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Prefabricated modular buildings and prefabricated sections of buildings

Introduction

Following enquiries from manufacturers, the building industry, electrical trade, other regulators and Members of Parliament, it is important ESV provides clarity on the electrical compliance requirements for prefabricated modular buildings and prefabricated modular rooms.

Definition

Prefabricated modular buildings and/or rooms are generally small buildings or rooms for buildings that are manufactured off-site and moved to the the block of land where they are to be fixed (onsite) once constructed. Prefabricated modular buildings and/or rooms can arrive to a site either as a flat pack or fully constructed. Where prefabricated modular buildings and/or rooms include electrical wiring and/or electrical equipment they are considered electrical installations[1].

Accepted practice

In Victoria, all electrical installations including installed electrical equipment must comply with the requirements of the Electricity Safety Act 1998 (The Act), the Electricity Safety (Installations) Regulations 2009 (the Regulations), the Australian/New Zealand Wiring Rules AS/NZS 3000[2] (the Rules) and any other relevant Australian standards for electrical equipment[3]. Prefabricated modular buildings and/or rooms are not transportable structures as defined in AS/NZS3001, Electrical installations – Transportable structures and vehicles including their site supplies[4].

Although prefabricated modular buildings and/or rooms are manufactured off-site, they must still be inspected, tested and be provided with a certificate of compliance identifying that they comply with the requirements of the Act, the Regulations and any other relevant Australian standards for electrical equipment[5].

It is not a requirement that licensed electricians or engaged registered electrical contractors (REC) carry out the installation of the wiring or electrical equipment in prefabricated modular buildings and/or rooms where they are manufactured at a place, other than the land where they are to be fixed[6] (off-site/in a factory).

Current requirements

The current accepted practice in Victoria is for the manufacturer to inspect and test the electrical installation component of the prefabricated modular building and prefabricated modular room to the requirements of section 8 of the Rules[7]. A certificate of compliance for that particular prefabricated modular building or room is required. This certificate of compliance may also include the certificate of compliance for individual pieces of electrical equipment installed in the prefabricated modular building or room.

The manufacturing process may also include the employment of licensed electricians or engagment of an REC to perform the electrical installation work involved with the prefabricated modular building and/or room. In this case, the employed licensed electrician or engaged REC can issue a certificate of electrical safety (COES) in a form prescribed by ESV[8].

When the prefabricated modular building and/or room is delivered  onsite, the onsite electrician can accept the certificate of compliance or COES issued by the manufacturer, certifying the electrical installation and electrical components of the prefabricated modular building and/or room meets the requirements of the Act, Regulations and Rules and any other relevant Australian standards for electrical equipment.

The onsite electrician can carry out the required electrical work to connect the prefabricated modular building and/or room to the sites electricity supply, carry out all the necessary testing to verify the electrical installation will be safe and compliant and then issue a COES for the connection[9], referring to the certificate of compliance or COES issued by the manufacturer.

The practice of issuing a certificate of compliance or a COES by the manufacturer, installing electrician or REC at the place of manufacture provides assurance to the onsite electrician that these products comply with the Act, Regulations and Rules, and any other relevant Australian standards for electrical equipment, have been tested and are safe to connect to the electricity supply. This negates the need to remove the electrical accessories and/or cladding.

Contact us

For more information, please contact Neil Fraser on 03 9203 9700 or at neil.fraser@energysafe.vic.gov.au.

 

[1] Electricity Safety Act 1998, s 3 (definition of electrical installation).

[2] Electricity Safety (Installations) Regulations 2009, r 202.

[3] Electricity Safety Act 1998, s 54.

[4] AS/NZS3001, Electrical installations – Transportable structures and vehicles including their site supplies, cl 1.1.3

[5] Electricity Safety Act 1998, s 54.

[6] G17_1999 as amended by Orders in Council published in the Government Gazette on: 16 December 1999 (G50), 27 January 2000 (G4), 7 September 2000 (G36), 24 October 2002 (G43), 16 December 2004 (G51); 19 October 2006 (G42); 13 August 2009 (G33) and 6 February 2013 (S34), Part 3 cl (a).

[7] Electricity Safety (Installations) Regulations 2009, r 231.

[8] Electricity Safety Act 1998, s 45A.

[9] Electricity Safety Act 1998, s 45A.