Q: What changes were made to the regulations in 2012?

Rivercity Gas Flame TorchThe certification regimes for gas and electrical installation work was updated on 1 July 2013. Amended regulations aimed at strengthening the regimes were published in the New Zealand Gazette on 27 September 2012. The changes help improve business effectiveness and are expected to lead to safer outcomes for consumers. The changes will improve the gas and electricity certification regimes by:

  • Extending certification to cover all gas and electrical installation work.
  • Improving the accountability of all those who affect the safety of work.
  • Requiring a Safety Certificate to be issued after connection.
  • Providing for a publicly available database to record information on installations classified as high risk.
  • Updating administrative processes to take advantage of technology developments.
  • Applying international guidelines for self-certification.
  • Maintaining and enhancing the alignment of the gas and electrical certification regimes.
  • Removing fees for gas and electrical Certificates of Compliance (CoC).

Q: Who was affected?

  • Gasfitters and certifying gasfitters.
  • All electrical workers performing prescribed electrical work, including electrical inspectors.
  • Employer license holders.
  • Consumers of gas and electrical installation work.

Q: What do the changes mean for practitioners?

Certification has been extended to cover all gas and electrical installation work, including connection to an energy supply and verification of safety for use. All gasfitting and prescribed electrical work must be certified. For example, installation work on gas cylinders at or below 15kgs will require now certification.

Practitioners are no longer required to purchase a prescribed Certificate of Compliance from their worker registration board (formerly $25 for gas, $6 for most electrical work). The certification regimes have also been modernised to permit the storing and sending of certificates electronically.

The fees charged by the Electrical Workers Registration Board (EWRB) in relation to examination and licensing were also updated from 1 July 2013.

See the EWRB website for further information.

Q: How did it affect practitioners?

There was a nine month period when electrical workers, gasfitters and businesses had the opportunity to integrate certification into their business processes before the changes came into effect on 1 July 2013.

Practitioners needed to:

  • Become familiar with updated regulatory requirements (including the November 2011 amendments).
  • Develop their own form of certificate or obtain one from an industry association.
  • Develop their operational/administrative system for (a) giving/sending certificate information to their customers and (b) retaining information for seven years.
  • Employers will need to keep self-certification records (e.g. signed job sheets).
  • Certifying gasfitters and electrical inspectors will need to get an igovt logon from www.i.govt.nz if they don’t already have one. They will then need it to enter information on the gas and electrical database for installation work classified as high risk. (Support materials will be available online.)
  • Remember to show their licence/registration card to customers.

Q: What do the changes mean for consumers?

Consumers will always get a Safety Certificate once work has been completed. This will reassure consumers that installation work and connection to energy supply is compliant and safe to use. Consumers also have access to the gas and electrical installation work database online. Consumers are advised to:

  • Always use a licenced/registered tradesperson.
  • Check that their Safety Certificate includes the appropriate Authentication Mark.
  • Keep a copy of certification information such as receipts, invoices, and certificates relating to gas and electrical work.

Q: Why were the changes made?

The Government wanted to improve the certification of gas and electrical installation work by simplifying operational and administrative processes. The effectiveness of the certification regimes had not been reviewed since implementation in 1993. The changes ensured that the regimes continued to prioritise safety outcomes while making them more cost effective and consistent with modern technology.

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The certification process

Q: What is certification?

  • A certificate is a statutory record that reinforces safety principles for most gasfitting and electrical installation work.
  • Certificates provide an audit trail to provide accountability as to who did the work.
  • Certificates limit liability to the work it covers.
  • Safety Certificates are issued by certifying gasfitters and electrical inspectors upon completion of installation work.

Q: What is a Safety Certificate?

The key document for the consumer will be the Gas or Electrical Safety Certificate, which will be issued after commissioning and connection. After an installation on which any prescribed electrical work (PEW)/gasfitting work has been done is connected to a power/gas supply, the person doing the connection must certify that the installation is safe to use by issuing a Safety Certificate. A person may issue a Safety Certificate only if satisfied that the installation-

  • is connected to a power supply/gas supply; and
  • is safe; and
  • complies with the regulations.

The Safety Certificate’s purpose is to verify that the completed installation is “safe to use” and to transfer important information related to the installation work. All installation work will require a Safety Certificate when work is completed.

Q: What must a Safety Certificate include?

A Safety Certificate must include an Authentication Mark to indicate the certificate is an official and genuine document and;

  • be signed and dated by the person who did the connection, and
  • identify the location of the installation to which it relates; and
  • include a statement that the installation is connected to a power/gas supply and is safe to use.

It must also include the date on which the connection was done, the name of the person who did the connection, and the registration number (or other authority) of the person who did the connection. A Safety Certificate confirms that any PEW/gasfitting work done on an installation complies with the Build Coding.

Q: In what timeframe does a Safety Certificate need to be issued?

