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The great geothermal race

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With the ever increasing talk of the need for energy efficiency solutions it’s no wonder a multitude of new renewable energy technologies are emerging. With this hot topic in mind The Master Electrician will now include a Renewable Energy Spotlight to uncover these new technologies. Our first Spotlight focuses on the power of geothermal energy, or “hot rocks”, currently being harnessed in the Cooper Basin. The market has seen an increase in imported electrical products, prompting contractors to question their purchasing decisions. On page 14 we speak to Jim Johnson, General Sales Manager for HPM Legrand on his thoughts on the subject. In this issue we also speak to Romilly Madew, Chief Executive for the Green Building Council of Australia. Our interview highlights the important role this organisation has played in developing a sustainable property industry for Australia through the green building practices program. Finally, I would like to farewell readers of The Master Electrician. I am soon to move on to new pastures. I have enjoyed bringing you a broad spectrum of industry topics and interviews within the covers of a high quality publication. Until we meet again...

Jessie Badger Associate Editor


Welcome to the Winter 2009 issue of The Master Electrician.


contents RENEWABLE ENERGY SPOTLIGHT The great geothermal race

read more page 8


What’s in it for the sponsors?

read more page 16


Green Building Council of Australia read more page 32

The Master Electrician Magazine can be viewed online at General Enquiries master electricians australia 57 Berwick Street, Fortitude Valley PO Box 2438, Fortitude Valley BC Queensland 4006 phone 1300 889 198 fax 07 3251 2400 email web abn 97 131 416 183

04 up front with the regulators 12 building the best team for your business 14 imported products 20 watts new 23 meet a master electrician 24 letter of the law 26 news from distributors 30 the buzz 36 technical talk 38 workplace relations 42 news from head office 45 gadget guide 46 test drive 48 events calendar 49 your best (or worst) day on the job 49 techno biz 50 last word

Editorial Contacts & Contributors editor Malcolm Richards Associate editor Jessie Badger advertising enquiries Glenn Stevens phone 07 3252 4860 email design and print POMO 07 3844 3873

keep up-to-date yearly subscriptions (4 issues) just $38.50 or call 1300 889 198

Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this publication are offered solely in pursuance of the objects of the Electrical and Communications Association and Master Electricians Australia to provide an informative service to contractors in the electrical industry on legal, commercial and other issues and problems related to the industry. The Electrical and Communications Association and Master Electricians Australia are not aware that any person intends to act or rely upon such statements and opinions contained in this publication or the manner in which it might be possible to do so. The Electrical and Communications Association and Master Electricians Australia issues no invitation to any member or other persons to act or rely upon such statements or opinions or any of them and it accepts no responsibility for any of them. It intends by this provision to exclude, to the extent permitted by law, all liability for any such statements and opinions. The Master Electrician Magazine can be viewed online at

the master electrician : WINTER 09



up front with the victoria

Energy Safe Victoria Damien’s plea to all electricians: Never work “live”


wenty-five year old A grade electrician Damien is living proof – but only just – of the terrible consequences that can be suffered when a switchboard explodes because something goes wrong while working “live”. It took the “slip of a screwdriver” and just two seconds for Damien to suffer dreadful injuries in an incident which happened just before last Christmas. He admits he’s “pretty lucky” as he could so easily have been killed. Mainly because he’s a young man his injuries are healing well – better than expected in fact – but he says he’s been through hell and back and


the recovery process will take many months and possibly years. “What I have been through has been just dreadful.” Damien’s plea to all other electricians is quite simple: “Never work live, it’s just not worth it. Most would not be aware of the repercussions of what can happen. “Fortunately my mates who are electricians have told me they will never do it because of what they have seen me go through,” he told Energy Safe Victoria (ESV). “It’s worrying when ambulance paramedics tell me they see more electrically related burns than any other.” Damien received burns to his hands, arms, legs and abdomen during the incident. The incident and recovery has involved among other things, the following: n Being placed in an induced coma for three days

n Being

heavily sedated and almost suffering a

heart attack n Suffering severe hallucinations n Spending four weeks in the Victorian Adult Burns Service at the Alfred hospital, before undergoing six weeks of rehabilitation at the Epworth Hospital n Suffering excruciating pain each day early on in recovery when the bandages on his arms were being changed

It took the “slip of a screwdriver” and just two seconds for Damien to suffer dreadful injuries

up front with the regulators : STATE NEWS

n Use

of skin grafts from his legs to help repair his arms – with the result that two areas of the body now need healing n Causing distress for his girlfriend, family and work colleagues n Being unable to go out in the sun without being covered up for the foreseeable future n Losing muscle strength after being in bed for such a long time. He needed a walking frame to walk 20 metres and effectively had to learn to walk again n Barely having enough strength to tighten the screw of a power point n Possibly needing another operation as the recovery continues n The need to wear compression bandages on his arms and legs. Damien has no recollection of the incident up to about a week before the incident. The last thing he remembers was being in the switchboard room of the club house of a retirement village. “Most of the work we do is with the power turned off. While I cannot remember, I must have been working ‘live’ – there can be no other explanation of what happened.” An ESV investigation into the incident found that Damien’s clothing at the time of the incident

included shorts, T-shirt, synthetic jacket, Hi-Vis vest and helmet. The vest and jacket melted during the incident. ESV concluded that Damien was attempting to install and connect a RCD type circuit breaker in a distribution switchboard. The fact that the circuit breaker was not sitting in the correct location following the incident leads to this conclusion, said the report. “Judging by the damage sustained by a screwdriver found at the scene, it was concluded that Damien may have inserted the end of the screwdriver into the area where the live bus is located in order to adjust one or more of the bus bars. This resulted in an arcing event that travelled down the bus system to the bottom of the switchboard,” said the ESV report. Builders controlling the site told ESV investigators that they did not know that Damien was working on the switchboard in a live state, and they saw no reason why the electricity supply to the building could not have been isolated. They would have agreed to isolate the supply if they had been asked. Damien confirmed to ESV that his employers had instructed all staff not to carry out live electrical work.

He insisted that he did not carry out work on live electrical equipment under normal circumstances and could not explain why he had not isolated the electricity supply in this instance. As seen in energysafe publication. NEW south wales

Office of Fair Trading

Review of NSW electricity network contestable services


he NSW Government is seeking input into a review of electricity network contestable services in NSW. The review will examine the operation of the scheme that accredits service providers that undertake contestable services on the electricity network (the Accredited Service Providers Scheme). It will also consider the range of services that are contestable, particularly whether certification of design work and inspection of customer connection services, network extension or network augmentation for technical compliance should be made contestable (these are currently monopoly the master electrician : WINTER 09


services provided by distribution network service providers). An issues paper has been released for public comment, which can be viewed or downloaded from the Office of Fair Trading’s website at The review is undertaken jointly by the Better Regulation Office, Department of Water and Energy and the Office of Fair Trading.

A simple visual inspection would have easily detected the faulty work and inadequate phase to neutral clearances.

Have your say You are invited to comment on the issues paper by 7 August 2009 via: Email: Mail: Electricity Network Contestable Services Review Better Regulation Office GPO Box 5341 Sydney NSW 2001 Phone: 02 9228 5414 Fax: 02 9228 4408 south australia

The unlicensed electrician contracted for work and performed electrical work that did not comply with wiring rules. Upon considering the offender’s financial circumstances, the Magistrate stated that a fine would not adequately reflect the gravity of the offending; nor would a good behaviour bond. The only other sentencing option available to the Magistrate was to order community service. As seen in Plumbing, Gas Fitting and Electrical licensing update. western australia

Office of Consumer WA and Business Affairs EnergySafety Western Power fined for shoddy Severe penalty for unlicensed electrician

and unsafe work



n March 2009 an unlicensed electrician who left at least ten households with unsafe electrical installations was ordered to perform 320 hours of community service – the maximum number of hours that can be ordered.


n April 2007 a Western Power contractor, Tenix Alliance Pty Ltd, replaced a low/high voltage intermediate pole in Gossage Road, Oldbury. The contractor installed the low voltage distribution system with the blue phase and

neutral conductors crossed over either side of the new pole. As a consequence the blue phase and neutral conductors clashed causing a short circuit. This short circuit caused the voltage between the neutral conductor and the other two phases (red and white) to rise causing severe damage to customers’ equipment connected to Western Power’s low voltage distribution system. This action by Western Power’s contractor indicates that no suitable testing or commissioning was carried out, by either the contractor or Western Power, prior to the distribution system being placed back in service following the pole replacement. A simple visual inspection would have easily detected the faulty work and inadequate phase to neutral clearances. Following investigation Western Power was prosecuted by EnergySafety for a breach of Regulation 10 of the Electricity (Supply Standards and System Safety) Regulations 2001. Western Power pleaded guilty to the breach of the regulations and was convicted and fined $12,000 with costs of $571 in May 2009 at the Rockingham Magistrates Court. In convicting Western Power the Magistrate took into account the early guilty plea and remedial action taken by Western Power since the incident.

up front with the regulators : STATE NEWS


Electrical Safety Office Disciplinary action taken


n electrical worker failed to adequately supervise an apprentice who received an electric shock and then received injuries when he fell from a step ladder. The apprentice was stripping insulation from an energised cable in an awning and received the shock when he contacted the cable. The worker failed to ensure the circuit was isolated and did not ensure adequate testing was carried out before work commenced. The Licensing Committee reprimanded the worker, fined him $500, and suspended his licence for three months but agreed to defer the suspension for three months on the condition the worker attends a course on electrical installation testing and isolation procedures. The suspension will be revoked providing he completes the course in the time stated. The employer, an electrical contractor, did not have appropriate work processes in place as required under the Electrical Safety Act 2002 (the Act). As a result, the Licensing Committee suspended his contractor licence for three months. However, the suspension was deferred for six months to allow for an independent audit on his work processes to ensure he meets the requirements of the Act, including those relating to supervision and testing. He is also required to put in place a system to specify the roles of his Qualified Technical Persons and Qualified Business Persons. The suspension will be revoked providing he submits the evidence in the time stated. In making this decision the Committee took into account the fine of $23 000 imposed on the contractor’s company by the Industrial Magistrates Court.

