The Regulations implement three levels of testing and verification, depending on the elements of safety that are involved, in recognition of the principles of risk management.
- At the first level most work is allowed to be self-certified and connected. The Regulations are prescriptive on the various tests and checks necessary to verify the safety of the work carried out. Self-checks would include polarity testing, continuity testing and other testing.
- At the second level certain work, recognising that safety is more critical, requires additional independent checks and hence the requirement of an inspector. This requirement is for the likes of mains work, medical electrical locations, hazardous areas of work.
- At the third level a small amount of work where safety is vital requires the testing to be carried out a third time, in many cases by another person. This requirement is applicable for the connection of any mains work.
All testing required by the Regulations must be certified, and if not carried out by the installer may need to be certified on a separate certificate.
The Multiple Earthed Neutral (MEN) system in New Zealand is safe only if the polarities of both the supply system and the installation are correct and the connections of the neutral are reliable.
This is why polarity testing and earthing verification are absolutely critical and are repeated as requirements for the installer, inspector, and person making a connection to an electricity supply.
The safety requirements of mains and the MEN switchboard are so critical that failure to comply with these requirements is very likely to result in the most serious sanctions being sought in any enforcement action.
An electrical installation can be connected to a supply for the purposes of testing. This is provided for in Section 82(4) of the Electricity Act.
Test in accordance with AS/NZS 3000
All low voltage installations must be tested in accordance with AS/NZS 3000 (Regulation 63), unless the person is acting under the exemption for domestic electrical wiring (Regulation 57).
Where the work has been carried out in accordance with a Companion Standard, that work must also be tested in accordance with the Companion Standard.
Low voltage AC railway signalling equipment must be tested in accordance with Electrical Code of Practice (ECP) 60, and not in accordance with AS/NZS 3000.
Inspection and testing
Not all testing and inspection is Prescribed Electrical Work (PEW). Testing and inspection is PEW only if it meets the following three criteria concurrently:
- that the inspection or testing work is PEW within schedule 1; and
- that the inspection or testing work is inspection or testing required to be carried out for compliance with the Regulations. For example: Testing to comply with Regulation 63; and
- that the testing or inspection work is that work which is being carried out for that purpose of compliance with the Regulations. For example, insulation resistance testing that is not for the purpose of certification of an electrical installation is not PEW.