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Who determines what Euroclass cable is required?

All EU member states and CE adopters must adhere to the CPR. Within the EU, individual member states can determine which EuroClasses they will incorporate into their specific construction regulations and standards. Euroclasses B2ca, Cca, and Dca are categorised as cables with low fire hazards, and they are required to undergo testing according to EN 50399 Flame Spread and EN 60332-1-2 standards. Euroclass Eca, on the other hand, only needs to satisfy the EN 60332-1-2 standard. For residential and standard commercial spaces across the EU, extensive employment of Euroclass Dca and Eca is anticipated.

The decision regarding the classifications to be adopted within each EU member state for local construction specifications rests with that particular state. Hence, this regulation doesn't imply uniform applicability of the same cable class throughout Europe.

Some examples of how these regulations are being implemented across Europe are as follows: In France, the minimal requirement is Class Dca. In Germany, the determination relies on the nature of the building. For instance, high-rise structures necessitate Class Cca, while fire escape routes require Class B2ca. Class Eca is exclusively permissible for isolated buildings with limited usage and population. In Sweden, the choice is contingent on the presence of fire suppression systems. Class Dca is the baseline requirement for bundled cable installations in the Netherlands, whereas Class B2ca and Cca are mandated for buildings with substantial populations or challenging evacuation scenarios.

Things to note for installers and specifiers

Electrical specifiers and installers need to follow the requirements of the country where they work.

The Specifier

Assumes responsibility for determining the necessary fire performance level as outlined in local regulations, which are categorised by CPR Classes and include additional factors like smoke opacity, flaming droplets, and effluent acidity. It's important to note that these specifications represent the minimum requirements, and the specifier must also assess any potential specific risks that might demand a higher level of fire performance for the cable.

The Installer

Should adhere to the local Installation standard to ensure flawless implementation. It's essential to confirm that the cables have been classified according to CPR standards and that their performance aligns with the regulations. It's worth noting that regulations take precedence over specifications when establishing the minimum acceptable criteria. Specifications cannot stipulate a classification level lower than what the Regulation mandates.

Given that the cabling framework in Ireland is regulated by the National Rules for Electrical Installations I.S. 10101:2020, the cable selection must be determined in the design stage and ultimately receive the client's endorsement rather than being the installer's prerogative.

While the minimum suggested criterion aligns with Dca,s1b,d2,a2 in compliance with EN5057, certain venues, like prisons, hospitals, schools, airports, and hotels, may prompt consultants to designate the elevated B2ca cables. This preference stems from the cables' minimal contribution to fire in these settings.

Mindful of the options and the fact that Category 5e is already no longer the ‘minimum cabling standard’ for office installations in the US and International standards, ADI has addressed the market with the cable options, including, Category 5e LSOH U/UTP Cca sheath in green, Category 6 LSOH U/UTP B2ca sheath in orange, Category 6a LSOH U/FTP B2ca sheath in orange plus a range of Fibre Optic Cables.

How can I compete using CPR-compliant cabling when my competitors do not, and how much more does it cost?

To compete using CPR-compliant cabling when your competitors do not, it's important to consider the cost implications and the value proposition for your clients. While CPR-compliant cables may be slightly more expensive, the overall impact on project costs is relatively small.

Educating your customers about the benefits of CPR-compliant cabling is another strategy to counter bids from competitors using non-compliant alternatives. Highlight that your cabling is fully standards-compliant, ensuring fire safety regulations are met. Additionally, inform them that some insurance companies offer incentives or reduced premiums to building owners with CPR-compliant cabling.

Furthermore, you can provide multiple options to your clients. Explain that they can choose between cabling to the previous standards (such as the purple LSOH) or adopting the new CPR-compliant standards. Ensure they understand the implications of choosing an outdated standard, particularly regarding health and safety. When informed about the potential risks, most clients opt for up-to-date standards.

Ultimately, the responsibility lies with the client to make an informed decision. By presenting them with the facts and benefits of CPR-compliant cabling, you increase their chances of choosing the safer and more reliable option.

If you need help choosing low-voltage cable for your next project, contact our Systems Design team.

Check our CPR compliance guide for more detailed information.

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