A Safety Certificate for an installation on which PEW/gasfitting work has been done must be issued as soon as practicable after the installation is connected to power supply/gas supply, but in any case no later than 20 working days after connection.

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Q: What happens to Safety Certificates?

The person issuing a Safety Certificate must-

  • Provide a copy of it, within 20 working days of it being issued, to the person who contracted the work or, if that person is not readily available, to the occupier or owner of the premises where the work was carried out.
  • Retain a copy, whether in hard copy or electronically, for at least seven years.
  • Provide a copy to any of the following within seven working days after a request:
    1. The Secretary
    2. The Board
    3. The Registrar
    4. The territorial authority of the place where the installation is located.
    5. The person who contracted the work.
    6. The owner or occupier of the premises where the installation is located.

Q: What are the other key components of the new certification process?

The other key components of certification are:

  • Certificate of Compliance (CoC): The role of the CoC will continue. Its purpose will be to certify the compliance of work prior to connection. The CoC, or CoCs if more than one practitioner is involved, provides technical information and confirms that work is compliant. This will support the statement in the Safety Certificate that the installation is safe to use.
  • Record of Inspection (For electrical installations only): The current requirements for the inspection of PEW will continue. The purpose of inspection is to verify that work on an installation (or part of an installation) has been done in accordance with regulations and is, and will be when enlivened, electrically safe. The person who carries out an inspection must prepare a signed and dated record of inspection.
  • Certified Design and Manufacturer’s Instructions: The new regulations introduce formal recognition of the role of both Design and Manufacturer’s Instructions. This enables the responsibilities, liabilities and accountabilities of all parties that influence the safety of completed work to be identified.

Q: Can the CoC and the Safety Certificate be consolidated into one document?

Yes. The regulations describe how the CoC, RoI and the Safety Certificate can be consolidated into one document, where relevant and if desired.

Database of high risk installations

Q: What is the new database of high risk installations?

A database of gasfitting and electrical installation work classified as high risk has been introduced. Persons authorised to certify gasfitting and inspectors of electrical installation work are responsible for recording specific details of work classified as high risk work on the database. The database is publicly available and searchable. The information required for the database is selected information from the CoC or CoCs if more than one practitioner is involved.

Q: Why was the High Risk database created?

The database assists Energy Safety, EWRB and PGDB to audit completed work and the competency of workers. Categorising gas and electrical work according to risk also allows the compliance costs of regulation to be better aligned to the level of risk.

Q: How do I use the database?

Visit the Energy Safety website, simply enter an address in the box and click Search. If there are any high risk installations associated with the address they will appear on the results page.

Further help is available from the website. The Energy Safety contact line is 0508 377 463.

Practitioners will be kept informed about the progress of the database through the EWRB, PGDB and via Energy Safety updates.

Q: Are there still checks to identify unsafe installations and/or poor tradesperson competence?

Yes. Energy Safety, the EWRB and PGDB will still undertake safety and tradesperson competency audits to address risk areas and to enforce compliance. The competency of electrical workers and gas fitters to perform safe and compliant work will remain the responsibility of the EWRB/PGDB. They will retain the capacity to audit any electrical and gas installation work.

EWRB Fees Review

Q: What changes were made to EWRB fees?

Cabinet has agreed to amend Electrical Workers Registration Board (EWRB) fees in relation to practitioner registration, licensing and examinations, provided for in Schedule 6 of the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010. These amended fees will come into force on 1 July 2013. The new fees structure standardises written examination fees and associated functions. It also introduces a variable fee for licenses between manual and online licensing.

Q: How do the amended fees compare with those paid by electricians in Australia and by comparable professions in New Zealand?

The amended registration and licensing fees are comparable to those paid by electrical workers licensed in Australian jurisdictions and compare favourably with licensing fees for comparable professions in New Zealand.

Q: When were the fees last amended?

The fees were introduced in 1993. This is the first time they have been amended.

Q: Where can I find more information on the amended fees?

Information on the amended fees will be available in an upcoming edition of the EWRB’s Electron publication, which will available on the Board’s website.

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More information for practitioners

More questions and answers about the certification regime changes:

Q: Do I have to issue a certificate even if the customer doesn’t want one?

A: Yes. Certification information is required by law for all gasfitting and prescribed electrical work. Remember you will have to retain it for seven years.

Q: Do I have to issue a certificate for non-prescribed electrical work?

A: No. Electrical work that is not defined as “prescribed electrical work” does not require certification. However, practitioners can issue a certificate if they so wish. See Schedule 1 of the (Electricity Safety) Regulations 2010 for the definition.

Q: How long do I have to give certification information to a customer?

A: Certification information should be completed and given to the customer as soon as practicable after the completion of the work, or within 20 working days.

Q: Can I provide a single certificate for all my work for a single customer on my monthly invoice?

A: Yes, as long as all of the necessary information as required by regulation is provided and, within 20 working days.