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Posted By Topic: Relocated House

Oct 09 2013 14:26

Quick question - does a house that has been relocated need to be brought up to current AS/NZS3000 rules or does it just need to not be unsafe and have met the rules of the day it was initially wired?

Oct 09 2013 17:18

That's the $64 million dollar question.
Ask ten inspectors, get at least 12 different answers. Here's mine.

An installation may "remain in service" if it is not unsafe ad continues to comply with original rules [ESR 113]
But a relocated house is not remaining in service.
What it is is a whole collection of fittings that have been taken out of service and are being re-used.
At the simplest level, does builder's box get treated as a new installation every new site? of course it does. Old ones without RCD simply aren't allowed.

Some of the crucial aspects of the installation, like the mains, the point of supply, and the main earthing system will be changing, and that will affect the PSSC within the installation.

That happens with any mains upgrade even without relocation, but in that case it's clearly same installation with just a couple of items being altered.

you could say that all those fittings that are being re-used o the new site are remaining n service, but i don't think that holds up. f I take a fluo fitting out of one site and move it to another, then clearly it isn't remaining in service, instead one use finishes and another starts. Meaning current rules apply at new site.

So to me, in general, new site = new ICP = new installation.

Others think differently.

One thing is certain, there is NO middle ground. It's either a existing installation with new mains, etc; or it's a new installation. So either EVERYTHING must be up to current requirements, or NOTHING needs to be upgraded (except as a direct consequence of PEW done that may have an adverse effect on safety of the installation.

There can be no half measures, and anyone who says "must fit RCDs / replace TRS / but don't worry about PECS to every lighting point or height of main switch" is simply unable to make their mind up.

Oct 09 2013 18:58

It is a new installation and must be bought up to current rules!

Oct 09 2013 21:11

This does then beg the question of a builders portable cabin that may have been wired before RCDs and that gets moved from site to site and connected up to power on the new site. Also older portable accomadation blocks. I wonder if they get rewired to code or just hooked into the new supply.

Oct 09 2013 21:34

blair - isnt that a relocatable installation (separate standard)?


Oct 10 2013 17:24

If as is stated by Alex a relocated house connected to a new supply should be upgraded then surely the same reasoning should be used on other types of movable cabins. Change the name of the house to portable house and then what don't upgrade. If safety is the prime concern then best outcome should cover all similar buildings. Obligation for people and employee safety would mean upgrading all. Crazy logic I know but why not apply logic reasonably and not keep looking for ways out of increasing safety.

Oct 11 2013 08:55

Portacoms and similar come in two flavours.
They may be "connectable installations", complying with AS/NZS 3001 and having a WoEF inspection every 4 years.

Or they may be designed for permanent connection.
Either way they are not a complete installation in their own right, they are either added to an existing installation or plugged into one.
For permanent connection, I am certain each new site = new PEW to current rules. The building clearly becomes part of a different installation each time.
Same must apply to relocatable classrooms, and any other structures designed for occasional relocation but not complying as connectable installations

For "complete" installations being relocated I can see only two possibilities: either they are "new" (using some recycled fittings); or they are "existing" applying ESRs 113 and / or 59(3).
this is one area where the ESRs are far from clear, and an official interpretation from Energy Safety would be useful as it would provide some certainty. Especially now that some who have said "you must upgrade" dealing with older wiring (without any relocation issues) have been prosecuted.
One interpretation is right and one is presumably wrong. It would be nice to know which without being dragged through the courts to decide.

Bottom line: everything that gets connected to a supply must be certified as being not electrically unsafe and compliant with ESRs. Up to the certifier to decide how they think what hey have done complies. Then they have to get it connected, and the person connecting will make the final decision as to whether they are happy to do so and to put their name to it.


Oct 18 2013 16:30

Official reply below.

Hi Warren

The answer is ‘no’ anything that is in currently in use is allowed to remain in use as long it is not unsafe.

For example you could reuse the main earth lead as long as it is long enough to reach the new earth electrode without a join in the conductor.

An existing switchboard may become unsafe by being incorrectly rated. What should ke taken into consideration is that the KA rating may have altered, for example a relocation from rural to urban in this case a solution may setting up a new MEN metering switchboard (i.e. an external metering switchboard) with the new protective device the takes care of the kA in front of the existing switchboard which would become a submained distribution board.


