Wiring rules updated for 2018

Standards Australia has published the 2018 edition of AS/NZS 3000:2018, Electrical Installations (known as the Wiring Rules).

The new standard, created through collaboration between industry and government, has now been published with key updates in important areas, such as main switches, residual current devices (RCDs) and DC wiring systems.

This edition was developed in response to:

  • New technology, new equipment and improved installation techniques
  • Industry feedback regarding readability and compliance;
  • Identification and clarification of normative (mandatory) requirements and informative guidance material throughout the document; and
  • Experience gained in the application of the previous edition as expressed to Standards Australia and Standards New Zealand.
Some significant changes are:

Residual Current Devices (RCDs):

  • Previously in residences, all final sub-circuits supplying socket outlets and lights had to be protected with 30mA RCDs. In future, all final sub-circuits in residential dwellings must be RCD protected. No exceptions.
  • For non-residential, final sub-circuits up to 32A capacity supplying socket outlets must be 30mA RCD protected. Hard-wired equipment circuits of this capacity should be.
  • All lighting final sub-circuits must be RCD protected.
  • Alterations requiring a change to a circuit configuration trigger the requirement for 30mA RCD protection for that circuit. Like-for-like repairs do not.
  • Where all protection devices are replaced in a switchboard, all final sub-circuits must be RCD protected.

Electric Vehicles:

  • Electric vehicle charging stations increasingly are being included in electrical installations. They are high-current equipment and merit special attention. 

Switch Rooms:

  • Emergency egress requirements have been improved.
  • Clearances of 1m from accessible faces of closed switchboards and 600mm from open doors or racked-out equipment are required.
  • Switch room door heights and widths have been increased to 2.2m and 0.9m respectively.
  • Two emergency exit paths are required if a switchboard exceeds 800A or is more than 3m in length.

IP Rating:

  • A zone has been created to clarify the IP rating required for electrical equipment mounted on external walls. The zone extends downward at a 30 degree angle from the edge of a veranda or eve to the wall.
  • Equipment mounted in this triangular zone does not require an IP rating. Equipment outside the triangle needs IP33 as a minimum, except for meter boxes which historically have been IP23 rated.
  • Equipment mounted inside meter boxes does not require an IP rating.

Kitchens, downlights, outbuildings and generators:

  • A 150mm zone either side of cooktops and extending upward to the range hood, ceiling or 2.4m will apply, where switches and socket outlets must not be installed, removing the need to reach across hot surfaces.
  • Classifications of downlights must be marked on the light and the packaging to indicate where they may be installed. No classification means they must not be installed. ‘IC’ or ‘IC-4’ lights may be installed anywhere in an installation.
  • Outbuildings separated by a land area are renamed ‘individual outbuilding’ and ‘combined building’ will refer to more than one structure on a common slab (eg several residential units on a single slab).
  • Generators and network operators’ equipment must not be installed within the zones around swimming pools, spas and water features. Generator systems must comply with the new version of AS/NZS 3010.

Main Switches:

  • Main switches must be manually operated and not controlled by electronic devices.


  • Lifts used for routine movements of people and goods are considered electrical equipment and are covered in Section 4.
  • Requirements for designated emergency lifts are set out in Section 7 – Safety Services.
  • This section also deals with supply systems, main switchboard, main switches, fire pumps, fire and smoke detectors and alarms, air handling equipment.

Arc Fault:

  • Provision for installing arc fault detection devices is a new addition. These two-pole devices detect and isolate circuits experiencing small arcing caused by broken conductor strands in damaged flexible cords and fixed wiring or poor terminations. While the currents generally are small they can lead to fires.
  • These devices are not mandatory at this time but provide protection additional to circuit breakers and RCD. They are fitted after MCBs and RCDs on final sub-circuits.

 From 1 January 2019, all electrical installation work must comply with AS/NZS 3000:2018

After 1 January 2019, any electrical installation work started before June 2018, not completed and not compliant to the 2018 edition will require an exemption from ESV to be completed to the 2007 edition.

More information: