|Tic Tag Systems licenced and experienced electricians utilise high end multi function testers coupled with best practices including testing from the socket and/ or test modules to ensure your mine site and accommodation village RCD testing is effective in providing protection against electric shock for your personnel. Acceptable work practices of RCD testing have adapted over time to ensure safety is put above all else and the risk of a potential arc flash hazard is eliminated. The department of Building and Energy released Electrical Focus Issue 5 (page 8) and included an article on why RCD testing from the switchboard with the escutcheon panel removed is rarely justified, if ever. The article points out that a very satisfactory, indeed preferable, safe alternative method is available. This means that injection testing from a switchboard contravenes Regulation 55 of the Electricity (Licensing) Regulations 1991.
Injection testing of RCDs and RCBOs at a switchboard with the escutcheon panel
Too many of the flash burns suffered by electricians in recent years stemmed from working on live switchboard circuits, often in direct contravention of Regulation 55.
Building and Energy Inspectors will have no option but to take appropriate action upon receiving reports of any electrician performing injection testing at switchboards where an escutcheon panel has been removed exposing uninsulated live parts.
Draft Standard AS/NZS 3019:2021 – Electrical Installations – Periodic Assessment has been released for public comment. It caters for both ‘limited testing’ and ‘additional testing’ of installations. For RCDs and RCBOs, limited testing is all that is needed in most instances.
For limited testing, Clause 184.108.40.206(a) states:
“Operate the test button twice to confirm correct operation.”
This is the only test necessary in most installations and for most owners. The ‘additional testing’ option in Clause 5.7 merely states:
“the correct operation of RCDs shall be assessed by the use of test equipment.”
Pressing the ‘Test’ button of an RCD or RCBO should cause it to trip without noticeable delay.
If injection testing is required by installation owners to determine RCD compliance for trip time and current, it should be conducted at a socket outlet or luminaire at the extreme end of a final sub-circuit. This will confirm the integrity of the entire circuit and minimize the available energy should a fault event occur.
For newly installed RCDs or RCBOs, Clause 8.3.10 of AS/NZS 3000:2018 (Wiring Rules) allows for the verification of the RCD operation by either pressing the integral test button or by using special test equipment. Note 4 of the clause confirms there is no requirement to test the operating time of RCDs since this is a function of the type of RCD.
Below is information pertaining to residential installations:
A minimum of two RCDs protecting all power and lighting circuits must be fitted to a residential property before it can be sold and the transfer of title takes place. Penalties apply if RCDs are not fitted and the land title is transferred to another person.
Where a property is intended to be demolished, the seller is not required to install RCDs at the point of sale. The buyer must provide written notice to the seller, stating that the property will be demolished within six months of transfer. If the property is not demolished within six months of transfer, the buyer must then install the required number of RCDs. If the buyer does not do so, he/she is in breach of the regulations.
I have purchased a new property and all the power and lighting circuits are not protected by two RCDs. What do I do?
Real estate agents
Real estate agents should inform potential vendors that RCDs must be installed prior to the transfer of ownership of the property. When establishing property details from the vendor, it is recommended that the real estate agent include the following question on the vendor’s property declaration:
“Is the house fitted with at least two RCDs which protect all power and lighting circuits?”
The settlement agent should provide their client with a copy of Building and Energy’s RCD fact sheet. The appropriate time to provide this information is when an agent obtains or confirms an appointment to act. Supplying this information to clients will help agents comply with standards of due care and skill.
Regulations require all residential homes to be fitted with at least two RCDs protecting all power and lighting circuits.
Landlords must arrange for a minimum of two RCDs to be installed at their rental premises before offering the property for lease.
Regulations require all rental properties to be fitted with at least two RCDs protecting all power and lighting circuits in the house.
Check that at least two RCDs are installed before entering into a tenancy agreement.
Tenants should test their RCDs every three months to ensure their reliability. They should inform the property manager if the RCD does not operate. Faulty RCDs must be replaced immediately.
I have moved into a rental property and all the power and lighting circuits are not protected by two RCDs. What do I do?
Property managers should check their residential rental properties to ensure that at least two RCDs are fitted to protect all power and lighting circuits in the residence. At least one RCD is to be fitted to power and lighting circuits in common areas of strata properties.
If RCDs are not fitted, property managers should advise the owner to have the RCDs fitted. If the owner fails to fit the RCDs then the property manager should advise Building and Energy on 6251 1900.
It is also recommended that tenants be reminded to test the RCDs every three months and inform the property manager if the RCD does not operate. This test resets the reliability of the RCD, ensuring that it is ready to protect the occupants of the house from electric shocks. Faulty RCDs must be replaced immediately.