Oct 19 2013 20:24

Hi Z12aj. That is interesting as that subject has been raised by an inspector in my neck of the woods too. just a quick question, i was told of the email address that Regs/standards questions can be forwarded to for and official reply but i lost it. Who did you email for the "official reply"?


Oct 21 2013 10:38

Yes, please, give us the name & position of whoever gave that answer..
It's wrong and/or incomplete in several respects, so can't be trusted for this specific question of relocations.

"The answer is ‘no’"

I'll come back to this one.

"anything that is in currently in use is allowed to remain in use as long it is not unsafe."
It must also have complied when installed, and continue t comply with those (old) rules. just not being unsafe is NOT enough.
In my view, when a house is relocated, neither the "installation" nor its component parts are "continuing in use". The use has been terminated, and the new site is a new "use". Same as if you remove a fitting from one insallation and re-use it in another. Or even relocate within the same installation.

"For example you could reuse the main earth lead as long as it is long enough to reach the new earth electrode without a join in the conductor."
There is NO rule banning joins in a main earthing conductor.

"An existing switchboard may become unsafe by being incorrectly rated. What should ke taken into consideration is that the KA rating may have altered, for example a relocation from rural to urban "


"in this case" [increased PSSC] "a solution may setting up a new MEN metering switchboard (i.e. an external metering switchboard) with the new protective device the takes care of the kA in front of the existing switchboard which would become a submained distribution board."

The kA ratings of equipment at this "DB" still must be adequate , and just putting a length of "submain" cable upstream of it will not reduce the PSSC by much. The difference between new mains direct to original swbd, and new mains to new MSB plus submain to original swbd will be tiny. So if it can't comply with direct mains, it probably can't comply with mains-via meter-box.

There is NO WAY of having a device in the meterbox / MB that takes care of PSSC for all points downstream, as this "answer" implies.

What it can provide is short circuit protection downstream, so that downstream devices become overload-only. This is using, alternative position of short circuit device; specifically "condition 2". To comply, the device installed has to be capable of providing short circuit protection at ALL points of ALL subcircuits. And it must still provide discrimination for overload with every downstream overload protection device.

The suggested "cure" does NOT depend on setting up a new MEN point and MSB, it depends on installing a short circuit protection device with very particular requirements, and it could just as easily be set up at the existing switchboard.

Back to the first bit, that the answer is "No", ie that a relocated house does not need to be upgraded.
The following parts of the answer show that some items may need to be upgraded, eg where they are rendered either "electrically unsafe' or "no longer compliant".

But the "no" answer depends on seeing the installation as "continuing in service". Which as explained above I do not believe it is. Any more than a builder's box, or a used fitting.
Eg a reyrolle socket (banned from 198x for installing & selling, but able to continue in service). This "official answer" would mean I could install a used one (as long as I didn't sell it) but not a new one.
It would also mean an old builders box, with no RCD, could be relocated as a "existing" installation.

What we need from our officials is a clear statement about what continuing in service" actually means.


Oct 22 2013 10:08

Sorry guys. The person that gave me that response replied to me - not to the group. Thus I feel it appropriate not to name that person. However be assured he is an employee from ESS.

Questions can be lodged to ESS via


Oct 22 2013 11:41

But you have asked the opinion of the group?

Oct 22 2013 16:30

Yes and I have received it with thanks. I was just offering the advice I had received via other means. As although I respect the opinions of the group, the group is not the only place I ask such questions. I would also not be surprised if the "official" reads this forum.

Oct 22 2013 16:45

The best thing the officiial can do is go get a job he knows, perhaps sweeping the gutters.

Oct 23 2013 14:06

"I would also not be surprised if the "official" reads this forum"

I will email them a link then.

Oct 23 2013 16:09

Interesting response from The official , I'm with Alexk on this one as well , as soon as the "official" mentioned about the earth conductor being ok to use as long as you don't join it then his credabilty was shot to bits.If he is from ESS ( which I don't doubt ) then we deserve better.

Oct 24 2013 18:52

We need emoticons on this forum, in particular, one for tongue in check answers, but what about this flash new term we have in the regs that says "rely in good faith". Does that extend to bad advice from ESS?

