To ensure that we offer ‘electrical made easy’ we at AEI are making it our goal to help educate and keep our clients up to date with relevant key updates to Australian electrical standards and regulations. We want to offer an insight into what these updates mean for installers, the businesses we work with and Australia’s electrical industry as a whole.

The latest version of the Australian and New Zealand Standard: Electrical Installations “wiring rules” (AS/NZS 3000:2018) was released mid 2018 with updates to better reflect current equipment, technology and electrical installation techniques.

The most impactful updates to our team at AEI were the revisions to clause 2.6.3, which offered clarification of mandatory RCD requirements for protected circuits, alterations and repairs. *The term RCD refers to Residual Current Devices, commonly known as safety switches.

The most noteworthy add-ons to this clause were:

  • Requirement for installation of RCDs in all final sub circuits in residential installations.
  • Requirement for installation of RCD’s in commercial and industrial applications (on single and three phase circuits).

  • RCD’s with a minimum residual current of 30 mA are now required for final subcircuits, rated 32 A or less, that are supplying socket-outlets, lighting, direct-connected hand held equipment, and direct-connected equipment that presents increased risk of electrical shock. These restrictions do not apply to repairs undertaken in accordance with this Clause. Additional exemptions from this requirement include cases where disconnection by an RCD could cause danger greater than earth leakage current, or when equipment has low risk of electric shock and installation of RCD can adversely affect the performance of installation.

 

  • Requirement for installation of RCDs with alterations to installations or replacement of switchboards: RCD requirements are applicable where switchboards are altered or replaced. In an alteration, RCDs are required for final subcircuits. RCDs are also required to protect socket-outlets added to an existing circuit, in accordance with the requirements for new subcircuits, in the part of the installation in which they are located. Where socket-outlets are added to an existing circuit and RCD protection is required, the RCD protection only needs to be fitted at the origin of the additional wiring. Where all circuit protection on a switchboard is replaced, additional protection by RCDs are required for the final subcircuits supplied by that board.
  • Repairs exemption: Where a single item of electrical equipment (e.g. a socket- outlet or light) which is not RCD-protected is replaced with an equivalent item in the same location, an RCD can be installed on the affected sub circuit, but is not mandatory.

 

Issued and effective as of the 26th June 2018, these updated regulations became mandatory on that day for any electrical installation not yet under construction.

 

So how has this impacted the Australian Electrical Industry?

Well, in this scenario all projects that were quoted last year (based on the old regulations) and which were then signed up as of this year, were impacted from a pricing and process capacity. From a process perspective having to use RCD’s in lieu of circuit breakers has affected switchboard capacity, with RCD’s taking up more room than your standard circuit breaker. Whilst mandatory changes like these can create administrative challenges, we find that it’s important to remember that these regulations are there for a reason. Updates are made in accordance with the progression of technology, equipment and safety requirements. Regulating bodies have the responsibility of ensuring the electrical industry stays safe. For us at AEI staying aware and on top of what is required is essential in order to maintain the safety of commercial and industrial electrical work for our clients. So that we can uphold our promise to offer tailored, on-point advice and solutions for all of your electrical needs our entire professional team undergo continued industry training and are across on-going regulatory updates.

Want to hear more? Or need guidance for your commercial or industrial electrical maintenance? Speak with us.