Welcome to the Q2 2019 issue of BRCA Bytes for Registered Cablers
There is so much to learn from this issue – from updates on the latest ICT technologies and cabling standards, to new laws on employment and contracting, to the economic outlook for the construction industry. With such diversity, you probably won’t be interested in reading every article below, but whatever your role in the cabling industry, you’ll find something beneficial to glean from reading this newsletter.
In particular, we’d like to draw your attention to the ‘New Cabling Standards Released’ article, announcing the release of AS 11801 suite of cabling standards that immediately replace the long-standing AS 3080 standard. There are significant changes to the cabling standards article that affect all cablers, so it is important for you to know the latest information on these standards.
I also want to draw your attention to the ‘BICSI articles on Digital Power’ article. This is an extract from a sizable 2-part article BICSI wrote for ECD magazine that addressed safety issues for the growing deployment of remote powering, otherwise known as ‘PoE’ and digital power. If you’re starting to get requests from clients for PoE services, you need to read the full article now.
Lots more informative articles on issues that affect the cabling industry, so take some time to sit down and digest the information.
And just one simple reminder about terminology. Most cablers correctly refer to themselves as “ACMA Registered Cablers”, which is the term the regulator – the ACMA – decided on years ago. But back in the nineties, cablers were “Austel Licenced Cablers”, because the regulator, known as Austel at the time, called it an “Austel licence”. Some cablers still call themselves “Austel licenced”, but it’s slowly diminishing. So the next time you’re introducing yourself, tell them you’re an “ACMA Registered Cabler”.
CEO, BICSI Registered Cablers Australia
New Victorian Labour Hire Licensing Scheme
The Victorian Labour Hire Licensing Scheme commenced 29 April 2019, aimed at making the labour hire system fairer for workers, businesses and providers. Labour hire providers have six months to apply for a licence or else face significant penalties of more than $500,000.
The State Government is implementing the scheme to bring a new level of integrity and scrutiny to the labour hire industry and keep workers safe and free from exploitation.
The independent Victorian Inquiry into the Labour Hire Industry and Insecure Work uncovered widespread abuse, underpayment and exploitation of many workers.
To obtain a licence, contractors will be required to pass a ‘fit and proper person test’ and show compliance with workplace laws, labour hire laws and minimum accommodation standards. They will also need to report annually on their activities.
Labour Hire Authority Commissioner, Steve Dargavel said: “Our focus is to ensure that workplace law is not breached in respect of labour hire workers. The Authority is here to help, and we encourage anyone to contact us for information or guidance through the licensing process.”
Further information on the scheme and the application process can be obtained fromhttps://labourhireauthority.vic.gov.au/apply-for-a-labour-hire-licence/.
BICSI articles on Digital Power
Two articles written by BICSI South Pacific were recently published in ECD magazine, discussing the safety aspects of remote powering (Part 1) and digital power (Part 2), specifically looking at the standards and regulations that address them, as well as the market drivers and their uptake.
Extracts from Part 1 (Remote powering):
“We’re seeing a surge in demand for technologies like Power over Ethernet (PoE), Power over HDBaseT (PoH) and new concepts labelled ‘Digital Ceiling’ and ‘Intrinsically safe office’ from the market. As a result, the lines between electrical and communications services are becoming blurred – what was considered safe could now be potentially hazardous and what was considered hazardous could now be potentially safe.
“To help mitigate safety risks, standards bodies stipulate temperature-rise parameters that, if exceeded could result in combustion and permanent deformation of cables that would render them permanently inoperable; maximum cable-bundle sizes; cable routing in catenaries, trays and conduits; cable construction; and conductor diameter to name a few.
“The soon-to-be-published cabling regulations – AS/CA S008:2019 (product) and AS/CA S009:2019 (installation) – have extensively addressed remote-powering, acknowledging its growing adoption.”
“Let’s put it simply to help distinguish the two technologies:
- Remote powering ‘adds power to data transmission’; and
- Digital power ‘adds data to power transmission’.
“The ‘Public Comment Background Paper’ issued with the draft of AS/CA S009:2019 standard addresses the impact of AS/NZS 62368.1 and how industry should deal with potential hazards, particularly energy sources [ES1, ES2, ES3] and personnel classifications.
“ES3 is considered hazardous…New requirements have been specified for cables intended for ES3 generic circuits…A maximum conductor resistance (equivalent to 0.5 mm conductor diameter), an identifiable sheath colour (‘Homebush Gold’) and clearly labelled ‘ES3 circuit’ every 2m in the colour ‘Homebush Red’.
