Electrical Safety Compliance – Switchboard Inspections and Safety Switch Testing
The inspection of main switchboards and testing of communal safety switches is something that we too often see has been overlooked by strata building owners. Not only can lack of inspection and testing be a compliance breach, it can also contribute to major safety hazards that can be avoided. Many older buildings will not be up to the current Australian electrical safety Standards if they have not been upgraded and may even have potential hazards if they have not been periodically inspected and tested.
Australian Standard (AS 3019 -2007) refers to the periodic verification for electrical services within common areas to be completed. It a strong safety recommendation that all Body Corporates complete switchboard inspections every 2 years as a minimum as it a critical piece of infrastructure for the supply of power to the building.
Inside the main switchboards there are usually safety switches for the communal lights and power with safety switches for individual properties located within their individual switchboards. These safety switches should be tested by a licensed electrical contractor to ensure that they are tripping within the required time of 300 milliseconds cutting power to any faulty source. If a safety switch does not trip within the required time, it is deemed faulty and should be replaced immediately. Safety switches must be tested in accordance with AS/NZ 3760:2010, which specifies that inspection and test must be completed every 6mths (push button) and 2 years (operating time test).
To avoid the risk of non-compliance that could lead to electrical safety hazards which commonly cause electrical fires and shock, check your inspection records for currency and if out of date, get in touch with a qualified electrician to bring the safety of your building back up to the required safety standard.
This article was contributed by George Koulouris, Director – Foss Electrical