Cable markings and identification you should always look for
Learn the key markings and relevant documentation you should check for when sourcing and using cable products for your projects. Ensure the relevant safety and quality standards have been met and reduce the risk of sourcing counterfeit and sub-standard cables.
Evidence of third-party approval
The use of non-compliant cable products that do not hold third party approval presents several risks. Quality and performance of the cable in its end application can be impacted, whether that is lighting, a communications system or an emergency fire alarm. Product certification offers a safety benchmark providing peace of mind to cable suppliers, installers and end users and reducing risk of potential issues in future.
Only cable marked with the word 'BASEC' on the cable is BASEC approved
So, what should you look for when identifying a cable product? There are several key pieces of information that should be observed, as listed below:
- Manufacturer name – displayed as the company logo or name printed onto the cable sheath
- Relevant standard number – highlighting the relevant local, British, or international standard that the cable conforms to
- Harmonised cable marking – Shown as a HAR mark, as displayed above, demonstrating inclusion of the pan-European scheme representing harmonised European standards of cable certification
- Third party approval mark – evidencing third party approval through the inclusion of the testing and certification provider’s company name such as 'BASEC' printed or embossed on the cable and the BASEC mark, as shown above, displayed on the cable drum and packaging
- Voltage rating – Referring to the maximum voltage to which a cable may be connected e.g. 600/1000V which is a requirement in relation to British Standards
- CPR rating - The Construction Product Regulation is a mandatory requirement applying to all cable products placed on the market within Europe. The CPR rating, ranging from Aca through to Fca should be displayed either on the cable itself, stated within the Declaration of Performance document, or on the packaging label of the cable product
- UKCA and CE marking –UKCA is a new UK product marking that is used for goods being placed on the market in Great Britain which previously required CE marking, the transition period to ensure the new marking is in place ends on 1st January 2022. Businesses must ensure they are prepared for the new system well in advance of this date. CE marking still applies to products available within the European market. It is not a requirement for UKCA and CE marking to be applied to the cable product. The relevant UKCA or CE marking must be included within packaging labelling and DoP documentation
All cable that is third party approved under the BASEC Product Certification Requirements (PCR) scheme, will have the mark “BASEC” embossed, indented or printed on the outer sheath of the cable, together with a manufacturers traceability mark. This can include the manufacturer’s name, brand name or a unique reference code. If the word ‘BASEC’ is not visible on the cable it is not BASEC approved and therefore may not meet the relevant standard.
Maintaining levels of safety
To gain the BASEC mark, manufacturers will be subject to a number of annual surveillance audits, where the quality management systems of the company are thoroughly interrogated. Alongside this, cable products must undergo assessments to test key characteristics in line with relevant standards. The areas include electrical, material, mechanical, chemical, fire resistance and fire reaction. To ensure the cable maintains the same levels of quality and safety, ongoing surveillance testing is carried out annually for every cable carrying the BASEC mark, during which all areas of the Product Certification Requirements, in addition to new cable samples selected and retesting undertaken to demonstrate ongoing conformity. Through this process of regular surveillance, potential issues can be quickly identified, minimising risk of potential future problems for the end user as the cable is traceable back to the manufacturer.
Sourcing and specifying cables products that have been independently approved by a third party and display the mark of the chosen testing partner, such as BASEC, provides peace of mind that it has undergone the necessary stringent testing and certification processes in line with safety requirements. It is a mark of recognition that stands for quality, clarity and impartiality, to assure those specifying cables that the product is fit for purpose.
Search for BASEC approved cable products, companies, and Registered Stockists, or by CPR classification here, to help support your cable procurement decisions.