When arranging a charging point, the premises and physical location needs to be considered. 

Some chargers can be easily accessible and as they contain metals such as copper means they’re attractive to thieves. They’re also easily re-sold second hand online, which has led to the rise of stolen charging cables. To minimise the risk theft, consider the location of charge points and store all charging equipment securely.

It’s also important to focus on fire and electrical safety and the associated potential hazards, standards and legislative requirements. Fires involving lithium-ion batteries present new challenges to fire fighters as they can re-ignite after initially being extinguished. So thought needs to be given to the possibility of fire spread to the surrounding premises.

Relevant legislation to be aware of includes:

  • the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order (and / or equivalent legislation in Scotland and Northern Ireland)
  • the Dangerous Substances and Explosives Atmospheres Regulations.
Fire safety management needs to be carefully considered through a risk assessment completed by a competent person. 

Charge points should only be installed by an authorised company.  You can check which companies are authorised by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV), under the following: 

Installation and inspections (also relevant to charge point and cable maintenance) must be carried out by a qualified person, such as a member of the following:

  • ECA
  • SELECT (Scotland only)
  • Safed

The Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) has listed its approved charge point models:  

Charge point installation must be carried out in accordance with:

  • BS EN 61851-1:2019 - electric vehicle conductive charging system. (general requirements.)
  • The current edition of the IET (The Institution of Engineering and Technology) (wiring regulations.)
  • The recommendations of the IET Code of Practice for Vehicle Charging Equipment Installations.
  • The Electricity Safety, Quality and Continuity Regulations. 

Other considerations include:

  • Drivers and passengers with a disability
  • The current edition of the Building Regulations Part P (Electrical Safety – Dwellings)
  • The need to meet IP (Ingress Protection) ratings set out in the relevant British Standards. 
Using an approved installer should provide some reassurance that the necessary legal obligations have been met.
Charging wallboxes, posts and equipment should be periodically maintained and inspected in line with the manufacturer’s and installer’s guidance in order to meet the relevant standards and regulations.
To ensure effective and safe use of charging equipment, we recommend that the following risk measures are followed:
  • Charging equipment shouldn’t be modified for any alternative use.
  • Charging via a normal electrical outlet (specified as Modes 1 and 2 by the International Electrotechnical Commission) is to be avoided.
  • Only manufacturer approved cables and accessories should be used for charging and they should be maintained, inspected and stored in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Extension cables must not be used when charging vehicles. This will help to reduce the risk of electrical fires and someone tripping over the trailing cables.
  • Avoid damaging the charging leads when stored and in use, as this may result in a fire or electric shock. For example, avoid trapping the leads or running leads over sharp edges.
  • Charging points should have sufficient space to allow vehicles to be parked safely and easily connected to the charging equipment. Our partners ATG Access and A-Safe offer a wide range of driver barrier and impact protection products.
  • Each charge point should have signage stating which vehicles it’s suitable for.
  • Charging areas should be well-ventilated, ideally being situated in the open, and kept clear of combustible materials (by at least 2 metres), including any combustible elements of the premises construction.
  • Where rapid charging points (known as Direct Current (DC) Fast Charge and Mode 4) are provided, they should be clearly signposted to differentiate them from conventional charging points, highlighting the hazards associated with Direct Current.
  • Electrical circuits intended to supply any EV charger must be fit for purpose and suitable for the electrical load. They should be designated for the use of chargers only, and not part of a ring main or used for other purposes.
  • Visual inspections of the charging point, charging equipment and accessories should be made before each use.
  • Ideally a vehicle should not be left charging at an unattended premises or property. If charging at an unattended premises is unavoidable, the following measures should be considered:
⚬ External charging is preferable, such as under a covered (but open) outbuilding away from the main building / property.

⚬ In commercial premises, suitable automatic fire detection systems should be installed and maintained to the current version of BS5839. The work should be carried out by a competent company, who are either LPCB approved, under the LPS 1014 certification scheme, or approved under the BAFE modular scheme SP203-1. The system should incorporate remote signalling via BT Redcare Advanced Extra, CSL DualCom Fire, or an alternative method with equivalent alarm transmission reporting times and fault routing equipment to an alarm receiving centre, certified to BS5979, BS EN 50518:2019, BS8591 or LPS1020.

⚬ Appropriate portable fire extinguishing equipment should be made available, and staff should be trained on how to use it.

⚬ Provision of a suitable power supply, capable of being isolated from a safe location and without impacting the remainder of the premises or property.
It’s important to highlight that an insurance policy may include conditions that prohibit unattended battery charging and a breach of these may invalidate the policy

Emergency procedures and arrangements will need to be adapted to reflect the nature of the vehicle and any additional or different hazards arising, particularly those relevant to fire and electricity. 

This is of particular importance in the event of a fault, incident or breakdown and will play a part in the actions taken by emergency services and those involved in vehicle recovery.

  • In the event of an electrical fault or failure, the charge points should be able to be manually isolated, this will help to ensure the safe shutdown of any charging equipment.
  • If a charge point, charger or accessory are faulty or damaged they should be isolated and / or discontinued to be used until they are repaired/replaced by a competent contractor.
  • Procedures for identifying and reporting damage should be established.  These should include a plan for taking damaged charging point installations, associated equipment and / or accessories out of use and isolating supplies in the event of a problem.
  • If the battery is damaged or leaking gas (often referred to as off-gassing) the following steps should be taken: 
⚬ The battery should be isolated and if it is safe to do so, the vehicle removed from premises to a place of safety outside, ideally at least 15 metres from the buildings, other vehicles and combustible materials.

⚬  If the battery is leaking gas the Fire and Rescue Service should be called.

⚬ If the battery is damaged but there’s no immediate signs of a gas leak / fire contact the manufacturer.
The following controls are also recommended:
⚬ Follow the vehicle’s manufacturer’s Emergency Response Guide, which can generally be downloaded from the relevant manufacturer’s website.

⚬ Follow the routines in the emergency response guide for the vehicle.

⚬ Avoid storing or parking the vehicle in an enclosed space where leaking gases could harm people or cause an explosion.

⚬ The vehicle’s windows/doors should ideally be left open to ventilate any potentially dangerous gases.  

⚬ Avoid contact with leaking electrolyte to protect both people and the environment gathering it in an appropriate collection tray.

⚬ Warning signs should be used until the incident is resolved.
  • A vehicle containing a burned or damaged battery should be stored at least 15 metres (or as close to 15 metres as practically possible) from structures, combustible materials or other vehicles until the battery is discharged.