BICSI South Pacific CEO’s Bulletin
It’s been quite a while since the last BRCA Bytes newsletter, for which I apologise. Dealing with COVID restrictions has been a difficult time for both the BICSI and BRCA teams, but thankfully we’re finally emerging from the restrictions and returning to ‘normal’. Due to the restrictions, we had to close our Melbourne office in 2020 and work from home. As many of you found, we were still very accessible and were able to function normally in supporting the ICT industry. We also ran a number of seminars that many of you attended, most notably the Standards Update delivered by Murray Teale, Chair of the Cabling Standards Committee, which had over 500 register to attend it.
In that time, we also had some staff changes. Karl Eccles, whom most of you dealt with in 2020 and 2021, went back to the UK earlier this year. Since March this year, Maree Georgiou and Effie Corio – with whom some of you have already spoken – have taken over the reigns of supporting BRCA registered cablers.
We hope you’ve all gotten through the restrictions with minimal impost on your physical, mental, emotion & financial health. In constantly liaising with industry, we heard mixed reports from cablers. Some of you struggled with the economic downturn, but most not only ‘rode the storm’, but prospered with increased demand for their services, as businesses and consumers suddenly realised the importance of cabling within their homes for reliable internet connection. New cabling installations and upgrades became vital for people to be able to work from home, as they discovered the inadequacies of their RSP’s Wi-Fi routers. Ultimately, there is no escaping the fact that wired will always outperform wireless.
In this newsletter, you will find important information about the latest AC/CA S009:2020 cabling regulations, supported by vital reasons why you need to obtain, read and understand this latest regulation. The article ‘What do the 2020 Wiring Rules changes mean for you?’ explains the key changes between it and the previous 2013 edition, while providing helpful tips on using it and protecting yourself from any legal ramifications, even years from now.
On the subject of protecting yourself, we have another important piece of advice from OHS expert Gary Rowe in the article ‘Dealing with Safety Non-Compliance‘. Since we’re all subject to safety legislation, I encourage you all to read and absorb this information to protect yourself from challenges if you face a workplace safety issue. And if you need any expert safety help, please reach out to Gary.
I think you’ll also find the article ‘Update on How the NBN is Performing’ very helpful. We only recently learned that the ACCC conducts regular reviews of the NBN’s performance against what consumers signed up for. Since most of you provide cabling that interfaces directly with the NBN, you’re no doubt hit with questions (and opinions) from customers about the NBN. This valuable information arms you with the facts, putting you in a position of knowledge to either accurately inform people or correct misinformed opinions. The article is only brief, but it does include a link to the full report, which I encourage you to download and read through.
There’s lots of information on issues that affect the cabling industry, so please take some time to read and digest the information.
BICSI South Pacific
What do the 2020 Wiring Rules changes mean for you?
In August 2020, the mandatory telecommunications cabling regulations (AS/CA S008 – ‘Requirements for customer cabling products’ and AS/CA S009 – ‘Installation requirements for customer cabling (Wiring Rules)’) were updated to accommodate significant regulatory, industry and technological changes that have been introduced since the previous editions of the regulations.
Both standards had an 18-month phase-in period to allow the ICT industry to get familiar with the changes and put them into effect. This adjustment period was particularly relevant to cabling product suppliers to phase-in products (AS/CA S008) and to educators to update their course content (AS/CA S009). During that time – from 1 September 2020 till 29 February 2022 – either editions of the regulations (AS/CA S008:2010 or AS/CA S008:2020 for products and AS/CA S009:2013 or AS/CA S009:2020 for installation) were applicable.
Note: Both regulations make reference to the Cabling Provider Rules (CPR), which can be obtained from the Federal Register of Legislation website https://www.legislation.gov.au/Series/F2014L01684
However, March 2022 marked the end the phase-in period and applicability of just the 2020 editions of these regulations. So it’s vital for the ICT and related industries to know these regulations well and to understand the changes to their respective previous editions.
Noting this fact, the telecommunications regulator – Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA) – recently issued the statement “Registered cablers must comply with the 2020 Wiring Rules” stressing: “Cablers cannot use the 2013 Wiring Rules – they must now comply with the requirements of the 2020 Wiring Rules.” So AS/CA S009:2020 is now the single applicable legal instrument as the Wiring Rules.
Key Changes to AS/CA S009:
The objective of this regulation is to set out minimum requirements that may ensure the safety and integrity of a cabling installation and of the Telecommunications Network to which it is, or will be, connected, and to provide additional guidance for compliance with these requirements.
