The Wiring Rules AS/NZS3000 VS The Reg Book

Is AS/NZS 3000 the Wiring rules or the Reg book? You may find that the opinion about the answer to this question is divided. My name is Tony Robins, let me share my experience about this question.

Wiring Rule or Wiring Method?

While teaching licensed sparkies in the Construction Wiring Course from 1999 until 2019 at RMIT, Holmesglen (Futuretech) and the Centre for You (Online with Bendigo Kangan Institute), I have been exposed to some of the most brilliant electricians in Australia.

These tradies turn up to a vacant block of dirt called a construction site, generally with minimal site electrical plans or final architectural drawings. They then have to design and construct an electrical installation for a multimillion-dollar commercial or industrial project from scratch.

These were my student cohort, tough, uncompromising and wanted to get the job done as efficiently and safely as possible. But, almost always, their burning question was, what are the rules, and where do I find this info? The most frequently asked question was, “Is it a wiring rule or a wiring method?”

Isn't The Electrician's Bible AS/NZS 3000 the Reg Book?

Let’s clarify something first. The electrician’s bible AS/NZS3000:2018 is a book of Wiring Rules. And the Electricity Safety General Regulations 2019 is the Regulation. So the Regulation overrides AS/NZS 3000 every time because it is a Regulation or the law.

I have worked with many TAFE teachers and still do. They have an interesting way of interpreting this information. And unfortunately, most of them refer to the Wiring Rules as the REG book, which drives me crazy!!! The Wiring Rules and the Reg book are two different things. The wiring rules or AS/NZS 3000:2018 is a Mandatory Australia Standards book, which is made mandatory by the Reg book or the Electricity Safety General Regulations 2019

Example of Wiring Rules VS Reg Book

Mandatory Tests in AS/NZS 3000:2018 Amendment 1

Consider this example. Up to 2020, when the AS/NZS 3000:2018 Amendment 1 was published, there were 6 Mandatory Tests for a low voltage installation. According to Clause 8.3.3.1, they were

  1. Continuity of the earthing system (8.3.5)
  2. Insulation resistance (8.3.6)
  3. Polarity (8.3.7)
  4. Correct circuit connections (8.3.8)
  5. Verification of impedance required for automatic disconnection of supply (earth fault-loop impedance) (8.3.9)
  6. Operation of RCDs (8.3.10)

Mandatory Tests in AS/NZS 3000:2018 Amendment 2

However, after Amendment 2, published in 2021, two out of six tests are amalgamated, bringing the total Mandatory Tests to 5. Here is the latest list

  1. Continuity of the earthing system (8.3.5)
  2. Insulation resistance (8.3.6)
  3. Polarity and Correct circuit connections (8.3.7)
  4. Verification of impedance required for automatic disconnection of supply (earth fault-loop impedance) (8.3.9)
  5. Operation of RCDs (8.3.10)
The list in Clause 8.3.3.1 still shows 6 tests but the Polarity and Correct circuit connections is merged to make 8.3.7, and 8.3.8 is deleted

If you have already tried Challenge Circuit 9 about Mandatory tests, you may have noticed that one of the questions was how many Mandatory tests are there according to the Wiring Rules AS/NZS 3000:2018. The correct answer in the quiz was 6, but it’s actually 5 after the Amendment 2 in 2021.

Electricity Safety (General) Regulations 2019 Requirements on mandatory Testing

Now it gets interesting. There is a new Wiring Method in the Reg book, Electricity Safety General Regulations 2019, regulations 228 and 241 for Insulation Testing of Underground Consumers Mains. According to the Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) website, “It is now a requirement that any new consumer’s mains must be tested and have an insulation resistance (IR) equal to or greater than 50 megohms when tested with a 500V d.c. insulation resistance tester. Table 228 makes allowances for IR less than 50 megohms for underground consumer’s mains that are greater than 50m in length.”

Quoting the Reg book for Regulation 241

ELECTRICITY SAFETY (GENERAL) REGULATIONS 2019 – REG 241

Testing of underground consumer’s mains

  1. For the purposes of section 44(1)(b) of the Act, if underground consumer’s mains are installed for the first time, the insulation resistance of the consumer’s mains that were installed must be tested to verify that the consumer’s mains comply with regulation 228(1) after the work is completed and before certification or inspection of the work under the Act.

  2. For the purposes of section 44(1)(b) of the Act, if electrical installation work is carried out on existing underground consumer’s mains, the insulation resistance of the consumer’s mains that were subject to the work must be tested to verify that the consumer’s mains comply with regulation 228(2) after the work is completed and before certification or inspection of the work under the Act.

The Reg Book Overrides The Wiring Rules

Since this test is a Regulation, it is also a Mandatory test on top of the 5 Mandatory Tests prescribed in the Wiring Rules. So altogether, there are still 6 Mandatory tests to be conducted on a low voltage installation.

I have provided links to the Regulations and the ESV website for your reference.
ELECTRICITY SAFETY (GENERAL) REGULATIONS 2019 – REG 241
ELECTRICITY SAFETY (GENERAL) REGULATIONS 2019 – REG 228
General Regulations: requirements and obligations (By ESV)

Conclusion

I hope this article clarifies the distinction between the Wiring Rules and the Reg book. The Wiring Rules is the AS/NZS 3000:2018, and the Reg is the Electricity Safety (General) Regulations 2019. The Wiring Rules are mandated in the Reg book in Regulation 240, General testing requirements for low voltage electrical installation work.

Thanks for reading.

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About the Author

Tony Robins

Tony Robins

I have been in the Electrical Training Industry for over two decades, mostly teaching Construction Wiring Courses at various TAFEs and Registered Training Organisations like RMIT, Holmesglen (Futuretech), Centre for You and Bendigo Kangan Institute. Besides my passion for teaching Electrical, I also love doing and coaching martial arts.

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