A common question that is raised with electrical design team is “What are the rules of engagement when installing electrical equipment within our new furniture?”. Aidan Twomey (F&A Pre-Contracts manager) outlines the standards, regulations and good practises that all design & build companies, electrical contractors and furniture installers should be familiar with…

BS 6396:2008 is the British Standard associated with the installation of electrical equipment within commercial and educational furniture. The standard was last updated in 2008 with changes to the title and scope to include educational furniture. All electrical systems and installations within the work environment must comply with the statutory regulation – “Electricity At Work Regulations”. Failure to comply with statutory regulations may lead to a criminal prosecution. BS 6396:2008 was established to provide a specification for the safe installation and use of electrical systems in or on furniture where the electrical system is connected to the mains supply using a 13Amp plug.

BS 6396:2008 outlines the manufacturing standards for all equipment to be used with commercial or educational furniture. If in doubt, ask.

Any equipment installed in or on commercial and education furniture are intended to supply power to electrical equipment such as computer screens, desktops, phone chargers, tablets and more. No equipment should exceed 5Amp. The maximum fuse rating allowed within any sockets according to BS 6396:2008 is 5Amp.

BS 6396:2008 requires that all sockets installed with the standard must be individually fused. The diagrams below show the maximum accisotret.com number of socket outlets and their rating that may be connected to a single 13Amp mains plug feeding from the office supply.

To summarise –

  • The maximum number of outlets on a PDU connected to a 13Amp plug is – 4 (if outlets are individually fused @ 5Amp) / 6 (if outlets are individually fused @ 3.15Amp)
  • The maximum fuse rating for an outlet is 5Amp.
  • No un-fused sockets are allowed.
  • Daisy chaining PDUs together is not allowed under BS 6396:2008 as this would exceed the maximum number of outlets.
  • BS 6396:2008 does not apply to underfloor bus bar systems such as Electrak or directly into a commando socket. This falls under fixed wiring regulations.
  • With regards to underfloor bus bar powered workstations all general use sockets that are to be used by a non-competent person are to be protected by RCD or RCBO. These can be installed within the distribution board. The disadvantage with this however is earth leakage from computer equipment can lead to nuisance tripping of any protective device. If the whole bus bar length is protected with a single RCD or RCBO this causes a nuisance to all other users. Most installations have RCD modules on each individual PDU at the desk location to ensure any tripping is isolated to the workstation in question.

For more information or if you would like to discuss your furniture power requirements please contact us at info@fa-ltd.co.uk.