Making safer cable choices with the ACI

Since 2010 the Approved Cables Initiative (ACI) has highlighted issues of substandard cable in the UK and the Irish construction industry.

Today the ACI works to deliver a positive change in the cable supply industry; lobbying for tougher legislation to eliminate substandard cable while also educating, monitoring, reporting and exposing those who cheat and ignore standards. Earlier this year, market surveillance by the ACI revealed significant quantities of substandard pre-assembled industrial extension leads on sale. The units, sold as industrial extension leads designed for use in harsh environments, were found marked H05VV-F. However, these cables are ordinary duty ex and not suitable for industrial use. Tests showed that when the ex is subjected to the cold bend test at minus 40°C, the sheath splits and insulation cracks exposing what could be live conductors.

Knowing what to look for and how to check for substandard cable is vital. It is important to be aware that some importers are not complying with their legal duties under UK and EU regulations including Construction Products Regulation (CPR) for Reaction to Fire cables.

The ACI continues to find dangerous cable, often fraudulently marked or completely unmarked, in the supply chain which is then passed on to cable installers and end users through cable distributors and wholesalers.

In addition, as an industry-wide working group, ACI is highlighting the dangers of unsafe, substandard, non-approved and counterfeit cable to the cable supply industry (electric and data) and the public.

Its work focuses upon communicating that such cable is dangerous and that there is a gap in current legislation and enforcement. ACI is currently pushing for changes to UK legislation to stop dangerous cable being imported and to increase the penalties for infringements. Anyone with information or concerns about a suspected faulty or counterfeit cable should contact the ACI who will test samples and if found to be unsafe supply details to relevant industry regulators and legislators. ACI can also provide guidance where appropriate to installers.

The ACI works with supply chain representative bodies including Electric Distributors Association (EDA); Electric Contractors Association (ECA); Electric Safety First; British Cables Association (BCA); Energy Networks Association (ENA); Certsure, SELECT and the Joint Industry Board (JIB).

For further advice on this issue and other substandard cable can be found at or you can also call +44 (0)208 946 6978/ +44 (0)7973 636688 or email