All You Need to Know About BASEC

In this special ‘profile’ article, BASEC tells you everything you need to know - What does the organisation do and why should your cables be BASEC approved.

The British Approvals Service for Cables (BASEC) is a recognised sign of assurance of independent cable testing and approval. A non-profit making Government-nominated body, BASEC has for more than 30 years been a mark of reassurance to those specifying cable. A leader in product certification services for electrical cables, data and signal cables and ancillary products, BASEC has a reputation for quality, clarity and ensuring safety in cables.

All products are rigorously tested to meet necessary and appropriate British, European and international standards through detailed examination of manufacturers' production processes and controls, and regular surveillance testing.

BASEC offers a wide range of approval and advisory services to cable-makers, traders and end users.  Cable-makers are offered product certification, certification of management systems, and a number of specialist product-related assessment and manufacturing certifications.  In most cases this leads to BASEC’s prestigious approval and permission to mark cable BASEC.  For any party with an interest in cables, such as manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and end users, BASEC offers independent examination of cables, testing and reporting, such as if problems are experienced with a cable, or in the event of disputes.

Product approval - manufacturers submit each cable type put forward for BASEC approval for a full range of tests to check the products comply with national and international standards.  Only after BASEC has also verified that a cable manufacturer has the production facilities, processes, testing capabilities and the ability to make good cable is a product marking licence awarded, permitting the manufacturer to display the BASEC mark on their products. Each approved cable is then regularly retested by BASEC to ensure ongoing conformity. If during BASEC’s surveillance testing even a minor fault is found with any cable produced, the manufacturer is awarded deviation points, and like speeding points these are totted up and the manufacturer can in extreme cases lose their licence.  BASEC also takes very seriously any complaint raised against a BASEC approved cable, and will assist the end user or trader to solve their problem, free of charge.

Certificate of Assessed Design - BASEC offers a Certificate of Assessed Design for new concepts where no national or international standard yet exists. In this instance a special specification is drawn up, including full materials and construction specification, performance criteria and testing protocol using standardised methods.  This is then reviewed by BASEC’s experts and committees, and once agreed the product is tested.  If the cable passes the tests, BASEC approval is awarded and the product is then monitored in the normal way.

Management systems certification – For cable-makers, BASEC offers individual or integrated management system certification for quality, environmental management and health and safety management.  The BASEC schemes are designed to assess an organisation's general ability to produce goods and services consistently to specification and customer requirements, in a safe manner and with due regard to environmental needs.  This process does not result in BASEC approval of any cable, as no testing is involved, and manufacturers with only these certifications are not permitted to mark their cable with the BASEC mark.

Independent testing and reporting in the event of disputes - This enables an interested party to have a cable independently assessed and / or tested. This service allows reports to be issued regarding a cable and its conformity to a specification, but no right to use a BASEC mark is awarded. Forensic investigation can often assist in cases of cable failure or for product selection.

BASEC approves to many national and international cable standards

BASEC offers product approval to a wide variety of cable standards  and also offers bespoke approvals for products where standards do not yet exist.

The main group of standards BASEC approve to are British cable standards.  These include BS 6004, BS 6231, BS 6500, BS 7211, BS 5467, BS 6724, BS 7846, BS 8436, BS 6622, BS 7629-1, BS 5839-1 and many others. BASEC also offers approval to European (CENELEC, harmonized) standards, to international (IEC) standards, and to sector standards (e.g. TIA). BASEC also approves to other national standards, such as Irish and Malaysian.

BASEC is a member of the HAR scheme for harmonized cables made in Europe, and awards the HAR mark to manufacturers based in the UK and Ireland.  The requirements of the HAR scheme are similar to the BASEC scheme.  BASEC also monitors HAR-marked cable coming in from other European countries and will assist traders and end users in the event of problems with this cable.
All BASEC approvals follow the same approach.  Each approved product is subject to a high level of product testing, manufacturing assessment and ongoing surveillance, in accordance with BASEC's scheme rules and regulations.

Who tests the cables?

BASEC employs a number of laboratories to conduct testing of cables, to ensure the products sent to us undergo fully independent test procedures using the latest equipment and technology.
In support of this, the BASEC’s assessors make visits to clients and prospective clients’ manufacturing plants to monitor the whole process. Only by checking processes at first hand can we ensure that systems are inherently reaching relevant standards.

It is also possible for BASEC assessors to witness testing at manufacturers' premises where suitable facilities are available.

BASEC’s assessors are highly skilled, experienced engineers and auditors who possess extensive in-depth commercial and industrial knowledge.

They have a reputation for being highly professional and rigorous and are responsible for approving BASEC's highly respected certification. They need to be fully aware of the latest standards and test criteria and what they mean in the UK, across Europe and worldwide.

Only cable marked with the 'BASEC' name is BASEC approved

It is a common misunderstanding that a cable is compliant with standards or even BASEC approved just because the supplier claims that it has been produced to a particular standard.
Cable marked with only a standard number should be treated with caution.  It is probable that nobody independent of the manufacturer has examined that cable, and the claims made may be unreliable.  Only cable marked with the “BASEC” name is BASEC approved, by demonstrating its compliance to the required standards.

Cable standards not only specify the dimensions and materials of a cable, they also require that a range of specific tests are undertaken to prove the construction and performance.  Many non-approved cables have not been subject to the required tests.

What’s the difference between BASEC and BSI?

The British Standards Institution (BSI) is the body which co-ordinates the writing and publication of standards for cables and other electrical and electronic systems in the UK.  BASEC works closely with BSI’s cable committees in the development of standards.

For example, it is responsible for drawing up a standard for a specific reason, say to ensure a cable meets certain fire performance criteria and how it needs to perform in the event of a real fire.

Assessors from BASEC will then ensure that the cables which manufacturers would like to be approved as meeting that standard do, in fact, achieve the standards’ criteria through testing the product and the manufacturing process.

Further information about BASEC is available at or you can contact BASEC directly on 01908 267300

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