Domestic consumer units (or by other names: fuse boxes, circuit boards, distribution boards, fuse boards)  receive the main electrical supply and distribute it to individual circuits throughout the home to provide electricity. Apart from control the electrical function of your home, a consumer unit should also be intelligent enough to detect and eliminate a dangerous problem.

How do I know if I need my fuse-board upgraded?

If your fuse box has a wooden back, cast iron switches or a mixture of fuses it is likely that it dates back to before the 1960’s and will need to be replaced simply because it is old! Also don’t have any provision of residual current devices (RCDs) for wiring buried in the walls, sockets circuits and outlets that may be used to plug in outdoor electrical equipment. Basically speaking, any consumer unit without an RCD needs an upgrade. This doesn’t always mean a whole new consumer unit so it is essential you speak to a registered, qualified electrician who can decide what needs to be done.


A new metal consumer unit with an RCD protection will make your home safer and protect you from the risk of electrical fire and electrocution.

If you think, it is a time to bring your home electrics into shape do not hesitate to contact us.

The regulation

From 1st July 2016 domestic installations should conform to the requirements of BS7671 as per Amendment 3: 2015 regulation 421.1.201.

This means that consumer units and similar switchgear assemblies must comply with BS EN 61439-3 and either have:

  • the enclosure manufactured from a non-combustible material or
  • be contained within a cabinet that is manufactured from a non-combustible material.

An enclosure made from a ferrous metal such as steel is deemed acceptable to meet requirements and either the cabinet or enclosure should form a complete envelope to maintain fire containment.

The intent

In recent times, fire investigators have raised concerns about the increasing number of fires involving thermoplastic enclosures where poor electrical connections (either due to poor workmanship or maintenance) had been found to be responsible.

The new regulation is aimed at trying to contain any fire that may occur within either the consumer unit enclosure or surrounding cabinet to minimise the escape of flames.


Upgrading an old consumer unit to one that meets requirements of current wiring regulations is something that homeowners should consider, especially living in properties with old rewireable fuse boxes. A new 17th Edition metal consumer unit with RCD protection will give you piece of mind and safety for you family and your home.