Risk categories, and definitions for prescribed electrical work (PEW)

A number of enquires have been received to clarify the risk categories applying to types of PEW associated with electrical installations.

The following is provided to give clarity to the provisions of the Regulations, noting that the three categories are determined by defining the PEW in the low risk category first, followed by the high risk category. All PEW not assigned to the low or high risk categories are then defined as general work.

Types of PEW

Maintenance

Relevant regulation: Established in ESR 6A

Additional guidance: In all cases this is low risk work. Maintenance is principally driven by ESR 59.

Repair

  • Included in the definition of maintenance (ESR 4)
  • In all cases this is low risk work.

Replacement

Relevant Regulation: Established in ESR 6A. Allows relocation or extension only to replace a fitting.

Additional guidance: In all cases this is low risk work. Replacement is principally driven by ESR 59. ESR 59(3) allows restoration to “Original condition”.

Upgrade

  • When in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions, or AS/NZS 3000, upgrading is a replacement. Upgrading to address increased supply fault rating is also a replacement. The installation of higher capacity fittings to address increased usage of an installation is an alteration. For mains work this becomes high risk.

Install

Relevant regulation: Definition is established in ESR 4
Additional guidance: In most circumstances this is general PEW, except where ESR 6A defines it as high risk.

Construct

  • Relevant regulation: Included in the definition of Install (ESR 4)

Alter

  • Relevant regulation: Included in the definition of Install (ESR 4)
  • Additional guidance: Used in AS/NZS 3000 Includes overhead to underground conversions. (For mains work this becomes high risk)

Addition

  • Relevant regulation: Included as “add” in the definition of Install (ESR 4)
  • Additional guidance: Used in AS/NZS 3000.

Relocate

  • Relevant regulation: Included in the definition of Install (ESR 4)
  • Additional guidance: Includes the extension of cables (conductors) and rerouting of existing cables.

Revenue Meters

Relevant regulation: Specific provisions apply to metering. See definition of “Mains work” (ESR 4).

Additional guidance: All metering replacements are low-risk. Installation of new meters is general risk, except that work on any meter installation that can affect the continuity of the mains neutral, or polarity of the mains, is defined as high-risk.

Reconnections and restoration of power

Relevant regulation: Reconnections and restoration of power following a disconnection or isolation to allow safe work to be carried out is not subject to certification and is not assigned a risk category (ESR 74).

Additional guidance: Reconnections and restoration of power following a disconnection or isolation of more than 6 months require certification in accordance with AS/NZS 3019.

PEW on Works

Relevant regulation: Not subject to certification or an assigned risk category.

Additional guidance: Note: An ESC is required for a connection made in works that is the final step that will allow electricity to flow in the installation on which other PEW work has been done. (Reg 73A).

Periodic Assessments

Relevant regulation: Periodic assessments are not PEW, however most are required to be performed by a licenced inspector. They are therefore not assigned a risk category (ESR 75).

Additional guidance: Note: Periodic Assessments are not an “inspection” and therefore not restricted to a person independent from the installer or “maintainer”.

Inspection

Relevant regulation: All High Risk PEW must be inspected for the purposes of ESR 70. The inspection must not rely on the certification issued by the installer, and must independently verify the safety of the completed work (ESR 71).

Additional guidance: Installation Standards have references to “inspection”. These references relate to the visual and similar checks that the installer must carry out as part of their installation work. They may also act as a guide to aspects of the installation an inspector should consider for inspection.