New Electrical Safety Plan for Queensland


he Electrical Safety Plan for Queensland 2009-2014 took effect from 1 January 2009 with a goal to eliminate all preventable electrical deaths in Queensland. This ambition aligns with the Electrical Safety Act 2002, which aims to eliminate the human cost to individuals, families and the community of death, injury and destruction that can be caused by electricity. The plan was developed by the Electrical Safety Board in consultation with industry and the Electrical Safety Office. The plan builds on the achievements of the past five years and outlines high level strategies, goals and targets to support improvements in electrical safety over the next five years. The three priority areas for the plan are: n Powerlines n Electrical installations n Electrical equipment. Strategies have been developed for each priority area to address identified issues under the five following common headings: n Education and awareness n Legislation n Compliance n Training n Equipment design and innovation. The strategies have been chosen to address possible contributing or influential factors and are expected to make the greatest impact in reducing the overall number of electrical incidents. However, the issues identified are not exhaustive and others may be addressed as and when identified. This will ensure the plan is also able to address any emerging risk areas over its five year life. The plan is available on the Electrical Safety Office website at n

the master electrician : WINTER 09



The great geothermal race where the biggest winner will be Australia


Geodynamics estimate they will produce power for $75 per MWh and get to market for $85 per MWh. But RECs would be earned on those hours which currently trade at around $52 an hour. This puts geothermal energy in a very competitive position.

Several kilometres under the Cooper Basin is a layer of granite that could hold the answer to Australia’s clean energy quest. Emily Clark reports on how companies around Australia are investing in geothermal energy and how far they have come.


he geothermal industry in Australia has the potential to be the largest in the world and many companies are taking on the challenge of realising that potential, and making significant capital investments. Between four and six kilometres below Australia’s surface is a granite layer made up of hot fractured rock that reaches temperatures of around 280°C, providing a natural heat source which can be tapped for staggering amounts of energy generation. For example, just one cubic kilometre of hot granite at 250 degrees centigrade has the stored energy equivalent of 40 million barrels of oil. The extraordinary generation potential, coupled with the zero-emissions nature of geothermal technology, has sent investors scrambling to be a part of the “hot rocks” phenomenon. According to the South Australian Government, some 23 companies have applied for 237 geothermal licences covering more than 110,800 square kilometres. These licences account for more than 80 per cent of all geothermal exploration activity underway or proposed throughout Australia. More than 800 million dollars worth of exploration and proof-of-concept investment is forecast through 2013. Among the leading developers of this new technology is Queensland-based Geodynamics. The company came together in 2001 and is

renewable energy spotlight : THE GREAT GEOTHERMAL RACE

The price of geothermal energy

now at the forefront of the geothermal energy industry in Australia. Geodynamics holds tenements in the Cooper Basin – an area said to be the hottest in the world. The company’s managing director, Gerry Grove-White, makes the complicated and technically difficult geothermal generation process sound oh-so-simple. “We put cool water in and take hot water out,” he says. “We’re extracting heat from four to five kilometres below the ground. “With the extracted heat, we’ll run a conventional steam turbine that will generate power,” he said. “This process is entirely closed circuit so no water is lost to evaporation.” Before the generation process can begin, however, there is the not-insignificant matter of drilling a number of wells through several kilometres of granite, and completing a circuit deep underground so the water can flow back to the surface. “We drill down four to five kilometres where temperatures are 250°C to 280°C. “We expect that in the years to come we will be drilling down five to six kilometres because the granites extend down and the deeper you go the hotter it is,” Mr Grove-White said. “With our tenements alone and operating between four and five kilometres, we estimate we could support 5,000 - 10,000 Megawatts of base load power generation.”

the master electrician : WINTER 09


Geothermal energy is currently carrying baseload power in Indonesia, Italy, the Philippines, and South America. Geodynamics will soon launch the country’s first geothermal commercial demonstration plant in the Cooper Basin not far from Innamincka. It will be a power station that has nine wells – five production and four injection wells. Geodynamics is the company closest to producing geothermal energy here in Australia but there are around 40 companies with exploration licenses. According to the Australian Geothermal Energy Association (AGEA) hot fractured rock kilometres under Australia’s surface is our greatest, cleanest, and most efficient resource. Susan Jeans from the AGEA said the industry cannot advance without more support. “The problem with this industry is we are developing the technology as we are trying to build the projects so the upfront costs are massive. “We are sitting on the best geothermal resource in the world and the only thing holding it up is access to money,” Ms Jeans said. In terms of government support, the geothermal energy industry is looking for longterm investment, such as has been given to the solar and clean coal industries. “These alternatives are great and we fully support solar energy but the geothermal industry needs a similar longer-term commitment,” Ms Jeans said. With investment and sustained government funding, companies such as Geodynamics will generate clean power. However, generating reliable power is only the first hurdle.

Lack of transmission infrastructure to areas such as the Cooper Basin presents an additional hurdle for geothermal producers. “The problem is we need large transmission infrastructure to get the power out,” Ms Jeans said. “Currently there is a disincentive as companies can outlay the upfront costs and build the geothermal power stations but with no guarantee transmission rules will change they will be responsible for building the infrastructure that will service a national interest.” “The Government needs to acknowledge that the existing transmission rules will change so there are fewer barriers.” Gerry Grove-White insists Geodynamics has found an application for geothermal energy that bypasses the transmission problems. “I think one of the challenges we face, in particular because we are so remote, is that grid connection. “We are looking very much at finding power consumers whose basic business model would allow them to relocate and be co-located with our power stations out in the Cooper Basin,” Mr Grove-White said. “An example we are quite enthusiastic about is data centres.” One of the issues the information technology industry faces is the cost of its energy with data centres requiring large amounts of power to store data securely. “For most chief information officers, the largest single line revenue item in their budget is energy. “They spend more on electricity than they do on hardware and it’s becoming an increasing issue for a lot of data centre owners and users,” Mr Grove-White said.

Types of geothermal energy Hydrothermal energy is based on water that is heated up by volcanic activity. Steam reservoirs are drilled into to bring the steam up into a turbine. Engineering Geothermal Systems (EGS)

or hot rocks involves drilling deeper into granites that have heated up over millions of years due to radiogenic decay of uranium and thorium releasing small amounts of energy. Where those granites are insulated with two or three kilometres of sedimentary rock the temperatures increase significantly. This is the kind of geothermal energy generated by Geodynamics.


“The Googles, the Microsofts, the Yahoos, and the big banks are all worried about their carbon signature.” Geodynamics believes data centres are suitable co-located businesses to use its geothermal energy as they are often unattended with companies – especially those located offshore – willing to fly information technology specialists to the centres if required. “We can connect to not one data centre but three or four out in the Cooper basin for a cost of about one twentieth of the transmission line so all of a sudden we found an operation that could run quite successfully out there. “It’s a pretty compelling economic argument – it’s compelling for us as we’ll provide the fibre connections for one twentieth of the cost. “That would allow us to achieve scale initially out in the Cooper Basin and then we would build the transmission line to the national electricity market,” Mr Grove-White said. “We’ve road tested it with a large number of data centre owners and operators and so far everyone has said ‘yeah it works, that would work’, and it’s generating quite a lot of interest.” Despite the large capital requirements for this particular kind of power generation, the operating costs are the lowest in the power industry. Because Geodynamics is drilling to the hottest part of the granite and generating more steam, the power station is more efficient and able to sustain baseload power. This gives geothermal companies like Geodynamics the ability to recover maintenance costs faster and generate greater returns for shareholders. Susan Jeans insists there is a large national interest in investing in the geothermal energy industry. “On all predictions geothermal energy is likely to be the cheapest and most efficient energy by 2020. “Without early support we are not going to reach that point,” Ms Jeans said. “We are facing climate change and geothermal energy can provide a clean and cheap alternative power source.” Those within the geothermal energy industry know the task ahead of them is large but believe the rewards will be felt not only by their companies but by Australians now and long into the future. n


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THE BEST TEAM for your business

When your business is growing your team often needs to grow with it. Emily Clark reports on how to ensure you are getting the right people through the door – and how to keep them.


ven in the toughest economic conditions some businesses will still thrive. These businesses often have loyal employees who understand what tougher times mean at the lowest level and why it is important to look to the greater good. There are several things to look for when recruiting members into a pre-established team. Neil Green from Australian Recruiting said hiring employees is not always about what looks good on paper. “Businesses should be looking at the work the job candidates have had within the past two years, the type of work they have been doing and what companies they have worked for. “Also, I recommend ringing the most recent referee the candidate has listed and some of the past employers the candidate has not listed as referees,” Mr Green said. “This will give you a good insight into their personality because, especially with small businesses, personality is key.” Save time and money Hiring and firing is often a costly process but even small businesses can outsource recruiting to a firm that bears most of the workload for a fixed price. “We save businesses advertising costs, we’re on time because we’ve got a lot of people on our database that we can put into the positions and we can give them a quick response. “We can negotiate rates, we’re accredited to do in-house drug and alcohol testing and we give them a one-day guarantee to trial the candidate


so that they can see their personality come out,” Mr Green said. Personalities can often clash and damage working relationships within organisations but once you have a group of people you believe is right for your business there are ways to develop the team dynamic and avoid future clashes. Ross Jolly from Soundreasoning helps companies develop strong and prosperous teams and said the important thing is to give employees involvement in the organisation. “A strong business team contributes and takes ownership of its actions. “Managers are prepared to let go of being right and the sole owners of the best ideas in the business,” Mr Jolly said. Once you have hired the people you believe will help grow your business in terms of capacity, there are ways to help these people work together. The three essential elements to an effective team are: n A clear vision and business plan that key players in the team have participated in building and have ownership in n A diverse group of people who have different and complimentary skills and experience n An effective communication process for the whole organisation to ensure everyone is up to date with progress and future direction. Fostering this sense of belonging to a team will lift staff morale. But why is morale so important and what happens when it is low? “Increased sick leave, absenteeism, falls in quality of outputs, increased staff turnover leading to increased recruitment costs and

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eventually a loss of profits – it’s all just a big their procedures and policies in order, they will snowball that keeps building if not addressed discover that people inherently want to do a effectively,” Mr Jolly said. good job,” Mr Jolly said. When trust is lost in an organisation, especially “If business owners build their business, as if in small businesses, it becomes difficult for the it was a large one, with the right, simple, checks managers to take holidays and balances in place, they can and have confidence that get away for regular breaks, A legendary Australian the best interest of the business man was once without losing the lot.” business will be maintained Recruiting trends suggest asked “you spend all while they are away. despite the global financial this money training and “Even more important crisis, candidates are still involving your people, than trust is trustworthiness. looking closely at what what happens if you “Doing what you say and organisations have to offer. train them up and they delivering on promises is Candidates are still looking leave?” His simple paramount at all levels,” Mr for balance in their lives and yet highly effective Jolly said. careers and it is important response was “what To empower your team to to recruit with the aim of happens if I didn’t train take care of your business adding value to both parties them and they stay!” during the times you cannot – your business and your be reached, managers new employee. should develop processes to standardise the way “Your greatest investment in most businesses things are done. is in your people. “Often small businesses fail to get the right “Some companies treat it as a cost and that is procedures in place, thinking it is just the big their first problem,” Mr Jolly said. companies that have procedures. That’s not so. “If you invest in good people and then “If small and medium businesses take the continue to do so, you will have a winning time and effort and involve their team in getting business formula.” n

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This information is of a general nature and does not take into account your individual financial situation, objectives or needs. Because of this you should, before acting on this advice, consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. You should obtain a Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and consider the PDS before making any decision. If you require such specific advice, you should contact a licenced financial adviser. SPEC(QLD) PTY. LTD. (ABN 60 010 743 405, AFSL 325 122), the Trustee of SPEC Super (ABN 45 404 406 059), is authorised to provide general financial product advice in relation to superannuation. For a copy of our PDS please call 1300 366 648.

the master electrician : WINTER 09


are they worth the risk?

