Like all electrical work, lighting installations must be compliant to regulations - they have to be properly and safely installed. But regs don't just cover workmanship. Lighting products also have to be compliant to standards, but who's accountable for their compliance? Is it the manufacturer, importer, installer or consumer?
Victoria's Office of the Chief Electrical Inspector states: "As a registered electrical contractor or licensed electrical installation worker, it is your responsibility to understand the legislation and regulations in place at any time and work in accordance with them. In this regard, you must work in accordance with...the Electricity Safety Act 1998; and Electricity Safety (Installations) Regulations 1999".
Other states have similar regulations stating the electrical contractor's responsibility.
I asked Lighting Council executive members Kim Craig (Allen Fluorescent Lighting), Alistair Dobson (VS Lighting Controls) and Australian Standards emergency evacuation lighting working group chairman Mike Duce (Clevertronics) about lighting standards to find out what contractors need to know about their responsibility in lighting regulations.
What key standards should contractors installing lighting be conscious of?
Dobson: "Lighting standards cover two areas contractors need to be conscious of - performance and safety.
"Performance standards address lighting design, covering illumination levels in specific applications and OHS issues, which are typically the domain of lighting designers who know these standards very well. We sometimes find contractors doing lighting design without the necessary knowledge of these standards. They will struggle with compliance, or experience grief if any WorkCover or life safety issues arise at the premises."
Craig: "The safety issues are Declared Article listing, Energy Efficiency Index (EEI) and EMC-compliance. While they're product-related, contractors have the responsibility of ensuring products they install are compliant to these standards. They should also be conscious that standards define the absolute minimum of what the products should conform to. All installations should have headroom above the standards to ensure the best job possible is done."
Duce: "Building regulations stipulate that one in eight-to-ten fittings in commercial premises needs to be an emergency evacuation light. AS2293 is the key standard that covers what a contractor should know about emergency lighting. Being a life-safety matter, it can't be overlooked, so the designer must factor in these lights as well as their ongoing maintenance."
How does Declared Article listing affect contractors?
Craig: "Components in luminaires, such as fluoro ballasts and starters, ELV transformers and lamp holders, must be approved by state-based regulators, who issue a Certificate of Approval, so the product is fully traceable to tests and standards. Some have energy efficiency ratings listed by the Australian Greenhouse Office [www.energyrating.gov.au]."
How does EEI affect contractors?
Dobson: "EEI is a comparative measure of a component's energy rating. The AGO has mandated Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) for fluorescent lamps and fluorescent lamp ballasts. It's an offence to supply and install products that don't comply with MEPS."
How does EMC-compliance affect contractors?
Dobson: "EMC approvals are mandated by ACMA, who has the authority to turn off any appliance that is generating EMI or RFI and interfering with receivers or communications equipment, and is very proactive in policing this."
Aren't lighting distributors responsible for compliance of products they sell?
Craig: "You'd expect reputable electrical wholesalers to only sell products carrying approvals, but that's not always so. It's common to find non-compliant light fittings and components at wholesalers and lighting stores throughout Australia."
How does the lighting industry deal with non-compliant products?
Dobson: "The Lighting Council Code of Conduct requires all its manufacturing members to only supply fully-compliant luminaries and components. We're very active in Australian Standards, investing personnel and financial resources to lead by example in doing what's right for the lighting industry. We're also involved with IEC standards, checking all relevant lighting standards thoroughly to ensure they're suitable for Australian environments, before they're adopted as Australian Standards. Australia is committed to adopt IEC standards, but reserves the right to insert exceptions where applicable. Lighting Council participates in IEC lighting standards bodies at its own expense, lobbying for recognition of unique Australian conditions."
Give examples of discrepancies between IEC and Australian conditions.
Dobson: "Australia's supply was 240 VAC, but officially changed to 230 V for consistency with most other countries some time ago. Europe's supply tolerance is 230 V +/-6%, whereas Australia's is +10% to -6%, so products for Australia should have this broader tolerance band.
"IEC performance criteria are qualified at 25°C, whereas Australian Standards define performance at 25oC and 40oC. Australian-made fittings and components are rated at these temperatures. Lights usually come on in homes around 5-7 pm, when the roof space is at its hottest, temperatures building up from the heat of the day. If a luminaire isn't designed to operate at 40oC, it will fail over time, typically fail-safe, but still with the potential to start a fire."
What about Chinese products?
Craig: "Contractors should be wary of products and components from countries like China who manufacture for mass-markets like USA and Canada. Earthing isn't required for light fittings in these markets, so most light fittings from China aren't earthed, making them not compliant for Australia, where they are required to be earthed. Australia also mandates appliance plugs to have insulated pins. Often products have UL approval, which some assume makes them suitable for the global market. But UL applies to USA only, and their electrical criteria are different to Australia's. Electricians who don't understand these differences are exposing themselves to considerable risk."
What are potential consequences of non-compliant products and installations?
