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inside The Internet of Things: turning the worldâ€™s energy grids upside down Retro-fitting - the next mega-trend Your guide to going digital
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table of contents Average Net Distribution 33 224 CAB Audited as of September 2014
project Safety Switch
building information modelling
the Internet of Things
digital marketing 101
meet a master electrician
regulator wrap up
letter of the law
the interview – Kevin Fuller
many of us reflect on the
plan for the one ahead.
If planning your digital
marketing strategy is not
all about ME
on your radar for 2015, it should be!
test drive – Mazda BT-50
the last word
Like us on facebook
General Enquiries Master Electricians Australia PO Box 2438, Fortitude Valley BC Queensland 4006 PHONE 1300 889 198 FAX 1800 622 914 EMAIL email@example.com WEB www.masterelectricians.com.au
12 Welcome to the SUMMER edition of the Master Electrician
As we approach the end of another eventful year past year and begin to
As we move even further into the digital age, going digital is something that business owners can no longer afford to ignore and as with most business practices, the
first step is planning. Turn to page 22 to find
Editorial Contacts & Contributors
Follow us @MasterElectrics on Twitter
EDITOR Malcolm Richards ASSOCIATE EDITOR Rebecca McNeil ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES Janelle MacDonald PHONE 07 3252 4860 EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org DESIGN AND PRINT POMO 1300 762 865
Become a Fan on Facebook www.facebook.com/ masterelectricians
out how you can get a leg-up in the digital economy, with the launch of the Electrician’s Digital Business Kit. Merry Christmas to all our readers, and all the best for 2015. Until next time.
www.masterelectricians.com.au or call 1300 889 198 The Master Electrician is printed on environmentally responsible paper sourced from FSC certified forestry plantations. The paper is made with Elemental Chlorine Free pulps (ECF).
Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this publication are offered solely in pursuance of the objects of the Electrical Contractors 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 Contractors 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 Contractors 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 www.masterelectricians.com.au
Rebecca McNeil Associate Editor
The Master Electrician
Project Safety Switch – five years on The report of the Home Insulation Program Royal Commission has closed one of the saddest chapters for the electrical industry, but the fight to prevent more deaths continues.
On 14 October 2009, 25 year old Matthew Fuller was laying foil insulation in a home on the southern outskirts of Brisbane. Around 1pm, a staple from the tool he was using pierced an electrical cable. Less than an hour later, at the nearby Logan Hospital, Matthew was declared dead.
as a warning to other installers of foil insulation. It’s been told by politicians – some seeking justice, some scoring political points. And it’s been told loudly by Master Electricians Australia (MEA), in a five-year campaign designed to drag domestic electrical safety regulation into the 21st century.
It’s a story that has been told and retold countless times since that day. It’s been told by his grieving parents, who are still waiting for governments to heed the lessons of Matthew’s death. It’s been told
History records that there were two more young men who were electrocuted while laying insulation under the Home Insulation Program (HIP) – 16 year old Rueben Barnes and 22 year old
Queensland Times (Ipswich) Tuesday 2/04/2013
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Gatton Lockyer Brisbane Valley Star
Check safety switches MASTER Electricians Australia (MEA) urged all Australians to check their safety switches if they have not recently been tested. MEA chief executive Malcolm Richards said while April Fools’ Day might mark the end of daylight savings for many states, home owners nationwide should take the extra time to ensure safety switches were in good working order. “To do this, simply open the switchboard door and look for the Test button,” Mr Richards said. “If you don’t see a Test button along the row of circuit breakers then you don’t have a safety switch installed in your home and it is imperative you get them fitted as soon as possible.” Mr Richards said home owners often underestimated the dangers electricity could present.
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Port Lincoln Times Tuesday 11/12/2012 strikes are common, should have these devices fitted and checked regularly. It’s also vital that your home has safety switches fitted for every circuit as around 15 people are killed and 300 hospitalised every year as a result of injuries from electric shocks at home. You can ensure your safety switch is working by simply pressing the test button on your switch board. If you don’t have a test button then it means you probably don’t even have a safety switch installed. A safety switch can detect an electric shock and cut the flow of power in a few hundredths of a second - faster than the critical phase of a heartbeat. Consult your local master electrician for advice on the best type, size and location for installation of surge diverters and safety switches. Find one atwww.masterelectricians.com.au MALCOLM RICHARDS Chief executive officer Master Electricians Australia
Blacktown Advocate Wednesday 3/10/2012 Switch to safety Blacktown City Council and Master Electricians Australia are urging residents to have safety switches installed in their homes. Blacktown homeowners who book an appointment with masterelectricians.com.au to have safety switches fitted before November 20 will go into a draw to win a $1300 Sony Bravia 46’’ HD television. For more details contact 9839 6000.
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11 General News Sydney, AU 51218 Suburban 22.25 sq.cms.
Be safe with switches ohn Galpin (Times, December 6) questions whether his safety switch is working as J his wife got an electric shock when a blast of lightning hit his home. Safety switches protect people from electric shocks from appliances but don’t protect against surges from lightning strikes. A surge diverter fitted to the main switchboard and the telephone lines will assist in limiting the results of a lightning strike in your local area or directly on your home. When lightning strikes, they sense the high current and divert the charge to the earthing system saving equipment and people from adverse effects. Homes in high risk areas, where lightning
Check safety switches
8 Letters Port Lincoln SA, AU 5927 Regional 84.01 sq.cms.
West Australian Monday 17/01/2011 Page: Section: Region: Circulation: Type: Size:
Switch to safety press clip
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Blacktown City Council and Master Electricians Australia are urging residents to have safety switches installed in their homes. Blacktown homeowners who book an appointment with masterelectricians.com.au to have safety switches fitted before November 20 will go into a draw to win a $1300 Sony Bravia 46’’ HD television. For more details contact 9839 6000.
19 Your Customised Content Perth, AU 203204 Capital City Daily 63.01 sq.cms.
28 General News Gatton QLD, AU 20785 Regional 53.14 sq.cms.
Be safe with switches ohn Galpin (Times, December 6) questions whether his safety switch is working as J his wife got an electric shock when a blast of
MASTER Electricians Australia (MEA) urged all Australians to check their safety switches if they have not recently been tested. MEA chief executive Malcolm Richards said while April Fools’ Day might mark the end of daylight savings for many states, home owners nationwide should take the extra time to ensure safety switches were in good working order. “To do this, simply open the switchboard door and look for the Test button,” Mr Richards said. “If you don’t see a Test button along the row of circuit breakers then you don’t have a safety switch installed in your home and it is imperative you get them fitted as soon as possible.” Mr Richards said home owners often underestimated the dangers electricity could present.
lightning hit his home. Safety switches protect people from electric shocks from appliances but don’t protect against surges from lightning strikes. A surge diverter fitted to the main switchboard and the telephone lines will assist in limiting the results of a lightning strike in your local area or directly on your home. When lightning strikes, they sense the high current and divert the charge to the earthing system saving equipment and people from adverse effects. Homes in high risk areas, where lightning strikes are common, should have these devices fitted and checked regularly. It’s also vital that your home has safety switches fitted for every circuit as around 15 people are killed and 300 hospitalised every year as a result of injuries from electric shocks at home. You can ensure your safety switch is working by simply pressing the test button on your switch board. If you don’t have a test button then it means don’t even have have been prevented with a safety switch. A further 300 people Mitchell Sweeney (a fourth man, 19 year old Marcus Wilson, also you probably a safety switch installed. were hospitalised. died from heat exposure). While the circumstances around the three A safety switch can detect an electric shock electrical deaths were all unique, a single sad thread tied them all and cut the flow of power in a few hundredths The report also found that around 30 per cent of homes only had together – each of those young men was electrocuted on circuits of a second - faster than the criticalonphase of circuits, and a further 30 per cent safety switches their power where no safety switch was installed. a heartbeat. Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) licenced copy only had coverage for light and power circuits. Most disturbingly, Ref: 120673149 AUS: 1300 1 SLICE NZ: 0800 1 SLICE email@example.com Consult localthe master foridentified widespread misunderstanding Switch electrician Thinking report The simple realisation that these lives could have been savedyour with Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) licenced copy advice on the best type, size and location for SLICE NZ: 0800 1 SLICE firstname.lastname@example.org consumers about their own electrical safety and the role of such a simple and common device prompted MEA to embark onAUS: 1300 1among installation of surge diverters and safetyonly 60 per cent of homes had any safety circuit breakers. Although the most ambitious project in the organisation’s history – Project switches. Find one switches atwww.masterelectri(almost no homes had full coverage of all circuits), 80 per Safety Switch. It was – and is – a decade-long education campaign cians.com.au cent of home owners believed that they were well protected in their designed to alert the public to the benefits of safety switches, and MALCOLM RICHARDS own homes. to pressure governments and bureaucrats into long overdue action. Chief executive officer Master ElectriAustralia The reportcians laid out a roadmap for State Governments to mandate
Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) licenced copy
AUS: 1300 1 SLICE NZ: 0800 1 SLICE
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The Switch Thinking report At the heart of Project Safety Switch was a comprehensive research exercise and report, the Switch Thinking report, which exposed the scandalous levels of electrical deaths and injuries in Australian homes. It found that, on average, 15 people were killed Ref: 164692247 email@example.com in Australian homes every year in electrical accidents that could
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0800 1 SLICE
a wider uptake of safety switches, without imposing major costs on home owners. This involved requiring their installation on all circuits in rental homes, in new home constructions, and at the time of sale for existing homes. This would have seen a large proportion of the national housing stock retrofitted over a decade. The report also called for governments to support public awareness campaigns Ref: 187855498
The Master Electrician
around the benefits of safety switches, and to offer financial incentives for retrofitting. MEA CEO Malcolm Richards said the Switch Thinking report was the start of a continuing campaign designed to boost electrical safety for homeowners. “Most of all, MEA wanted to ensure that those three young men had not died in vain, and that, to the greatest extent possible, we did not see these kinds of deaths again in the future,” he said. “We recognise that the electrical industry – contractors, product suppliers, and the companies that produce the power – are collectively working to supply a product that can kill people if it’s not used carefully. In those circumstances, we think the industry collectively has a responsibility to make our products as safe as we possibly can.” The campaign Since the Switch Thinking report was produced in 2010, thousands of copies have been placed in the hands of politicians and policy makers in every state and territory. The organisation’s spokespeople have conducted many hundreds of media interviews highlighting the issue and calling on home owners and governments to take action. Crucially, MEA supplied copies of the report to the Queensland Coroner and the Royal Commission into the HIP to inform and support their investigations into the three electrical deaths. In both cases, the recommendations were strongly adopted, with the subsequent reports to government calling for greater use of safety switches in homes. www.masterelectricians.com.au
The Queensland Government, responding to the Coroner’s call for better education, has conducted a television campaign urging home owners to switch off the power before entering the ceiling space. This campaign was launched by the Attorney-General in front of a large media contingent at MEA’s national headquarters. The fight goes on While Project Safety Switch has gained some traction in the media and with policy makers, the full recommendations in relation to safety switches are yet to be actioned. Mr Richards says the support of the Queensland Coroner and the Federal Commissioner will be crucial in moving the campaign to the next level, and that MEA will not abandon the campaign until it has achieved its goals. “We knew when we began this campaign that it would take a long time to achieve the changes we were looking for. We’ve gathered a lot of support along the way, and we know that this protection for all Australian households is something that will be achieved one day. Like smoke alarms, it is a gradual process of awareness, public pressure, and regulatory change. “MEA is in this for the long haul. We don’t ever want to see a repeat of the tragedies that occurred five years ago under the HIP. As an industry, we owe it to those young men and their families to continue this fight. We can’t allow all the promise and potential of their lives to go unfulfilled. “The awful tragedies that claimed their lives can be turned into a legacy that saves hundreds of others. Our governments owe them that legacy, and MEA will not rest until it is delivered.”
COMING SOON TO A JOB SITE NEAR YOU FOR A SNEAK PREVIEW HEAD TO RENAULT.COM.AU/TRAFIC2015 Overseas model shown
Communication the key to avoiding BIM blowout To BIM, or not to BIM? Building Information Modelling is quickly becoming the construction industry’s greatest weapon for increasing efficiency and saving dollars, but if you’re thinking about getting on board, make sure you do your homework. Lisa Carter investigates.
It can save time, it can save hassle, and most importantly, it can save cash.