Oct 25 2013 16:37

That would require having good faith in ESS and iv'e not meet a electrician who would, i'm yet to see any (useful)help from them

Sep 21 2016 11:12

Sorry to dredge up an old post. OK, so if it is alright to connect up an existing dwelling (in this case) on another plot as long as it is not electrically unsafe, and it complied under the rules at the time - even though it may have then had alterations and a partial rewire - why have I been thrown out for replacing the meterbox (in its original location) on two separate occasions by the power company inspectors???

One meterbox was 75mm too high, and the other one was 500mm too high. In both instances, the finished ground level had not be completed. The 75mm box was waiting on a concrete path. The 500mm one was waiting on a deck. The lines co. were adamant that this was non-compliant in both instances so wouldn't liven. The 500mm box had some pallets nailed together as a platform, which in turn were nailed to the house to stabilise, and we were told that this platform was "not a permanent structure, and did not meet the building code". Really??? Since when did electrical inspectors become authorities on the building code. Often the switchboard is over top of a doorway, that's just how it was. The inspector said that the replacment of the meterbox was a new installation. Now I'm really confused. I told him it was "like for like". We need more clarity on relocatable buildings for permanent connection.

Any thoughts?

Sep 21 2016 12:36

I have just read this old thread again, as the question has arisen again.
One of the responses from AlecK was;
"For example you could reuse the main earth lead as long as it is long enough to reach the new earth electrode without a join in the conductor."
There is NO rule banning joins in a main earthing conductor.

Wouldn't the join become non-compliant under if the mechanical join used an accessory, which it probably would.
Or am i reading this wrong.


Sep 21 2016 14:57

There are a few ways it could be read Zedess.

But for a crimp link for example, while it may be an accessory (fitting), it doesn't have any terminals, which is the part that you left off your quote of

"The main earthing conductor shall be run in as direct a manner as possible and shall not be directly connected to the terminal of any accessory, luminaire or appliance."

The other point is that a crimp link creates a "joint", which is different from a connection or termination (e.g. at a terminal). While "joint" doesn't seem to have its own definition?, the term is used differently than "connection" and "termination".

Sep 21 2016 15:02

Wairewa.- Are you talking about a meterbox, or a main switchboard which is in the meter box? And what height were they working off? Network rules for the height of the meter?

As for "like for like"... I thought that was an urban legend?

Sep 21 2016 17:11

So here is what the network have on their website:

"The height of the meter displays should be between 1.4m and 1.75m above ground level and able to be easily read by a standing person."

...and then...

"When replacing a meter station, it must be installed to meet the requirements of a new installation."

So, the first sentence says "should" and the second says "must".

Maybe they should install the meters lower in the new meter station. They do go on to say this:

"However, if the meter station is liable to damage from stock the displays may be up to 2.1 metres above the ground."

With the roll out of smart meters, I don't really see an issue with my meterbox installation. The meterbox goes in the existing location of the old meterbox, and is the hole is cut down where possible. I have too often seen decks built after the fact, and the meterbox door scrapes on the deck. Hardly satisfactory.

To answer your question DougP, the meterbox had no main switch nor meter isolation switch, and a brand new switchboard inside containing the main switch, though this was wired as single phase, and I had to convert to 3-phase.

Sep 21 2016 19:49

The Energy Safety Service released a business update in February 2015 regarding relocated houses.

Closest thing to an official position that you are likely to get.

Meter boxes are not covered very well by standards and regulations. The network makes the rules for their area (although the general requirements are all very similar) and despite the roll out of smart meter there is still a requirement for manual reading to be taken and access for inspection and auditing purposes.

I have refused to connect metering equipment in meter boxes less than 75 centimetres above the ground and higher that 3m above the ground.
I once refused to install a meter in a meter box that had a hole dug in the ground in front of it so that I could stand in the hole and have the meter box at the correct height.
I new that as soon as the job was livened the hole would be filled and then their would be a meter box at a height that children could access.
The inspector is thinking of the other people who will have to access the metering equipment in the future, and complying with his networks policies (which will help him keep his job).


Sep 21 2016 20:29

Next time I'll say that stock graze up to the house. Problem solved. Thanks for the link.

Sep 22 2016 04:40

"In summary, everything is allowed to remain as it was originally installed, but it has to be safe. Non-compliance with the current rules however does not make the installation unsafe."