Lightning Protection Regulations

What British Standards does my lightning protection system need to comply with?

If you know that your building needs to comply with lightning protection standards, then which standard it needs to comply with will depend on when the building was built. If it was built before 2006 then it will be required to comply with the old standard, known as BS EN 6651. If it was built after this date it will need to comply with the new standard known as BS EN 62305.

What are the IEC standards for lightning protection?

IEC stands for the International Electrotechnical Commission. The IEC/BS EN 62305 standards are the current lightning protection standards in both Britain and internationally. The standards describe what is required for a building and the people within it to be protected against damage from lightning through the use of a lightning protection system.

Is BS EN 62305 a legal requirement for lightning protection?

Both the IEC and BS EN 62305 standards are the same and are law. The Electricity At Work Regulations 1989 states that buildings used as workplaces - such as hospitals and offices - must have considered lightning protection. If they have been built after 2006 must comply with these newer standards. If a building has been built before 2006, it may be able to continue to comply with the old standard. Buildings that comply with the old standard must be able to prove that they were compliant before 2006 and have kept up their maintenance schedule / testing, otherwise they will need to update their system to comply with the new standard - BS EN 62305. 

What are the requirements for BS EN62305 certification

To comply with BS EN62305 a building is required to have a thorough risk assessment. This risk assessment will be the starting point of any lightning protection study and the results will determine whether the lightning protection system in place is compliant with the relevant standards, whether it needs updating, or whether a new system is needed to be designed, installed and commissioned.

To be compliant you will need an LPS, which may include:

•       Rods in the ground (earth termination)

•       Conductors coming down the side of the building (down conductors / downleads)

•       SPD’s on LV Board distribution boards.

Is BS EN 6651 certification adequate?

If you can prove that your building had a risk assessment before the new standard was implemented and complies with the BS EN 6651 then yes, this older standard is sufficient. You will not be able to retrospectively comply with this standard. If you cannot prove that you complied with BS EN 6651 before 2006 when the newer standard - BS EN 62305 - was introduced, you will need to comply with the new standard.

If you comply with BS EN 6651 the standard may say that certain elements of your building and system need regular testing and checks. If you have kept up-to-date with any checks then you can continue to comply with this standard. If you have not kept up-to-date with any testing or checks required for you to be compliant with BS EN 6651, you should get a new risk assessment done and will need to comply with the new BS EN 62305 standard.

What are the IEEE standards for lightning protection?

IEEE stands for the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. The IEEE standards for lightning protection (IEEE 80) are specific to substations. This will often involve a more detailed design process (as opposed to risk assessment) known as the rolling sphere method and is usually applied in countries where lightning storms are a regular occurrence (i.e. a relatively high ground flash density).

At present, we do not use this method as much in the UK, but can be a necessity at complex sites with several structures / buildings, perhaps containing hazardous areas, that require a lightning protection system (e.g. a sewage treatment works). Where there is the danger of a surge on LV supply lines, during a lightning storm in the UK, surge protection devices (SPD’s) will be required to protect the building or area.