Building Information Modelling (BIM) is changing the way we plan, design, manage, and build things. From housing blocks, to roads, to the water grid BIM solutions are helping turn bits of information and insight into real business value. An intelligent model-based process, BIM provides insight to help plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure. www.masterelectricians.com.au
Those in the know say it’s the most efficient tool for managing the full life cycle of any building, from the concept stage, through construction, and well into the operation and maintenance stages. Draftech Developments Director, Karl de Wet says BIM is best understood as a ‘digital versus hard copy’ concept. “Everything that is built requires data and a visual representation. BIM creates the digital info and associates any data. Different people can use whatever info they need, but they are all working
9 on the same info, which means no-one is out of the loop,” Karl says. BIM is often described as a process enabled by technology that is used for creating and managing every piece of information about a project, from beginning to end. It allows the whole project to be built digitally, long before the tradies have even laced up their boots.
“The big challenge for the electrical industry will be understanding the change that comes along with BIM, which requires a change in thinking.”
In most cases, an appointed BIM Manager runs the initial meeting and a weekly process of issuing models, which allows regular coordination updates that keep everyone informed on the state of the project at all times. “Consider just one light fitting: like every element in a building, it’s conceived, estimated, quantified, selected, changed, ordered, installed, commissioned, maintained, and finally demolished. This is done through multiple people who traditionally all have their own excel sheet or drawing. BIM puts this all together and passes on the information for the next person, instead of recreating a schedule or a drawing. It minimises human error and, subsequently, costly rework,” Karl says. “This puts accuracy front and centre, because no-one’s wasting time on conflicting information, as each project is only running one set of data.” Constructing a virtual 3D building means you can easily spot mistakes that may otherwise go unnoticed until crucial stages of development. “No-one really knows the true cost of inefficiencies, but I’m led to believe they can total up to 40 per cent of the cost of the building. These are normally hidden in site costs, and usually need very skilled people on site to sort them all out,” Karl says.
Hospital Power Plant 3D model
The Master Electrician
Best Consultants’ Graham Lyon has racked up five years as a BIM specialist, and was the lead Electrical Modeller behind the construction of a number of major projects, including schools, hospitals and an airport on Australia’s West Coast.
“In numerous project start-up conversations with clients, they request BIM, when in fact what they really want is a 3D-model with the ability to use clash detection and have a walkthrough of the project.
“Consultants design the model and collaborate with the other disciplines to create a fully-coordinated model. In layman’s terms, most consultants and architects who work on BIM projects are actually using the software drafting tool REVIT. This is not BIM. It is merely a tool to assist in the development of BIM,” Graham says.
“BIM is more complex and time consuming than REVIT, so to save time, money, and heartache, this should be one of the very first questions on a BIM project: do you want BIM or a 3D model?” he says.
The old saying, failure to plan is planning to fail, couldn’t be truer for those who are relatively new to the idea. The Senior REVIT Technician is full of praise for BIM’s ability to prevent major issues arising “Communication is everything. once site works are underway, Electrical staff must of course which saves the client, always maintain proper lines “Constructing a virtual 3D building means you consultants, and contractors of communication with other can easily spot mistakes that may otherwise go both time and money. disciplines, but it’s absolutely
unnoticed until crucial stages of development.”
paramount to maintain it with the architect and structural engineer.
“Its ability to produce schedules that can give a precise count for quantity surveying for luminaires, electrical fixtures, and data outlets basically means every contractor is able to compile an accurate costing to give back to the client.”
“Without it, no matter how good your model is, it may prove to be near useless when it’s integrated with other service models,” he says.
Graham hails BIM’s clash detection features as one of its greatest benefits.
In the early stages, adopters of BIM need to spend a substantial amount of time with the developers in order to integrate it correctly.
“You have real time, live coordination modelling; therefore, when the mechanical contractor updates the model, you can instantly identify areas where electrical tray/ladder will clash and highlight areas for change with the architect – like lowering ceilings, adding bulk heads, or just asking the other discipline to move,” he says.
“When I first started out, I remember taking a week to build a cable tray fitting! I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I’ve used that same bend now for six years and it draws and schedules perfectly every time,” Karl admits.
But before diving head-first into a BIM-enabled project, Graham recommends that everyone does their homework. www.masterelectricians.com.au
“Because everything is interconnected, a new user can destroy a project, but a skilled user who understands the project workflow can make one accurate change that is replicated multiple times
11 through a project. But, if BIM is carried out 100 per cent correctly, then we should be manufacturing off a fully solved building solution, eliminating the need for experienced problem solvers on site because the problems have already been fixed in the office, with the help of practical site people,” he says. REVIT MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) is still in its infancy compared with REVIT architectural, and therefore has its limitations, but future challenges will not just be about changing software. The big challenge for the electrical industry will be understanding the change that comes along with BIM, which requires a change in thinking. “It can’t be expected to be the solution to all problems, but it’s definitely the way forward. Each day, an increasing number of architects, consultants, contractors, governments, and more are coming on board because despite this infancy, it has become, and will continue to be, a great advantage in the design process,” Graham says. Karl agrees, and advises those in the industry to start learning how it can enhance efficiency when used correctly. “Every electrical job, big or small, from here on in should be in a BIM authoring tool like REVIT. If you can’t do that, then have one dedicated person who only ever draws in a BIM tool,” he says, adding that BIM is more of a journey, and that the sooner you join, the better. “Once you start, new and powerful ideas will flow,” Karl says.
The Master Electrician
The Internet of Things turning the world’s energy grids upside down Trials in some of the world’s busiest cities are exploring the emerging potential for the Internet of Things (IoT) to slash carbon emissions and save their councils billions of dollars in the process. Lisa Carter takes a look at how this fundamental shift in energy usage could translate to big savings Down Under.
A city’s lighting system can gobble up a whopping 40 per cent of its energy budget. All those old street lights, left on for all those unnecessary hours – it’s like having an entire house full of down lights lit up while you’re not even home. But while changing those archaic old systems may be the first and most obvious step towards a more efficient street lighting system, just imagine the possibilities if they were all fitted with smart technology. This could not only drastically reduce a city’s energy www.masterelectricians.com.au
consumption, but pave the way for smart technology to become a fundamental tool in the system’s day-to-day operation. This is where the Internet of Things (IoT) comes in. When we think of connectivity, we think computers, tablets, and smartphones, but the IoT refers to a future in which everyday physical objects will be able to connect to the Internet. Things given an IP address could communicate in an intelligent fashion not only with us, but with each other as well, turning our physical world into one, giant information system.
Adam Carey, the Australia/New Zealand Director of Citelum, says such changes are closer than we may think. “A few years ago, the Internet literally ran out of numbers, it was done. But the IT people came up with a new numbering system so large, called IPv6, that the quantum of the number is described as a trillion number combinations on every star in the known universe. It is so large that an innumerable amount of devices could connect to the Internet,” he says.
Lighting Lab. The lab is a 9.2 kilometre test site, with 25 companies signed on to test their smart products. Every lamp is given a separate IP address so they can be monitored from elsewhere.
Without enough numbers, the Internet of Things’ capabilities would be greatly reduced, but it’s hoped the next generation of Internet Protocol, or IPv6, will be an essentially unlimited space.
The project will be testing lamps that adjust their brightness based on nearby movement and masts that power street lamps by a combination of wind and solar energy. Additionally, the project will test sensors that track traffic density, air quality, noise, weather conditions, and UV radiation in order to find out what sort of environmental conditions the lights will be operating in. All will work together to determine which lights are making the biggest difference in terms of lowering costs and carbon emissions.
“We first saw this movement a few years ago when we came across this concept called the Internet of Things (IoT). We knew straight away that it was going to be a game-changer,” Adam says.
“The Internet of Things, the convergence of light and energy, and the decentralisation of the energy grid are changing the way we do things. And it’s changing the way we do business,” he says.
Smart urban electrical equipment has evolved to communicate with the environmentally-friendly city of the future. For example, street lights that can connect with an ambulance’s GPS so they get all the green lights. Similarly, adaptive lighting systems that can illuminate when a jogger is approaching and dim once they’re past. Remote monitoring is also becoming increasingly sophisticated, allowing lighting, parking metres, and rubbish collection maintenance to be more reactive, rather than scheduled.
Even security options can be expanded. If a street lamp sends information that an unusual amount of people have suddenly appeared in a usually-deserted area, the police could be tipped off to go and check it out.
“Almost anything can soon have an IP address, including a city’s entire network of street lights. These connections can be sensorto-machine, machine-to-people, or machine-to-machine. The possibilities are endless for what a forward-thinking city council could achieve,” Adam says. Copenhagen is one such city. Currently the site of a massive experiment in smart lighting, Copenhagen City Council has partnered with the illumination giant, Citelum, to set up the Danish Outdoor
Cisco Australia/New Zealand’s Chief Technology Officer, Kevin Bloch says this kind of experiment illustrates perfectly just how the IoT is bringing together people, processes, data, and things, in order to create systems that are more valuable than ever before. Cisco has a comprehensive IoT project underway in Barcelona. Tasked with delivering more services for less money, and with lowering Barcelona’s carbon footprint at the same time, the city’s Urban Habitat project incorporates illumination, transport, infrastructure, environment, and IT. Stage one of its first task, to create a citywide Wi-Fi network, is already complete, and it’s making Spain’s second largest city one of the world’s most liveable in the process. The Master Electrician
“It’s all about efficiency. Employees can decide on their work route because wireless sensors over the network will monitor temperature, air quality, pedestrian traffic, open car spaces, and more, which can all be accessed from their smartphone,” Kevin says. City planners will also reap the benefits, gaining a better understanding of where people go and how long they stay. Sensors will log the number of smartphones and tablets in different areas to enable planners to streamline development and transportation solutions. Visitors will be able to look up the day’s events on touchscreen kiosks at the bus stop, find and reserve car spaces from their smartphones, and even get personalised shopping offers on their phones as they pass by stores. As one of the world’s top IT companies, Cisco is also leading the drive to increase IoT uptake in Australia. Its research shows that there’s a whopping $19 trillion of ‘value at stake’ for both the private and public sectors over the next decade, with a significant piece of the pie up for grabs in Australia. “This type of technology is critically important for Australia if we want to keep up or stay ahead of the rest of the world. It’s not just about competing, it’s also about making this country a better, safer, cleaner place to live, work, learn, and play,” Kevin says. Citelum has long recognised this home-grown potential, starting
with street light upgrades and management projects in Victoria, the Northern Territory, and Western Australia. “Australia’s energy grid is undergoing a rapid transformation. Local councils have the unprecedented chance to save enormous amounts of money, and slash their carbon emissions through cross-platform technology,” Adam says. Kevin is also quick to point out the enormous power of intelligent infrastructure when considering the possibilities of ‘across’ verticals, segments, locations, and applications. Using the same intelligent infrastructure for multiple purposes for relatively low expenditure could enable councils to use city-wide Wi-Fi for surveillance, parking, traffic congestion, transportation of goods, safety, water meters, health – the list goes on. “Single infrastructure, multiple applications and benefits, with significant return on investment,” Kevin says. As the IoT heads towards its projected 20,000,000,000 connected devices worldwide by 2018, Adam says necessity, coupled with competition, will force radical change. And he says that it’s up to the electrical industry to put it all together. “The next generation of electricians will not only be skilled in Information Technology Systems, but also have the ability to write code, and understand off-grid electricity systems, architecture, and lighting design,” he says. But, unlike Marty McFly, we’re just going to have to wait and see.
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Calling all readers â€“ help us share the ANZAC Centenary spirit Saturday 25 April 2015 will mark the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli. It is expected that this ANZAC day will be one of the most significant commemorations to take place in our lifetimes. In the Autumn edition of The Master Electrician magazine, we want to capture memories and photos to commemorate not just the ANZACs who served in the First World War, but those from our industry who were involved in the Second World War, Korea, Vietnam and more recently East Timor, Iraq orÂ Afghanistan. Perhaps your Grandfather served in the First World War then came home and set up his own electrical business or perhaps you have returned from Iraq and now work as a Master Electrician. Whatever the story, if you or a member of your family has served, we would like to hear from you. Submit your stories and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org by 23 January 2015 for a chance to be featured in our Autumn 2015 magazine. www.masterelectricians.com.au
Concerns the energy storage space is too far ahead of its game Grid-connected solar with energy storage is a new and exciting space, but it comes with significant challenges, many of which are not made obvious by current information in the marketplace. The grid-connected solar industry is maturing rapidly. It is a globally recognised industry that is now successfully competing with wholesale, fossil-fuel generated electricity. Additionally, the off-grid solar market has been around internationally for much longer than the immensely popular grid-connected market. Individually, these two methods of deploying solar are relatively simple; however, when they are combined in a single system, things become more complicated. Grid-connected solar with energy storage is referred to by many different names. The terms ‘hybrid solar’ and ‘solar backup system’ are often applied to mean ‘grid-connected solar with energy storage’. Hybrid solar systems typically combine solar with a diesel generator (with or without batteries), but many manufacturers are beginning to label what the standard refers to as a ‘multimode inverter’ as a ‘hybrid system’. Indeed, solar backup systems are one type of gridconnected solar with energy storage, but the term does not describe all possible configurations of this type. Grid-connected solar with energy storage comes with a wide array of technology options, and these can be configured in several ways for numerous purposes. Some of the many decisions that must be made when selecting a system include:
inverter directly connected to grid; or inverter and multimode inverter directly connected to specified loads? • What is the goal of the system? Offsetting peak power; load shifting to optimise tariff rates; self-consumption of renewables; backup power; or any combination of the above? When the above decisions have been made, the customer has addressed the purpose of the system, and all parties have agreed on a budget, there are further issues that need to be considered, including: • Does the product chosen have the ability to be configured such that all possible goals are achievable? • If the product chosen is to achieve each of the possible goals, does it require a more complex set up? • What size system is required to satisfy the goals of the customer? • Does the product configuration require additional electrical work, such as separating the switchboard into essential and non-essential services? • If the customer wishes to use the system as a backup for data services, does the product provide switchover fast enough to satisfy UPS requirements?