Imported Products 14

Making purchasing decisions that balance good quality with a great price tag is a challenge for every good electrician. One of Australia’s leading suppliers of electrical products tells purchasers what they should look out for.


he wide range of electrical products available on the market can mean a world of confusion for those wanting to avoid the trap of supplying and fitting dodgy products. HPM Legrand General Manager Sales, Jim Johnson said the variety of local and imported products on the market had led to an equally diverse number of product compliance standards. With imported products in particular, Mr Johnson said, products may initially be manufactured to a relevant standard but the quality can decline over time. “In a lot of cases products get certification to the minimum standards but fail to maintain that standard without further formal testing,” he said. “There is not enough regulatory authority to ensure that products are meeting the relevant standards long term and it’s a very common problem.” Within Australia there is a tendency to self-regulate to ensure quality manufacturing is maintained and protecting the reputation of the Australian industry depends on this. The major manufacturers test their own products by batch testing imported products. “They are obligated to be that way purely because of the size of their business and the damage it would cause not to self-regulate, but there are a lot of small companies that don’t,” Mr Johnson said. “Quite honestly there are a lot of products that you and I could go and buy in a shop today that realistically do not meet the level of safety standards that are required for sale.”

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Apart from the obvious safety concerns associated with inferior products, they also present a professional risk for the electrical contractors who install them. Saving costs by using inferior products may turn out to be an expensive mistake in the long run. “If something gets installed in your house and then your house burns down, the first person to be called in to justify that is more than likely the electrical contractor,” Mr Johnson said. “The contractor then has to prove that it was the product that caused the problem.” Only after there is no liability on the part of the electrician does it then become the problem of the manufacturer or reseller. Then finally, there’s the essential rule for dodgy products – don’t do the dodgy on yourself. “A lot of times people don’t use the right product for the right application. They buy a product; use it incorrectly, then if it blows up, what can you say, ‘that’s not what the product was meant for,’ then who’s at fault?” n

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the master electrician : WINTER 09


Motor Racing Sponsorship The connections between the electrical industry and the fast pace of the V8 Supercar world may appear few and far between but increasingly industry members such as Lawrence & Hanson (L&H), Master Electricians Australia, and Clipsal are getting in on the action of motor racing.




any businesses within the electrical trade have become crucial supporters of the motor racing industry and have found that sharing the passion with their customers has created loyal and rewarding business relationships. L&H is just one of the many businesses that have caught on with the trend as series sponsors of V8 Supercars with events such as the L&H 500 Phillip Island, the Tasmanian Challenge, Townsville 400 and the Bathurst 1000. Martin Dench of the L&H Group said that sponsorship of the V8 Supercars has provided an excellent opportunity to enhance the relationship with their customers and create invaluable promotional coverage for L&H.

“It provides an exceptional promotional platform for our business and a point of difference in the market that we will continue to leverage into the future,” Mr Dench said. “At the L&H 500, we will host over 1,000 electrical contractors and their partners from all over Australia for the weekend. They are rewarded and acknowledged for their continued business. No other wholesaler can offer this experience.” After research conducted by L&H revealed that many of their male and female clients were avid motor racing fans, the decision to support V8 Supercars became an obvious choice as they were seeking to sponsor a

the master electrician : WINTER 09


sport that would appeal to both the customer and their partner. Motor racing allows for the sponsors to gain more year-round coverage than what they would with other seasonal sports and prevents a division between fans that sports such as AFL, which is more commonly followed in the southern states of Australia, and the rugby codes, that are supported in the more northern states, could produce. By becoming involved in the popular sport of motor racing, electrotechnical businesses have been able to connect with their target audience of electrical contractors on a level that has not been reached before. Sponsors can encourage loyalty from their customers with rewards for continued business such as behind the scenes tours of Australian racing events, the opportunity to meet members of the racing teams, and ‘hot laps’ in team cars. The Clipsal 500 V8 Supercar Race – often known simply as “The Clipsal” – is Australia’s largest domestic motor sport event and has helped propel its sponsor, Clipsal, to the status of household name. This year, 2009, will mark the tenth Clipsal 500 since its inception in 1999. The Clipsal 500 has been recognised as the V8 Supercars Australia “Promoter of the Year” on seven consecutive occasions and in 2005 was the first event ever to be inducted into the V8 Supercars Australia “Hall of Fame”, a status usually reserved for champion drivers. Clipsal’s racing accomplishments have produced continual positive branding and image-building opportunities for the business. The recent “Clipsal Full Throttle 09 Expo” in March had a guest list of over 2000 electrical contractors and electrical industry professionals.


Clipsal’s Executive General Manager, Damien Cummins said that the popularity of “The Clipsal” was an important feature in the branding and promotion of the company and that they enjoyed sharing the interest in motor racing with their customers. “So integral to our activities, in fact, that we are proud to put our name to Adelaide’s flagship sporting event up until 2015,” Mr Cummins said.

More recently, Master Electricians Australia has entered the world of motor racing sponsorship, supporting Formula Ford driver Andre Borell for the 2009 season. CEO Malcolm Richards said the sponsorship was among many avenues being used to promote the work of Master Electricians and keep the organisation in the public eye. n

A man died after he received an electrical shock while painting trim on the top of a North Florence business. Officials removed a long aluminum extension pole, used in painting, along with a can of red paint and other items belonging to the victim.


Man electrocuted while painting roof

Firefighters said it appeared the man was painting the metal trim along the roof using the pole and got too close to the electric wires.

Clipsal’s racing accomplishments have produced continual positive branding and image-building opportunities for the business.

Drive away with a great deal! 50% Investment Allowance deadline extended The government has extended its deadline on the 50% Investment allowance until 31st December 2009. ECA Members and Accredited Master Electricians can take advantage of the extended deadline through our Fleet Services Program and choose from a great range of vehicles.

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the master electrician : WINTER 09



After the Government’s unexpected early cancellation of the solar panel rebate scheme, many small businesses and contractors are hoping the Renewable Energy Target (RET) proposal can replace the large demand for work the original scheme had created.


he new national RET scheme expands on the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target with its system of tradable Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), which the Federal Government says will help to guarantee a significant market for additional renewable energy generation. The scheme acts as part of an effort to increase the share of renewable energy used in Australia to 20 per cent with higher targets that will grow every year until they reach 45,000 gigawatthours (GWh) of renewable energy use in 2020. Master Electricians Australia National Manager – Workplace Policy Paul Daly says that just like


with the cancellation of the previous rebate, the new RET scheme was created with very little consultation or consideration for the electrical industry. “The government does not seem to understand the role an electrical contractor plays in the installation of a solar panel system. Without an electrical contractor, it doesn’t happen,” Mr Daly said. The previous solar panel rebate initiative that was funded by the Federal Government saw an influx of work for solar panel installers as the public rushed to take full advantage of the scheme.

The abrupt cancellation of the solar panel rebate on June 9 this year meant that many small businesses suffered when they were left without the expected flood of last minute orders that would have generated much needed work in such an unstable financial climate. “For many Australians the installation of a solar panel system is out of reach without the rebate scheme or some form of reimbursement,” Mr Daly said. However, with the RET scheme’s increased annual targets for renewable energy use in Australia, a large market is expected to be established where electrical contractors could

Aspects of the scheme that have changed: Increased Targets The targets for renewable energy that commence in 2010 are higher and will increase annually until they peak at 45,000 GWh in 2020 Longer Scheme Duration The scheme will be phased down from 2025 and then terminated at the end of 2030 Higher Shortfall Charge The shortfall charge that is paid by electricity retailers in lieu of renewable energy certificates has increased from $40/MWh to $65/MWh to encourage participants to comply with the target as opposed to opting to pay the shortfall charge


look forward to a significant demand for solar panel installation throughout the country. To assist in achieving the increased targets, a higher shortfall charge of $65/MWh is being used to encourage electricity retailers to comply with the new targets rather than simply writing off the cost of the charges as business expenses. The fixed shortfall charge is set above the REC price and will mean that many electrical retailers will need to be diligent in acquiring the appropriate amount of RECs to avoid losing money. By increasing the number of RECs issued with eligible components and systems, the scheme is anticipated to build on the popularity of the original rebate initiative and create a stronger interest in renewable energy systems amongst the public. The RECs will assist with the cost of installing small-scale renewable energy systems, such as solar hot water heaters, through a solar credits system that will enable owners of smaller renewable energy generators to earn multiple RECs for each MWh of renewable energy produced by their systems that they can then trade for a negotiated price. While the tradable RECs will allow owners some independence in negotiating a price, there are concerns that the scheme will make it more complicated for home owners to be reimbursed for their purchase of smaller systems in comparison to the previous solar panel rebate initiative that gave a subsidy in full. “My guess is that orders for solar systems will stall considerably as people try and get their heads around the RECs scheme, and how much (if anything) they will receive from the scheme,” Mr Daly said. Electricity-intensive industries or RET-Affected Trade Exposed (RATE) industries will also be impacted by the new RET scheme as the higher target commitments will increase the electricity cost impact and could cause difficulties for their competition on the international markets, where they will be unable to pass through the full costs associated with the RET. Compensation will be paid to the RATE industries to counteract the disruption that the RET will cause. n

Aspects of the RET scheme that are the same: Eligibility Criteria The same eligibility criteria as under the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target scheme is used Eligibility Periods All eligible projects are able to participate and create RECs for the total duration of the RET scheme until it expires Continuation of Existing Projects All existing projects that are eligible under the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target scheme are able to participate in the RET for the duration of the scheme Banking of RECs The Mandatory Renewable Energy Target scheme’s approach to banking of RECs is continued in the RET scheme without restriction for the life of the project

