The purpose of electrical regulations is to provide standards to ensure electrical wiring systems that are safe and unlikely to produce either electric shock or fires.
Ways in which electrical regulations ensure safety include giving ways to prevent (or mitigate) short circuits, ground faults, and overheating from inadequate current-carrying capacity.Electrical regulations differ based on geographic area, so for example the National Electrical Code has been adopted for electrical wiring in the United States, whilst British Standard BS 7671 contains the UK’s electrical wiring regulations.
British Standard BS 7671, “Requirements for Electrical Installations. IET Wiring Regulations”, is informally called the “regs” (wiring regulations). Now in its 18th edition (published July 2018), the first edition was published in 1882 as part of the Journal of the Society of Telegraph Engineers and of Electricians. The regulations were then titled, ‘rules and regulations for the prevention of fire risks arising from electric lighting’. These images show covers of the 1st edition and the current edition. Since the 15th edition (1981) these regulations have closely followed the corresponding international standard IEC 60364.