• What battery chemistry should be used? Valve-regulated lead acid (VRLA); flooded lead acid; lithium ion (LiFePO4); lithium ion (LiNiCoAlo2); or lithium ion (Li4Ti5O12)?
• If a lithium ion battery bank is used, it must have a battery management system (BMS). Does the BMS need to communicate with the multimode inverter, and if so, how?
• Which of the five system configurations should be used? Single multimode inverter; single multimode inverter with separate solar controller; inverter and multimode inverter connected via switching device; inverter and multimode
• Does the system require ventilation or fireproofing based on the relevant building codes? The technical aspects of these systems are further complicated by the lack of
suitable standards in this area. Standards are currently applied on the basis that they are ‘close’ to what is required; however, they have not been written to specifically encompass this particular application. What this rapidly advancing industry needs is the development of a new standard, or accelerated updates to existing standards that specifically address the risks associated with grid-connected solar with energy storage. It is clear that the excitement for this industry is ahead of its knowledge and experience base. At this time, products are being sold without any prior market experience and very little support from standards. This is particularly true with lithium-ion battery technology, as this requires far more oversight than other forms of storage. It is imperative that electricians are aware of the options and the risks associated with grid-connected solar with energy storage systems. The energy sector’s industry skills council, Energy Skills Australia, is currently working to formalise the competency guidelines and prerequisite knowledge for electricians who wish to work with grid-connected solar with energy storage systems. When the guidelines are approved, all Registered Training Organisations in Australia, including Master Electricians SkillsConnect, will be able to offer training in this underdeveloped area. Applying the necessary training will help mitigate the risks involved with designing and installing a grid-connected solar with energy storage system, and will allow this industry to reach its full potential.
The Master Electrician
Renewable energy businesses warn of job cuts The Australian Renewable Energy Target (RET) is being reviewed by the Federal Government, as it is every two years under current law; however, many people are concerned that the proposed changes will decimate the renewable energy industry, putting thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of investment at risk. This is what has prompted 40 small and medium sized businesses from around Australia to come together and write a joint letter to the Government urging it to retain the current policy and reject the recommendations made in the recent Warburton review to shut down or severely reduce the RET. These businesses, who work on many of Australia’s largest renewable energy projects, say many thousands of jobs, most of which are in rural and regional areas, will be lost if the Federal Government slashes the RET. The letter stated: We are writing as suppliers to Australia’s renewable energy industry, which has now generated more than $10 billion worth of investment in large-scale renewable energy projects. Our businesses build components for power stations in wind, solar, hydro and bioenergy, electrical infrastructure, roads, supply safety equipment, cranes, www.masterelectricians.com.au
trucks, logistics services and cement, provide catering, cleaning services, security, logistics and accommodation to construction teams, manage environmental and cultural heritage plans, and supply many other essential inputs to the renewable energy industry.
employment of extra workers in the future, it would place existing jobs under threat.
While the industry directly employs 21,000 people, our companies collectively employ many thousands more as a result of the clean energy sector. Australia’s 68 wind farms, 49 large-scale solar projects, 139 bioenergy projects, 123 hydro projects and trial marine and geothermal projects around the country have provided the incentive for our companies to grow and employ an increasing number of workers. Many of these jobs are in rural and regional areas where other job opportunities are scarce.
We have hired and trained workers and invested in our businesses on the basis of the development of renewable energy in Australia. Maintaining the Renewable Energy Target in its current form will help us continue to create the jobs and opportunities we provide to Australian workers.
Analysis from ROAM Consulting has shown that if the RET is left to operate as currently legislated, a further $14.5 billion will be invested in large-scale renewable energy projects in Australia by 2020. Slashing the RET would not only prevent the
Our companies and workers would make valuable contributions to this future growth, at a time when small businesses around Australia are facing many challenges.
The companies also referred to analysis undertaken by ACIL Allen for the Federal Government, which found that retail electricity prices will be lower over the long term if the RET is maintained, as it will help shield Australians from rising gas prices. The complete letter is available on the CEC website: www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au The Federal Government has not yet said when a decision regarding the RET will be made.
Schneider Electric defending the ‘Clipsal’ brand Schneider Electric has recently commenced legal proceedings against Clipso to protect its trade mark and registered design rights. Clipso, under its ‘CLIPSO’ trademark, distribute a wide range of electrical products, many of which are similar to items in Clipsal by Schneider Electric’s vast portfolio of electrical accessories. On these grounds, Schneider Electric claims that many of Clipso’s products infringe its registered trade mark rights and constitute misleading or deceptive conduct. Also in question are Clipso’s dolly switch, which Schneider Electric claims is almost identical to the dolly switch that Clipsal by Schneider Electric has manufactured for use on light switches
and power points since 1970, and whose shape is protected by a registered trade mark; and Clipso’s new ‘CLIPSMART’ USB charging mechanism product, which Schneider Electric says infringes its registered designs and registered ‘CLIPSAL’ and ‘CLIPSPEC’ trademarks.
manufacture of reliable and innovative products. The employment of thousands of Australians relates directly to the reputation of the Clipsal brand, both within Schneider Electric and through our valued partners.”
David Gardner, VP for the Clipsal and Schneider Electric Partner Business says, “We are proud of the reputation associated with the Clipsal by Schneider Electric brand, and value our intellectual property highly.
Clipso has rejected the claims made by Schneider Electric. In a media statement Clipso stated, “the distinctive Clipso branding and packaging differentiates the Clipso products from those of its competitors”.
“As a company, we invest heavily locally and globally in the design and
A date for the hearing has not been set, but will likely be mid 2015.
MIREL EVOLUTION LED Recessed luminaire The MIREL platform of high-performing louvre luminaires has been redesigned to accommodation LED technology. MIREL EVOLUTION combines a clear, unobtrusive design with lighting quality and energy efficiency. It is suitable for a broad range of applications. The exceptional energy efficiency is combined with excellent glare control of UGR <16 for office applications.
Two shapes MIREL Evolution is available in square or linear configurations and is designed to drop into modular T-Bar ceiling grids.
Multiple mounting options MIREL Evolution is currently available as a recessed or surface mounted luminaire. A suspended pendant version will also be available in 2015.
Innovative lens technology The unique LED lenses combine directional light distribution with a brilliant look. The result is excellent glare control and exceptional efficiency.
Up to an amazing 117 lm/W, MIREL Evolution is indeed best in class when it comes to energy efficiency and lighting distribution. It is an incredible simple to install luminaire and harmoniously fits the architecture of the modern workplace. www.zumtobel.com.au/mirel_evo member of
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feature energy spotlight
Green retro-fitting – the next mega-trend Tipped as the next mega trend, green retro-fitting is set to be the most sustainable type of real estate development in recent history. So where is the green retro-fitting trend heading, and what can electricians do to take advantage of this booming industry?
Rising energy costs, environmental pressures, and unreliable
power supply has seen the demand for sustainable design and energy efficiency increase substantially in not only new commercial properties but also existing ones. The key challenge for commercial property owners is the justification of economic rationale. That is, does ‘going green’ add value and will I see a return on investment? Dubbed “green retro-fitting”, energy efficient and sustainable retrofitting can be more complex than renovating. Although the process enhances a building’s systems and infrastructure, it requires knowledge of all available energy solutions, as well as how each solution can work best for a particular building. As issues around climate change continue to escalate, governments are taking action to tackle emissions. With legislation soon to include all retail buildings, the Australian Government policy currently mandates the disclosure of greenhouse performance for office buildings upon lease or sale, along with Building Energy Efficiency Certificates for all new and existing properties. Transparency in the energy efficiency space has driven property developers and owners, large and small, to future proof their business by integrating sustainability – a strategy that will meet
the energy efficiency and environmental performance demands of the future, whilst increasing marketability as tenants opt for greenrated buildings. As businesses become increasingly aware of the benefits of high-performing buildings, they actively seek these benefits when negotiating leases. For corporate-owned buildings in Melbourne, the trend is already in full swing: 73 per cent of corporate-owned buildings surveyed said they were intending to retrofit before 2018, with many perceiving it as an opportunity to attract future tenants and extend the life of the building, whilst also minimising energy consumption. For a commercial space at 100 George Street, Parramatta, NSW, a retro-fitting project conducted under an energy upgrade agreement increased its National Australian Built Environment rating from three to four stars. Energy costs were cut in half, annual outgoings were reduced by nearly $100,000, building value increased by $6 million, and rent increased by 16 per cent. The poster child for green retrofitting is New York’s iconic Empire State Building, where eight simple energy-saving measures saved over 38 per cent on energy use, with improved performance each year since completion in 2009.
“Despite being widely used throughout Europe, solar glass is a relatively new technology in Australia, so we faced a number of challenges early on in the design phase of the project.” Schneider Electric EcoXpert Advanced Partner and Eco Decisions representative, Graeme Ambrose says businesses are becoming much more energy aware as electricity bills continue to skyrocket. “Energy audits have become critical in helping businesses better understand energy use and where savings could be made,” Graeme said. So how can electricians benefit from this mega trend? Successfully retro-fitting a building system and infrastructure for the purpose of sustainability and energy saving is complex, and requires a holistic approach. Careful planning and professional knowledge of how and where energy is being used will ensure only the best solutions are employed. To help the electrical industry prepare, Schneider Electric have developed the EcoXpert program, an exclusive partnership for electrical contractors who focus on commercial and industrial buildings, schools, and collective residential. EcoXperts have access to coaching, training, pre-engineered energy solutions, and specialist tools to deliver energy efficient and renewable solutions. As a qualified EcoXpert energy auditor, Graeme Ambrose uses the skills he has developed through the program to help other EcoXperts systematically evaluate and independently document energy use at
various sites around the country. He saves businesses thousands of dollars just by identifying where their electricity budget is being spent. In many cases, the businesses Graeme has helped have seen significant savings. Some examples include: • A potato farm in Victoria, where an energy audit revealed that they were using 18 different types of meters for their pumps, and that only a minority of them were being run with variable speed drives. By fitting variable speed drives to each pump, they were able to save $24,000 a year • An audit of an abattoir that revealed the company was spending 36 per cent more on electricity during summer than they were in winter, and that they were spending 42 per cent more on weekends. The extra costs were identified as being spent on refrigeration, and were a result of the amount of heat being absorbed by the building where carcasses were being hung. A simple remedy of reflective paint on the exterior roof helped to reduce the energy usage almost immediately. “The courses available as part of the EcoXpert program not only broadened my understanding of the latest trends in the industry, but it expanded my knowledge of the most current products and solutions in the market. This means I am able to offer the most comprehensive advice for a wider scope of projects,” concluded Graeme. Green retro-fitting will only become more of a focus over the coming years. The EcoXpert program is the ideal way for you to take advantage of this trend, grow your business, and deliver leading solutions to your customers. To find out about how to become an EcoXpert visit www.schneider-electric.com.au
Clipline LED An energy efficient alternative to replace your traditional batten • Slim LED batten for quick and easy installation with the clip bracket system. • Continuous line possibility for end to end installation. • CRI up to 80 and CCT 4000K. • Useful life L70 30,000 hours • Reflector kit option available • Loop connection with flat TPS cable 2.5mm² With reflector kit option
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The Master Electrician
The digital landscape is a dynamic one — constantly in flux — and with new technology released on a regular basis, it’s hard for business owners to keep up with the changes.
Taking your business online can be a real challenge for small businesses. Not only does it sometimes require learning new skills, it can be considered a lengthy process that many think they simply don’t have the time for. But as we move even further into the digital age, it’s something that business owners can no longer afford to ignore. Smartphones are now in the hands of seven out of ten Australians, with tablets in half of all Australian homes. And with the amount of mobile devices now out-numbering people on the planet, we’re only going to become more connected in the coming years. A rise in mobile technology and advances in internet speeds have pushed consumers online for everything from contacting friends, to buying their groceries. In fact, Aussie’s are now spending over $24 billion a year online, and two thirds of consumers are using search engines to research products and services before they make a purchase. www.masterelectricians.com.au
“Smartphones are now in the hands of seven out of ten Australians, with tablets in half of all Australian homes.” If these stats aren’t enough to make you take the digital plunge, it may help to think of your online presence as a digital representation of your shopfront, complete with all the bells and whistles: a unique address, customer service opportunities, and, of course, a sales or booking service. The one major difference - your online shop front has the benefit of being open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are several simple tactics business owners can use to take advantage of digital tools. Master Electricians Australia’s Digital Communications Manager, Jessie Badger discusses the simple ways that small businesses can start using digital tools in their business.
Quka / Shutterstock.com
Digital marketing 101: your guide to going digital
23 Strategy As with most business practices, the first step in taking your business online is planning. Analysing your current digital status and projecting where you want to be in the future can help define your goals and begin the digital process. “With proper planning and a defined strategy, using online tools doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it can actually simplify the process,” Jessie says. “It’s not practical or efficient to stumble around with digital tools, hoping for a quick fix; you’ll only find yourself bogged down in many different projects without actually achieving anything. “A short online business plan can help you define your goals and understand the real reason to go online, allowing you to pick your tools accordingly. Your plan can be as little as one page long; the more succinctly it states your goals, the better.” Websites “One of the major benefits of going online is that it creates a level playing field. Traditionally, smaller businesses would struggle to compete with the shopfronts of their larger competitors, but a crisp, clear, and well planned website is achievable for all businesses, regardless of size,” Jessie explains.
to this mysterious place, internet providers are spruiking its benefits and many of us are left questioning “but what is it?” Essentially, the Cloud is just another part of the internet. Cloud providers allow customers to store their files on one of their servers, reducing the costs of server hardware for business owners and creating a secure location to store documents and files online. Software programs are now also moving to the cloud, meaning that users can access them on any device that has an internet connection. Jessie states that there are many benefits for using these cloud-based systems in your business. “Ultimately, it’s about cost saving. Business owners no longer need to outlay large capital costs and ongoing maintenance fees – a simple cloud subscription and they can access their files on any device,” she says. “Being able to access your files from anywhere, anytime also has the added benefit of saving time. This is great for electrical companies who have several vans on the road, as it means staff won’t have to return to the office to print quotes or update plans – they can do it all from a portable device.”
“Having a website allows you to be in an unlimited number of places at one time – connecting with current clients and engaging potential ones.” Jessie says your website doesn’t need to be complicated – it can be as simple as a brochure-style website that consists of a list of the services you offer and a simple contact form. “Three main things you will need to include prominently on the home page are your Business Name, Address, and Phone Number. This is great for the customer, and also helps with local rankings on search engines,” Jessie says. Social Media With the rise in mobile devices, consumers are more constantly connected than ever before. Add to the mix more accessible internet with faster speeds, and it’s no wonder that social media use is growing at such a fast pace. “Social media is about customer engagement. With users sharing content and recommending brands to each other, it’s a great marketplace for encouraging leads,” Jessie says. “However, it’s important not to be too sales-focused in your approach; social media is about engagement, not sales. Try thinking in terms of the 4-1-1 Rule: for every one self serving statement, a brand should share four new pieces of content and generate one share. It’s like being at a cocktail party... you don’t want to hear someone talk about themself the entire time.” One of the reasons that business owners are disenfranchised by social media is the potential for users to post negative comments about your company. Jessie suggests that even this can be turned into a positive reason for using social media in your business. “We would always advise against deleting negative comments – this looks like you’re unable to service the request. Instead, take this as an opportunity to publicly showcase your ability to fix the problem. “You can even be as bold as to privately ask the user to post a thank you once their original problem has been repaired.” Cloud Applications “The cloud” is one of those buzz-words that have become mainstream in recent years. Software providers are selling access www.masterelectricians.com.au
Need some advice on using online tools in your business? Master Electricians Australia (MEA) is giving the industry a leg-up into the digital economy, with the launch of the Electrician’s Digital Business Kit. This free online resource helps electrical businesses embrace technology and take advantage of the digital economy. Businesses can access the Kit through a custom built website, and navigate topics at their own pace. Each topic features how-to guides and reallife case studies, as well as advice tailored to the electrical industry. With topics such as building a website, social media marketing, and using cloud applications, there is something for everyone, from the beginner to the tech savvy. Start today with topic one – Getting Your Business Online – and access a free Online Business Plan template to help start you on your digital journey. Ten module topics are available now, with more to come in 2015. Visit the website at digital.masterelectricians.com.au and connect with the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ElectriciansDigitalBusinessKit
The Master Electrician
feature impressive projects
Kings Park Naturescape
A unique blend of innovation, technical expertise and dedication This year’s judging panel for the 2014 MEA National Excellence Awards had a tough gig. Narrowing down the field in each category isn’t an easy task when the calibre of entrants is so high, but they eventually decided on some deserving winners. Four of the seven categories were awarded for incredible Australian projects. Lisa Carter goes behind-the-scenes to discover more about these impressive projects. Eco-nirvana earns ADCO 2014 National Data Project of the Year status It’s not often a bunch of electricians can boast having a hand in prying kids away from their screens and back into the great outdoors, where they can learn about nature by, wait for it, getting dirty. But the team at ADCO Electrics can do exactly that after putting their stamp on the show-stopping Rio Tinto Naturescape Project at Kings Park, just a stone’s throw from Perth’s CBD in Western Australia. www.masterelectricians.com.au
It’s an extraordinary eco-nirvana, which happens to be smack bang in the middle of the big smoke of Perth. Urban-dwelling children visiting Kings Park can learn about frogs by seeing frogs in all their glory, rather than reading about them on Wikipedia. They can build their motor skills by catching insects (actual, not virtual); work out the difference between the 319 species of native plants by touching and smelling them; and discover how 80 species of birdsongs are different from each other by hearing them in the bush, rather than through their headphones. The six hectare outdoor education wonderland of under-the-stars living classrooms includes the Kings Park Education Centre.
25 The learning facility is the stuff of children’s stories - built into the side of a hill, complete with earth-topped roof, and housing a myriad of hidden treasures beneath. There’s a jetty in the Water Corporation Wetland, and even a fire pit, complete with Aboriginal storytelling. ADCO Director Adam Di Placido says that, while not the largest dollar job they’ve ever done, Naturescape’s planning and installation has been an incredible learning curve. “We weren’t just dealing with an electrical engineer and builder, but also with all the relevant designers, artists, and engineers who all designed different components,” Adam says. When tasked with carrying out the electrical installation for the almost $10 million construction project, ADCO knew they were in for a challenge. The WA government and Kings Park Botanic Gardens & Parks Authority were explicit; the building was to have ZERO impact on the environment. “As the construction site was inside the park, we had to follow and implement strict environmental procedures before even making it on-site, and then continue those standards throughout the entire installation period,” he says.
produced by the solar system, what’s used by the air conditioning/ mechanical installation and what the rest of the electrical circuits within the building are using,” Adam says. The Kings Park Authority was also adamant that there was to be no trenching for the electrical infrastructure from the new building to the existing switchboards, communications room, and new PV array. “It was all bored underground. The cable to the PV Array, which was 40 metres away from the actual building, needed to be installed in a custom designed steel conduit, held up by custom made brackets that were installed on a 45 degree hill. We designed all the supports, and sent our shop drawings off to the engineer for approval before installation,” he says. The ADCO team will be able to boast for years to come that it played a key role in creating a piece of history. “We’re always able to evolve and adapt to whatever project we’re doing at ADCO, but this project was really out of the box, like nothing we’ve ever done. It was definitely the most challenging, but also incredibly rewarding,” he says.
“We installed a 15kW solar array in conjunction with solar hot water to produce solar energy, reducing the building’s reliance on conventional electricity and reducing greenhouse gas (CO2) emissions by an estimated 30 tonnes each year.
S & K Electrical turns blemish into beauty to take out MEA’s 2014 Commercial Project of the Year When S & K took on the electrical component of the almost $5 million City of Greater Geraldton Eastern Breakwater Revitalisation project (The Esplanade) in Western Australia, they were at the mercy of the elements. Undertaking a massive outdoor project perched right next to an ocean meant weather dictated their every move.
“The solar system is connected to an Animated LED Display Unit via three specially programmed meters to show what energy’s
“Add in the fact that we were operating on Port Authority land meant constant consultation with staff and trades to avoid any
The $400,000 electrical installation had to ensure the project’s lasting footprint was carbon-neutral.
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Townsville Port upgrade
“There was no overcoming this – we just had to battle it out,” says S & K Electrical Managing Director Steve Villier. “Add in the fact that we were operating on Port Authority land meant constant consultation with staff and trades to avoid any disruption to boat and rail operations,” Steve says.
a spectacular 18m high viewing tower with 360º views of the city, the port, Champion Bay, and Seal Rocks; and a contemporary ocean walkway leading out onto the breakwater, lined with light poles and bollard lights. It boasts graceful feature structures and amenities, CCTV set-up, and a massive stage for public performances.
The S & K Electrical representatives worked alongside architects from Blackwell & Associates, as well as a team of dedicated tradies, to turn a semi-industrial eyesore into a tourism hotspot. It was an ambitious project, but after a marathon overhaul, the Esplanade now features
“Because of the unique designs, we were thinking out of the box the whole time, and working constantly with all the other trades and designers to stay in step with each other. No stone could be left unturned, but the end result is quite remarkable,” Steve says.
27 18,000 hours of manpower at massive Townsville Port upgrade earns ICS Electrical Contractors Industrial/ Mining Project of the Year Xstrata Copper/Glencore and the Port of Townsville knew the topnotch team at ICS Electrical would be the right fit for the massive $21 million relocation of the mining giant’s out-loading facilities, as they’d worked with the North Queensland company’s directors Bret Webber and Mick Tonner on a number of previous occasions. The old timber structure, ‘Berth 7’, had seen better days, and relocating to next door, the new ‘Berth 8’ facility, would mean greatly increased volume output, access to bigger vessels, and would allow Glencore to meet market demands well into the future. The $4 million electrical package was nothing short of extraordinary. It took around a year to complete, and had its fair share of challenges along the way. “It was critical to have a detailed schedule of mechanical supports and mounts for all field equipment and distribution systems into the mechanical fabrication of the conveyor structures, but based on the specs, the addition of mechanical supports to the finished structures would be difficult, and would extend the electrical installation in an already compressed schedule,” Bret says. “This was particularly important, given that these items were being manufactured offshore, but we achieved it through extensive planning and major co-operation with the manufacturer, supplier, and the mechanical detail designer who developed the construction plans,” he said. Directors Bret and Mick walked away knowing not only that their team had delivered the highest quality of work, but that they could do it again. “The end result is a terrific reflection of just how highly-skilled and motivated our staff are, at every level within our organisation,” Bret says. Power Integration’s combination of eco-friendly construction, luxurious liveability, and exquisite finishes nabs Residential Project of the Year Award One glance at the Ecco on Helen building in Brisbane’s affluent Teneriffe area, and you can’t help feeling a twinge of the greeneyed monster for the lucky few who live there. It’s the epitome of style, luxury, and finesse, but also innovation – which is where Power Integration came in. Director, Glen Powell said his team isn’t just in the business of electrical, but is at the forefront of state-of-the-art technology as well, and brought its specialist knowledge of smart, integrated energy and lifestyle solutions to the mighty project. “The team involved in Ecco are what I like to call the ‘new breed’ of electricians – we’ve successfully combined the latest and greatest in smart technologies with the utmost in aesthetics. The result is a set of apartments far ahead of the rest,” Glen says. Ecco on Helen could also be called Eco Heaven; it was built to be environmentally sustainable, and recently attracted certification by the Urban Development Institute of Australia’s green rating tool, EnviroDevelopment, for its outstanding environmental outcomes in its treatment of waste, energy, materials, water, and communities. “We worked very closely with the architects, designers, and other trades to help the complex achieve a 42 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas production above regulatory requirements. The result is a building that benefits from natural light, energy efficient LED lighting, and cleverly-designed cross ventilation,” he says. Geraldton Eastern Breakwater Project
Comprehensive technical support is just a phone call away Ever spent hours wading through Government websites or the wiring rules, trying to interpret legislation? Or not known how to solve a technical issue, taken a stab at it, and then had to go back to fix it? You can avoid these situations all together by calling the Master Electricians Australia (MEA) Technical Support Team.
As an electrical contractor, it can be difficult to keep up with the ever-changing industry standards and legislation, but when you join MEA, we become an extension of your business, making sure that you always have access to expert advice. MEA has a team of qualified and experienced Technical Support Officers across Australia who are available when members need them most. Master Electricians members have access to our dedicated Technical Support Team, who assist members every day, whether it’s by clarifying those aspects of the wiring rules that they just aren’t sure about, or simply pointing them in the right direction. MEA are frequently told by time-poor members that having a real person only a phone call away is invaluable. Russell Ford from Parallel Electrical Service in Broome knows first-hand just how valuable the hotline can be, especially when you need a quick answer. “The hotline has been very useful for any query I might have, especially when I need a quick answer, or definition on something,” he says. www.masterelectricians.com.au
“On average, I call the hotline twice a month, usually for questions about the wiring rules that I am not 100 per cent sure about. “The Technical Team is very helpful and friendly, they always make you feel welcome, and I never hesitate to call them. It is very useful for the small pricetag, and definitely worth having.” Master Electricians members save hours trawling through Government websites, getting bounced from department to department on the phone, or reading lengthy documents to find information. Our Technical Support Team is there to give members expert technical advice with no judgement. Geoff Bay from G Bay Electrical in Brisbane admits it can be embarrassing asking for advice, but it is comforting to have the support of the Technical Team behind his business. “I have made phone calls to the Technical Hotline asking questions that I should probably know as a contractor, and without judgement they have helped keep me on track. “Sometimes it can be embarrassing asking for advice and I have come across some terrible advice from others in the industry, but
Through the exclusive ‘Members only’ website, Master Electricians members have access to a wide range of online reference tools and fact sheets, including:
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• Safety factsheets • Asbestos resources • Contractor self audit. Communications • Communication standards • Communication technical reference manuals • Telecommunications cabling advice • Communications definitions • Telstra documentation.
it’s good to be able to stay on track with the right support behind my business.” With representation on technical and licensing bodies throughout Australia, MEA has the knowledge and resources to have direct input into the setting of Australian Standards and licensing provisions, and can keep members up-to-date with the latest industry news and legislation. An example of this is MEA’s representation on the Wiring Rules Committee, where we can act on behalf of our members to ensure that they understand not only the requirements of the Committee’s Standards, but also the debate behind them.
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“I regularly login to the members’ website to access Safe Work Method Statements and test sheets, and the technical information in the MEA member publications is very useful and a great way to keep up-to-date with any amendments to the wiring rules”, says Master Electricians member, Russell Ford.
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Members also have access to the exclusive ‘Members only’ website, where there is a library of resources including technical fact sheets, Safe Work Method Statement templates, AS/NZS 3000 documentation, and much more. Additionally, members receive prompt notifications via email if ever there is a legislation change or technical update.
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meet a master electrician
Born and bred Sydneysider, Brent McIntosh, reveals his top tips and insights on how he boosted his profits and grew his oneman business, McIntosh Electrical, into a ten-man team which is still expanding. When did you decide you wanted to be a sparkie? My father was an electrician, so that was a huge influence on the direction my career took. As soon as I left school, I started following in his footsteps. Like father, like son. What is it that you love about your job? I’m no longer on the tools, so the greatest part about my job is watching the business grow and prosper. Being off the tools means I can put more energy into the dayto-day running of the business and ensure we are continuing to be competitive in a tough market. McIntosh Electrical has been up and running since 2002. What has been your proudest moment in business over the last 14 years? Late last year we purchased a new office and warehouse. One evening, I looked up at www.masterelectricians.com.au
the big, shiny new ‘McIntosh Electrical’ sign, and just had to pinch myself. That was my proudest moment – I knew the hard work was beginning to pay off! What is it that has made McIntosh Electrical so successful? I made the decision to move away from subcontracting to builders and developers, to working directly as a contractor. My dealing directly with mums and dads and other commercial customers effectively means I’ve cut out the middle-man, so greater profit comes straight to our business. It’s also delivered a massive improvement in cash flow and bad debts. What’s the McIntosh Electrical difference? I saw an opportunity in the market to set myself apart from other tradies. Tradesmen have developed a bit of a reputation for being messy, dirty, unreliable, and late. At McIntosh Electrical, we strive to be different by always looking presentable,
Name: Brent McIntosh Company: McIntosh Electrical State: New South Wales Status: Accredited Master Electrician cleaning up after ourselves, and always being there when we say we will be. All of our electricians wear boot covers in clients’ homes, and never leave without giving the place a quick vacuum. We’ve developed a reputation for being the cleanest sparkies in Sydney. What’s the best advice you’d give to other sparkies trying to make a name for themselves? Think outside the square – be innovative and creative in creating electrical solutions. Also, it’s important to always do what you say you’ll do, and be where you say you’ll be. When you’re not busy with your family or running your business, what do you do to relax? I’m mad-keen on adventuring riding. I’ve got a Yamaha Tenere and Super Tenere that I take out every chance I get. It’s dirty, and it’s dangerous, and I love it!
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regulator wrap up the latest state news from regulators Electrical Safety Office
REMINDER TO LABEL MAIN SWITCHES
This identification facilitates the efficient and effective isolation of electricity supply from the electrical installation; for
NSW Fair Trading Minister, Matthew MasonCox, is warning all home builders and tradespeople to ensure that they have a valid licence, following the successful prosecution of unlicensed builder Xin Li at the Parramatta Local Court. “NSW Fair Trading has zero tolerance for unlicensed builders and tradespeople, and
will be able to promptly isolate the main switch. Main switches that require identification and marking include: a) Supply from a distribution network b) Engine-driven generating sets c) Stand-alone power systems d) Battery systems
In conjunction with this campaign, the Electrical Safety Office is reminding electrical contractors of the need to identify main switches on switchboards by marking each main switch as ‘MAIN SWITCH’.
NSW NSW GOVERNMENT PUTS UNLICENSED BUILDERS AND TRADIES ON NOTICE
arises, emergency services personnel electricity supply by quickly identifying the
This year, the Queensland Government have run a successful public awareness campaign to boost community awareness of electrical safety risks in ceiling spaces. The campaign urges homeowners and tradespeople to turn off all main power switches at the switchboard before heading up into the roof.
example, in the event that an emergency
e) Photovoltaic array systems f) Grid connected inverter systems. Visit www.electrical.safety.qld.gov.au for more information.
this successful conviction should serve as a stern warning to all rogue operators,” says Mr Mason-Cox. Mr Li, who traded under the name Sydney Bathrooms & Kitchens at Waterloo, was convicted for breaches of the Home Building Act 1989, including unlicensed contracting of residential building work. He was ordered to pay fines and costs in the amount of $17,370. “Builders and tradespeople should make sure they have a valid licence and ensure it is renewed, as NSW Fair Trading will continue to crack down on unlicensed operators in the building industry,” said Mr Mason-Cox.
As part of its efforts to stamp out rogue operators, NSW Fair Trading has been undertaking a series of on-site inspections to ensure traders and builders are operating within the applicable legislation. Around 670 complaints were investigated to check for compliance with the Home Building Act 1989 in the past financial year, and a further 1,147 home building inspections took place during compliance campaigns. NSW Fair Trading are conducting another strong inspection program throughout this financial year, and plan to aggressively pursue prosecution against individuals like Mr Xin Li through the courts, as well as undertake disciplinary action against licensees. NSW Fair Trading successfully prosecuted 22 licensed builders and tradespeople in the past financial year for 166 offences, resulting in court fines that totalled more than $500,000. An additional 222 defendants were fined for 375 offences, resulting in fines of $364,000. Current maximum penalties for seeking or doing unlicensed work are $110,000 for a corporation or $11,000 for an individual. Visit www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au for more information.
Office of the Technical Regulator
ENERGY SAFE VICTORIA
SOFT WIRING SYSTEMS The Office of the Technical Regulator often receives phone calls regarding the wiring of demountable office partitions and work stations. The calls are usually regarding whether this is electrical work required to be done by a suitably licensed person. The wiring of demountable office partitions and work stations that are assembled on-site is considered to be electrical installation work. Regardless of how the systems
are connected to other parts of the electrical installation, this work must be carried out by a licensed electrician. Portable screens and partitions are regarded as portable equipment. The insertion of a plug into a socket outlet to provide supply to the pre-wired equipment is not electrical installation work; however, it would be expected that these partitions would have ongoing tag and testing to ensure their electrical integrity. Visit www.sa.gov.au for more information.
final report into Morwell Terminal Station incident Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) has released its final report into the electrical fault at the Morwell Terminal Station on 4 April 2014 that led to a dramatic flashover and loss of supply to 80,000 customers in Gippsland. The initial fault produced an arc flash that was seen and heard by residents in surrounding areas. The investigation has found that the incident was the result of a short-circuit on one phase of a 66kV powerline, and that
two protection systems that are designed to stop the flow of electricity in the event of a fault failed to operate. The network’s primary protection system did not operate due to an incorrect relay setting, while the secondary system failed due to a faulty component. The circumstances of the two failures are still to be determined. No link was found between the fault and the recent fire at the Hazelwood Mine. ESV has made a number of recommendations to SP AusNet, which are to be implemented at all of its terminal stations and zone substations. The recommendations and full report can be viewed on the ESV website, visit www.esv.vic.gov.au
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regulator wrap up Energy Safety
Back down on poles inspections
now provide new information to affected landholders, who will start getting it with their power bills from October.
“Property owners have always had a common law duty of care to maintain their assets and ensure they do not pose a danger to themselves or the community,” says Commerce Minister Michael Mischin.
The West Australian State Government has backed away from plans to impose mandatory inspections on property owners with private power poles and fine those who fail to maintain the assets. Instead, the Government has launched a public awareness campaign educating landholders about their responsibility to ensure that privately-owned power infrastructure is up to scratch. The decision by the Government comes after a review of WA’s private power pole management, prompted by January’s devastating Parkerville bushfire. The fire, which destroyed 57 homes in Parkerville and neighbouring Stoneville,
“The State Government is now alerting people to this responsibility to give them a chance to have their privately-owned power poles and lines inspected by a licensed electrical contractor. started when a power pole on privately-owned land toppled in hot and gusty conditions. Amid concerns about the risks of similar incidents, given the estimated 200,000 private poles in WA, the Government asked EnergySafety WA to look at whether changes were needed. Based on that advice, EnergySafety will
“If the lines are supported by wooden poles that have been in service for 25 years or more, they may be getting towards the end of their service life, and could be unsafe.” For more detailed information, visit commerce.wa.gov.au/publications and search for the private power poles and lines brochure.
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letter of the law
Another contractor prosecuted by Fair Work for ‘sham contracting’ How to avoid being next in line The Federal Circuit Court recently held that an employer contravened two provisions of the Fair Work Act when it tried to dismiss an employee and then immediately re-engaged her as a contractor. The Facts The employer was a building contractor and the employee worked for them as an excavator operator. The director of the company gave the employee a letter explaining that they could no longer employ her as an employee, stating they “would like to continue to utilise your labour, however, it would have to be on a sub-contractor basis, working on an ABN.”. When the employee rejected this proposal, she was dismissed with just one day’s notice. The court found that the employer had breached the Fair Work Act, which prohibits dismissing an employee in order to re-hire them as a contractor. It also found that the employee was entitled to a week’s notice rather than just one day. Despite his protests, the company’s owner and director was also found to have contravened both provisions as he was ‘involved in’ the breaches. The penalties have yet to be determined, but the four proven contraventions could attract a total penalty of more than $120,000. Implications for employers It is important for all employers to bear in mind that the law specifically prevents them from dismissing an employee in order to set up a ‘sham contracting’ situation. Employers who attempt to create these arrangements can face investigation and heavy penalties, not only as a result of breaching the Fair Work Act, but also as a result of so-called “contractors” being later declared to be “workers” by the ATO or workers’ compensation bodies. That in turn can lead to substantial payments to the ATO and the workers’ compensation body plus further hefty fines and penalties.