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meet a master electrician : JOSH NICHOLLS

master electrician

The Platinum Electrical Journey In this edition’s Meet a Master Electrician, we introduce you to Joshua Nicholls, a fellow Master Electrician and director of Platinum Electrical Contractors Sydney, New South Wales.


latinum Electrical has come a long way over the last seven years, from a single man in a van to a large franchise network. Joshua Nicholls explains that helping other people achieve commercial success was the motivation behind the launch of Platinum Electrical Contractors’ franchise network. “I really enjoy working with people to help them learn and grow their own business. My aim is to build the franchise network interstate and to encourage good leaders, not followers,” Joshua said. His success to date has won him a National Telstra Business Award in 2007, which Joshua describes as the “highlight” of his career. Joshua’s long-term goal is for Platinum Electrical Contractors to ultimately become thePM Newtagsadvert180x81.pdf 16/04/2009 2:04:04

Name: Josh Nicholls Company: Platinum Electrical

most recognised electrical contracting brand in Australia – “to truly become an Australian household name”, he said. He has been inspired by major players in the business world like Brad Sugars, founder of Action Coach and Peter Irvine co founder of Gloria Jean’s Coffees. An inspiration himself, Joshua gives advice to tradesmen either starting out or wanting to take their existing business to the next level. “If they would like to start or grow their current business I recommend starting a franchise as they have the benefit of past success and knowledge of Platinum Electrical. Franchisees get one-on-one coaching to help grow and develop their business, as well as the marketing benefits of joining the Platinum Electrical brand,” he said.

“For those starting out, owning a franchise minimises risk compared to starting a company from scratch. From day one franchisees start with all the systems and procedures Platinum has developed over the past seven years.” One of the current challenges facing electrical contractors in today’s current economic climate is pricing, he says. “Charging too little and undercutting each others’ rates brings average pricing down. At Platinum Electrical we ensure providing five star service is our focus and not cheapest price. This way customers feel they are getting value for money.” His recipe for success has certainly served him well so far! n

the master electrician : WINTER 09


letterof the law Copper theft… is it your problem?


ou will have read about the fellow in Germany who was recently electrocuted whilst trying to steal live copper cabling from a building site. He had his hand blown off and was killed. Here in Australia, there has also been an increase in theft of copper from building sites. Often this is being stolen by employees but sadly, it has sometimes involved contractors too. In a recent case an employer became aware of a persistent problem with copper theft on some sites he had jobs on. He fitted a small tracking device to a bucket in which copper was stored. The copper, bucket and all, was stolen and the thieving employee was caught.


Theft from an employer is treated by the law much more seriously than theft from someone else. In fact, it carries a maximum jail sentence of ten years. We do not know whether this fellow was actually reported to the police but he does not work for the contractor anymore! With tough economic times coming, the incidence of theft is likely to increase further. That is all the more reason why now you need to take more care to ensure that you properly secure your plant and equipment on building sites and indeed, in your premises. For more information contact McKays Solicitors on 07 3223 5900 or visit

Reap the benefits. When you become an ECA member or Accredited Master Electrician you gain access to a wide variety of exclusive benefits and discounts. Telecommunications Deals.

Connect to a range of discounted telecommunications services including mobile phones, landlines, 1300 and 1800 numbers, and Internet packages. The service is backed by a dedicated 1300 technical support helpdesk so you can get assistance when you need it.

Fleet Services.

Receive great discounts when purchasing vehicles with our Fleet Service. Through our partnership with AP Group, we can source the right vehicle at the right price using a network of member fleet specialists covering almost every vehicle brand. In addition, you can also access competitive finance packages.

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Through our partnerships with Comsure Insurance Brokers and Concept Benefit Planning we can provide comprehensive and competitive insurance cover to protect your business and personal needs.

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Our fuel plan is a convenient way for you to manage and reduce your bills. Use your BP fuel card to receive discounted rates and receive a simple monthly fuel bill for all your vehicles. All your business and private vehicles are eligible to participate in the fuel scheme. You can even extend the privilege to staff as an extra benefit of employment.

To find out how you can become a Master Electrician call 1300 889 198

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from distributors


Coal to Oil Plant Ignite Energy Resources (IER) and TRUenergy have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop a commercial demonstration plant that will utilise IER’s direct coal-to-oil and upgraded dry coal process from the brown coal at TRUenergy’s Yallourn mine. The facility will be developed in three modules to process up to 60,000 tonnes of high moisture content brown coal per annum that will produce up to 60,000 barrels of IER high grade oils and 18,000 tonnes of highgrade dry coal.

IER’s proprietary supercritical water technology transforms low ranked coals, including lignite, directly into high-valued oils and cleaner coal products.

IER’s operating reactor at Somersby, NSW converts one dry tonne of Gippsland Basin lignite into approximately two barrels of oil and 0.6 tonnes of high ranked coal. Independent expert reports predict that the company’s coal, compared to lignite, will reduce CO2 emissions by 40% when used for power generation. Subject to feasibility studies and based on the operating Somersby reactor design, IER will build and operate a commercial-scale reactor at the TRUenergy site. By converting abundant, low-cost, highmoisture lignite into high-valued oil and coal products, IER hopes to provide a cleaner, secure energy source, while significantly reducing CO2 emissions.


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Enhancements to ENERGEX’s Online Submission Process for Electrical Work Requests (Form 2) As part of ENERGEX’s continued commitment to improving the connections process, enhancements to the online submission process for Electrical Work Requests (Form 2) are currently underway in the form of a new Web Portal. The Electrical Work Request (Form 2) Web Portal will introduce a number of key functions, designed to streamline the process, providing efficiencies in the processing and scheduling of work. The new EWR (Form 2) Web Portal will automatically upload the data directly into ENERGEX’s systems, eliminating the need for any manual handling. One of the key functions of the new Web Portal includes the provision of a unique reference number to the electrical contractor at the time a EWR (Form 2) is submitted. This EWR (Form 2) reference number can then be used to track the progress of the request. Electrical contractors can also choose to receive status updates for individual requests via email and/or SMS. This should assist in minimising the need to contact ENERGEX for updates and improve time efficiency. To assist in ensuring the efficient scheduling of work, the Web Portal will automatically forward a copy of the electrical contractors EWR (Form 2) to a customers’ nominated retailer at the time of submission. This will allow the retailer to include the EWR (Form 2) reference number when providing the Retailer Service Order (also known as a B2B) to ENERGEX, reducing the time required to match up customer and address details. The EWR (Form 2) Web Portal will require a number of mandatory fields to be populated to enable a request to proceed. This will assist in maintaining the quality and accuracy of any submitted data and help reduce the need for electrical contractors to clarify or submit additional information to ENERGEX. One of these mandatory field requirements will be the nomination of a customers’ preferred electricity retailer. In preparation of the introduction of this requirement,

ENERGEX encourages all electrical contractors to begin nominating their customers’ preferred electricity retailer. Other benefits the EWR (Form 2) Web Portal provides: n The EWR (Form 2) reference number can be used by other parties, such as electricity retailers and builders to view the status only, of the job via the ENERGEX Website. Whilst the status can be viewed, no customer or address details will be available; n Multiple users for one account means suitably authorised individuals can log on and check the status of their job, eliminating the use of one password for an entire company, which is the current practice. This will provide a more secure and efficient tool in tracking individual’s jobs; n The ability to save an incomplete EWR (Form 2) which can then be completed at a later time or date without losing any data; n The ability to view the history of previously submitted EWRs (Form 2); and n Tools to assist in the submission of a EWR (Form 2) and the navigation of the Web Portal such as ‘Help’ and ‘Mouse Over’ text. It is important to note that the functions of the

EWR (Form 2) Web Portal are only available to those electrical contractors who have established an account and submit their EWRs (Form 2) via the Web Portal. ENERGEX consulted and conducted visits with six electrical contractors who submit their EWRs (Form 2) online, to create the awareness of the coming EWR (Form 2) Web Portal, to gain insight into their requirements and engage them in the changes. As part of their engagement throughout the development and implementation of the EWR (Form 2) Web Portal, these electrical contractors were provided the opportunity to review the interactive concept design and provide feedback on the layout and navigation of the EWR (Form 2) Web Portal, with a very positive response being received. ENERGEX intends to stagger the transition to the new EWR (Form 2) Web Portal for current online users to ensure sufficient support can be provided. The introduction of the EWR (Form 2) Web Portal has been scheduled to proceed later this year and further information and updates will be provided as this progresses. Should you have any questions regarding these changes, please contact ENERGEX’s Electrical Contractor line on 1300 762 397.

the master electrician : WINTER 09

news from distributors : WHAT’S HAPPENING IN YOUR INDUSTRY




$200 million cable project securing power for Sydney across the Bay Work has started on a $200 million project that will connect two major EnergyAustralia substations via Botany Bay, to improve the power supply to 61,000 in homes and businesses in Sydney’s inner suburbs and the CBD. EnergyAustralia’s Kurnell and Bunnerong subtransmission substations will be connected by seven kilometres of new high voltage cable, reinforcing the backbone of Sydney’s electricity network and increasing supply for Kurnell. The majority of cable work will be in streets near the substations in Kurnell and La Perouse with work underway in Captain Cook Drive, Kurnell. EnergyAustralia General Manager Engineering Geoff Lilliss said every stage of the project had been carefully planned and communicated to the community via 6,000 newsletters. “We’ve prepared a seagrass management plan with the Department of Environment, Conservation and Climate Change and the Department of Primary Industries to make sure the seagrass will be protected,” Mr Lilliss said. “We have also employed a marine ecologist, who helped develop the seagrass plan and will continue to closely monitor the Bay both during and after the work is completed. “An independent seagrass expert from the NSW Department of Primary Industries will also review our work, step by step, across the seagrass bed.” EnergyAustralia worked thoroughly to find the most effective way to lay the 132,000 Volt cables while protecting the Bay, in particular the seagrass bed. During installation, the seven cables will be suspended on top of the water with buoys and then lowered by divers to rest on the sea floor across the Bay, approximately five metres apart. A water jet will travel over the length of each cable, gently burying it into the sea bed. Where the cable route crosses the seagrass beds, the cables will be joined to create two bundles, laid onto a separate track and carefully buried by the specially designed water jet.