Craig: "Electrical fires are the biggest danger. Other consequences can be fines from regulators and other agencies. Insurance companies can also take legal action against electricians and suppliers through subrogation."
What should contractors know about emergency lighting standards?
Duce: "Fire research shows that smoke severely minimises the effectiveness of evacuation lighting, so installing more evacuation lighting is better than just enough. AS2293 specifies viewing distances in clear conditions, but they need to be for fire conditions, what they're designed for. There's a push to update the standard, to revise the density of evacuation lights, and consider new technologies such as high-brightness LED signs and illuminated and auditory way-finding systems, so contractors will need to keep up with these technologies."
What advice can you offer contractors to ensure they're compliant with lighting standards?
Dobson: "All light fittings must comply with Australian electrical safety standards, but it's not mandatory that all fixtures carry approval marking. Purchasing light fittings supplied by a Lighting Council member will ensure you're dealing with a supplier who has the appropriate knowledge of applicable standards and supplies products compliant with those standards. Ask your supplier for details of product approvals before you buy them. Install the best quality luminaire to cater for the potentially poor quality consumables that end users may put into the fitting over its lifetime."
What trends will challenge contractors' compliance with lighting standards?
Craig: "More HID lamps, which generate considerable heat, are being installed into retail and other places for lighting effects, causing the build-up of extreme heat, increasing the risk of fire.
"Contractors can also access local and overseas suppliers online, where they can buy components from bulk clearance auctions at very low prices, import them, fit them into equipment and install them in local premises. Without all the necessary Australian approvals, contractors will contravene Australian electrical standards."
|AS1680.0:1998||Interior lighting; Safe movement|
|AS1680.1:2006||Interior and workplace lighting; General principles and recommendations|
|AS1680.2.1-1993||Interior lighting; Circulation spaces and other general areas|
|AS1680.2.2-1994||Interior lighting; Office and screen-based tasks|
|AS1680.2.3-1994||Interior lighting; Educational and training facilities|
|AS/NZS1680.2.4:1997||Interior lighting; Industrial tasks and processes|
|AS/NZS1680.2.5:1997||Interior lighting; Hospital and medical tasks|
|AS1680.3-1991||Interior lighting; Measurement, calculation and presentation of photometric data|
|AS/NZS1680.4:2001||Interior lighting; Maintenance of electric lighting systems|
|AS2293.1-2005||Emergency escape lighting and exit signs for buildings; System design, installation and operation|
|AS/NZS2293.2:1995||Emergency evacuation lighting for buildings; Inspection and maintenance|
|AS2293.3-2005||Emergency escape lighting and exit signs for buildings; Emergency escape luminaires and exit signs|
|AS/NZS3827.1:1998||Lighting system performance; Accuracies and tolerances; Overview and general recommendations|
|AS/NZS3827.2:1998||Lighting system performance; Accuracies and tolerances; Compliance requirements|
|AS/NZS4783.1:2001||Performance of electrical lighting equipment; Ballasts for fluorescent lamps; Method of measurement to determine energy consumption and performance of ballasts lamp circuits|
|AS/NZS4783.2:2002||Performance of electrical lighting equipment; Ballasts for fluorescent lamps; Energy labelling and minimum energy performance standards requirements|
|AS/NZS60598.1:2003||Luminaires; General requirements and tests|
|AS/NZS60598.2.1:1998||Luminaires; Particular requirements; Fixed general purpose luminaries|
|AS/NZS60598.2.2:2001||Luminaires; Particular requirements; Recessed luminaires|
|AS/NZS60598.2.6:1998||Luminaires; Particular requirements; Luminaires with built-in transformers or converters for filament lamps|
|AS/NZS60598.2.19:2001||Luminaires; Particular requirements; Air handling luminaires (Safety requirements)|
|AS/NZS60598.2.20:2002||Luminaires; Particular requirements; Lighting chains|
|AS/NZS60598.2.22:2005||Luminaires; Particular requirements; Luminaires for emergency lighting|
|AS/NZS60598.2.23:2002||Luminaires; Particular requirements; Extra low voltage lighting systems for filament lamps|
|AS/NZS60598.2.25:2001||Luminaires; Particular requirements; Luminaires for use in clinical areas of hospitals and health care buildings|
|AS/NZS60968:2001||Self ballasted lamps for general lighting services; Safety requirements|
|AS/NZS60969:2001||Self ballasted lamps for general lighting services; Performance requirements|
|AS/NZS61000.6.1:2006||Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC); Generic standards; Immunity for residential, commercial and light-industrial environments|
|AS/NZS61000.6.2:2006||Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC); General standards; Immunity for industrial environments|
|AS/NZS61347.1:2002||Lamp controlgear; General and safety requirements|
|AS/NZS 61347.2.11:2003||Lamp controlgear; Particular requirements for miscellaneous electronic circuits used with luminaires|
|AS/NZS61347.2.8:2003||Lamp controlgear; Particular requirements for ballasts for fluorescent lamps|