How to avoid sham contracting Rule 1. The case referred to in this article clearly demonstrates rule one. Don’t try to convert existing employees into contractors who will keep working for you just as before. Rule 2. Don’t be conned by people who tell you they have a great system you can use to turn your employees into contractors without being caught for sham contracting. There is at least one organisation promoting such a scheme which says it has been approved by the High Court and this is not true. Rule 3. Take some time to learn the difference between a real contractor and an employee. It is often dependent on the work arrangement in place and Courts always look at the totality of the relationship between the parties. The website of the Fair Work Ombudsman has a very useful table which can help you ascertain the difference. Visit www.fairwork.gov.au/about-us/policiesand-guides/fact-sheets/rights-and-obligations/contractors-andemployees-whats-the-difference for more information. Rule 4. Make sure you have proper contracts prepared by a lawyer with all your workers, whether they are employees or contractors. Rule 5. If you are concerned that what you are doing might be exposing you to risk of prosecution or need help with contracts for your workers, don’t ignore the issue and seek legal advice. This article was contributed by McKays Solicitors. For further information on ‘sham contracting’ please contact McKays Solicitor’s Ian Heathwood on 07 3223 5942 or email firstname.lastname@example.org The Master Electrician
Kevin Fuller For four years, seven months and two days, Kevin Fuller was on a personal crusade for justice for his son Matthew – the first of four young men to lose their lives during the botched Home Insulation Program (HIP). On 1 September this year, he got some closure. What kind of support have you, the parents of Rueben Barnes (16) and Mitchell Sweeney (22), and the parents of Marcus Wilson (19) who died of heat exhaustion, shared with each other throughout this ordeal? Matthew was our only son and his sudden death came as an absolute shock to us, it floored us. We were given little support and we suffered terribly, as all parents in the same circumstances would do. But we also got angry, we wanted to find out why and how Matthew was killed. Within a week I instigated a meeting with Work Health & Safety (WH&S) and the Electrical Safety Office (ESO) in Brisbane. I expected that the State and Federal Governments would work together to stop anyone else being injured or killed, but three more families had to suffer the loss of their young sons before effective action was taken to stop the program. Early on I sought out the other families to make sure none of us were alone in this. We’ve since been in continual contact, discussing things, sharing news and media links to keep each other in the loop on what has been happening or reported in other states. I also included the other families in any meetings and communications with the government where possible. Christine and I engaged Aaron Anderson from Norton Rose Fulbright early on to represent us and were very pleased when the Barnes Siblings also engaged Aaron. It wasn’t an easy time for any of us, but just knowing that we were all there, all going through the same issues really helped us all to get through it. Your son’s young girlfriend Monique was just 18 at the time, and was injured in the incident. The two were about to move in with each other, but she was forced to grieve for Matthew while lying in a hospital bed dealing with her own shocking injuries. While the Royal Commission’s findings must be a relief, how close do they come to helping you, your wife, and Monique, to find closure? We were grieving for our only son Matthew, planning his funeral, struggling to find out what we had to do to wind up his estate and so on and at the same time visiting Monique in hospital and supporting her through the workers’ compensation system. Monique suffered horrifying injuries, spent eight weeks in the burns unit with many follow up visits, and still suffers to this day. There was nothing that came out as a result of the whole five year crusade that will ever take away those tears, the nightmares or the emptiness that we will each have to live with for the rest of our lives www.masterelectricians.com.au
Your son was the first victim of the HIP, but it didn’t take much research for you to realise that the power should be switched off during this kind of work. But despite your efforts at raising the alarm, another two young men were electrocuted – how unnecessary were these tragic deaths? It was too simple, all I did a couple of days after Matthew was killed (to find out all about the previous deaths in New Zealand) was to key into a search engine the three words – Foil, Electricity and Death – and up popped a whole list of references to the New Zealand insulation program and the deaths of homeowners and tradesmen in New Zealand. Also that New Zealand banned foil insulation from their program in 2008 and never regretted it. It came out through the Royal Commission (into the HIP) that the Government was warned about the deaths that occurred in New Zealand, yet nothing was done to properly manage the risk. The most chilling part of the Commissioner’s findings is where he states in his report, “In my view each death would, and should, not have occurred had the HIP been properly designed and implemented”. How hard have you and your wife campaigned over the last four years in order to get justice for Matthew? It consumed me, for all of that time. In a short period of time after Matthew was killed we pushed for and got meetings with WH&S, the ESO and state and federal MPs. We even logged legal action against the State Coroner in the District Court, after his fourth rejection to hold a Coronial Inquiry.
Had that gone its full course it would have been only the third time a Queensland Coroner was taken to court in Queensland history! In the first two instances, one was successful and the other wasn’t, so we knew we had at best a 50/50 chance. On his first day in office I wrote to Jarrod Bleijie asking him to instruct the State Coroner to hold an inquest into Matthew’s death. After six months working behind the scenes the Attorney General rang me to say that he’d formally asked the State Coroner for the Coronial Inquiry. We ended up meeting with three prime ministers, two opposition leaders and many state and federal ministers, on a number of occasions. It’s a sad fact of how much effort we had to put in to try to get the facts out on record – we had to take all of the fight to the system and force the system into each stage of the investigation and legal process. We’re so thankful to Tony Abbott who lived up to his personal commitment prior to the last election to take this debacle to the highest court in the land with a Royal Commission. Commissioner Ian Hanger and his team did an exceptional job at getting most of the truth out during the hearings. Christine and I went into the Royal Commission with fairly low expectations and thought we’d be lucky to get about 20 per cent of the truth out. But we now believe they managed to get more than 95 per cent of the facts we were aware of prior, into the records, which has helped us achieve a higher level of closure than we’d expected.
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The Master Electrician
Commissioner Ian Hanger, QC, said that safety switches could have saved the lives of Matthew, Rueben and Mitchell. What kind of legislation would you like to see implemented, to ensure the safety of all workers who may come into contact with electricity? We are 100 per cent behind a full implementation of safety switches on all circuits in all homes and premises. During the HIP some people had tradesmen injured in their roof space and some of those tradesmen had to be literally cut out through great holes in the ceiling, to recover and treat them. Imagine what that was like for the people who lived there – it must have been devastating – so while some people think it’s an unnecessary expense, if it saves the life of a family member or tradesman, it’s money well invested. Surely we can look into a staged legislative approach to allow people to do the improvements over time, as they can afford it. But there should be a sunset clause on the implementation or there will be more injuries and even more deaths in the future. How do you think the electrical industry as a whole can help keep the ball rolling, in making sure the Commissioner’s recommendations are carried out? The first obvious one for me is for ALL of the electrical industry across Australia to work together as one entity, with one aim – to eliminate electrical deaths and serious electrical injuries in Australia. All of the electrical industry right across Australia should work with the same rules, the same policies and procedures and the same high ethics and standards. I firmly believe that we need uniform rules and standards across all States and Territories of Australia. The industry must be vigilant about the risks not only in roof spaces but anywhere someone could be injured or killed. It must highlight and communicate any electrical issues they come across in their work and the appropriate solutions. It must install, repair and replace electrical components and wiring according to the current wiring rules and to ensure that others always do the same, and it must be aware of and keep up with the best work methods internationally and celebrate having one of the best electrical safety standards in the world. When or if they become aware of any ‘new’ electrical safety hazard, product or risk that puts people in Australia at risk of electric shock or electrocution, there must be a clear strategy to communicate the risk and the solutions, to ALL of Australia not just the electrical industry. What’s the next step in your campaign? We’ve instigated private meetings with appropriate and senior levels in the Federal Government and we’re working with the State Government on further implementations and improvements. Along with Aaron (Anderson), we’re continually involved in presentations at industry meetings where we share our experience and continue to push for legislation improvements. Thanks to an offer from Jarrod Bleijie we’ve been able to input to the Safety in Ceiling Space campaign and helped launch that campaign. www.masterelectricians.com.au
“The first obvious one for me is for ALL of the electrical industry across Australia to work together as one entity, with one aim – to eliminate electrical deaths and serious electrical injuries in Australia. “ We’re also considering trying something similar to the Workplace Tragedy Family Support Group that exists only in NSW and is funded by the CFMEU. It’s a one-off organisation that from day one helps those who’ve suffered the loss or serious injury of a loved one to understand what needs to be done and what to expect. They also visit workplaces and other venues where they educate and communicate with others. We owe it to Matthew’s memory and to ourselves to continue the fight, pushing for as long as it takes, to ensure that there is effective implementation of the Recommendations made as a result of the Royal Commission. Unfortunately, we know only too well the effect a serious electrical injury or sudden electrical death has on family and friends, and so we will continue to champion and fight for improved electrical safety across the country.
Samsung Gear VR
Combining the Jawbone UP24 wristband and the UP app on your Apple or Android device, the UP system helps you understand your sleep, eating, and movement patterns so you can make better life choices.
The Samsung Gear VR delivers a completely new way to experience content using a mobile device by creating an immersive mobile virtual reality experience.
Small and comfortable to wear all day and night, UP24 tracks hours slept, time to fall asleep, how many times you woke, and more. It also knows how active you are by recording your steps, distance, calories burned, and time spent active versus idle. The UP system also integrates with other fitness apps, such as Strava, Wello, and RunKeeper. RRP: $179 Visit: www.jawbone.com.au
When used in conjunction with the Galaxy Note 4 smartphone, the Gear VR delivers an amazing viewing experience through the 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLEDÂ display.
Powertraveller Solarmonkey Capture every moment of your big adventure with the solar-powered charging device that will keep you topped up even in the remotest of destinations. Using auto-load, self-sensing switching technology, the travel charger can charge any device via a USB port.
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With a reserve battery capacity that fully charges within eight to 12 hours, you can strap the Solarmonkey to your backpack, or leave it outside your tent.
With a selection of optimised virtual reality content made available to download from the global online Oculus store from November this year, you can enjoy dynamic 360 degree video, games, education, and experiential content.
The two-panel, slimline solar charger is encased in a lightweight 265g shell, can tolerate temperatures of up to 90 degrees Celsius, and is compact and tough enough to stand the challenges of big adventures.
RRP: $249 Visit: www.samsung.com.au
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The Master Electrician
HPM Electresafe Powercentre with Dual USB Charger
Fluke Connect App
The HPM Electresafe Powercentre with Dual USB Charger is the latest addition to the HPM Electresafe Powercentre Range, providing an ideal charging solution for power tools and mobile devices on site. This USB charger includes two USB ports, with market-leading specifications that enable two tablets or smart phones to be charged at maximum speed simultaneously. With a maximum charging capacity of 4.2A, they are ideal for any combination of tablets, smart phones, cameras, MP3 players, and GPS units. Featuring a heavy-duty lead with thicker insulation, higher grade copper, and 30mA RCBO protection, this Powercentre is designed for safety on site or in a workshop. Visit www.hpm.com.au for more information.
The new Fluke Connect App is a great way to stay in contact with your team without leaving the field. With over 20 different Fluke test tools, Fluke Connect allows you to identify and diagnose problems quickly and confidently, while securely sharing data with your team. You and your team can stay on the same page even when in different places with video call functionality, allowing you to securely connect and collaborate. The app connects to Fluke tools, so you can wirelessly send measurements and record data, identify trends, create reports, and manage work orders.
Cirlock Tamper Evident Padlocks Cirlockâ€™s new brass padlock seals feature a special plastic cover to block access to the key hole. Once the seal padlock is snap-locked, the plastic cover can only be removed by destroying it, thus making it evident that tampering has occurred. The plastic cover is uniquely numbered for tracking records and is fully replaceable. There are two sizes of padlocks available: a 50mm brass body with 8mm x 30mm steel shackle, and a 40mm body with 6mm x 22mm steel shackle.
Available from the App Store and GoogleÂ Play.
The tamper-evident security padlocks are made for a variety of uses, including the transporting of critical documents, valuables, and any other items that need to be kept secure.
Visit www.fluke.com.au/connect for more information.
Visit www.cirlock.com.au for more information.
InstalTest Combo Single & 3 Phase Multi-Function Tester for All Your Electrical Installation Testing and Verification.
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Call EMONA on tel: 1 800 632 953, email: email@example.com or www.instaltest.com.au www.masterelectricians.com.au
feature tech talk
Standards ignorance is no defence in law Why is it that we donâ€™t think twice spending hundreds of dollars to calibrate our meters, but complain when we have to purchase a new copy of the Wiring Rules to calibrate our knowledge?
It is important for electrical contractors and licensed electrical workers to ensure that all their work complies with current standards. Being unaware of changes or amendments to standards is not a suitable defence for noncompliance.
The types of reference documentation that an electrical contractor requires include, but are not limited to, any legislation that applies to the business (for example, work health and safety), the supply authority installation rules, and the standards that apply to the work being performed. There are a multitude of standards that apply to an electrical contractorâ€™s business, and it can become difficult to keep track of the current version. One way to keep up to date is to subscribe to the SAI Global email alerts service. This provides subscribers with timely information on changes to standards that apply to our industry. You can do this by visiting www.saiglobal. com/Information/Regulatory. Some standards are currently being reviewed, and drafts of the new standards have been released for public comment. When
drafts are released, the normal process is to have a period of time allocated for public comment on the proposed changes. If there are major areas of concern, the draft is re-addressed by the committee, and may be released again for further public comment before the final standard is published. This process can take some months to complete. The table overleaf features some of the standards that apply to an electrical contracting business. The table includes the current version of the standard, when the current version of the standard was released, and drafts of the revised standard. Some of the standards overleaf have already been through the draft process, and are currently being reviewed for final release. Master Electricians Australia (MEA) will monitor this process and inform our membership when revised standards are released. It is essential that when performing work in specific electrical areas, electrical contractors and licensed electrical workers have access to the latest standards. Master Electricians members can purchase standards from MEA at a discounted rate; alternatively, they can be purchased from SAI Global at www.saiglobal.com The Master Electrician
tech talk Current Standards status Current version
(including amendments if applicable) Standards are published/released on a particular date. State and territory regulators may provide guidance on implementation dates. AS/CA S009:2013 Telecommunications installation requirements for customer cabling (Wiring Rules)
Came into effect 1 July 2013
AS 2293.1:2005 (A1) Emergency escape lighting and exit signs for buildings Part 1: System design, installation and operation
Part 1. The latest A1 amendment was released in September 2008
AS 2293.2:2005 (A1, A2 and A3) Emergency escape lighting and exit signs for buildings Part 2: Inspection and maintenance
Part 2. The latest A3 amendment was released in December 2012
AS/NZS 3000:2007 (A1 and A2) The Wiring Rules
The latest amendment was released in December 2012
AS/NZS 3001:2008 (A1) Electrical installations – Transportable structures and vehicles including their site supplies
The latest amendment was released 25 June 2012
Draft Drafts are released for public comment and are available on the SAI Global website. The draft is made available to stakeholders to voice any concerns with the proposed changes.
