New electrical standards to impact sparkies and property owners

  • 05/02/2018
Master Electricians is running a series of roadshows to help sparkies across the country get up to speed with changes to The Wiring Rules.
Master Electricians is running a series of roadshows to help sparkies across the country get up to speed with changes to The Wiring Rules. Photo credit: Getty

"Standard practice" for sparkies is about to face 194 changes.

Changes to The Wiring Rules (AS/NZS 3000) will be released in March and are expected to become part of the code in early 2019.

Master Electricians says the onus is on individual electricians, not employers, to get up-to-date with changes to avoid fines, or having to rectify work done after March that doesn't comply with the new rules.

The professional trade organisation is running a series of roadshows over the next few weeks to help all electrical workers across the country.

"A member of the public is going to die through non-compliant work, and that's what really scares me," CEO Bernie McLaughlin told Newshub.

The purpose of the changes is to keep pace with technology like LED lighting, solar panels, home automation and electric vehicles.

"There have probably been more changes in the last five years than there have in the last 30," Mr McLaughlin said.

Electrical workers will have guidelines to follow for electric vehicles.
Electrical workers will have guidelines to follow for electric vehicles. Photo credit: Getty

For the first time guidelines have been written around electric vehicles.

"The last thing anyone wants is to do something wrong and to have a child in bare feet open a vehicle door and get an electric shock," he said.

"Electric vehicles can't just be plugged into an ordinary socket, for example, they need to be wired with a specific Residual Current Device (RCD) to cope with the electronics involved."

There's even a specific standard for caravans; and EV's need just as much, if not more care.

"The changes are not for change's sake, but for safety," Mr McLaughlin said.

If sparkies don't heed the changes they could be carrying out non-compliant work.

And there's a warning for property owners.

If they get work done that isn't compliant they could have insurance claims declined and may not be able to sell the property until the work is rectified.

Master Electricians estimates remediation could cost up to five times as much as getting it right the first time.

"It could involve failing to install a particular safety product that's now compulsory, when you haven't had to in the past.

"As the law works, ignorance is no excuse.

Homeowners could get insurance claims declined if they get electrical work done that isn't compliant.
Homeowners could get insurance claims declined if they get electrical work done that isn't compliant. Photo credit: Getty

"Arc fault detection devices are a critical example.  They're not required everywhere, but there are certain circumstances where they need to be used."

"Also, the latest solar panels have micro-inverters in them, and there are currently no guidelines for installing them.  The new panels output is AC, the old panels were DC,"he said.

Master Electricians admits there is a grey area between when the changes will be released and when they are cited in the regulations.

They'll be considered a "best practice" guideline in-between, with electrical workers expected to comply with all changes from March.

"If something happens like damage to property or injury to a person, you could find yourself in court explaining why you didn't use an industry best practice guideline," Mr McLaughlin said.

Penalties range from censure to loss of licence, to possible imprisonment in the case of manslaughter if somebody dies.

Master Electricians has 1,100 member companies employing 7,500 electrical workers.

It is running the Wiring Rules Roadshows from early March to late April, with 13 events from Invercargill to Auckland.

They'll be hosted by Mr McLaughlin and Alec Knewstubb from the Standards Committee who's responsible for the changes.  

To take home, attendees will each be given a summary document explaining the key changes, a training guide and instructions on how to get a copy of the new standards free of charge.  

"We want them to come to the roadshow to understand how extensive the changes are and how it will affect them, their customers and their business,' Mr McLaughlin said.  

The bottom line is, whoever signs the certificate is responsible for the work.

This story has been created for Master Electricians to help you find out more about its Wiring Rules Roadshows.