What is behind mandatory certification for cables?
Unfortunate events in recent times and very precise and detailed investigation revealed that quality of
cables imported and installed in Australia not always up to minimum safety requirements.
Therefore regulatory authorities realized the need for a better controlled, overlooked market sector with
special emphasize on cables used in residential buildings and thus added ‘Building Wire Cables’ to Level 3 articles in Australia, meaning they must be certified by an appropriate certification body and listed on the EESS website. Each current, valid certificate can be checked there. Without the certificate, these ‘in-scope’ cables cannot be sold anymore. In New Zealand the same products were listed as Level 2.
What exactly is a ‘Building Wire Cable’ ?
The following definition becomes mandatory on 29 January 2018.
Building Wiring Cable is a single core or multicore electric cable insulated with polymeric materials; that:-
- (a) has one to five conductors of stranded or solid cores of copper conductors; and
- (b) has an insulated and laid up flat or circular configuration; and
- (c) is sheathed or unsheathed; and
- (d) has active phase conductors with a nominal cross-sectional area of 0.5 mm² to 16mm²; and
- (e) has an insulation designation of V-75, V-90, V-90HT or X-90; and
- (f) is intended for use in electrical installations at working voltages up to:-
- (i) 450/750V; or
- (ii) 0.6/1 (1.2) kV
But does not include: –
- (g) armoured, metallic screened and metal sheathed cables;
- (h) halogen free cables;
- (i) cables with a Fire Rating;
- (j) Supply Flexible cords;
- (k) cables where the insulation of the conductors are not individually coloured;
- (l) cables with a conductor flexibility of Class 5 or greater according to AS/NZS 1125
- (m) cables not captured by the scope of AS/NZS 5000.1 or AS/NZS 5000.2
Note 1: A Supply Flexible Cord is captured by the definition of ‘Supply Flexible Cord’ elsewhere in this schedule.
Note 2: Cables where the insulation of the conductors are not individually coloured are usually considered control cables for specialised purposes.
Note 3: Cables that have a conductor flexibility of Class 5 according to AS/NZS 1125 are commonly known as Flexible Cable.
Note 4: Cables used for the ‘consumers mains’ and Extra Low Voltage cables are previously excluded by the Act by being outside the definition of electrical installation.
Note 5: The scopes of AS/NZS 5000.1 and AS/NZS 5000.2 do not apply to polymeric insulated cables for special installations and service conditions or for which there are separate Australian/New Zealand Standards.
Do I need to get every single cable certified?
On a certificate, you can group similar cables as ‘families’. A family of in-scope electrical equipment means equipment that has the same basic electrical characteristics and material composition but may differ in dimension, colour or other aspects; and regarding the relevant standard for the equipment, can be covered by a single test report. For examples what a ‘family’ may include:
- Flat cables where all the insulation of conductors are made from same material compound and also the all the sheaths are made from the same material compound,
- but have different conductor sizes (e.g. 0.5mm², 1mm², 1.5mm², 2,5mm², 4mm², 6mm²,10mm², 16mm²) and different number of conductors (e.g. single core, twin, twin and earth).
- Circular cables where all the insulation of conductors are made from same material compound and also the all the sheaths are made from the same material compound,
- but have different conductor sizes (e.g. 0.5mm², 1mm², 1.5mm², 2,5mm², 4mm², 6mm²,10mm², 16mm²) and different number of conductors (e.g. single core, twin, twin and earth)
What cannot be included in one family:
- Flat cable and circular cable are not in the same family.
- Unsheathed insulated building cable is not in the same family as sheathed insulated cable.
- Cables that have different insulation material group, cables that are made from different insulation material
compounds or have different voltage designation are not in the same family.
- Cables that have different sheath material group, cables that are made from different sheath material
compounds or have different voltage designation are not in the same family.
During the approval process sufficient information shall be provided along with Test reports. The test report shall be to AS/NZS 5000.1 or AS/NZS 5000.2 as applicable and shall contain the following minimum requirements:
- Details of the family of cables the report covers (if applicable) and details of all tests and assessments to all applicable clauses assessed for each cable size, including detailing the material group and voltage designation.
- Optional clauses in the standard are only applied if applicable to the cable type.
- Routine tests in AS/NZS 5000.1 or AS/NZS 5000.2 test tables are not required in the test report, however the manufacturer must still carry out testing during production as normal.
- Sample and Type tests, as applicable to the type of cable, in AS/NZS 5000.1 or AS/NZS 5000.2 test tables are required.
- Where tests are conducted on a family of cables, full assessment shall be carried out on a cable with a small and large conductor size in the family range. Where the family includes a two core and earth construction the two cables chosen shall be of the two core and earth construction. Such tests shall be deemed to qualify all sizes of cable from two sizes smaller than the smallest cable tested to two sizes larger than the largest size tested.
- Tests on the two cables that are identical tests, such as insulation and sheath material tests need only be conducted on one of the cable sizes being tested.
- For the other cables in the family that are not the two cables fully tested, there shall be test results for:
- conductor resistance test of AS/NZS 1125 for each conductor size; and
- assessment of insulation thickness, sheath thickness, insulation colour identification and markings in accordance with AS/NZS 5000.1 or AS/NZS 5000.2 .
- Clear photographs of all markings and cable layouts for all cables in the family
How can CabLab help me?
We will carry out the necessary testing to the relevant Australian standard, following the above guidelines given by the regulators to Australian standards and issue a NATA accredited test report.
That report can then be submitted to a private certification body, or a a state electrical safety regulator like Energy Safe Victoria or Fair Traiding New South Wales, depending on where the responsible supplier is located.
Once the certificate is issued it is normally valid for 5 years.
A Certificate Holder is not required to be an Australian or New Zealand entity however please remember a
Certificate alone is not sufficient to sell electrical equipment under the requirements of the Electrical Equipment Safety System (EESS).
What else is there?
Everyone (manufacturer or importer) must comply with laws and regulations.
If you wish to sell your cables (or in fact any electrical product) in Australia, you will have to make sure you are doing it the right way. You need to register as ‘Responsible Supplier’ and you need to register your products in the national database as well. Unfortunately CabLab cannot help you with this, it must be done by the ‘Responsible Supplier’ who must be a legally identifiable Australian or New Zealand entity holding an Australian Business Number (ABN), or a New Zealand Inland Revenue Department (IRD) number.
If you wish to sell your cables in New Zealand, you will also need to complete a Supplier Declaration of Conformity (SDoC) for “declared medium risk article”. Most medium risk products are also (High risk) “declared articles” in Australia. The Australian certification is recognized to accompany the SDoC.
Still not clear or have other questions? Talk to us!