Wiring Rules 2018: Part 2, Section 6
Electricity and water make poor bedfellows, but they often have to be near each other to meet architectural and lifestyle needs.
The safe bringing together of power and water continues to be a challenge but hopefully the changes to Section 6 ‘damp situations’ will throw more light on how best to manage this.
There are often obvious signs of something amiss, like a tingle from a tap in the shower, bath or laundry. And if there is one piece of advice worth heeding and passing on to the occupiers in such situation, it is: “Get out from wherever you are, ring the electricity distributor and do not go back until it is made safe.”
Some anecdotal information suggests that up to 25% of reported shock incidents involve a problem with the neutral connection to the premises putting the person in harm’s way when they become a part of the return path.
This section is very important where there is a water container, flowing water or a damp situation plus conductive parts – earthed or just connected to the mass of earth – that are both within arm’s reach.
Changes listed in the ‘preface’ include:
- additional content for water containers not normally entered by people;
- installation requirements for deluge showers;
- Zone 1 areas for different shower head locations;
- reduction of water containers to 40L (max);
- zoning for hinged doors on showers;
- increase of spa pools to 680L;
- prohibition of generating systems and inverters in classified zones; and
- exclusion zones for location of pools and spas from creating a hazardous zone for electricity distributor equipment.
Substantial changes from the 2007 edition in Part 2 Section 6 in page order include:
- Under ‘baths, showers and other fixed water containers’, ‘scope’, the final words ‘with earth potential’ are changed to ‘with the general mass of earth’. The sentence before ‘notes’ is reworded and cross-referenced but not otherwise materially changed. (p317)
- Under ‘(c) Zone 1’ for a shower, item (ii) is clarified for a fixed wall shower to allow the 1.2 dimension to be reduced where a barrier is installed, providing this is at least 1.8m or as high as the wall connection. Item (iii) has been clarified for a fixed ceiling shower with differing arrangement as well as Australian and NZ requirements. An exception is also added. The last two previous exceptions have been changed and these now apply to Australia and NZ respectively. A further item (vi) dealing with the height of the fixed plumbing connection that was previously in the note is added, with examples of barriers detailed in the remaining note. (p318)
- Under ‘other fixed water containers’ (b) the maximum volume of each water container is reduced to 40L from 45L, as it is understood this volume is the most used. Likewise, for (c) the volume is also reduced to 40L. There are no other changes. (p319)
- New heading ‘electrical generation systems’ is added to specifically exclude installation of generators, generating systems, inverters and batteries in any classified zone. A separate line to this effect is included in Table 6.1. (p322-323)
- New figures are slotted in as Figure 6.5 and Figure 6.6 to show a shower with a fixed ceiling plumbing connection (e.g.: rain shower). Likewise Figure 6.8, showing a shower with a hinged door and 6.11 for a ceiling fixed shower with a barrier. Some existing figures have also been adjusted. (p327-328, p330, p333)
- Previous figures showing water containers have been renamed and their volume reduced to 40L per container. (p335-336)
- Maximum capacity under ‘spa pools or tubs’, ‘general’, is increased from 500L to 680L. (p337)
- First paragraph under ‘luminaires, appliances and other electrical equipment’ now includes the specific exclusions and cross-referencing for classified zones. (p340)
- New heading ‘electricity generating systems’ has been added to prohibit installation of electricity generating systems, generator sets, power systems, inverters and batteries in any classified zone. This is included in an additional line in Tables 6.2 and 6.3. (p342, p351 and p344, p352)
- A new heading ‘electricity distributor’s electrical equipment’ prohibits pools and spas in areas where this would mean distributor electrical equipment, pits and cabinets would then end up being in a classified zone. This has been included in an additional line in Table 6.2 and 6.3. This has arisen from situations where pools and the like have been installed almost on top of pre-existing distributor equipment. (p342, p352 and p344, p352)
- A new Table 6.3 (as referenced above) for ‘selection and installation of electrical equipment for fountains and water features’ is included. (p352)
- Under ‘saunas’ the second paragraph is split and a cross-reference added, but there is no change of intent. (p354)