Draft possible in mid-2015, when it will be released for public comment. It is anticipated that a complete revision of AS/NZS 3000 will be available in 2016.
AS/NZS 3002:2008 Electrical installations – Last published 5 December 2008 Shows and carnivals AS/NZS 3003:2011 Electrical installations – Published 1 April 2011 Patient areas
AS/NZS 3004.1:2014 Electrical installations – Marinas and boats – Marinas
A draft for Amendment 1 was published 18 December 2013 and comments closed 19 February 2014. Due for release in the coming year.
Published 27 June 2014
AS/NZS 3004.2:2014 Electrical installations – Marinas and boats – Boats installations AS/NZS 3008:1.1:2009 (A1) Electrical installations – Selection of cables
The latest amendment was released in August 2011
Part 1.1: Cables for alternating voltages up to and including 0.6/1 kV–Typical Australian installation conditions AS/NZS 3010:2005 Electrical installations – Published 27 June 2005 Generating sets AS/NZS 3011.1:1992 Electrical installations – Secondary batteries installed in buildings – Vented cells
Published 16 March 1992
AS/NZS 3011.2:1992 Electrical installations – Secondary batteries installed in buildings – Sealed cells AS/NZS 3012:2010 Electrical installations – Construction and demolition sites
Published 22 Jun 2010
AS/NZS 3017:2007 Electrical installations – Published 5 Nov 2007 Verification guidelines
Draft comments closed 09 June 2014. Due for release in the coming year.
Current Standards status Current version
(including amendments if applicable) Standards are published/released on a particular date. State and territory regulators may provide guidance on implementation dates. AS/NZS 3760:2010 (A1 & A2) In-service safety inspection and testing of electrical equipment
The latest amendment was released in December 2012
AS/NZS 4777.1:2005 Grid connection of energy systems via inverters – Installation requirements
Published May 2005
AS/NZS 4777.2:2005 Grid connection of energy systems via inverters – Inverter requirements
Draft Drafts are released for public comment and are available on the SAI Global website. The draft is made available to stakeholders to voice any concerns with the proposed changes.
A draft of AS/NZS 4777.1 and AS/NZS 4777.2 were published on the 26 June 2013 and comments closed 28 August 2013. Keep an eye out for the second release for public comment in the coming months. The new AS/ NZS 4777.2 now incorporates AS/NZS 4777.3.
(c/w compression spring & bolt assembly) (c/w compression spring4777.3:2005 & bolt assembly) AS/NZS Grid connection
CLIP CLIP 3A (c/w A
of energy systems via inverters – Grid protection requirements AS/NZS 4836:2011 Safe work on or near low- Published 4 May 2011 voltage electrical installations and equipment AS/NZS 5033:2012 (A1 & A2) Installation 30MM SADDLErequirements and safety for HEAD photovoltaic PRIMER 30MM SADDLE PRIMER HEAD (PV) arrays 0094A 0099A compression spring & bolt assembly) 0094A 0099A
AS/NZS 5110:2011 (A1) Recessed luminaire barriers
FX-10 PRIMER AEROSOL X-10 PRIMER QTY AEROSOL CAN/BOX QTY 1 can can 11 can 1 can
CODE CODE 0033X 0033X 0034X 0034X
CAN/ 12BOX 12 12 12
A NOOZLE PRAY PRAY NOOZLE RAY NOOZLE RAY NOOZLE
X-10 PRIMER AEROSOL QTY 1 can 1 can
The latest amendment was released February 2013
COLOUR COLOUR Clear Clear Orange Orange
PRIMER HEAD 0099A
CAN/BOX 12 12
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Apprenticeship funding overhaul The Federal Government has an ambitious agenda to improve apprentice and traineeship completions, and get a better bang for our tax payerÂ bucks.
Currently, apprenticeship completion rates stand at around 50 per cent. What may surprise some readers is that the completion rate across different industries varies greatly, from mid to low 30 per cent, to 75 per cent and higher, depending on the qualification. The Governmentâ€™s plan is to create the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN), which will become a one-stop-shop to support apprentices and employers, and give them the best chance at completing their chosen qualification or trade. As many employers know, the vocational education system is www.masterelectricians.com.au
currently a labyrinth of providers, standards, regulations/regulators, milestones, and incentives, intertwined with the industrial relations, and state and federal educational systems. This means there are multiple pressure points that can lead to a non-completion. So how is the new system different? The Request for Tender (RFT) released on 21 October 2014, with responses due on 5 December 2014, details that the successful tenders will be offering both universal and targeted services. The universal services include what most employers and apprentices would be used to, that is:
Apprentices may also take advantage of the available psychometric tools, which can help them select a trade or job that suits their personality and professional strengths. • Marketing, information, and advice about Australian apprenticeships • Training contract sign-up and administration • Eligibility assessments for the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Programme (AAIP) and Trade Support Loans (TSL) • Client progress contacts, visits for the duration of the training contract, and payment of incentives and loans • Engagement with State Training Authorities (STAs) through the apprenticeship lifecycle. However, it is the second area of assistance – the so called “targeted services” available to both employers and apprentices – that will be the most unfamiliar, yet perhaps the most advantageous. Targeted services come in two forms. The first is Gateway services, which, according to the RFT, “will provide customised pre-commencement services to individuals and employers seeking assistance to find ‘the right fit’ apprenticeship or apprentice.” This could be a major step forward in improving apprenticeship services because it suggests that employers may get some additional specialist help in recruitment, techniques, interviews, and other possible selection processes. While many large organisations fund their own selection processes to ensure that they choose the right people, smaller employers may have neither the skill, nor the experience to support an independent selection process, and could thereby benefit greatly from the services that the AASN will provide.
available, including face-to-face, phone, and electronic. Whether these models will actually be delivered in smaller, remote areas, where employers that are eligible for the system’s benefits are scarce, is yet to be seen. The Government has also highlighted that gateway and targeted services will be limited, and that not all clients will receive the full services. The RFT has indicated to tenders that they should look at historical cancelation figures and reasons for non-completion to estimate the one-off, all-inclusive price for delivering these services. This could mean that there will not be consistency among providers on service qualification, raising the question: will it actually make a difference? The process may deliver a simpler system, but does it make the barriers to enter into the market too high for new entrants? Does the system itself favour areas where the funding and progress payments are made easy, and leave rural and remote areas out in the cold? Because vertically integrated industries with big employers will be more attractive due to scalability, will industries’ minority occupations, like electrical contracting, fall behind? Will the new computer system be able to deliver information on 200,000 apprentices a year, in real time, on all types of devices, with over a 1,000 different types of payments and incentives, in different state jurisdictions, with different parameters for payment? Can it be ready by 1 July 2015? Only time, payments, and completion rates will tell whether or not the system can deliver the Government’s vision.
Apprentices may also take advantage of the available psychometric tools, which can help them select a trade or job that suits their personality and professional strengths. For many, this would be a welcome alternative to relying on family and friends, who may strongly advocate occupations based solely on their future earning potential, or the perceived ‘safety’ of a given career choice. It has been well documented that recruitment processes that are able to provide a cultural match between an employee and an employer are markedly more successful. This is because rates of completion are much higher in circumstances where an apprentice engages with their employer’s organisational culture. The AASN has also been designed such that if an apprentice does have issues throughout their apprenticeship, the second targeted service, called “In-training”, can provide additional training, mentoring, and other support services. As with anything, the devil is in the detail, and there are a number of areas that will ultimately gauge whether the service is a win or not. While it is easy to highlight the strengths of the system, it is not without potential weaknesses. For example, the support of the AASN could give two to five large providers in each state enough infrastructure to service entire rural and remote regions, at the expense of smaller businesses. As with any Government service delivery that is outsourced, volume of work and cost are crucial considerations. The Government has indicated that a number of different contact models will be The Master Electrician
all about ME Conference delegates learn to future-proof their businesses Future-proofing businesses was the theme at this years 2014 Master Electricians Australia (MEA) Electrical Industry Conference. Given our ever-changing, progressive industry, it certainly remained a vital focus for the event. Delegates from across Australia came together from Friday 26 September to Sunday 28 September at Noosa on the Sunshine Coast to hash it out.
Conference 2015 announced Join us for the 2015 Electrical Industry Conference in the city of ten thousand shrines – Kyoto, Japan. Don’t miss out, see page 53 for details.
Haymans Welcome Function
At the picturesque Outrigger Little Hasting Street, the conference kicked off on the Friday evening with the Haymans Retro Beach Welcome Party. Delegates were entertained by a spectacular stilt duo and a hula hoop extravaganza, while the ‘Paparazzi’ drifted among the crowd taking Polaroid happy snaps. But the fun didn’t stop there, with many delegates dancing the night away at the Haymans after party. Saturday morning it was time to get down to business (with the exception of our Leisure Pass delegates who took a bus tour to the Eumundi Markets). The day started with the MEA Annual General Meeting, followed by the inaugural Alumni Induction Ceremony. The MEA Alumni is a new and exclusive group designed to distinguish those who have made significant contributions to the electrical industry and give them the recognition they deserve. Thirty-two members were inducted into the group and awarded with a gold Alumni pin at the ceremony. www.masterelectricians.com.au
At the first business session (proudly supported by NHP), delegates heard from a well known advocate for innovation in the electrical industry, the Australian Energy Regulator’s Chris Pattas, along with digital and social media expert Fi Bendall, and leader and future-thinker in the telecommunications sector, CSIRO’s Mark Paterson. In the afternoon, delegates were treated to a special AFL Grand Final event (proudly supported by CNW), where they witnessed Hawthorne demolish the Swans for the premiership cup. On Saturday evening, delegates celebrated success within the electrical industry at the MEA National Excellence Awards Gala Ball (proudly supported by L&H), where Newcastle-based GB Electrical took out the Accredited Master Electrician of the Year award. The other shining stars at the awards included: • Business Woman of the Year – Lisa Viczko from KP Walsh Electrics
• Residential Project of the Year – Power Integration • Commercial Project of the Year – S&K Electrical Contracting • Industrial/Mining Project of the Year – ICS Electrical Contractors • Data Project of the Year – ADCO Electrical • Apprentice of the Year – Scott Bryant. Even with a few sore heads on Sunday morning, the show went on with the second business session (proudly supported by EE-OZ). Delegates heard traversing tales from extreme adventurer John Cantor; the four key areas for success from TV presenter and author Troy Hazard; and an insight into the world of electricity supply from Energex’s Mike Swanston.
The MEA Events Team with MC Scott Williams at the 2014 Excellence Awards Gala Ball
Award winners at the 2014 Excellence Awards Gala Ball
Haymans Retro Beach Welcome Party
MEA Alumni Inductees
Troy Hazard at the Sunday Business Session
The Leisure Pass holders enjoyed a more civilised Sunday morning by attending the Clipsal Schneider High Tea. To finish the Conference with a bang, delegates were treated to a colourful finale function â€“ The HPM Legrand Festival of Fun. Held at theme park Aussie World, delegates donned their circus, cartoon, superhero and carnival costumes and released their innerchild on rides and fair games throughout the park.
HPM Festival of Fun
Thank you to our sponsors: Naming sponsor:
The program â€“ put together by the hard working MEA Events Team, was outstanding and resulted in a truly engaging conference. MEA would also like to say a big thank you to our delegates, presenters and of course our sponsors, as without them, this Conference would not have been possible. The Master Electrician
WA reaches 500 members
Congratulating milestone members Master Electricians Australia would like to thank the following members for their loyalty to the association and commitment to the industry.
