Does Your Switchboard Meet the AS/NZS 61439 Standards?

Select Switchboards │ Last Updated: 23/02/2024

AS/NZS 61439 Switchboard testing by Select Switchboards.

Switchboards control and distribute electrical power efficiently and safely to facilitate the smooth operation of large industrial sites, commercial buildings, shopping centres, accommodation blocks, factories and more. All switchboards in Australia and New Zealand are required by law to adhere to the AS/NZS 61439 Low-Voltage Switchgear and Controlgear Assemblies Standards. But how do you know if your switchboard meets Australian standards?

At Select Switchboards, our switchboard designers, assemblers and testers are experts on the AS/NZS 61439 standards. Working together to ensure that all of the switchboards we produce are at the forefront of safety and efficiency, whilst adhering to regulations. In this blog, we outline the AS/NZS 61439 standards to help you understand if your switchboard meets the standards.

What is the AS/NZS 61439 Low-Voltage Switchgear and Controlgear Assemblies Standard?

In 2016, the AS/NZS 61439 Low-Voltage Switchgear and Controlgear Assemblies standard was introduced to ensure all switchboards operate safely and efficiently, following the International Electrotechnical Commission’s (IEC) standards with specific notes to Australia and New Zealand. The AS/NZS 61439 standards include guidance and regulations on the design, manufacture, and testing of switchboards across Australia and New Zealand.

The AS/NZS 61439 standard replaced the previous AS/NZS 3439 standard on May 24th 2021 and is now referred to further in the most recent AS/NZS 3000 Australian Wiring Rules (amendment 2) published in 2018.

At the time of the last update to this blog (February 2024) these are the latest regulations and guidance related to the design, manufacture and testing of switchboards in Australia. If you are reading this guide on Australian switchboard standards significantly after this date, we advise conducting your own research to ensure no new amendments have been made or Get In Touch.

Who is impacted by the AS/NZS 61439 standards?

The primary impact of the AS/NZS 61439 is on switchboard designers and manufacturers. As in most cases, there are still limited repercussions in the commercial or contracting sectors.

The standards define the explicit responsibilities and requirements for switchboard manufacturers, implying clear liabilities in terms of safety, legal, and financial accountability.

Are All Switchboards Required to Meet the AS/NZS 61439 Standards?

No, there is one exception to the rule. To not require meeting AS/NZS 61439 Standards, a switchboard must be rated less than or equal to 125Amps AND must have a short circuit fault rated less than or equal to 10kA or 17KA with a current limiting main switch.

Although this exception does exist, these boards must still comply with AS/NZS 3000 Electrical Installations, also known as Wiring Rules. It is also important to note that although it is not a requirement for all new switchboards that are designed, manufactured, upgraded or tested, some electrical authorities make it a requirement in their regions.

The designer or manufacturer of your switchboard should be aware of the different requirements across regions, however, you should always ask about the requirement of AS/NZS 61439 compliance even with a rating of less than or equal to 125Amps with a short circuit fault rated less than or equal to 10kA.

How to Ensure Your Switchboard Adheres to the AS/NZS 61439 Standards?

At its core, the AS/NZS 61439 requires all final board assemblies, besides the exception above, to meet or exceed the constructional and performance standards. The standard includes Table D, often referred to as Design Verification Table D1, which specifies 13 critical design and performance factors for guidance.

Select Switchboards Design Verification Table D1 as part of the ASNZS 61439 switchboard testing.

Alongside these 13 factors are the three verification methods of Test, Comparison and Assessment. These three verification approaches are provided to confirm the critical design and performance characteristics outlined in Table D1. To determine the suitability of these methods for each of the 13 specified attributes, see Table D1.

The Switchboard Verification Methods

To verify that your board meets regulations, you will need to complete at least one, or up to three of the verification methods identified in the Design Verification Table D1. Below is an outline of how each verification approach should be conducted.

Test Verification

Previously referred to as the ‘Type Test’, the test verification includes the testing of the assembly or parts of assemblies to ensure that the design specifications and requirements are met.

An important note with test verification is that if you are testing according to IEC 60439, IEC 61439, or the AS/NZS 3439 series, and you can show that the best outcomes meet the AS/NZS 61439 series standards, then no additional checks are needed.

Comparison Verification

The tester of the board makes a comparison between the relevant section or the entire switchboard against a reference design that has previously been test-verified. In this case, a board that has been test-verified is a board that has already been approved via other verification methods. If the board section or the entire switchboard matches the test-verified design, it meets standards through comparative assessment.

Assessment Verification

A detailed assessment process is applied to the design principles and calculations, incorporating necessary safety margins, to determine whether the switchboard or the switchboard section is compliant with the standard.

Ensuring Compliance with Select Switchboards

Understanding and adhering to the AS/NZS 61439 Low-Voltage Switchgear and Controlgear Assemblies standard is not just about legal compliance. It is also about ensuring the safety, efficiency, and reliability of your building or site's electrical installations.

As technology advances and the landscape of electrical installations and standards is continuously evolving, it is important to stay up to date with the latest national (and regional) standards and requirements in the areas you operate.

That's where Select Switchboards can help; our expert team are dedicated to excellence from design to assembly, always ensuring they are up to date with a comprehensive knowledge of the latest AS/NZS 61439 standards.

Are you ready to ensure your switchboards are up to standard and future-proof your electrical installations? Whether you're looking to Design A New Switchboard System, Upgrade An Existing Switchboard, or simply seek advice on AS/NZS 61439 compliance for your project, Get In Touch With Our Team At Select Switchboards Today!

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