Earthing and bonding
Earthing and bonding is a critical element in providing safety to the majority of electrical installations in the UK. Its main function is to reduce to a minimum the risks of fire and shock hazard.
Earthing and Bonding forms the foundations of most electrical systems, ensuring safety to any part of the system, whether new or existing and no matter how small. As statutory requirements now enforce electrical safety to be provided in all types of buildings, it is essential that your electrician checks for adequacy of such systems before undertaking any alterations or additional work.
In doing so, your electrician is not looking for additional work, but merely ensuring that statutory obligations are being met – obligations that ultimately protect you – the end user.
Changes in the use and complexity of electrical installations, together with updated regulations, as well as deterioration of any existing electrical system over time, can often result in existing earthing and bonding provisions being unsatisfactory to provide today’s required levels of safety. It is usually a simple task for your electrician to check these vital issues before starting any new work, and advise you if any improvements are necessary.
The Purpose of Earthing
As a conductor of electricity, metal parts in a building may become live, should an electrical fault develop. If such a fault condition is allowed to persist, any person who may come into contact with the metal parts may receive an electric shock.
By ensuring that metal parts are adequately earthed, a reliable circuit route is provided. This will allow an easy path for currents to flow through, which should allow a fuse or circuit breaker to detect the fault current, and automatically disconnect the supply, thus removing the danger.
What Does Bonding Do?
Bonding is commonly provided in the UK to minimise the risk of electric shock to anybody that may be in simultaneous contact with several conductive (metal) parts at the time of an electrical fault anywhere in the installation. Such bonding is usually achieved by connecting conductive parts and systems together, thereby minimising the risk of any voltages between them.
Bonding is usually provided at main services such as water and gas, where they enter buildings, and in some instances additionally in areas such as shower and bathroom facilities.
Your electrician must check these issues carefully as part of any job, and will advise you if any additional work is needed in order to provide the required levels of safety.