The principal differences between AS/CA S009: 2020 and the previous 2013 edition include:
- New Electrical Energy Source classifications (ES1, ES2, ES3) and the relevant treatment of these systems in telecommunications circuits (e.g. remote-powering, Power over Ethernet (PoE), Power over HDBaseT (PoH)), including:
- New conductor size requirements & temperature recommendations for generic cabling & cabling linking distributors:
- New identification & warning requirements for ES3 generic cabling;
- New product & installation requirements for ES3 special application circuits;
- Updated separation & subducting of hazardous services requirements to address ES1, ES2, ES3 circuits;
- Revised requirements for protection against contact with live parts of sockets in ES1, ES2, ES3 circuits;
- Rewritten Appendices to address power-feeding in telecommunications networks, including ES1, ES2 and ES3 classifications; and ES3 separation of telecommunications and electrical circuits;
- New guidance on NBN interconnection including fibre, HFC and fixed-wireless network boundaries;
- New definitions for ‘generic cabling’, ‘movable cabling’, ‘types of persons’, ‘registered engineers’, ‘arm’s reach’ and ‘RFT circuits’;
- New requirements for cabling including flexibility & strain relief;
- Updated optical fibre requirements including inspecting apparatus, laser warning marking, safety and labelling.
- New movable & pendant Telecommunications Outlet (TO) requirements, including how they are to be suspended and how the associated cable is to be restrained;
- Revised cable flammability & fire stopping requirements to better align with National Construction Code of Australia (NCC);
- Updated requirements for cabling between buildings, especially for paired conductors and use of surge suppression & line-isolation devices;
- Updated pit & access-hole requirements in vehicular areas, including new recommendation to provide information about pit and access-hole covers which aren’t opened with the typical Australian tool; and
- New requirements for installing an earthing bar/terminal at distributors terminating outdoor customer cabling.
- If you’re a registered cabler, or involved in the training of people to become cablers, download the 2020 edition of AS/CA S009 from here – free to download, use, copy and distribute.
- The document is in pdf format, so it’s very easy to use, especially to find key words without reading the entire document.
- For help searching pdf documents, see Breakout Box ‘Word search in pdf – an essential tool to quickly find information in any pdf document’ below..
- AS/CA S009: 2020 is “The Law” now, so you MUST conform to it, whether you know about it or not. That being the case, it’s in your best interests to know and understand the regulations, so you can consciously be compliant to the regulations.
- Key issues to be wary of:
- With remote-powering and digital electricity becoming commonplace in our industry, there’s a high likelihood you’ll soon be asked to install services like PoE and PoH, if you haven’t done so already. It’s important for you to be aware of what S009 say about this under the new Electrical Energy Source classifications ES1, ES2, ES3.
- With the NBN now installed to almost all buildings throughout Australia, you’re likely to encounter the variety of NBN connection types, so it’s important to know exactly where the boundaries or demarcation points are between customer cabling and the NBN.
- Providing a service to private or business customers, you’re subject to several laws that are designed to protect consumers, the network, the public, the environment, and a host of other things. Although not lawyers with knowledge of every legal issue, cabling professionals need to be aware of their responsibilities and accountabilities. The S009 Wiring Rules is a legal instrument that co-exists with many other legal instruments such as the NCC, Workplace Safety laws, Consumer Protection laws, etc. We’re subject to all these laws and more. It’s in your best interest to at least be familiar with the applicable laws to endeavour to be compliant with them. Consider the scenario in Breakout Box ‘What if something goes wrong…even years from now?’ below.
Breakout Box: Word search in pdf – an essential tool to quickly find information in any pdf document
When a PDF is opened in Acrobat Reader (the most common format you’ll open S009 in), open the Find window-pane by typing ‘Ctrl’ + ‘F’ keys together.
When the Find window-pane opens (typically in the upper right corner of screen), search by typing the word(s) you’re searching for inside the ‘text box’. The cursor will go to the first instance of the word(s) being searched for, while the search/find windowpane will display Select the Next or Previous buttons to move through the search results.
Breakout Box: What if something goes wrong…even years from now?
If something goes wrong on a site you worked on – even years ago – you can still be held liable for the consequential loss. Picture this scenario:
A fire starts in a building you installed telecomms services in 10 years ago, caused by a faulty electrical switchboard. The building owner makes a $10 million claim on their insurance company, who dutifully pays it out. The law of Subrogation gives the insurance company rights to recoup its money through any entity deemed as contributory to the loss – in this case the faulty electrical switchboard. So the insurance company lays claims against the switchboard manufacturer, the contractor who installed and commissioned it, the engineer who approved the installation, and the maintenance company who serviced and inspected it after it was installed (the amounts determined by the percentage of liability deemed by the law).
