1 or Part 2, were issued to a number of cablemakers in 1986.
Product conformity certification has been provided by BASEC for cables to several
British Standards over a period from 1973, mainly for cables of rated voltages up to
1000 V. The schemes for appraisal include type approval and regular surveillances; they
began with flexibles and wiring cables and have extended to PVC and XLPE insulated
600/1000 V mains cables.
In the field of product approval BASEC is nominated in the lEE Wiring Regulations
as the body to assess whether a new type of cable, not included in a British Standard,
can be regarded as providing equivalent safety to types covered by the regulations,
which are all required to be to British Standards. At one time this provision in the lEE
Wiring Regulations, to allow for the use of newly developed equipment not strictly in
accordance with the regulations, was through the Assessment of New Techniques
(ANT) scheme, but this has been abandoned and, where cables are concerned, BASEC
provides the equivalent. In carrying out this function BASEC may recruit experts from
outside its regular staff.

One facet of government interest in quality assurance and certification was the setting
up of a body to accredit certification bodies. This body, which has merged the activities
of the NACCB and NAMAS, is now known as the UK Accreditation Service (UKAS).
A body which itself issues certificates to suppliers is able to apply for a certificate of its
own to signify that it is accredited by the UKAS. It is appraised in a way not unlike its
own appraisal of its clients, the basic criteria being impartiality and competence, and is
certified as accredited, if appropriate. It may be accredited to operate in one or more of
the areas of certification of quality management systems, certification of product
conformity and certification of product approval, but accreditation for product
conformity or product approval certification is generally not given unless the
certification body requires of its clients that their quality management systems be
approved by an accredited certification body. BASEC was accredited for certification of
quality management systems of suppliers of electric cables in 1986.
A certification body may operate without accreditation, relying on its established
prestige within the part of industry where it operates, but obviously accreditation by an
official body is seen as conferring greater status.
Governmental papers on the subject of accreditation and certification envisage the
possibility of more than one certification body being accredited for operation in a given
product area. Indeed there is implied encouragement of this in the interests of
120 Electric Cables Handbook

competition. For suppliers, however, an advantage of third party certification by a

body recognised in the industry and acceptable to customers generally is that this can
lead to a single assessment based upon standardised criteria in place of a number of
second party appraisals which may differ from each other in detail and anyway cause
duplication of time spent and expense incurred in external studies. This advantage
would be lost if there were too many bodies providing third party certification in the
same product area and individual customers required certification of their suppliers by
different third parties.
As with certification, accreditation is on-going. After the first accreditation,
appraisals are carried out periodically for maintenance of the status.

The <2HARI> mark

A particular and significant form of product conformity certification is a licence to use
the <2HARI> mark. This is a certification system devised in CENELEC to apply to
harmonised cables. While harmonisation of standards is a major step in removing
technical barriers to trade between the member countries, it was recognised that
differences in certification procedures, with some customers in some countries insisting
on certification by their own national body, could inhibit marketing by one country in
others. For this reason a number of bodies entered into mutual recognition agreements
under the auspices of CENELEC and one of these, the HAR Group, relates to cables.
The <2HARI> mark scheme for cables, drawn up in collaboration between CENELEC
TC20 and the HAR Group, is in effect a harmonised product conformity certification
Licences to use the <2HARI> mark on harmonised types of cable are granted by the
nominated National Approval Organisation (NAO) in each participating country. In
the UK this is BASEC. The mark consists of <2HARI> preceded by the mark of the
NAO printed or otherwise displayed on the outside of the cable, or it may be signified
by a coloured thread within the cable. The colours of the thread are yellow, red and
black and the lengths of the three colours indicate the country of the NAO.
Requirements for the NAO to issue approval are common for all member countries
and comprise initial inspection of manufacturing and testing facilities, the testing of
samples for initial approval and subsequent surveillance by the periodic testing of
samples. The numbers of samples, related to production volume, the tests to be carried
out and their frequency and the bases of assessment are the same for all countries and
there is reciprocal acceptance of the mark between the countries. For example, the
BASEC<2HARI> mark would be accepted in Germany as equivalent to the
VDE<]HARI> mark, in The Netherlands as equivalent to the KEMA<2HARI>
mark and so on.
To achieve common safety requirements, a low voltage directive was issued at an
early stage by the European Commission to establish safety standards between 50 V and
1000V and the requirements have to be incorporated in the national laws of the EU
countries. The low voltage directive was amended in 1993 to include a requirement for a
mark of conformity with the essential requirements of the directive, as a pre-requisite to
marketing of a product. The CE marking is not intended as a mark of quality but
merely to indicate that the product is conforming with relevant directives. For the
foreseeable future quality will continue to be indicated by the well known quality marks
such as the <2HARI> mark.