Seven kitchen staff shocked by faulty steamer A cook in an Indian restaurant was taking food out of an electric steamer when the gadget short-circuited and he received a strong shock. Six of his colleagues, one after the other, rushed across to help him but as the floor was wet, they too also received shocks. They were saved as the last of them to hit the floor, fell close to the door and kept banging on it. The noise caught the attention of the other employees, who switched off the main power supply.

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Announce Smart Meter Field Workforce Agreements Total program value reaches A$400M CitiPower and Powercor Australia and its field services provider, Powercor Network Services (PNS) have announced contracts valued at up to A$80m to install more than 1.1 million “smart meters” in homes and businesses across its Victorian electricity distribution networks. The new partnerships are for the physical installation of smart meters with work to be shared in equal volumes between Bilfinger Berger Services (BBS) and UXC. AMI Project Director, Mr Peter Bryant, said this latest announcement placed CitiPower and Powercor Australia at the forefront of the roll out of smart meters to all Victorians. “The finalisation of these agreements between PNS and BBS and UXC means that CitiPower and Powercor have taken another vital step in the implementation of the smart metering program,” Mr Bryant said. The announcement of the field labour contracts follows last month’s agreements with Landis+Gyr and PRI Australasia for the supply of smart meters, and with Silver Spring Networks for the provision of the network infrastructure, communications devices and software that will connect the smart meters to CitiPower and Powercor’s electricity distribution networks – bringing the total investment in the program to date to more than A$400m. Smart meters will streamline the collection of electricity usage data

from energy consumers, allow innovative time-of-use tariffs, enable remote reading for electricity meters, and help to provide more timely information on power outages and the quality of power supply. “We are confident that BBS and UXC have the strength, experience and capabilities to help us deliver the State Government-mandated roll out of smart meters, and through it the most significant modernisation of Victoria’s electricity distribution networks for many years,” Mr Bryant said. “Importantly, these combined agreements represent a major milestone in a project

that will ultimately transform the way consumers use and think about electricity, and which will allow electricity distributors to manage electricity supply more effectively and efficiently for decades to come,” he said. The exchange of smart meters in the CitiPower and Powercor network areas by BBS and UXC is being managed by Powercor Network Services. The first smart meters are expected to be installed late this year, and the project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013.

the master electrician : WINTER 09

news from distributors : WHAT’S HAPPENING IN YOUR INDUSTRY



In July 2008, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to introduce a national licensing system. In





buzz the

Progress on a national licensing system


Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA), to provide the basic framework for the new system, as well as a Decision Regulation Impact Statement (RIS). The RIS outlines a National Delegated Agency arrangement – a national

Here’s the latest news and information from the electrotechnology industry across Australia.

licence involving the establishment of a national licensing body with licensing administration and enforcement activities being undertaken by States and Territories. Broadly representative occupational licence advisory committees will advise the proposed national licensing body. These committees will comprise members drawn from relevant peak bodies, consumer advocacy organisations, regulators, peak insurance bodies (where relevant) and the national training system. Indicative timelines are: n June

2010 – Act passed in host jurisdiction

n November

2010 – Acts passed in other

jurisdictions and draft Regulations prepared n January

2011 – national licensing body

commences n July

2012 – national licensing scheme for

first wave occupations commences.

No GFC here Treasurer Wayne Swan has recently opened a new Brisbane administration centre for Townsville-based company Allsafe Energy Efficient Products, a business that has boomed with the rebates for insulation and solar hot water. Managing director Sean Cochrane said he expected to create more than 900 jobs in Australia and New Zealand over the next 12 months, largely due to the federal government’s energy efficient homes package. “The stimulus packages that Mr Swan and his team have instigated have not only helped our business grow but accelerated our business ... but more so brought sustainability to top of mind,” Mr Cochrane said. Allsafe will open 52 new franchises across Australia and New Zealand in the next 12 months, creating around 936 jobs.


Switch Automation sign distribution deal with Clipsal Integrated Systems Switch Automation has announced that it has signed an agreement to have its automation products distributed through Clipsal Integrated System’s Australia wide C-Bus pointOne and C-Bus Platinum distribution network. Since 2002 Switch Automation has designed, developed and manufactured automation control solutions for residential, commercial, industrial and multi-dwelling applications. The company’s Series 8 Integrated Entertainment touchscreens are highly sought

after in commercial residential projects by systems integrators for their ease of installation and use. “Our products’ core strengths are in their ability to provide a residential building’s standard IP intercoms systems and BMS. Our products are a perfect fit with the Clipsal C-Bus lighting control and integration system, says Deb Noller, Director, Switch Automation.

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the buzz : issues affecting your industry

For accurate, reliable control Time switches & Hour meters Warning of War on Climate Change Consultants to local government in Australia say if current trends continue governments will be forced to declare a formal “war” on climate change and implement intervention strategies associated with wartime. Climate change policy currently has an aura of suspended doom – the lull before the storm – and a sense of urgency has yet to reach Canberra, as the latest Commonwealth budget demonstrates. The report by NIEIR business National Economics says its assessment is that $1 billion of expenditure will be required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by between 0.8 and 1 million tonnes per annum. This rule covers expenditures on building retrofitting for energy efficiency, the replacement of coal fired electricity generation by renewable energy sources, the use of carbon capture and storage (CCS) in electricity generation and industrial processes, plus expenditure on transport infrastructure and equipment to reduce the use of liquid fuels. This implies that to reduce CO2 emissions by between 250 and 300 million tonnes from what otherwise would have been the case over the next 20 years will require total expenditure approaching $400 billion in 2007 prices. In other words, to obtain the absolute reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 that is now being targeted (or at least endorsed) will require a shift in resources to CO2 abatement expenditures of approximately 2 to 3 per cent of GDP on a sustained basis. The rule is similar for most other countries. The consultants conclude that carbon pricing has a role to play in greenhouse gas abatement, but argue that carbon pricing including the cap and trade mechanisms proposed by the Australian government is a necessary but not sufficient condition for success. Sole reliance on these measures will be both inefficient (probably infeasible) and economically costly in securing the desired emissions target. Pricing mechanisms must be supported by complementary measures using the whole range of relevant policy instruments if the desired greenhouse gas emissions targets are to be achieved. The message was to move aggressively across a wide range of CO2 abatement instruments and not let problems and uncertainties with carbon pricing mechanisms delay the process. Based on the report, the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) says if the Federal Government considers further fiscal stimulus measures are needed, much of this should be directed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions if Australia is to remain economically competitive. Article provided by Power Industry News

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the master electrician : WINTER 09


interview with Romilly Madew

In our Autumn edition, The Master Electrician spoke with Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey about the global financial crisis. In this edition, we move to another hot topic and ask Romilly Madew, Chief Executive of the Green Building Council of Australia about the green revolution.


The GBCA is Australia’s leading authority on green building. The GBCA was established in 2002 to develop a sustainable property industry and to promote green building practices, technologies and design processes. The 800 member companies include a cross-section of organisations from developers to government, to facility and asset managers to universities, and each supports the council and their activities to achieve a more sustainable building industry. How important is it for Australia to develop a greener, more sustainable building industry? Buildings are fundamental to our way of living; however, they also have a significant impact on our environment. Residential and commercial buildings contribute 23 per cent of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions and have significant negative impact on the world’s resources. The good news is that buildings represent the single largest opportunity for greenhouse gas abatement, more than the energy, transport and industry sectors combined according to the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Australia’s property industry has recognised the need for urgent action and leadership and through the GBCA, Australia is now at the forefront of finding sustainable solutions to our global climate change challenges. What is your number one priority for developing a sustainable building industry in Australia? Our first priority is to establish ‘Green Star’ as the national rating tool. The GBCA launched the Green Star environmental rating system for buildings in 2003. Green Star evaluates the green attributes of building projects based on nine categories, including energy and water efficiency, indoor environment quality and resource conservation. Green Star rating tools are currently available for a variety of sectors, including commercial offices, retail centres, schools and universities, healthcare facilities, multi-unit residential dwellings, industrial facilities and public buildings. Green Star environmental rating tools support the property and construction industry to reduce the environmental impact of buildings, improve occupant health and productivity and achieve real cost savings, while showcasing innovation in sustainable building practices. How can electrical contractors ensure that they are compliant with sustainable building methods? Clearly, green building is the way of the future. For people in electrical trades, this means learning about emerging technologies and installation processes required for buildings to gain Green Star certification. For instance, Green Star encourages building projects to seek out alternative energy sources, with credits awarded to projects that reduce their impact on the grid at peak times. Co-generation, solar, water and wind are beginning to feature in projects aiming for Green Star certification. Credits are awarded for using effective mechanisms, such as sub-metering, for monitoring energy consumption throughout buildings as well as for shared energy systems within buildings or precincts, which minimise maintenance, energy and resource consumption.

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the interview : WITH ROMILLY MADEW

What is the Green Building Council of Australia’s (GBCA) role, and how does it fit into wider efforts to become more energy efficient and environmentally friendly?

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the master electrician : WINTER 09


the interview : WITH ROMILLY MADEW

Australia is now at the forefront of finding sustainable solutions to our global climate change challenges

How do electrical contractors strike a balance between providing competitive prices to their clients, and recommending/ installing more expensive energy-saving or environmentally friendly fittings and appliances? Electrical contractors can explain to their clients that energy saving devices have a very high return on investment. The CH2 building in Melbourne, for example, which was Australia’s first 6 Star Green Star – Office Design rated building, incorporated a number of energyreducing features including solar photovoltaic cells for electricity generation and integrated wind-turbines. CH2 has a low energy cooling system featuring chilled ceilings and a night-time cooling system utilising natural ventilation. A low energy T5 lighting system and daylight responsive light dimming. The property uses sub-metering so tenants can control their energy consumption while electricity co-generation reduces waste heat. In all, the building has achieved an 87 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, compared to buildings of similar size. What are the benefits to electrical contractors in complying with the Green Star regulations? Green Star rating is voluntary, but we know that ‘green collar’ workers are already in demand, and this is expected to increase as we move towards a low-carbon economy. A report released in June 2008 used the latest CSIRO modelling to predict that more than 251,500 ‘green collar’ jobs will be created in Australia’s property and construction industry by 2025 – that’s 45 per cent of the total number of new jobs! We encourage electrical contractors to gather knowledge and experience that can be applied to green building projects to ensure they are at the


leading edge of best practice in green building and future-proof their careers. Since 2002, the GBCA has trained 12,000 industry professionals on the Green Star environmental rating tools for buildings. 4,000 of those people were so committed to green building that they sat an exam to become a Green Star Accredited Professional. These Green Star advocates have a deep understanding of green building practices, know how to apply Green Star tools to their projects and are connected to a network of other green thinkers in Australia’s property industry. What government support is there for electrical contractors that comply with the Green Star regulations? While the Green Building Council of Australia does not advocate Green Star as a mandatory regulation tool, it does encourage Green Star as a support mechanism for incentives. All layers of government in Australia are looking at how they can apply Green Star rating tools to the allocation of bonus floor areas, fast assessment of development applications and cash incentives for green developments. This means, again,

that having a solid understanding of Green Star and how to apply energy efficiency measures to buildings will support your career progression and your business. How responsible is the building industry for reducing carbon emissions to help meet the targets set at Copenhagen later this year? As mentioned above, Australia’s commercial and residential buildings are responsible for 23 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. This means it is vitally important if we are to reduce our nation’s carbon footprint. The Centre for International Economics on behalf of the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council (ASBEC) has found that realising the full abatement potential within the property sector will save the Australian economy around $38 billion annually by 2050. The Green Building Council of Australia believes that a second industrial revolution is required and that revolution – a green industrial revolution – will have the same tangible benefits to the global economy as the first industrial revolution.