Not to worry, because you were only involved in the telecomms cabling, nothing to do with the electrical services. However, the fire report said the fire alarm didn’t contact the fire brigade because the “phone line was down”, noting faulty wiring into the fire panel. Now you’re implicated and accountable, because you fitted the telecomms wiring to fire panel. You’ve now been hit with a $2 million claim, noting 20% liability to the claim, having contributed to the spread (as distinct from the cause) of the fire. Your initial reaction is to claim on your public liability insurance policy, which seems to protect you until your insurer investigates your claim only to find your installation wasn’t compliant to the S009 regulations. Now your policy is void and you have to either pay the $2 million claim out of your own pocket, or fight your insurance company in court, which you’ll likely lose.
The simple message – cover yourself from such exposure by ensuring compliance to the relevant regulations, which can only be done by understanding and applying them.
Dealing with Safety Non-Compliance
Workplace safety expert, Gary Rowe shares his insight in how business owners and managers should deal with the critical issue of non-compliance to workplace safety legislation.
How should we as safety professionals’ deal with the inevitable non-compliances, which occur from time-to-time in every business? Should we pretend we do comply with all requirements even when we know we don’t, or should we notify the regulator of every breach, or something else?
It’s a common view amongst most organisations not to conduct full legal compliance audits because they fear the report itself could be used against them.
Every safety policy we see states something like: “…we will comply with all workplace safety laws and…”, but few organisations methodically seek to confirm this commitment is delivered.
So how do ‘best-practice’ businesses deal with non-compliances in order to find a workable way forward?
Remember, audits which discover non-compliances (legislative or other) do not create liabilities in themselves; it is only our in-action in response to such knowledge that will condemn us, as we already have the obligation, whether we have identified it or not.
A ‘safe time’ for conducting legal compliance audits is during prescribed transition periods when new legislation has been introduced. However, most organisations don’t have this luxury today if concerned about the level of compliance.
Occasionally concerned directors seek written assurance from the business managers that all operations are in full legal compliance. However, no manager can give an assurance of full legal compliance.
Refusal to give an absolute sign-off on compliance should not be confused with belligerence or incompetence. Some managers have agreed to provide a ‘systems response’ e.g.:
- A list all legislation (Federal and State) with potential relevance to the business; and
- Identification of the relevant legislative requirements (from each piece of relevant legislation); and
- A list of systems/procedures in place designed to deliver compliance; and
- Validation comments e.g., current status of the compliance systems.
This is a ’systems response’, which is consistent with most legislation which requires compliance “as far as reasonably practicable”.
Managers can ensure effective systems are in place but cannot guarantee the behaviour of every individual in every circumstance.
If you need more information on this subject, or wish to discuss a legal compliance audit, or an executive briefing, call Gary Rowe on 03 8544 4300 or email email@example.com
Update on How the NBN is Performing
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) conducts quarterly appraisals of how the NBN is performing in delivering internet to Australian consumers. In June 2022, the ACCC published its 17th review of overall broadband speeds across the network. In summary, the NBN is delivering close to consumers’ expectations, but there is room for improvement.
The report noted that nationally, the average NBN fixed-line performance against ‘Plan speeds’ during 7pm and 11pm (‘busy hours’) in Q1 2022 was 96.5% for downloads and 84.3% for uploads. The best-performing NBN technology was fibre-to-the-premise (FTTP), with an impressive average download performance of 101.2% of plan; while the worst-performing NBN technology was fixed-wireless (FW), with an average download performance of 76.3% of plan, albeit delivering a respectable 36.8Mbps.
Notably, FW uses radio signals rather than fibre or copper cable running directly to the premise. It is mostly used in regional and remote areas where properties are spread far apart, so it represents a low percentage of internet connections.
This in-depth report compares the performance of each of the major retail service providers – including percentage delivery against the various speed plans offered; actual download and upload speeds; and differing NBN connection formats – so it avails cablers of helpful information to address any internet performance concerns of their customers.
We encourage registered cablers to download and read the full 55-page report from https://www.accc.gov.au/system/files/Measuring%20Broadband%20Australia%20-%20Report%2017%20-%20June%202022.pdf, so they are in a more informed position to comment on the NBN’s performance.
Have you checked out www.registeredcablers.com.au lately?
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.
Click on the image below to visit the web site.