Switchboard design requirements

The AS/NZS 61439 series of standards “Low-voltage switchgear and control-gear assemblies” was published on 24 May 2016, coming into effect 5 years from the date of publication (24 May 2021).  These standards supersede the previous AS/NZS 3439 series of standards, with the objective being to provide specific requirements for the design and construction of low-voltage switchgear and control-gear assemblies based on the International Standard IEC 61439, thus harmonizing switchboard design rules.  

Although there is a 5 year transitional period in place, electrical contractors, switchboard designers and manufacturers need to be aware that specifiers and end customers in Australia may request that switchboard builders comply with this new standard during and before the 5 year transitional phase ends. 

Complying with the new series of standards during the transitional period is not a regulatory requirement, however where it is specified in a switchboard building contract, it may be enforced legally as a contractual obligation. 

Electrical contractors, switchboard builders and designers are urged to scrutinise the wording on switchboard contracts relating to the AS/NZS 61439 series of standards and not assume that the transitional period will be automatically applied. We strongly recommend that specific wording be placed in the contract response as to what standard the product will be delivered to. NECA Legal can assist with contractual response legal advice. 

Disclaimer: This notice is a guide only for your information. NECA Legal can assist with contractual legal advice - phone (08) 6241 6129.