“DR AS/CA S009 [also requires] subducting ES3 circuits when installed with other cables, and preventing access to sockets capable of carrying ES3 circuits.
“Standards have a big role to play in risk mitigation. Ultimately, adherence to these standards by all will ensure our safety along with the safety of those affected by our work.”
New electrical contractor licence eligibility requirements in Queensland
As of 17 May 2019, new eligibility requirements for qualified technical persons (QTP) and qualified business persons (QBP) came into full effect, applying to all new electrical contractor licence applications in Queensland.
This includes applications resulting from changes to business structures, such as changing from trading as an individual to operating as a company. To ensure a smooth transition, individuals and/or companies need to ensure their nominated QTP and QBP are still eligible before changing their business structure.
If QTPs/QBPs are employees and they leave the business, the employer must advise the Electrical Safety Office within one month and nominate new qualified persons who meet the new eligibility requirements.
To avoid licence suspension, companies should consider having other employees trained who can be nominated without delay. This additional training provides companies with a more competent workforce while preventing unnecessary business interruptions.
For more information, go to www.electricalsafety.qld.gov.au
Outlook for Construction Industry is ‘Steady as she goes’
The latest industry forecasts from Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) indicate that building and construction work activity in 2018-19 will fall by 5% to $239 billion in Australia. This outlook will be finely balanced, with the current uptick in Non-Residential Building activity combined with surging Engineering Construction activity expected to largely offset the downturn in Residential Building activity.
Residential Building Activity: already in decline with a contraction of 1.5% is expected this year, bringing the value of work done to $103 billion. Recent falls in house prices and deteriorating market conditions are expected to drive steeper falls in Residential Building activity with the value of building work projected to fall to $91 billion by 2020-21.
Non-Residential Building Activity: In contrast, Non-Residential Building is midway through a growth phase, with the value of work rising by 11% last year to reach $42 billion. Expanded investment in accommodation, offices, and other commercial buildings has buoyed Non- Residential Building activity. Government and public-sector investment are also supporting growth especially in education, defence and community facility projects.
Engineering Construction Activity: grew 21% last year to reach $67 billion. Continued strong growth is forecast, raising work done to $76 billion in 2020-21. Significant and sustained increases in construction of transport infrastructure and in utilities projects is underway and gathering momentum. Heavy industry including mining is expected to see a reduction of $11 billion in the value of work done this year but is forecast to recover and grow at 6-8% per annum over the next two years.
Building and Construction Employment: expected to lose 29,000 jobs this year, falling to 1.1 million jobs, accounting for 9.2% of employment across Australia in 2018-19. Construction employment is projected to hover around 1.15 million jobs over the next three to four years, reflecting expectations that workers displaced from the cyclical downturn in Residential Building activity will be largely soaked up through burgeoning Engineering Construction activity and upturn in Non-Residential Building activity.
Industry Outlook: Although the downturn in the residential market may spill over into the rest of the economy reducing consumer confidence and dragging down growth, the level of total building and construction work is projected to stabilise and hover around $240 billion a year over the next two-to-three years.
New Cabling Standards Released
The much anticipated replacement for AS/NZS 3080 cabling standard – a suite of six AS 11801 standards – was officially announced on 24 May 2019.
This is a massive step-change for the cabling industry, as it accommodates the advancements in new technologies that we’ve seen since the outgoing standard was published back in 2013.
The new AS 11801 suite of cabling standards is also far more complex than AS/NZS 3080 and, in the 12 months leading up to its release, BRCA communicated details about it, to help educate the industry about its format and content.
The single volume 3080 standard has been replaced by a six-volume 11801 suite of standards:
- AS/NZS 11801.1:2019 ‘Information technology – Generic cabling for customer premises General requirements’. Click here to preview.
- AS 11801.2:2019 ‘Information technology – Generic cabling for customer premises Office premises’. Click here to preview.
- AS 11801.3:2019 ‘Information technology – Generic cabling for customer premises Industrial premises’. Click here to preview.
- AS 11801.4:2019 ‘Information technology – Generic cabling for customer premises Single-tenant homes’. Click here to preview.
- AS 11801.5:2019 ‘Information technology – Generic cabling for customer premises Data centres’.Click here to preview.
- AS 11801.6:2019 ‘Information technology – Generic cabling for customer premises Distributed building services’. Click here to preview.
Now that they’re published, we encourage all cablers to get familiar with the volumes that affect them and, to start with, click on the preview links in this article to get to know these new standards better.
$100,000 fine for Airtasker fake electrician
A man posing as an electrician on the online marketplace Airtasker – but was not qualified – was recently fined AU$100,000 in the Brisbane Magistrates Court after being investigated by Electrical Safety Office (ESO).
