Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic) increased the mandatory safety obligations on electrical safety checks from 29 March 2021. Every two years, an electrical safety check must be carried out by a licensed electrician and must meet the requirements outlined in the Residential Tenancies Regulations 2021 ("Regulations").
An electrical safety check is more than just a switchboard test and is not just an appliance service. An electrical safety check includes a comprehensive service and testing of all electrical installations and fittings within the property. This ensures occupants are safe from the danger associated with electrical faults and landlords and property managers are fulfilling their obligations.
1. Testing of switchboard
At Detector Inspector, we conduct a thorough switchboard test including:
- Visual inspection
- Checking all fuses for signs of damage or overheating and appropriateness of Amp rated fuse wire/cartridges and replace any damaged fuses
- Checking all individual breakers for compliance & correct Amp rating and replace any faulty breakers
- Checking that type of wiring is appropriate, compliant and neither exposed nor damaged
- Main earthing system compliance testing
- Safety switch testing and reset and replacement of any faulty or damaged items
- 20 – 40 minutes
- Where issues are identified, time may be extended.
Why it’s important?
The condition and correct operation of a property’s switchboard is critical to home safety. Ensuring there is no exposed wiring, that fuses and breakers are undamaged and compliant and that safety switches (where installed) are operating as expected.
In Australia, 15 people are killed and 300 hospitalised every year due to electrical accidents in the home. As at December 2019, 40% of homes were unprotected by safety switches. Even where safety switches are present, in 30% of homes it protects only power outlet circuits (and not light circuits).
Where we identify a switchboard with breakers but no safety switches, we will complete an insulation resistance test, to measure the total resistance between any two points separated by electrical insulation.
Where the property is enrolled in our Safer Home subscription plan, we will replace standard safety switches, fuses and breakers at no charge.
2. Testing of every accessible power point in the home
In addition to a switchboard testing, we also test all accessible power point in the home. This includes:
- A visual inspection
- Earth continuity tests (or can be substituted with earth loop impedance tests)
- Voltage and polarity tests
These checks take approx. 20 – 50 minutes.
Why it's important?
These tests ensure that earth connections are undamaged and uncorroded. Earth connections in power points can often be damaged by a range of factors such as insulation being crimped under screw terminals, loose connections or too small a wire being used.
When earth connections are working as they should, then if a faulty appliance were to be used, or a child were to insert a metal object into the power point, the safety mechanisms at the switchboard will be triggered and the occupant will not be electrocuted. A damaged earth connection can also result in increased fire risk.
Where the property is enrolled in our Safer Home subscription plan, we will replace standard power points at no charge.
3. Checks of each landlord supplied electrical appliance
As part of our comprehensive electrical safety check, we conduct checks of each landlord supplied electrical appliance including:
- Visual inspection of each appliance and assessment as to whether accessible and in good operating condition
- Checks for faulty or damaged plugs or leads
- Earth continuity test where the appliance frame is metal and/or conductive
- Checks of all accessible light switches for compliance and replace faulty or damaged items (excluding globes)
- Checks of all overhead fans for compliance
These checks take approx. 10 – 15 minutes.
Why it's important?
These checks do not require full servicing of the appliances. Instead, these tests are designed to ensure safe operating condition of landlord provided electrical appliances.
Faulty light switches create shock hazards. Each accessible light switch is inspected and tested for evidence of degradation and replaced where there are cracks or other faults.
Where the property is enrolled in our Safer Home subscription plan, we will replace standard light switches at no charge.
Download our easy reference checklist
We have picked out the essential elements of the electrical safety check from the respective standards and created the below checklist that set out the main checks and testing required in the plainest English we could.
We are aware that some other providers are failing to complete all the required tests. If you are not currently enrolled in our electrical safety service, please ensure you ask them to validate that all of these checks, including the earth continuity testing of every power point, is included in the service provided.
We have worked closely and collaboratively with Energy Safe Victoria and Victorian Building Authority to ensure that our electrical safety service meets all the requirements outlined in the Residential Tenancies Regulations 2021 ("Regulations").