Self-healing wire A researcher at the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) has developed a self-repairing wire. The wire, developed at UDRI by Robert Kauffman, will patch exposed metal wire in autos and airplanes with a new layer of permanent insulation through a combination of electrical current and a specially formulated material. Kauffman was prompted to develop the technology after he served as a lead investigator in the 1996 crash of TWA 800, brought down by a fuel-tank explosion. Investigators decided the explosion likely resulted from faulty fuel-sensor wiring, UDRI said.

Legal solutions for ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS Advice on contracts Contractual and payment disputes Business structures Asset protection Buying and selling businesses Wills and Estates Leasing and commercial contracts Debt collection services Conveyancing Workplace Health & Safety Call Michael Cope today on (07) 3223 5939 or Ian Heathwood on (07) 3223 5942 or 0418 199 416

Brisbane Level 26 239 George St 3223 5900

Mackay McKays Law Centre 34 Wood St 4963 0888

workplace relations : CLIMATE CHANGE

Are you a Master Electrician? Master Electricians deliver the highest levels of quality, electrical safety, integrity and energy advice. Why become a Master Electrician? Consumers trust the ‘Masters’ brand, and are more likely to choose a Master Electrician over the competition. Buyers equate Master Electricians with experience, quality, reliability and integrity. Through our extensive advertising to public and industry on the benefits of using a Master Electrician, you will be in demand from the public, builders, principal contractors and government.

When you become a Master Electrician, you get the following benefits: n

Use of the Master Electrician branding


A strong point of difference over your competitors


Increased recognition by public and industry

Master Electricians Accreditation also provides you with unlimited access to: n

A wiring rules hotline


A large technical and standards advice team


Industry training and education


Employment and workplace relations advice


Expert advice on commercial and business matters


Regular up-to-date news and information


Networking opportunities with industry supporters, suppliers, other allied trades and associated organisations.

To find out how you can become a Master Electrician call 1300 889 198 or visit quality



the master electrician : WINTER 09


technical talk A Dim View


e have all heard of Light-Emitting Diodes or LEDs. LEDs present many advantages over traditional light sources including lower energy consumption, longer lifetime, improved robustness, smaller size and faster switching. However, they can be expensive and require a more precise current and heat management system than a traditional light source. The application of LEDs has been wide spread. They are used as low-energy indicators or signal devices, and more importantly are used as a replacement for traditional light sources in our homes and businesses. But how do they work? How do the manufacturers obtain the correct colour rendition, and can they be dimmed? These are questions our Technical team are often asked. What could now be called the “humble LED” is quite simply, a solid-state semiconductor device that converts electrical energy directly into light. This is achieved by allowing electrical current to pass through the semiconductor in one direction only after a threshold voltage is attained between the anode and cathode terminals, commonly known as the PN junction (as seen in Figure 1). The electrical current that passes through the PN junction releases energy in the form of photons of light. This is why LEDs can shine. The wavelength (colour) of the light depends on the materials forming the PN junction or chip. Red and green LEDs have been around for decades but they are all monochromatic in their wave form or of single hue. If Red or green LEDs are used as a light source, an illuminated object may appear to conflict with the natural colours of the object. As a result of the introduction of blue light LEDs by a Japanese scientist, Shuji Nakamura in 1993, the application of LED development and technology has rapidly spread. With the discovery of the blue LED the combination of our three basic colours was obtained, Red, Green and Blue (RGB). This has given birth to the application of various phosphors to produce white LEDs, and


as we have seen the realisation that LEDs can replace conventional light sources. LEDs are current driven devices. Less current in means less photons out. But we don’t generally power LEDs from a true current source. The vast majority of power supplies are voltage sources, and that’s what we usually find powering LEDs. In Figure 2, (VT) represents the voltage threshold and current only flows through the PN junction once the voltage threshold has been reached. By gradually lowering the voltage source across the LED back toward the threshold level, a reduction in light may be noticed (dimming effect). Lowering below the threshold level will of course turn the light off. Unfortunately there is no really secure method of dimming an LED light source, other than by an attempt to trick the human eye. By allowing only short pulses of full voltage, the human eye may be tricked into believing the output is dimmer than the LEDs full intensity. This is known as Pulse Width Modulation. The human eye cannot distinguish this flicker of 50 times per second. The shorter the pulse width, the dimmer the light output will appear. This can be seen in Figure 3. Naturally this article only scratches the surface on dimmable LED technology. Manufacturers are generally very helpful and will usually advise on the most suitable components to use, based on your proposed application. Most dimmable fittings are now compatible with “Dynalite” and “C-Bus” type controllers thus providing ease of choice and fitment. Accredited Master Electricians and ECA members are best advised to consult a lighting specialist for specific advice and design assistance, or the Technical team for further information. Correction The Autumn 09 edition of the magazine depicted an incorrect illustration in relation to the ‘Understanding Fault Loop Impedance’ article’. The correct illustration can be found at



Figure 1

V or I VT LED on

LED off time

Figure 2

V or I 100% time 50%


Figure 3


e have all seen the workmanship in roof spaces where various cabled services jostle for space. The capability, knowledge, and pride of the individuals who installed the services is always there for all to see. Few it seems consider the consequences of poor segregation, be the consequences legal or technical in nature. It really is so easy to squeeze another cable in, or to ignore the effects of ambient temperature. But should we segregate more, should we give each service more space, should we be concerned at the possible repercussions? The Electrical Wiring Rules AS3000, the Telecommunications Installation Standard AS3080, and the Telecommunications Wiring Rules S009, all require clearances between different services, with the clearance varying broadly with the voltage and frequency of the signals. Many and varied are the effects of poor segregation. Induced voltages, induced frequencies, and the like are the most common, but other effects do exist as well. The effect that these have on the user is varied and often hard to confirm, as many only occur when a number of specific environmental conditions exists, such as when the ambient temperature is high, the network utilisation exceeds 30%, and, in addition, the lift is running. Very often the installer tests the installation without all of the other services being in full

CLK-1 shown

operation, or in a manner which takes no account of other services. After all if you connect a computer to a network, and it works, what is there to worry about? It is here that we should stop and think of the legal and contractual consequences in those cases where segregation and compliance is less than sound. Very often the client does not experience problems until networks are well loaded, and often only at specific times of certain days. For varying reasons the cabling is not normally the service suspected of being the cause, and the immediate concern is a software or hardware

technical talk : MOVE OVER AND MAKE ROOM

Move over and make room

fault. After expensive testing by the companies concerned, and considerable disruption the decision may be to take a serious look at the cabling of services generally. When noncompliances are then found the cablers can be found liable for all of the costs incurred to date, which are normally many times more expensive than initial compliance would have been. Our knowledge of the rules for the installation of the services for which we are responsible is commonly poor. A five yearly update for both electrical and telecommunications is a sound investment for all involved in our industry.

CONTRACTORS LOCKOUT KITS Available from most Electrical Wholesalers

Standard Kits include: * Universal Lockout Device for Miniature Circuit Breakers * Universal Lockout Devices for Moulded Case Circuit Breakers * Lockout Hasp * Lockout Padlock * Multifunction Cable Lockout * Danger and Warning Tags Also available with Plug, Ball and Gate Lockout Devices

See our website for more information on Lockout / Tagout Equipment

See our website for our full range of LOCKOUT / TAGOUT equipment Ph 07 5445 2910 Fax 07 5445 8612 Email: the master electrician : WINTER 09


workplace relations

Are You Ready for the Fair Work Act? 38

Changes effective from 1 July 2009 Unfair Dismissal The Act has significantly altered the current unfair dismissal laws. An employer who has 15 or less full time employees (this is calculated by averaging the ordinary hours worked by all employees over a four week period and dividing that by 38 hours) will be exempt from unfair dismissal if the dismissal occurs within the 12  month probationary period. From January 2011 the 15 full time employees will be replaced with 15 employees (headcount). Enterprise Agreements There is no longer Employee/Union Agreements. All statutory agreements are now Enterprise Agreements. Under the new laws: n Employees can elect to have a union representative act as their bargaining representative, also the bargaining representative can apply to Fair Work Australia to be included in the agreement n Agreements can operate for a period up to 4 years

n Agreements

must contain provisions in relation to individual flexibility arrangements, dispute resolution and consultation about major change n With regards to greenfield agreements, the employer must contact the union/s their employee’s would be eligible to be a member of n Good faith bargaining is a central component to agreement making n Enterprise Agreements must be approved by Fair Work Australia before they commence n Certain matters pertaining to the employment relationship can be included in enterprise agreements, e.g. union dues deductions from salary. Employers and employees can still operate under the Award (or modern Award) or enter into common law agreements with their employees. Good Faith Bargaining The Act parties are now obliged to bargain in good faith. The good faith bargaining obligations requires parties to: n Attend and participate in meetings at reasonable times n Disclose relevant information in a timely matter (although commercial in confidence material will be protected) n Respond in a timely matter to proposals made by the other party n Give genuine consideration to other parties’ needs and providing reasons for responses n Refrain from capricious or unfair conduct which undermines freedom of association or collective bargaining.

