An increasing number of structures are prefabricated off-site and then transported to other locations for use in either a commercial, domestic or recreational setting.
These structures may be prefabricated in other states or sometimes they are even imported from other countries. They may arrive in kit form or largely complete.
This guide provides advice to electrical contractors on the requirements that apply to the electrical work for these structures, including:
- when to provide a Certificate of Electrical Compliance (CEC) to the Electrical Safety Inspection Service, TechSafe Australia, and
- how to ensure that you only energise installations that have been verified as safe.
The two methods used to connect these structures to a source of electricity are either:
- detachable connection (socket outlet and plug arrangement) that allows connection by a unskilled person, or
- direct connection to the installation wiring (also known as a fixed or hard wired connection) which must be performed by a licensed electrical practitioner.
Prefabricated structures such as food vans, caravans and motor homes are common examples of structures that may use a detachable connection and are also known as “transportable structures”. Granny flats (teenager retreats), pod homes and site sheds are more commonly connected by a direct connection.
Electrical licensing requirements
As the electrical wiring and electrical equipment within all prefabricated structures is an electrical installation, the work to assemble, repair, alter or add to this electrical installation is “electrical work”. Therefore it must only be performed by a person who holds a valid electrical practitioner’s licence.
Standards of electrical work
All low-voltage electrical work in Tasmania is required to comply with AS/NZS 3000:2018 Electrical Installations “Wiring Rules” and other Standards that apply to the particular installation. For example:
- structures used for medical purposes may need to comply with AS/NZS 3003 Electrical installations – Patient areas,
- structures on a construction site may need to comply with AS/NZS 3012 Electrical installations – Construction and demolition sites, and
- transportable structures will need to comply with AS/NZS 3001 Transportable structures and vehicles including their site supplies.
Electrical equipment within all electrical installations must also comply with the Australian Standards that apply to the equipment.
Testing and notification requirements
There is a requirement to submit a Certificate of Electrical Compliance (CEC) to the Electrical Safety Inspection Service, TechSafe Australia, within 3 days of energising an electrical installation.
If you are asked to perform a “direct connection” of a prefabricated structure to an electricity source, you need to follow one of the processes below. This is to ensure that the installation that you are connecting is safe and compliant, and that you comply with your electrical work notification requirements.
Option 1 (CEC provided with the structure)
This option applies where you are able to obtain a CEC signed by a Tasmanian licensed electrician for the electrical work within the structure which you are intending to directly connect.
This option is recommended as it provides you with confidence that the prefabricated structure that you are about to energise was wired or certified by a licensed electrician. It also means that any defects with the electrical work within the structure will be the responsibility of the original electrician who signed the CEC for that work, not you.
You should request a copy of this CEC from the person that has asked you to connect the structure prior to commencing work.
Once you obtain the CEC for electrical work within the structure, you should do the following:
- Perform a visual inspection on the structure to ensure that the electrical equipment has not been damaged, lost or stolen during transportation to the site,
- Perform a visual inspection on the switchboard to ensure that your connection is appropriate for the installation. Particular attention should be given to the earthing arrangements such as the multiple earthed neutral (MEN) and the main switch,
- Perform all the tests required to ensure that the work to connect the structure complies with AS/NZS 3000, any other applicable Standards and Tasmania’s Electricity Consumption Metering Requirements, and
- Provide the two CECs (yours and the original electrician’s) to TechSafe Australia within three days of energising the installation.
Option 2 (CEC not provided with the structure)
This option applies where you are not able to obtain a CEC signed by a Tasmanian licensed electrician for the electrical work within the structure which you are intending to directly connect to an electricity source.
This is often the case where structures have been assembled outside of Tasmania. These structures may contain non-compliant electrical equipment and may not comply with all of the requirements of AS/NZS 3000.
As there is no CEC for the electrical work within the structure, you are solely responsible for ensuring that the installation that you are connecting is compliant prior to energisation. This means that you may be held accountable for rectifying any defects with the electrical work within the structure. Therefore you should do the following:
- Perform all tests specified in Chapter 8 of AS/NZS 3000 on the electrical installation and the connection that you have performed to ensure the entire electrical installation complies with AS/NZS 3000, and any other applicable Standards,
- Ensure that the electrical installation complies with Tasmania’s Electricity Consumption Metering Requirements, and
- Provide your CEC that details the entire installation to TechSafe Australia within three days of energising the installation.
The person who signs the CEC for the installation is also responsible for ensuring that the electrical equipment within the installation is compliant prior to energisation.
Additional requirements for transportable structures and vehicles
The Occupational Licensing (Standards of Electrical Work) Code of Practice 2017 requires all electrical work performed on transportable structures and vehicles in Tasmania to have an Electrical Compliance Label completed by the electrical practitioner responsible for the work. This label must be attached in close proximity to the switchboard.
These labels are available from CBOS by calling 1300 654 499. You will need to provide a CEC number to obtain an Electrical Compliance Label.
Note: “Transportable structures and vehicles” means structures and vehicles that are within the general scope of AS/NZS 3001.
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