Electrical and lighting requirements – public buildings

Electrical installations

All electrical installations must comply with the supply authority or Office of Energy requirements, Australian Standard (AS/NZS) 3000, AS/NZS 3002 plus the unique  requirements of the Health (Public Buildings) Regulations 1992 (external site).

Eelectrical contractors performing work in a public building must submit a Form 5 certificate of electrical compliance to the local government, to certify that permanent and temporary electrical installations are compliant with the unique requirements of the regulations and other statutory obligations.  

Note: A copy of the Form 5: certificate of electrical compliance can be found in Guidelines for Concerts, Events and Organised Gatherings (PDF 3.12MB).

What is important to know for events?

  • the use of single phase generators 10 kva or less is discouraged electrical equipment should be supplied from reticulated supplies originating at supply authority mains or large generators. 
  • electrical leads must not create trip hazards
  • electrical outlets must be protected by residual current devices (RCDs)
  • leads and RCDs must be tested and tagged every 12 months
  • joints and connections must not be  accessible to the public or exposed to damp conditions
  • installations must comply with AS/NZS 3002 Electrical Installations for shows and carnivals.

Electrical leads and portable outlet devices

All electrical outlets must be protected by a RCD (also known as a safety switch). The Health (Public Buildings) Regulations 1992 require that a licensed electrical worker must test the RCDs every 12 months. A tag to identify the item, test date and the electrical worker should be fixed to the tested equipment.

See information on testing of electrical leads and residual current devices (RCDs).

Double adaptors or ‘piggy back plugs’ are not permitted, although those on existing stage lighting effects are generally accepted by relevant authorities. New equipment requires a tag to define when it was brought into service.

Temporary electrical installations

All electrical outlets and electrically operated equipment in areas available to the public must be protected by RCDs. Installations and generators must comply with all relevant Australian Standards.

Requirements for RCDs

For RCDs to be effective, the neutral and earth conductors must be bonded together at the point of supply. All town supplies are connected this way but generators may not be. AS/NZS 3010.1 (Electricity Generating Sets) requires neutral connections to be earthed at the generator frame. It is recommended that this connection be made via a removable link.

  • Each generator must be connected to its own earth electrode driven into the ground.
  • All electrical outlets and supplies must have circuit breakers to protect against overload.
  • All final subcircuits must have RCD protection.

Typical temporary installations consist of submains, subboards and electrical leads. It is recommended that for typical installations:

  • outlets at generators that are specifically required for the use of electrical equipment and tools etc. must have RCD protection
  • outlets that are solely for connection of submain cables supplying a distribution board should only have over current protection
  • RCD protection of final subcircuits should only be provided at the switchboard where those final subcircuits originate.

This type of protection will minimise the disruption to major sections of the lighting installations in the event of a current leakage to earth.

Typical electrical installation for temporary installations

Switchboards must:

  • be in weatherproof enclosures
  • have no access to live parts
  • have doors that are able to be fully closed and locked with all cables connected or be located so that they are only accessible to authorised people
  • have a main switch
  • have over current circuit breakers to protect outlets for submains
  • have RCD protection to protect final subcircuits
  • have all components and their functions clearly identified.

Where electrical outlets are provided, there should be a tie bar to allow electrical cords to be secured, to prevent tension on the electrical outlet.

Residual current devices – RCDs

The preferred leakage tripping current is 30 milliamps and they must be tested every 12 months in accordance with the requirements of AS 3760. For information see testing of electrical leads and residual current devices (RCDs).

Electrical cables

Because cables are continually being rolled up and moved, they must be flexible. Standard multicore cables used in static installations are not appropriate.

Electrical cables should not be accessible to members of the public. Where this cannot be avoided, they must be either buried or suspended so that they are out of reach of the public.

Submain cables must have integral earth and neutral conductors.

Electrical supplies

Electrical outlets should only be supplied from a reticulated power supply. Supplies may originate from a supply authority or an on-site generator. Small individual generators 10 kva or less should not be utilised.

