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Posted By Topic: should this work be reported?

Jul 24 2014 19:27

working at a school, all 5 switchboards in the school have been replaced as an upgrade approx 5-10 years ago by a one man band whose stickers are all over the boards.
so far in every board there is a black men link (should only be one at the main board and should be green not black) resulting in 5amps through the earth.
earth wires sleeved with tape and used as an active.
black cables used as actives.
and numerous other small things, is it worth reporting or being of the time when coc\'s only had to be kept for 3 years will it just turn into an argument as to whos done what work?

Jul 24 2014 19:30

sorry about the poor quality picture, it shows 3 black MEN links in the one DB

Jul 25 2014 13:46

Absolutely report. It may be an argument, but it\'s not your argument.

Jul 28 2014 11:09

Why not give the Sparky a call?


Jul 28 2014 16:34

indeed was the first thing i did, initial chit chat was pleasant and he confirmed it was his job, then when i mentioned the faults i had found he became very gruff, blabbered about how anyone could have worked on the boards and didnt want to talk any further.

Jul 28 2014 17:11

Just remember that if he was just replacing an exisiting switch board then those boards may well have had links in them , and may still require them if feeding other DBs as well , so you just shouldn\'t assume they should not be there. Its true though that the link if coloured should be Green . ( a technicality rather than a real safety issue ) .
Sleeving on cables , well once again he was probably working with exisiting wiring and not required to upgrade exisiting circuits . ( still no excuse for using tape ) .
If you are going to lodge a complaint then you really need to be sure you know which regulations have been breached .


Jul 28 2014 21:29

Jacks that does bring up a couple of good points of which I don’t know the certainties...

In what case would you require more than one MEN link in an installation? It’s my understanding there is only ever one and that is in the very first switchboard of the system, any more than that and you give the neutral current an opportunity to return in the earth system.

And when upgrading an existing board I would have thought you would be responsible for bringing everything in that board up to current standards? i.e. sleeved earths would need to be replaced with correctly coloured wires.

Jul 29 2014 08:54

mikem asks when you would have multiple N-E links in an installation.
The answer is anytime before 2003, and for outbuildings right up to now.

under 1976 Regs, all DBs as well as the MSB had links
New Regs in 1993 brought in variation, with 3 kinds of swbd specified.
\"MEN\" swbds had a N-E link and a connection to an electrode.
\"Linked-busbar\" had just the link, without the connection to electrode
\"Distribution\" swbds ad neither.
These Regs (R70 to R73) stipulated which types could be fed from which other types.

That system was in place until 1/1/2003, from which date we had AS/NZS 3000:2000 cited as means of compliance, but most of it not mandated.

It wasn\'t until 1/4/2010 that we went back to fully mandatory Wiring Rules.

And even now we can install a DB as a MEN swbd, provided it is in a outbuilding supplied by a PEN submain (ie no PEC)and some other conditions are met. In theory we could have a whole string of outbuildings each fed from another and each of them with a N-E ink and a MEC to an electrode.

one useful guide to age of an installation is whether the MC is connected to the N-ar or the E-bar. Prior to 1/4/1994 MECs had to be connected to the N bar; after then they were connected to the E bar.

swbds with only one bar are even older, but I don\'t have the date that a separate E-bar became mandatory.

Jul 29 2014 09:08

mikem\'s 2nd question is abut mandatory upgrading.

regs and Standards are generally not retrospective. so only work done has to follow current Wring Rules; and existing things do not have to be upgraded.

Sleeving of green cores or use as actives and neutrals used to be common, and though it has been non-compliant with AS/NZS 3000 since at least 2003 (citation of 3000:2000)
it has only been definitely and specifically banned since 1/4/10.

It\'s easy enough to show \"non-compliant with Standard\"; but it\'s a bigger task to how \"non-compliant with Regs\".

black N-E links would be similar, as would using tape as \"sleeving\".

One thing in the list of errors is a definite problem.
Having load current flowing in an earth conductor has been prohibited since at least 2003 [clause of 3000:2000; mandated by 1997 Reg 37(3)]

Jul 29 2014 09:30

AlecK thank you very much, such detailed information is what I would have searched for next but most likely not had the patience to get to the answers you have just provided.

Jul 29 2014 10:17

Never throw away an \"obsolete\" rule book.
They come in handy for working out what rules applied when.
best is to write in the front the date they are cited by Regulations, and the date they are replaced by a later version.

It\'s a pity ES don\'t keep a full archive, my library only goes back to 1976 Regs.

Jul 29 2014 10:23

Alec K
An interesting comment you make, the ES library of old sets of regulations back to 1927 (or thereabouts) was found recently in a clean up of the ES office (part of WorkSafe NZ).


Jul 29 2014 10:46

I meant one available to the trade, eg online.
Maybe this discovery will lead to that.

Somewhere I have a copy of the original Regs, issued by the Reefton Town Clerk. One foolscap page.