electrical standards

BS6396: 2022

What is BS6396? 

BS6396 is the British standard covering the installation of electrical systems in all furniture except special purpose workstations in laboratories or workshops.

BS6396 defines in detail the requirements for the safe use of electrical power sockets (up to 250V), supplied from either the fixed mains wiring via a 13A fused plug or from batteries at a nominal voltage not exceeding 48Vd.c. It also covers areas such as cable management and the segregation of power and data cables.

NOTE: Any power distribution systems that are connected to the building installation by anything other than a 13A BS1363 plug or a supply derived from batteries installed within the furniture should follow the requirements of BS7671.

Power sockets: maximum number & fusing:

BS6396 limits the number of BS1363 13A sockets connected to a single supply to either:

• No more than 6 sockets fused at 3.15A
• No more than 4 sockets fused at 5A

BS6396 also specifies the number of Extra Low Voltage (ELV)outlets allowed.
In addition to the above permitted max number of AC sockets, up to 150W output of ELV is allowed.

Socket resettable fuses/thermal overloads should be either inaccessible without the use of a tool, trip free or inaccessible unless the load is disconnected.

• For power sockets mounted directly in furniture with no external housing, the furniture requires earthing. 
• For power mounted in plastic insulated housing, the furniture does not require earthing
• For power encased in an earthed metal housing, the furniture does not require earthing

Cable management: 
Furniture should allow for suitable cable management. Cable management systems should be free from sharp edges to protect cabling. Grommet holes should be adequately sized to allow cables to pass through easily. Cable bend radius should be kept to minimum to prevent damage to cables. Cable supports may be used in place of cable management, cable supports should have no more than a maximum of 300mm gap between supports. 

Cable segmentation: 
Cable segregation should be allowed for within cable management to separate power cables from other cables such as ELV, data and telecommunications cables.

Batteries and inverters: 
Inverters for use with battery systems should be no more than 500W capacity. Battery voltage should be no more than 48V DC. Battery inverter systems must comply with BS EN IEC 62040-1 or BS EN IEC 62368-1.

When using power sockets with a battery system an RCD is required to protect the user. RCD’s should not be rated more 30mA. 

Furniture marking: 

Furniture should be clearly marked near cables or sockets with:
• Name, trademark of manufacturer or vendor
• BS6396
• If furniture is earthed or not and if so where
• Where instructions are located
• The rating of the system
• Max current rating
• Supply cable labelled with connection requirements
• Instruction that the system cannot be reconfigured without first observing manufacturer’s instructions
• If furniture contains batteries, the information must state battery type, for indoor or outdoor use and that manufacturer’s instructions are followed.


BS7671- Installations complying with IEE Wiring Regulations including regulation 543.7 (formally Section 607) Electrical installations which are connected to the supply by any other means than a 13A plug (BS6396 installations) must comply with BS7671. In most instances within the modern office environment, this electrical installation is likely to be an underfloor track. Where the connection is supplying :

•more than one work station (i.e. via a Power distribution unit ), or… multiple computers, for example on trading desks then the requirements of regulation 543.7 of BS7671 – Earthing for High Protective Conductor currents will need to be followed.

OE can provide bespoke solutions in these situations to ensure the operational requirements, as well as those of safety, standards and statutory regulations, are simply and cost-effectively achieved. Power distribution units can be supplied with:

•sockets to feed directly to the desktop equipment or, with Wieland connectors, to act as a central connection point on clusters of desks; feeding from this point to power modules on individual desks. All of these units can be fitted with suitable circuit protection to meet regulations and ensure the safety of the installation.

OE have developed solutions to ease installation and allow the fit out of offices to proceed smoothly without conflict between trades working to deadlines. Where additional earth bonding is required, earthing kits can be developed, manufactured and packaged to meet the needs of the particular requirements. OE can provide:

Technical support – Designs to meet specification and tender requirements
Product ranges to meet most requirements simply and effectively
• Fast turnaround with direct deliveries to site for large projects

For further information on implications of this standard, and how we can provide a solution tailored to your requirements, please contact us. E&oe – information provided by OE is based solely on our interpretation of the Standards, and we do not purport to be an authority on the Standards. If Section 607 compliance is required the Standard should be consulted.


S5733 is the UK standard for the safety certification of electrical accessory products such as OE power modules incorporating  UK power sockets. As well as in the UK,  BS5733 certification is widely accepted in parts of the world that use the standard BS1363 UK socket.

Tests carried out on products under BS5733 include enclosure strength, verification of component ratings and certifications, safe internal wiring and the correct minimum level of electrical insulation for the voltage at which they will be used.

The majority of OE power modules have been independently certified to BS5733 by test laboratories such as Nemko. BS5733 certification is a core part of the evidence that OE compiles for the CE marking its products.