Under the Act there is no formal notification required to commence bargaining. Fair Work Australia Fair Work Australia is the new regulator now in operation. Fair Work Australia has been described as a ‘one stop shop’ although it consists of four separate bodies: n Fair Work Australia n Fair Work Ombudsman n Fair Work Division of the Federal Court n Fair Work Division of the Federal Magistrates Court. Fair Work Australia replaces the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, Australian Industrial Registry, Australian Fair Pay Commission, Australian Fair Pay Commission Secretariat, Workplace Authority, Workplace Ombudsman and Australian Building and Construction Industry from 1st February 2010.

workplace relations : ARE YOU READY FOR THE FAIR WORK ACT?


he Federal Government introduced the Fair Work Bill in Parliament late last year overhauling a number of provisions currently contained in the WorkChoices Legislation. The Bill passed through Parliament in May 2009. The Fair Work Act (the Act) will be introduced in two phases. The first phase of the Act was introduced on July 1 this year with the second phase commencing on 1st January 2010.

Industrial Action Industrial action remains protected in circumstances of good faith bargaining where the action has been approved by a secret ballot supervised by Fair Work Australia. Right of Entry The Union official must still: n Hold a valid permit (issued by Fair Work Australia) n Give proper notice n Be entering the site for one of three reasons: n Holding discussions with eligible employees n Investigate suspected breaches

New ProTag Optima System Australia’s Most Compact Appliance Testing and Tag Printing System. The new ProTag Optima System tests portable appliances and RCDs, and prints test tags in a compact system weighing only around 2kg. No interface cables between the tester, printer and scanner provide maximum mobility on construction sites, factories and workshops. Light weight, wireless, battery powered and with logging of visual inspections and risk assessments, the Optima System guarantees greater efficiency, huge time savings and a lower cost per tag. Call EMONA Instruments on tel: 1 800 632 953 email: or the master electrician : WINTER 09


n Exercise

rights under State Occupational Health and Safety Legislation.

Transfer of Business The Fair Work Act has removed the 12 month ‘transmission period’ introduced by WorkChoices. This allows enterprise agreements, which have been transferred to new employers, to apply indefinitely. For a transfer of business to occur, the following three requirements must be met: n An employee’s employment must be terminated by the old employer n Within three months of the termination, the employee must be employed by the new employer n The work that is performed by the employee, for the new employer, is the same or similar to the work previously performed by the employee for the old employer. Changes effective from 1 January 2010 National Employment Standards Currently the Australian Fair Pay Commission contains five minimum legislated standards. On 1st January 2010 these standards will increase to 10 and be referred to as the National Employment Standards (NES). The NES will


ensure that employees have a legislated safety net which cannot be stripped away. The National Employment Standards are: n A 38 hour week plus reasonable additional hours n The right to request flexible working arrangements n The right to 12 months unpaid parental leave and the right to request an additional 12 months unpaid parental leave which cannot be unreasonably refused n Annual leave of four weeks for full time employees and five weeks for shift workers n Community service leave n Long service leave n Public holidays n Notice of termination and redundancy pay n All new employees must be provided with a Fair Work Information Statement. Modern Awards The Award modernisation process is being conducted by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission and seeks to streamline and simplify the current awards. The modern awards are set to commence on 1st January 2010 and will not apply to employees earning more than $100,000.

The Fair Work Act (the Act) will be introduced in two phases. The first phase of the Act was introduced on July 1 this year with the second phase commencing on 1st January 2010.

Information Statement All employers will be required to give the Fair Work Information Statement to all new employees. Better Off Overall Test (BOOT) The BOOT will replace the No Disadvantage Test. The BOOT will be applied to all Agreements and will be administered by FWA. ECA members and Accredited Master Electricians can contact the Workplace Relations team for further queries.




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news from head office

Removal of Solar Rebate leaves industry in disarray Small electrical contractors around Australia will suffer from the Federal Government cancelling the solar panel rebate 21 days earlier than promised. Solar panel installers will bear the brunt of the rash decision to axe the $8,000 rebate as applications to the scheme can no longer be taken, leaving the sector without the expected flood of last minute orders. The uncertainty felt by the sector extends into Australian households. The decision to bring the deadline forward means homeowners have missed out on a great environmental initiative. The Government’s proposed replacement, the Renewable Energy Target Scheme (RET Scheme), is still to be introduced into Parliament, leaving the industry doubtful of make-up orders being processed any time soon. At the May Budget the Government committed to the $8,000 solar rebate and then six weeks later back-flipped without notice, consultation, or consideration of the industry this decision will affect most. Fleet Services The end of financial year has come and gone with many contractors taking advantage of the Federal Government Investment Allowance to purchase new vehicles. The good news is the deadline for the Investment Allowance has now been extended to the end of 2009. The Investment Allowance allows small businesses to receive a tax


deduction of up to 50 per cent of the cost (excluding GST) of eligible new depreciating assets. The expanded Tax Break is available to small businesses with a turnover of less than $2 million. All other businesses can access the Tax Break at 10 per cent for eligible assets that they commit to investing in between 1 July 2009 and 31 December 2009. Motor Dealer partners were reporting high sales numbers at the end of financial year and in some cases running out of stock. Dealers are now forward ordering stock from all

manufacturers (especially commercial vehicles) in anticipation of increased demand over the next five months. Our advice is don’t leave it to the last minute. Take advantage of ECA and Master Electricians Fleet Services to source and price a new commercial or passenger vehicle. You can also take advantage of tailored finance options. This information is of a general nature only. You should seek professional advice prior to taking any action.


Changes to ABCC Laws will see a return to the “bad old days” Proposed changes to the powers of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) will be a giant leap backwards in terms of industrial relations on building sites according to Executive Manager – Workplace Policy Paul Daly. With the transition from Workplace Relations Act to Fair Works Act, the ABCC will be absorbed into Fair Works Australia. In a Bill put before the Parliament recently the government proposed a raft of changes to the powers of the new ABCC, including the “switching off” of coercive powers on construction sites deemed to be “behaving”. “The coercive powers are very important as they legally compel witnesses to give evidence,” Mr Daly said. “The removal of these powers will leave the union free to run amok on site, safe from the fear of being arrested for breaching the legislation, and take the building and construction industry back 20 years when industrial disputes were common place and thuggery was the union’s mode of operation.”

Government kills off National Building Code by stealth The changes made to the National Code of Practice for the Construction Industry by the federal government will put even more pressure on electrical companies trying to negotiate a collective agreement with the unions. The Government has effectively “relaxed” the Code, allowing many of the issues that were once breaches of the code to now be acceptable. Employers encouraging union membership, last on first off policies and employers being required to provide for union stickers and logos (including on company shirts) are just some of the issues that will now be accepted under the code.

Telecommunications service launched If you were to examine how your business looks in the eyes of your customer, what would they see? Does your email address project a professional image? How easy is it for your customers to reach you? Did you know a 1300 number can offer outstanding value in building your reputation? No matter which sector of the electrical industry you are in, communicating with your customers, suppliers and staff is vital. ECA and Master Electricians Australia have secured a significant deal to provide you with access to communications services tailored to your business needs. Choose from a full range of telecommunication products including mobile phones, landlines, 1300 & 1800 numbers, broadband, webhosting and domain names. The service is supported by a dedicated local call centre allowing you to cut the red tape and get the solutions you want when you need it. To take advantage of this great new service, ECA Members and Accredited Master Electricians can contact 1300 950 199.

Moon landing mission saved by pen While on the moon, one of the astronauts knocked loose the circuit breaker responsible for igniting the engine that would propel the Apollo 11 astronauts back to the orbiting command module – their only ride home. Buzz Aldrin used a non-metallic pen to turn on the circuit breaker controlled by the broken switch.

the master electrician : WINTER 09


Annual Excellence Awards for the Electrical and Communications Industry

Award categories Apprentice of the Year Award -

brought to you by HPM Legrand

BusinessConnect Student of the Year Award brought to you by Auslec and Lawrence & Hanson

Innovative Product or Service of the Year Award Nominations now open

Safety Management Award brought to you by Haymans and Extreme Safety

Master Electrician of the Year Award

President’s Award Business Woman of the Year Award Domestic Project of the Year Award

Commercial Project of the Year Award Industrial Project of the Year Award

Data project of the Year Award

(Including Home Automation)

Green Project of the Year Award

To nominate go to or Nominations close 18th September 2009

gadget guide

gadget guide DEHN Spark Gap Extreme Safety are Australian representatives for DEHN surge protection equipment, and new to the range is the DEHN Spark Gap for cathodic protected pipe. With a tested maximum lightning impulse current of 100 kA (10/350 μs), EXFS 100 and EXFS 100 KU meet class H of the protection standard, i.e. the maximum class of lightning impulse current strength according to EN 50164-3 ”Lightning Protection Components (LPC) - Part 3: Requirements for isolating sparkgaps“. The ATEX-certified spark gaps EXFS 100 and EXFS 100 KU provide approved safety according to harmonised European standards. For connecting EXFS 100 spark gaps, prewired connecting cables with different lengths are available as accessories. Flat and angled connection brackets (IF) make it easier to connect the spark gaps to pipe flanges. EXFS 100 KU types are enclosed by a damp-proof plastic coating and can therefore be ideally used for underground installation for insulating couplings. DEHN Spark Gaps and other surge protection accessories are available through Extreme Safety. or call 07 3282 0911

Amprobe Clamp Meters with CAT IV rating Amprobe, a test tool provider, has announced the introduction of the new ACD-3300 and ACDC-3400 industrial true RMS Clamp Meters with CAT IV rating for industrial applications and utilities. CAT IV rating is required for any application where the electrical wiring is located outside of the building, connecting electrical system to the power transformer. In addition, both meters have industrial true RMS sensing for accuracy and dependability of measurements. Other features and benefits include:

Thermal Imaging Camera

n Ability

Emona Instruments, the Australia wide supplier of electrical and electronic test and measuring instruments, has launched the Dali TE thermal imaging camera. The Dali TE is priced so affordably that for the first time thermal imaging cameras can be regarded as an everyday tool rather than a high priced instrument with limited use by consultants and specialist engineers. The Dali TE is a no-compromise 160 x 120 resolution thermal imaging camera with a temperature range of -20C to +250C and laser pointer. It is ideal as a service tool for everyday electrical, industrial and HVAC applications and is priced to allow every technician to have one in their toolbox. The TE offers a number of measurement modes, including moveable sport, moveable area (maximum, minimum and average), Isotherm and alarm function. It also provides a choice of 3 palettes. Emissivity is variable from 0.01 to 1.0 or can be selected from a predefined materials list. Around 100 images can be stored on the builtin flash memory and are downloaded to PC via USB. The thermal images are saved as 14 bit radiometric jpegs and include all measurement data when downloaded to PC. Battery life is 3

hours and the unit is supplied with 2 x Li-Ion rechargeable battery modules and intelligent fast charger. The TE is supplied with “Dali Infrared Reporter” software, a full function reporting and analysis software package. Users have full post analysis functions including max, min, average, line profile and histogram. The software also provides multi-page report generation and user customizable templates. Users can also easily link visible light images taken with photographic cameras.

to measure AC current up to 1000 ACA, voltage up to 750 VAC/ 1000 VDC, frequency, resistance and capacitance and duty cycle n 1000A DC current (ACDC-3400) n Temperature to 1832°farenheight or 1000°celcius (ACD-3300 only) n Peak hold n Relative zero (ACDC-3400) n Audible continuity n Auto and manual ranging n Auto power off n Data hold n Backlight n Diode test n Duty cycle n Gar-graph n Accommodates conductors up to 51mm in diameter n Test leads, battery, users manual, carrying case and type-K thermocouple (Model ACD-3300 only).

