Living in a Kiwi DIY Wonderland would suggest you can do just about anything around the house, including electrical wiring. Dealing with 240 volts of hydro-converted heaven is always fraught with danger, so it’s not surprising there are some strict laws in place to protect you and the members of your family.
The Electricity Act 1992 sections 79 & 80 defines who exactly can legally carry out limited electrical work, as listed in regulation 6A of the Electricity Safety Regulations 2010. There’s also a NZECP 51: 2004 New Zealand Electrical Code of Practice for homeowner/occupier’s who wish to carry out their own electrical wiring work in domestic installations.
Before you start breaking out the screwdriver and wire cutters, and assuming you aren’t a certified electrician, you must own and live in the property of which you intend to do some electrical work. You are not permitted to receive payment or reward for your work, which eliminates any work on a rental properties or doing a favour for a mate. It’s your place and your place only.
While any electrical work is being carried out, no part of the work can be connected to a power supply. This means isolation at the fuse board, and not just turning the light switch off. Ensure that the isolated switch is clearly marked and fixed in a safe position until the work is completed. It’s simple common sense but it needs to be stated nonetheless. We don’t one of the kids wandering into the bathroom and turing on the light just as you connect the phase wire…
Your DIY work can only extend to wiring such as wall sockets, light fittings, flexible cords connected to a permanent unit such as a lamp holder, replacing fuses etc. Unless you are a certified person, you can’t crack open the fuse box or any circuit boards or carry out any connections to the external electricity supply. The list goes on, and it’s worthwhile consulting the legislation, but you get the general idea.
You must also get the finished work tested by a licensed electrical inspector who will verify the safety of the completed work before flicking the switch and connecting it. They will also issue a certificate of compliance or electrical safety certificate. It’s vitally important you get any electrical items checked before connecting it to the mains; it not only verifies that your work is safe but also gives added protection should any electrical fault occur, resulting in an insurance claim that otherwise might be rejected for uncertified work.
Please take care. If you are uncertain, contact one of the local electricians in Upper Hutt. We’ve always found them to helpful, friendly and thoroughly professional.
Update: One of our Facebook followers notes that “ECP 51 is fairly old, and all work also has to comply to the current wiring rules, AS/NZS 3000:2007 A2 some of which may contradict ECP51”. Thanks JB.