Congratulations to this quarter’s 25 year members: • BDF Electrical • Common Logic • QLD Data N Electrical Services • Powerfactor Electrical
Congratulations to this quarter’s 15 year members: • Ace Refrigeration and Electrical • Cauley Electrics • Hoban Smith Industries • HQ Electrical Centre • Ipswich Industrial Electrics • Len Dyal Services
In June 2012, ex-Western Power Principal Inspector and long-time industry supporter and advocate Tony Mancini came on board as the Master Electricians Australia (MEA) WA State Manager. Since then Tony has been working tirelessly; setting up a new office, building a comprehensive support team for members, and travelling across the state meeting with countless contractors and delivering educational presentations. The hard work by Tony and his dedicated team was recently celebrated when they signed their 500th member, long time industry personality Mauro Triventi from Fair Price Electrical. “The support from the electrical industry in WA has been sensational”, said Tony. “When I first came from Western Power just over two years ago we had only a small number of members, so to move to 500 in such a short time makes me really appreciate the support from the industry in WA and pushes me to strive harder to make our industry better. “Thank you everyone – I can assure you that we are in this for the long haul to make our industry better”.
MEA’s green warriors strike the right balance Toned legs, flashy wheels, and more lycra than is considered socially acceptable were all on show at this year’s Santos GLNG Brisbane to Gold Coast Cycle Challenge. Most people would consider rising before dawn on a Sunday morning a truly horrific prospect, but on 19 October, 15 Master Electricians Australia (MEA) team riders dragged themselves off to Brisbane’s South Bank Parklands to join almost 7,000 cyclists on a 100 kilometre journey to the Gold Coast. MEA staff, members, consultants, and business partners zipped up their green lycra, downed the last sips of their coffee, and put the pedal to the metal. The MEA pack joined other teams representing organisations from all sides of the fence, including Clipsal Schneider Electric, Diabetes Queensland, and Hutchinson Builders, to name a few. But all these MAMILS (middle-aged men and women in lycra) weren’t out in force merely to delight onlookers with their super-toned gluteus maximi – while cycling was the game, fundraising was the aim. www.masterelectricians.com.au
Event organiser, Bicycle Queensland has touted that this year’s tenth annual Santos GLNG Brisbane to the Gold Coast Cycle Challenge has raised a massive $80,000 for the Heart Foundation. “Corporate teams are front and centre to our fund-raising efforts, so we were pretty happy to spot the MEA Team whizzing past and once again flying the flag for the growing number of tradies getting into cycling,” said Bicycle Queensland CEO, Ben Wilson. The MEA team prepared for the challenge with intense training at the hands of team coach, Acsel’s David Shelberg. The Commando of the cycling world put the team members through their paces at a Compu Training facility at Brisbane’s MB Cycles at Milton. MEA’s most notable Green Goblin (aka former Federal Minister and ex-member for Richmond, the Hon Larry Anthony) said the virtual training, complete with curves, split screens, and advanced computer algorithms, had transformed this year’s crop of handlebar crunchers into an intimidating bunch, worthy of their green jerseys.
they were only good enough for the 60km ride. Maybe next year they’ll man up and do the full 100km,” Mr Richards joked. Clipsal-Schneider General Manager – Partner Projects, Edward Arendt insists that theirs was merely a ‘warm up ride’ for a newly-formed team – wisely conserving their best efforts for next year’s event. “In good Clipsal fashion, we spent more time working out where we could have lunch and refreshing, cool ale or two after the ride, than preparing for the actual ride. We almost didn’t even get our sleek and stylish kit in time! But of course we came good in the end – if you can’t be great at it, then at least look great doing it,” Mr Arendt said. Mr Richards is still claiming bragging rights, despite the MEA team missing Clipsal-Schneider’s well-planned recovery lunch. “Most of us finished the 100 kilometre in two-and-a-half to threeand-a-half hours, including the most improved effort from our Workplace Policy General Manager, Jason O’Dwyer, who collected the slow riders and brought them all home!” Mr Richards said.
“If you ever want to lose a couple of kilos, forget Weight Watchers and go and do this Compu Training; it’s incredible. We were all in pretty good shape by the time the ride came around, and as a team, we ended up setting a cracking pace – lime green speed machines!” Mr Anthony said.
Well, all bar one. While 15 team members embarked on the journey, only 14 ended up at the Gold Coast.
MEA CEO Malcolm Richards agreed, dubbing the training sessions ‘pure horror’, but they paid off in the end, putting the stylisticallyimpaired speed demons well in front of a few old rivals. “We heard about the team from Schneider but never saw them – rumour was
“We may have been a little more leisurely, but at least we all made it. Let’s see if the entire MEA team can manage to make it to the Goldy before the last of the flashy Clipsal-Schneiders next year,” he said.
Where MEA Finance Manager, Gerard Healy really ended up is a story for another day – a point not lost on Mr Arendt and his fellow team-mates.
The Master Electrician
Mazda BT-50 – all the strength and space you need The Mazda BT-50 claims to have been built to do everything you need, and then some. We sent MEA Safety and Technical Officer, Wayne Kennedy out in the field in a brand new BT-50 to test this claim. I’ve owned and driven several utes in my time, so when I had the opportunity to test drive the new Mazda BT-50 ute, I jumped at the chance. Todd from MEA Fleet helped organise a new 4 x 2 single cab chassis XT6 speed diesel tray-back with the team at Melville Mazda in Perth, and off I went. www.masterelectricians.com.au
When I climbed into the ute the first thing I noticed was the high sitting position. The BT-50 also comes in a Hi-Rider model, however this vehicle really didn’t need to be a Hi-Rider. The 4 x 2 Cab Chassis XT’s high seating position was similar to an SUV vehicle and I was surprised how good the all round visibility of the road and other vehicles was.
Upon starting the engine, the familiar rattling sound of a diesel engine was definitely there, but this is where the similarity between the old, smoky clunker diesel utilities and the new Mazda BT50 ended. The 2.2 litre in-line 4 turbo diesel engine provided 110kW/375Nm and had a considerable amount of acceleration through all six gears. However, I found the six speed gearbox outrageously tight and quite difficult to manage. I’m not sure whether this was because the vehicle was new and needed to be run in a little but I felt the gear linkages were way too close together and found myself on more than one occasion desperately trying to find first gear (or any gear for that matter). Once I found first gear I was actually in third gear with the engine labouring and I had to start the whole process over again. As the week progressed, I did get used to the tightness so it became more manageable. The BT-50 came with pretty much all the bells and whistles you would expect as standard in a new ute these days. Features include 16 inch steel wheels, halogen headlamps, power windows and mirrors, air conditioning, hands free Bluetooth (MP3 compatible), USB input, cruise control, front and curtain drivers and passengers airbags SRS for safety, ABS, dynamic stability control, hill launch assist and more! Ergonomically speaking, the dash and controls were well laid out and within easy reach. The radio/CD player, cruise control and mobile phone controls were all easy to use and the sound quality from the four speaker system was excellent. A helpful feature was the dash mounted gear shift indicator that advises the driver of the most fuel efficient time to change gears. The Mazda BT-50 4 x 2 single cabs brochure claims “the split bench seat combines the driver bucket with space for two others and is very accommodating (manual only).” I’m not sure whether they used a couple of jockeys when testing out this claim! I tried to get two ‘average’ size passengers into the split seat with myself driving and ‘very accommodating’ was not something that immediately sprang to mind. The middle passenger was required to sit at an angle in order to get their feet in the foot well and encroached into my driving position. So you can imagine how comfortable or accommodating it would be in the cab with three larger workers after a long hot day crawling around a ceiling! Speaking of hot days, the air conditioner was outstanding. Even ‘Scrat’ from the Ice Age movie would have felt at home (Google it). With the air conditioner on the whole time I was driving, I still found acceleration was exceptional and I think the claim of 7.6 litres per 100km with a full tank capacity of 80 litres (for the diesel manual) would not be far off the mark. The aluminium tray-back had plenty of room and can handle a 1,306kg payload, four good tie down positions for those big loads and an ingeniously engineered locking device that allowed you to drop the back tray door, while still providing support for the two side tray doors.
Although it is rated as a three seater, my tip is to keep it to two people and you will be very happy you gave the Mazda BT-50 a chance. Priced from $30,990. Full vehicle specs are available on the Mazda Australia website www.mazda.com.au
Are you looking for a vehicle for your fleet? MEA Fleet offer great savings when purchasing new vehicles. The fleet program uses national membership buying power to deliver the best fleet discounts and obtain the best price for members. Master Electricians members can contact Todd from MEA Fleet to discuss options for purchasing your next work vehicle. Call Todd on 1300 889 198 or email email@example.com Not a member? Join today! Visit masterelectricians.com.au/join
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The Master Electrician
events calendar december
5 – 7 December 2014 Sydney 500 Sydney www.v8supercars.com.au
14 February – 29 March 2015 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup Various venues across Australia www.icc-cricket.com
7 December 2014 Tropfest Short Film Festival Centennial Park, Sydney www.tropfest.com/au/ 27 December 2014 – 1 January 2015 Woodford Folk Festival Sunshine Coast www.woodfordfolkfestival.com
26 February – 1 March 2015 Clipsal 500 Adelaide www.clipsal500.com.au 27 February – 15 March 2015 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival Melbourne and across the State www.melbournefoodandwine.com.au
IMPORTANT DATES THIS QUARTER 25 December 2014 Christmas Day (PH) 26 December 2014 Boxing Day (PH) 1 January 2015 New Years Day (PH) 26 January 2015 Australia Day (PH)
8 – 26 January 2015 Sydney Festival Sydney City www.sydneyfestival.org.au
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Hanging dangerously A contractor was asked to rewire a house. Upon inspecting the house, the contractor ventured out to check the outbuildings and found this dangerous and highly illegal wiring. An extension had been connected to the light fitting with dangerous live parts exposed. The contractor informed the owner and disconnected the power supply to the outbuilding. Needless to say, the contractor did not reconnect this after rewiring the house! Thanks to Cliff from Cliff Dawes Electrical in Kyneton, Victoria, $50 is on its way.
LIKE TO WIN $50? Send us your favourite picture (in high resolution of at least 1MB please) and if we publish it in The Master Electrician magazine, we’ll send you $50! Send your entries to email@example.com for your chance to win.
Early bird offer out soon!
Experience a city with a spectacular contrast of traditional and modern culture, and the power to enthral. Join us in Kyoto, Japan for the 2015 Electrical Industry Conference. 27 September - 1 October 2015
The Master Electrician
the last word
Trick or Treat? ACCC’s Halloween surprise On 31 October – Halloween for the superstitious – the ACCC Chairman Rod Sims appeared before a Senate Committee to give evidence in relation to the Infinity/ Olsent Cables recall. This is by no means a new issue. In fact, Master Electricians Australia first flagged concerns about this publicly in August 2013. However, as part of a second tranche of recalls on the faulty products, the ACCC acknowledged that it believed up to 40,000 Australian homes were at risk of fire or electric shock within two years because of faulty cable. Mr Sims said: “If cable with brittle insulation is disturbed, it may cause electric shock or in some cases fire. The cables have repeatedly failed the relevant Australian standards, which are mandated and enforced, under state and territory electrical safety laws, and are expected to have a significantly reduced service life. The current expert advice available indicates that safety issues with the cable may begin to arise from 2016 onwards.” Interestingly, the ACCC said its recalls now covered 85 per cent of the total cable supplied (approximately 4,000 kilometres), although as we know, it proposes to leave a considerable amount of that product in place in roof and wall cavities and under floors. It said the remaining product was the responsibility of state authorities. But at the same time the commission also
warned that some states have limited or no recall powers. It’s hard to know whether this surprise announcement was meant to have a silver lining. We welcome the ongoing focus on this issue, as MEA has very grave concerns that this is going to be a ticking time bomb – one which is bound to cause death and property damage years into the future. We are concerned that the recall is partial and leaves contractors exposed, but overall we are pleased that it’s a recall. But there are as many questions as there are answers in the actions of regulators (both electrical and consumer) so far. How will the authorities ensure the public acts on this issue? What are the penalties for not complying with a recall? How much of the 4000km of cable will actually be returned?
In today’s electronic age, we have the technology to track any person or any object almost anywhere on the planet if we want to. Surely we can track down where electrical equipment has been installed. And if we can’t, then that points to a fundamental problem with the way the supply of this kind of equipment is regulated.
In most cases of a publicly advertised recall, only a small portion of the product is actually returned. Why don’t we have a better system for tracking down failed product?
This is our industry. We are responsible for it. We need to make sure there are no nasty surprises for home owners – not just on Halloween, but all year round.
When you buy a washing machine or a fridge, you provide your details for a warranty. Is it reasonable to expect the supplier to contact you directly if there is a known fault with the machine? If so, is electrical product any different? Should we maintain a list of who we sold product to if it requires a licence to install it?
MALCOLM RICHARDS CEO
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Published on Dec 8, 2014
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