Important update on Australian cabling regulations

In BICSI Bytes, Newsby info@bicsi.com.au

The revision of Australia’s two primary mandatory cabling standards – AS/CA S008 ‘Requirements for customer cabling product and AS/CA S009 ‘Installation requirements for customer cabling (Wiring Rules) – is almost complete; and are anticipated to be formally released later this year. There are major changes to both documents that warrant the industry’s attention and this memo serves to draw your attention to the most significant changes before their official release, while giving you an opportunity to review and comment on the draft documents before they are regulated.

BICSI is a member of the Communications Alliance WC80 working committee that is responsible for the revision of the standards, and has actively participated in updating both of them. So we can now provide you with this pre-release information.

It’s most important that you know these standards well, especially if you write or respond to ICT specifications that include cabling. In Australia, these two standards become regulations, so it’s a legal requirement to comply with them. In New Zealand, they are often included in specifications because of their valuable guidance and criteria.

The draft standards are currently with the Communications Alliance project team in final preparation for the Public Comment phase, which is expected to start around mid-September and remain open for two months. We will notify you when it is released, and give you instructions on how to download it and submit comments on it.

The most significant change to both standards relates to the introduction of new energy source classifications of ES1, ES2 and ES3 which was brought about by the introduction of AS/NZS 62368.1 ‘Audio/video information and communication technology equipment -Part 1 Safety requirements’.

Put simply:

  • ES1 is deemed to be safe;
  • ES2 is deemed to be safe with basic safeguards; but
  • ES3 has no current limit and no voltage limit and requires basic and supplemental safeguards to protect ordinary persons.

This is significant because LV telecommunication cabling would fall under the ‘ES3 Cabling’ classification, and introduces safety issues for a range of cabling situations that many cablers would encounter.

Both standards also needed to address remote powering situations such as Power Over Ethernet (PoE), with activation of multiple ES2 services within cable bundles and/or high pair-count cables potentially causing heat-rise exceeding the operational temperature of the cabling. To address this issue, the standards are looking at minimum conductor sizing as part of a risk-mitigation strategy.

The adoption of the new energy source and associated heat-rise issue will see substantial changes to the current version of AS/CA S009 and, to a lesser degree AS/CA S008.

‘Fitness-for-purpose’ clauses were strengthened to include requirements for AS/CA S008.

Notwithstanding the changes brought about by remote powering and the introduction of ES1, ES2 and ES3 energy classification, other changes have been addressed that would be expected as part of a normal revision process.

Remember, once these new standards are ratified, referring to their old editions would be erroneous, unprofessional and, in some cases illegal.

What you need to do now

  1. BICSI will notify you when the two draft standards are released for public comment, and how to download a copy to review and how to submit your comments on it.
  2. To help you better understand the content and application of these standards, BICSI has arranged for series of one-day training courses delivered by the Chair of the WC80 committee – Murray Teale. Murray will discuss all of the important changes and the rationale behind them, so you can immediately apply them to your projects. The pilot course is in Brisbane 12 September. Click https://www.bicsi.com.au/events/ict-standards-training/ for details and how to enrol. To inquire about the course in other locations, please contact Harriette Lane at BICSI South Pacific on E: harriette.lane@bicsi.com.au or Ph: +613 9583 3445.