Effective Immediately as per ESV Ruling – New Requirements for switchboard upgrades

ESV has released a ruling regarding your requirements as an REC, concerning the earthing system when you are doing a switchboard upgrade.

The ruling is fairly simple to comply with when doing a switchboard upgrade on a single occupancy, but it becomes a bit more involved on a multi-occupancy installation.

Situation 1.

When you do a switchboard upgrade on an installation that

– already has an earth electrode as the main earthing system, and

– the connection to the electrode is accessible for inspection and testing,

– there is no requirement to alter the earthing system.

 

Situation 2.

When you do a switchboard upgrade on an installation that

– has a main earthing system that incorporates a bond to the conductive water pipe,

– two variations may occur.

Each variation will result in different work requirements.

 

  1. If the water bond can be found and
  • is accessible for inspection and testing and

(ie. Does not require you to crawl through a 10inch underfloor cavity)

  • has a resistance of less than 2 Ohms and

(you must lift the bonding connection and test the continuity of the main earthing conductor.

This ensures that the reading is of the conductor only and not of a connection that may exist through the internal wiring of electric water heaters.

Then you must ensure that the replacement of that bond is a clean and effective connection as you would do on a new earth electrode)

  • you are able to prove the water pipe does enter the mass of earth.

(this means testing the continuity of the conductive pipe, perhaps out to the water meter, ensuring that the pipe does in fact run underground).

  1. If the water bond does not comply with ALL of the above, a new main earthing conductor and electrode MUST be installed.

 

Situation 3

When you do a switchboard upgrade on a multi-occupancy installation that

– already has an earth electrode as the main earthing system and

– is accessible for inspection and testing,

– there is no requirement to alter the earthing system.

 

Situation 4

When you do a switchboard upgrade on a multi-occupancy installation that

– has a main earthing system that incorporates a bond to the conductive water pipe

– two variations may occur

Each variation will result in different work requirements.

  1. If the water bond can be found and
  • is accessible for inspection and testing and

(ie. Does not require you to crawl through a 10inch underfloor cavity)

  • has a resistance of less than 2 Ohms and

(you must lift the bonding connection and test the continuity of the main earthing conductor.

In a multi-occupancy building you must ensure that all remaining occupancies are OFF SUPPLY to perform this test.

This ensures that the reading is of the conductor only and not of a connection that may exist through the internal wiring of electric water heaters.

Then you must ensure that the replacement of that bond is a clean and effective connection as you would do on a new earth electrode)

  • you are able to prove the water pipe does enter the mass of earth.

(this means testing the continuity of the conductive pipe, perhaps out to the water meter, ensuring that the pipe does in fact run underground).

  1. If the water bond does not comply with ALL of the above, a new main earthing conductor and electrode MUST be installed. 

 

Effective immediately, all inspectors and ESV auditors will be looking for compliance with this ruling.

 

As the REC, to ensure that the payment for your work goes smoothly as well, you will need to consider who will be paying for the upgrade to the main earthing system – the single occupancy owner or the body corporate.

Consider this when quoting on the job in the beginning, before you enter into a contract, to ensure that you are dealing with the correct entity that will be making your payment.

If you need help understanding how this will affect you on a specific job, don’t hesitate to phone me or book an appointment with me to come out to site and I will work through the issue with you to ensure that your job complies.

 

Have a Great Day,

Alan Williams
Electrical Inspector
04999 00225

Free Phone Advice on VSIRs, AS3000 and information specific to your job
alan@electricaltrainingonline.com.au
www.electricaltrainingonline.com.au
www.facebook.com/FailElectrical
7electrical@gmail.com

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