If you have something to submit, please email

the master electrician : WINTER 09


Master Electricians Racing Driver Andre Borell puts the BMW 530d to the test.

test drive A


fter driving the first kilometre in this car, I realised the BMW 530d is unlike any car that I have had the pleasure of driving before. I’ve driven a lot of cars both on the road and on the race track, but there is simply nothing that I can draw on which compares to it, it’s in a different league. The line between sports car and luxury car is blurred by the 530d. Your eyes tell you it’s a luxury car, with it’s beautifully crafted leather interior and bold, stylish exterior design. On the other hand your senses tell you it’s a sports car with it’s punch-inthe-back acceleration and astonishing handling. The 530d is of course the 3L diesel engine model. For those unfamiliar with the BMW badging – the 5 is the series, the 30 indicates 3 litre capacity, and d is for diesel-engine (with an ‘i’ standing for injected with the petrol models). As I touched on last edition, the ‘D’ word is nothing

to be scared of – this 6-cylinder, 24 variablevalve diesel engine doesn’t smell, doesn’t billow smoke, and even sounds impressive from the driver’s seat. The 530d powerplant produces only 231hp at 4000rpm, but an astonishing 400nm of torque across almost the entire rev-range. In motor racing we have a saying: “power sells motor cars, torque wins motor races”. In other words, power means very little, so don’t use this to compare vehicles. In terms of drive and performance, torque rules – and 500nm is a huge figure. It simply just keeps pulling right through the rpm range. The initial launch off the line in the 530d is not ultra impressive, but its 3rd-6th gear acceleration certainly is. On the highway, the 3L diesel cruises effortlessly at 110kph using less than 7L/100km in our tests. Don’t forget, this machine is also capable of doing 250kph on the

German Autobahn. Despite all this power and performance oriented design, the car is supereasy and comfortable to drive in the city, in heavy traffic, in car-parks, and just about anywhere else you might think it would be a handful. Being a fan of pure, un-electronically aided driving, I usually find electronic gizmos such as Traction Control and Stability Control more of an annoyance than a help. The 530d proved me wrong, and uses these electronic driver-aids cleverly and without being intrusive to the driving experience. For example their Traction Control, or DTC as it’s known (the ‘D’ standing for Dynamic) doesn’t harshly cut the drive to the rear-wheels. It cuts power smoothly and still allows some wheelspin, keeping the drive feeling very sporty. Dynamic Stability Control is also unobtrusive in heavy cornering, and works more intuitively than more basic systems fitted to other cars which

test drive : BMW 530d


can get you into more trouble than they are supposed to avoid. Other helpful features include automatic windscreen wipers and automatic headlights, as well as Adaptive Headlights which look into the corner you are driving through. My personal favourite, was the Heads Up Display (HUD). This system projects important information up onto the windscreen so you don’t have to look down at the dash; which is both very impressive and surprisingly useful. On top of these features, you also have all the usual safety features you expect from BMW – Dry Braking Function, ABS, CTC and more airbags than seats. The iDrive centre console also

controls just about everything through the one central display. With the use of one dial and one screen, you have control over the Radio, TV, Climate Control, Sat Nav, Mobile Phone and MP3 player. The 5 series range has always epitomised both luxury and performance, but this new model takes both to a new level. The model we tested featured the M-pack (M is the BMW Motorsport department). This upgrade includes wheels, front air dam and rear diffuser. This gives the 5’er a real mean streak, and top’s my list for ‘must-have’ extras. Now where can I find a spare $103,530 to get myself one of these... the master electrician : WINTER 09


what’s on winter 2009

AUG09 18th – 19th August 2009 WA OSH Conference

Esplanade Hotel, Fremantle

21st – 23rd August

V8 Supercars QLD 300 Queensland Raceway

27th – 28th August National Workplace Safety Summit 2009


Sept09 11th – 13th September V8 Supercars L&H 500 Phillip Island Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit

18th – 20th September Queensland Going Green Expo


22nd – 25th October

27th – 29th October


Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park

V8 Supercars Nitro SuperGP

26th – 28th October Carbon Market Expo Australasia 2009 Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre

The Safety Show Sydney

27th – 29th October

Sydney Materials Handling Trade Show Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park

RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane

Marriott, Brisbane

28th August – 1st September

ECA – MEA Annual ELQ Advert eca.pdf 9/17/2008 Conference

1:10:48 PM


Proven History... Strong Future. C


Trip Window Indication Light

ELQ - the genuine article







EATON - continuing to protect people and property in single phase and multi-phase applications Available in current ratings of 10A,16A, 20A, 25A, and 32A and with rated sensitivity of 10mA, 30mA and 100 mA (30mA is typically used for human protection) The ELQ-TW has been approved by the Office of Fair Trading,


Test Button (with preventative accidental push design)

Safety and Standards Branch and carries a unique approval number, N20187. Products like the ELQ and ELQ-TW have passed the many tests to meet the rigorous requirements of the Australian Standards.

For further information:


best day on the job : HOT TIN ROOF

your best (or worst) day on the job

Hot tin roof On a bright sunny day I set out with the apprentice to attend a routine service job on a two story building. After enjoying a fairly big evening the previous night, the apprentice was complaining of being tired.


hile I organised the tools needed for the job I asked the apprentice to secure the ladder we were using to get up onto the roof. As I climbed up I saw the rope attached to the base of the ladder and again at the top. I thought to myself what a great job; he’s actually done what I’ve asked first time without complaining. After a while the temperature started to drop and the wind picked up. I asked the apprentice to go and get our jackets. Half an hour later he

hadn’t returned. I found him standing at the edge of the roof staring into the car park below. “Are you waiting for a carrier pigeon to drop off the coats?” I asked. “No, I can’t get down,” came the nervous reply. It turns out the apprentice hadn’t done such a great job after all. He’d tied the bottom rung of the ladder to the top rung but had neglected to tie it off to anything else and in the windy weather the ladder had blown over. It was a cold three hours before we could get someone to rescue us. It just goes to show you should never assume ‘as it makes an ass out of u and me’. Story supplied by Wayne Crooks

Your story could win $50. Send your entry to and we’ll send you $50 if its published.


iPhone applications for electricians


Apple has traditionally set the benchmark in innovative new technology and the iPhone is no exception. With the release of the latest iPhone handset and software, we’ve decided to showcase just some of the many thousands of applications iPhone users can access. Electrical Toolkit FREE

Go Calc 

This useful iPhone utility is great for electronic engineers, technicians, electricians and students. It features various electrical tools such as Ohm’s Law, Resistor colour code, star delta transmission, RLC series circuit, a power triangle and more.

Create your own calculator using this sophisticated spreadsheet application. Set up variables and formulas that you can use time and time again while you’re in the field.

Face challenges for wiring cables to connect a battery to all the lights as ‘Joe’, an unlicensed electrician. Earn points as you complete the different levels of difficulty.




This application performs basic electrical power calculations with watts, volts, amps and motor power factor. It works for any voltage in any country and includes three modes: DC, AC Resistive and AC Inductive.

One for the Star Wars fan in all of us. If you’ve ever wanted to pretend you were Luke Skywalker on a mission to the Death Star, now you can. Swing your phone around with realistic lightsaber sound effects and defeat the dark side.

Electrical Formulator


Containing over 60 formulas, this application provides a handy conversion tool such as Kilowatts to BTU’s, horsepower, joules and lumens. It also converts Amps both from AC and DC currents and includes formulas to calculate total resistance, capacitance, voltage drops and transformer calculations.


Joe the Electrician


the master electrician : WINTER 09


last word last word : MALCOLM RICHARDS

Promises broken T

he Federal Government has abandoned its promise to keep the National Code of Practice for the Construction Industry, and has instead signalled a return to the old days of union domination of building sites. As a result of changes released by the Government, unions will effectively be able to reinstate unproductive work practices such as “no ticket – no start”, and construction workers will once again be forced to have building union officials represent them at the bargaining table – whether they want union representation or not.

While the Government claims it is maintaining the code, it has released a revised set of guidelines for implementing the code that will dramatically change the way it is interpreted and applied. These guidelines will apply to all Federal Government-funded projects from now on. Practices previously banned but allowed under the new guidelines include: n Industrial agreements under which employers must require workers to join a union n Pro-union propaganda, such as stickers and signs, being posted on work sites, company equipment and even uniforms

n Using

union delegates to conduct induction processes for new workers n Requiring an employee to be exclusively represented by a union in a dispute. The reason these types of practices were banned in the original code was because they sapped productivity and drove up building costs. The Rudd Government promised it would maintain the National Building Code, so why have they now flipped on their promise?

Malcolm Richards Chief Executive Officer

CIRT HELPS YOU TO REDUCE THE DRAIN ON YOUR COMPANY’S CASH FLOW CIRT was established in 1990 to provide redundancy benefits to the electrical industry. CIRT allows employers to contribute money each month on behalf of their employees. That way if a redundancy occurs, the CIRT contributions form either part or all of any redundancy payment and the employer can include the money already contributed as part of the redundancy payment. CIRT provides benefits for the following situations: redundancy, retirement, leaving the industry, severe financial hardship, total and permanent disability, death. Contact CIRT now for all your industry redundancy needs. Administered by Malcolm V. Leeke & Co. Chartered Accountants


8 McIlwraith Street PO Box 42 Everton Park Brisbane QLD 4053

Phone 07 3506 7788 Fax 07 3506 7700 Toll Free 1300 200 123

Email Website

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The Master Electrician Winter 2009  

The leading electrotechnology publication for contractors in Australia.

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