Developed by Alan Williams
The Wiring Rules has substantially been changed, and understanding these changes and how they affect you and your business is integral to being a Professional Electrical Contractor.
The Wiring Rules have been substantially changed, and understanding these changes and how they affect you and your business is integral to being a Professional Electrical Contractor.
I have over 24 hours of online training going in depth about THE 12 MAIN CHANGES, plus overviews, ebooks, worksheets and more – check out my Changes Super Pack Course for more info
IP Rating & Manufacturer’s Instructions
Maintaining the IP rating of devices has become an issue in recent years (eg DC isolators). Where IP rated devices have not been installed as per manufacturer’s instructions or have been inappropriately drilled, they have been deemed to have lost their IP rating as a result.
The changes brought in are addressing this issue, particularly in regard to the orientation and installation of IP rated devices. As an example, drilling weep holes to let out condensation, and/or mounting a device in an incorrect orientation is not in accordance with the new AS 3000 Wiring Rules.
Alterations, Additions and Repairs
Clauses have been updated in the new wiring rules to clarify the differing interpretations of what an alteration, addition or repair is.
The term “addition” has been removed completely, with the only options being either “repair” or “alteration”.
A repair is the minimum required to bring an electrical installation back to a safe and functional state, whereas anything beyond that (an alteration) is classed as a new installation. An example of an alteration is installing an additional length of cable to supply new or relocated equipment.
RCDs on All Final Sub-Circuits
The industry has been moving towards having RCDs on all final subcircuits since the 2007 Wiring Rules came out. With the 2018 edition of AS 3000, RCDs on all final subcircuits are now mandatory with one exception in non-domestic installations.
All final sub-circuits in a domestic situation are now required to be protected by 30mA RCD. This includes Ovens, Cooktops, Hot Water systems and Air-Conditioners.
All Lighting and Socket outlet final sub-circuits not greater than 32Amp in a non-domestic situation are now required to be protected by a 30mA RCD. All fixed equipment shall be protected unless a risk assessment determines that the protection is not required.
The decision to not protect fixed wired equipment should not be made lightly.
The biggest change around switchboard accessibility is that clearance is to be a minimum of 1m from all accessible faces of a closed switchboard.
The other change that will affect your quoting and installation is that a switch room now requires a minimum of two exit paths, which have to be spaced well apart.
This is different to what we have been used to previously, where the two doors were able to be adjacent to each other, forming a double door exit.
Doors and switchroom heights are now required to be at least 2.2m high, changing the construction requirements.
Thermal Insulation and Cabling
The new wiring rules clarify some of the issues surrounding running cables through thermal insulation.
In domestic installations, if there is no thermal insulation at the time of install, it must be assumed that there will be in the future. The clause stipulates the length of cable running through thermal insulation and the derating factor you’ll be required to use from AS 3008 to determine voltage drop, current carrying capacity and in turn, the size of the breaker.
Wiring Systems near building surfaces
Regarding wiring systems near the surface of walls, floors, ceilings and roofs, the clause used to talk about being 150 mm away from internal wall to wall or wall to ceiling corners. This has now been changed to within 50 mm of the surface of the wall, floor, ceiling or roof.
Cables within these distances now requires extra mechanical protection in the form of Steel Wire armoring or steel conduit.
Mechanical protection is required for cables likely to be disturbed, for instance cables in ceiling spaces within 2m of the access hole and where ceiling access is greater than 0.6m.
Rules have been added about socket outlets, clarifying the point that devices for telecommunications, data, television and radio are not allowed to be incorporated in the faceplate of a socket outlet.
A USB charging outlet on a faceplate is acceptable.
A new clause has been added, stating that a socket outlet shall not be installed within 150mm of a cooking surface.
Manufacturers of recessed luminaires are now required to mark all light fittings with their appropriate classification.
All light fittings marked with a classification shall be installed as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
My suggestion regarding unmarked light fittings is as per Table 4.3: Don’t install any unmarked light fittings.
Cooktops, Hot Water and Air Con Isolators
Cooktops are required to have a lockable isolation switch adjacent to the cooktop and cannot be mounted where the user must reach across the cooktop.
Fixed hot water systems are required to have a lockable isolation switch adjacent to but not on the hot water system.
Air conditioners and heat pump electric hot water systems are required to have a lockable isolation switch adjacent to but not on the condenser unit.
Where the air conditioner head unit is supplied from a different circuit than the condenser, a sign is required to be permanently fixed on or adjacent to the compressor warning that the isolator does not isolate all of the equipment.
All devices that are designed to carry people vertically are classed as lifts.
A major change in the new Wiring Rules is that not all lifts are classed as emergency lifts. Only emergency lifts as specified in the National Construction Code are required to be compliant to Section 7 – Special Electrical Installations.
Lifts classed as non-emergency lifts have now been added to Section 4 and are treated as general equipment with specific requirements.
Earthing of outbuildings
Individual outbuildings (separate buildings ie. not joined by continuous slab or roofing) must be earthed using either sub main earthing or a separate MEN.
Combined outbuildings shall have their own individual bonding connection to the conductive frames within the building.
Combined outbuildings are NOT to have a separate MEN installation and must be earthed using sub main (carried) earthing.
Pools and Spas and Equipment
Conductive pools and spas will be required to have an earthing connection point that will be bonded to all conductive parts of the pool or spa.
The earthing connection point shall also be bonded to the installation earthing system and conductors of each Circuit supplying the pool or spa.
Conductive pool ladders, diving boards, fences and pipework that are installed within arms reach, now defined as 1.25m, are all required to be bonded.