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Does Your Switchboard Meet Standards?

Many are not aware that switchboard regulations have been revised in Australia and New Zealand to address market changes.

To stay up to date there are a few things you need to know.

Switchboards are integral to the smooth operation of shopping centres, commercial buildings, factories and apartment blocks. When installing custom control panels and switchboards, you need to be confident they both meet current regulations and suit the environment.

Technological advances and changes in market needs and regulations have led to evolving switchboard solutions and the rise of industry experts to meet these dynamic requirements.

When selecting a switchboard manufacturer there are two key questions you need to ask to ensure you achieve the most practical and economical solution.

1. What changes have been made to switchboard compliance?

In May 2016, Australia and New Zealand released the joint switchboard standard AS/NZS 61439. This was designed to reflect technological changes and ensure standards were up to date.

Switchboards which have been assembled to meet the new standards need to be tested, compared and evaluated in the following areas:

· Strength of parts and materials

· Clearance

· Level of protection (IP)

· Creepage distance

· Reliability of protection circuits and electric shock protection

· Integration of components and connection devices

· Internal connections and electrical circuits

· External conductor terminals

· Dielectric properties

· Temperature increases

· Resistance to short-circuits

· Mechanical operation

· Electromagnetic compatibility

Switchboards also need to comply with local standards, which vary between states and territories. Western Australia, Victoria and Queensland, for example, have their own specific requirements for installing and serving switchboards. Some of the characteristics that may vary between locations include switchboard dimensions, labelling requirements, height from the floor and how they are fixed.

2. Have the new standards come into effect yet?

Until 2021 switchboards must be constructed to the older compliance standard (AS/NZS 3439). After this date, it will be compulsory to be compliant with the new standard.

Until the new standard comes into effect, end users such as apartment and shopping complexes, need to be aware of the changes on the horizon so they can prepare for the knock-on effects these alterations may have.

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