AS/NZS 3010.1 requires neutral connections to be earthed at the generator frame and recommends that this connection be made via a removable link. Each generator must be connected to its own earth electrode driven into the ground.

The Health (Public Buildings) Regulations 1992 (external site) requires electrical contractors to certify electrical installations including reticulated supplies by completing a Form 5.

Leads

Temporary electrical leads must be flexible cables. TPS cables are not permitted.

All electrical leads must be tested and tagged every 12 months in accordance with AS/NZS3760.

For new extension cords  a date of purchase tag in lieu of testing is acceptable

Leads must not be placed on the ground in areas where there is pedestrian traffic.

Cord junctions shall not be exposed to the weather or in damp situations.

Luminaires

Luminaires must be out of reach of the public and not located where heat may ignite adjacent materials.

Extra low voltage equipment

Extra low voltage devices must be clearly identified and have plug tops and bases that cannot be inadvertently connected to higher voltage supplies.

Testing electrical leads and RCDs

The testing of electrical extension cords and RCDs is a requirement of the Health (Public Buildings) Regulations 1992.

See Testing of electrical leads and residual current devices (RCDs)

Lighting

All permanent venues and egress paths must be able to be illuminated to 40 lux by lighting that is:

  • independent of  event production lights
  • controlled from a central position
  • able to reach the required illumination within three seconds of being energised
  • supplied from the supply authority mains or a generator approved by the local government.

Bare lamps must not be able to be touched by the public.

Area lighting

Temporary areas available to the public at night, including concert areas, should always be illuminated.

For general areas, illumination to an average as low as 10 lux at ground level with no area less than 5 lux is acceptable. Lighting should be energised approximately 1 hour before sunset to allow time for any unserviceable lights to be repaired before sunset.

For crowded areas, especially for concerts and areas licensed to consume alcohol, there must be a system in place that will allow areas to flood light instantaneously in the event of an emergency. The supplies and controls for these lights should be independent of theatrical or production lights and controlled from a location attended at all times by a designated person. They should not be controlled at the mixer desk.

Emergency lighting

Enclosed venues must have emergency lighting that will operate if the main electrical source fails. For buildings, it must comply with AS/NZS 2293. For outdoor venues, there must be at least 2 alternative power supplies. Two generators or a supply authority supply, plus another generator, are acceptable alternatives provided that the venue lighting supplies are distributed between both.

Safety lighting

For events where lighting will be dimmed or extinguished, stairs, ramps and egress paths must be illuminated by safety lighting. Safety lighting must be a separate supply to normal or emergency lighting and must not be dimmed or modulated.   

For permanent facilities, the safety and emergency lighting should be interconnected so that in the event of a failure of the safety lighting circuit, the emergency lighting will be automatically energised.

Exit signs

These must be installed in compliance with AS/NZS 2293. They must be illuminated and clearly visible whenever the venue is occupied by the public. For outdoor events, large signs illuminated by two light sources, and large enough to make the exit location obvious to patrons must be used.

The following information specifies the following relationship between viewing distance and sign size has been extracted from AS/NZS 2293.1.

Maximum viewing distance Minimum pictorial element height (mm)
16 100
24 150
32 200

For viewing distances greater than 32 m, in accordance with the following equation:

Minimum element height = Maximum viewing distance divided by 160.

Spectator stands, stages and lighting rigs

There are no specific regulatory requirements for these structures. However, specific guidelines are included under the heading 'Spectator Stands' in Guidelines for Concerts, Events and Organised Gatherings (PDF 3.12MB).

More information

  • For information about organising an event, or information related to a public building, contact the relevant local government Environmental Health Services where the event or building is located. Refer to the online local government directory for contact details. Ask to speak to an Environmental Health Officer. 
  • For events or public buildings located in Kings Park, Rottnest Island, or locations not within a local government district, contact the Environmental Health Directorate by emailing Public.Events@health.wa.gov.au or call 9222 2000


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Public Health