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New housing safety standards in place for Scottish properties March 2024

Glasgow tenement street

Active from the 1st of March the Scottish Government have introduced an amendment to the Repairing Standard, for properties to be compliant it is required that all electrical installations must be safe guarded by one or more Residual Current Devices (RCD). The Repairing Standard contains many requirements that rented properties in Scotland must fulfill, this is the latest addition in order to keep homes and tenants safe.


The Scottish Government Publication Section D.54 states:


“In order to protect a tenant against electric shock and reduce the risk of electrical fires, there must be one or more Residual Current Devices (RCD) fitted in the consumer unit (fuse box). An RCD is a sensitive safety device that switches off electricity automatically if there is a fault. RCDs offer a level of personal protection that ordinary fuses and circuit breakers cannot provide. The absence of an RCD means that the house does not comply with Repairing Standard.”


What is an RCD?


A Residual Current Device (RCD) is made to protect you from experiencing a possibly fatal electric shock from touching electrical's such as a live wire or damaged electrical's in your home. It also provides protection against electrical fires arising from defects in electrical equipment and can reduce the risk of death if you come into contact with electricity.


The presence of an RCD provides additional safety that cannot be provided by fuses and circuit breakers alone. An RCD works by disconnecting from power rapidly – as quickly as 40 milliseconds – in order to prevent individuals from getting an electric shock.


How can I get my RCD tested?


An RCD can be tested when an engineer is undertaking an EICR, having an RCD is now a legal requirement for people’s safety and well-being and must be installed or tested in order to comply with current legislation.

Alternative options

Instead of fitting an RCD there is also the option to fit a Residual Current Circuit Breaker with Over-current Protection (RCBO) this helps it to protect against two types of fault. An RCBO has an RCD unit built in, if there is a fault, instead of shutting off all circuits the RCBO is attached to all circuits separately meaning that if there is a fault with one circuit it will only shut off that one and not all of them. This is because every single circuit is protected independently from both over-current and earth leakage.


For more information on changes to the Repairing Standard visit the Scottish Government publication here.



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