The man posed as a qualified electrician and advertised electrical services on Airtasker in Brisbane 2015 to 2017. However, he had never held an electrical contractor licence or any qualifications to perform electrical work.
The ESO received a complaint about his work after a licensed electrician found substantially defective work in a home which the individual had been paid to complete through Airtasker.
An ESO investigation established that he conducted similar unlicensed and non-compliant electrical work at another eight addresses through Airtasker.
The man was convicted and ordered to pay a $100,000 fine for 13 offences under the Electrical Safety Act 2002:
- Four offences relating to particularly dangerous electrical work that exposed individuals to a risk of death or serious injury;
- Eight offences relating to the performance of electrical work while not holding an electrical work licence; and
- One offence relating to conducting a business including the performance of electrical work while not holding an electrical contractor licence.
In issuing the hefty fine, the Magistrate noted that, while no-one was killed or injured, the potential consequences were significant. The Magistrate also noted the man had not cooperated with the investigation and there was no indication he felt remorse for his actions.
Although this is an electrical incident, it sends a strong message that unlicensed work of any sort, including that advertised on Airtasker, will not be tolerated by regulators.
All of the cabling registrars, including BRCA, have discussed the issue of unlicensed cabling work being performed by Airtasker-listed people with the ACMA, who have advised they are addressing the potential performance of illegal cabling work carried by unregistered individuals advertising such services on Airtasker.
Queensland to mandate de-energisation for all residential roof space work
The Queensland Office of Industrial Relations (OIR) is preparing a regulatory amendment to the Electrical Safety Regulation 2013 (Qld), requiring de-energisation (turning off the source of electricity at the main switchboard) prior to conducting any work in residential roof spaces.
This will affect all Queensland cablers who perform cabling work in residential properties, as the regulation will apply to any trade or service provider working in a dwelling’s ceiling space.
The amendment has been developed in response to multiple electrocutions in roof spaces in recent years and advocacy for more stringent regulatory requirements. It is also timely, given the increase in battery powered tool and lighting options that don’t require extension cords to be run into the roof space.
- The regulation will create two mandatory requirements:
- A person conducting a business or undertaking must de-energise the building’s electrical installation prior to work in or via the building’s roof space (non-compliance will incur 60 penalty units (PU)); and
- Workers must not work in or via the roof space of a building that has not had its electrical installation de-energised (10 PU penalty).
- The regulation applies broadly to domestic dwellings and structures (Class 1, 2 and 10a buildings under the Building Code). Hotels, commercial buildings and shopping centres will not be subject to the regulatory requirements.
- The regulation provides an exemption to mandatory de-energisation for work done by a competent person in order to test, service or commission equipment in or via a roof space (e.g. air conditioner), provided the competent person completes a risk assessment and is satisfied the work can be safely done.
- The regulation provides further exemption where it’s not practicable to de-energise supply of electricity to the roof space, such as from a solar power system, wind turbine or battery.
The amendments align with the regulatory approach taken in Western Australia that came into effect 1 July 2018.Subject to Ministerial approval, the amendments are proposed to commence on 1 July 2019.
For more information, call 1300 362 128 or visit www.electricalsafety.qld.gov.au
How much do you know about asbestos?
Worksafe Victoria recently reminded the construction and building services industries that the dangers of asbestos exist in far more places than most people think.
Before it was banned in Australia in 2003, asbestos was used in more than 3,000 common building materials like cement roofing, water pipe insulation and vinyl tiles.
Although asbestos hasn’t been used in Australia since the 1980s, it’s still found in as many as one in three Australian homes.
Worksafe Victoria started an education campaign directing people – especially tradies – towww.asbestos.vic.gov.au for important information to help home occupants, employers and employees understand the risks of asbestos. This includes the legal duties that apply; how to comply with those duties; and the resources for safely managing and removing asbestos in homes and workplaces.
According to the web site, Australia has one of the highest rates of asbestos-related disease in the world, and tradies are among the most at risk for asbestos exposure. Knowing what to look for might not be as easy as most people think.
The website provides help to identify where asbestos might lurk and how to safely dispose of it. It contains guidance from WorkSafe Victoria, the Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
Have you checked out www.registeredcablers.com.au yet?
If you’re doing any cabling that has the potential to be connected to the NBN, you’ll need to visit this site regularly to keep up with the latest information on premise cabling, the NBN rollout and the technologies enabled by the NBN. You can also register there as a qualified cabler for consumers to contact when they need cabling carried out in the homes and businesses.