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220 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 179009 22-Aug-2015 17:50
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Does anyone know how close to a neighbours boundary / fence line that the underground mains supply cable is legally allowed to be?

Background: Friend has had a new house built next door and the neutral screened mains cable is actually on the boundary - such that digging the boundary post holes is impossible.

(It was hit trying to dig a 600mm hole - no warning tape either! And YES it is live - the people have moved in)... The electrician says it IS legal!

Any help appreciated...I'm loathed to pay almost $200 for a copy of the regulations.

Thanks
Murray

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1372165 22-Aug-2015 20:52
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There's no minimum distance from boundary. It just has to be on the neighbors property.
On the other hand it must be at least 500mm deep and have marker tape above it.

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Geek
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  Reply # 1372166 22-Aug-2015 20:56
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PM sent, and is anyone else is interested, it is all contained within section 3.11 of AS/NZS 3000:2007

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 1372169 22-Aug-2015 21:05
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would you mind posting what that says?



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  Reply # 1372174 22-Aug-2015 21:21
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Thanks for the info.

Stupid that there is no minimum distance from the boundary - how can anyone safely dig post holes for a boundary fence?

Murray

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  Reply # 1372177 22-Aug-2015 21:27
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Jase2985: would you mind posting what that says?


I did a cut and paste from the standard, have removed post specific statements from the PM i had sent, but still relevant for the situation as posted. This isnt Section 3.11 in its entirety, there has been non related parts excluded.

 
Gday,

IANAL, so hope it can be of some assistance.


3.11 UNDERGROUND WIRING SYSTEMS
3.11.1 Suitability and protection
Cables installed underground shall be—
(a) suitable for the environment in which they are placed; and
(b) provided with protection against inadvertent damage likely to be
caused by manual or mechanical excavation work; and
(c) provided with suitable warnings, marking or other means to
minimize the risk of inadvertent damage likely to be caused by
manual or mechanical excavation works.



3.11.3.1 Category A underground wiring systems
Category A underground wiring systems recognized by this Standard
comprise one of the following arrangements:
(a) A system where cables are enclosed in heavy-duty insulating conduit
without further mechanical protection.
(b) A system where cables are enclosed in insulating wiring enclosures
encased in concrete.
(c) A system where sheathed cables are enclosed in galvanized steel pipe
without further mechanical protection.
NOTE: Metal conduits are not suitable for this purpose.
(d) A system where armoured sheathed cables or neutral-screened cables
are buried direct in the ground without mechanical protection.
Examples of Category A underground wiring systems are given in
Figures 3.10 to 3.12.



3.11.4 Installation requirements
3.11.4.1 General
Underground wiring systems shall be installed in accordance with the
requirements of Clauses 3.11.4.2 to 3.11.4.6.
3.11.4.2 Unenclosed cables
Any Category A or Category B wiring system that comprises cables not
installed in a wiring enclosure shall be laid on a bed of not less than 50 mm
of sand or friable soil free of sharp stone and covered by not less than
50 mm of the same material.
3.11.4.3 Category B wiring system mechanical protection
Where an underground wiring system is classified as a Category B wiring
system, additional mechanical protection shall be provided that shall—
(a) be placed not more than 75 mm above the wiring system; and
(b) be not less than 150 mm wide; and
(c) overlap the wiring system by at least 40 mm on each side; and
(d) consist of one or a combination of the following:
(i) Precast concrete slabs having a thickness of not less than 40 mm
and a classification of not less than grade 20 in accordance with
AS 3600 or NZS 3104.
(ii) Concrete slabs cast on-site having a thickness of not less than
100 mm.
(iii) A continuous concrete pour having a thickness of not less than
75 mm.
(iv) Fibrous cement slabs having a thickness of not less than 12 mm.
(v) Bricks manufactured specifically for the protection of electric
cables.
(vi) Polymeric cable cover strip complying with AS 4702.
(vii) Other materials that offer the same degree of protection afforded
by the materials in Items (i) to (vi).
3.11.4.4 Minimum depth of cover
Underground wiring systems shall be installed with the minimum depth of
cover and protection specified in Table 3.6.
These dimensions shall apply between the upper surface of—
(a) the wiring system for a Category A or Category C system; or
(b) the additional mechanical protection of a Category B system,
and the upper surface of the ground or below any poured concrete laid on
that surface (see Figures 3.10 to 3.16).

Table 3.1 States
Elsewhere external to a building.
No surface covering or less than 75 mm thickness of concrete, 500 mm Covering on surface of ground above wiring


3.11.4.5 Identification of underground wiring
Wiring systems installed underground shall be identified by an orange
marker tape complying with AS/NZS 2648.1. In order to provide early
detection of the presence of underground wiring during excavation work,
marker tape shall be positioned at approximately 50% of the depth of cover
above the wiring system or any additional mechanical protection provided
for that system.
Where the wiring system is chased in rock, orange marker tape shall be laid
directly on top of the wiring system before the concrete is poured.
Exception: Where an underground wiring system is installed by means of
boring, marker tape may be omitted, provided that the location of the wiring
system is marked and recorded in a suitable permanent location that is
readily available to any person involved with excavation work at the location
of the wiring system. If a pipe is retained after boring operations, the use of
an orange-coloured pipe or conduit is recommended.

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  Reply # 1372293 23-Aug-2015 09:12
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Thanks for that

so there is really nothing saying you cant put this on the boundary line?

except that it must have identification tape over it?

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  Reply # 1372297 23-Aug-2015 09:19
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Realistically, I would think it still would be required to be on your property. Boundary line is cutting awfully fine to encroaching on your neighbour, especially with the excavation and requirements for cable protection (depending whether the cable is a Category A,B or C)

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  Reply # 1372298 23-Aug-2015 09:21
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yea, i would think that i would need to be a wee bit away from the boundary line, especially in the OPs case where they want to put in a fence and cant realistically do it due to the mains cable being in the way



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1372301 23-Aug-2015 09:26
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I assume that as long as it is 1mm on you side of the boundary line it IS legal.
Makes it almost impossible to build a fence - but it is legal!

How stupid there is not a 500-600mm exclusion zone to stop the risk of electrocution
or damaging other services while replacing a fence post!

Maybe there is a local bylaw regarding location of services and boundaries.

Murray

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  Reply # 1372305 23-Aug-2015 09:34
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Contact the Electrical workers registration board and ask them. Also contact Energy safety (which is part of the MBIE govt department). And try contacting the lines company in your area. (as they may have policies on where mains cables can and cannot be placed). And if any of these organisations decide it is unsafe. They can get the power disconnected to that cable. Which would force the owners of the house to quickly relocate the cable.


Also is this in a new subdivision? If so is there any covenants that say that you must build a fence? If so then legal action could be in order. As you could argue that the cable being there means you cannot build a fence as the covenant requires you to do so. Which would open you to liability for not complying with that covenant.







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  Reply # 1372313 23-Aug-2015 09:48
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Aredwood: Contact the Electrical workers registration board and ask them. Also contact Energy safety (which is part of the MBIE govt department). And try contacting the lines company in your area. (as they may have policies on where mains cables can and cannot be placed). And if any of these organisations decide it is unsafe. They can get the power disconnected to that cable. Which would force the owners of the house to quickly relocate the cable.

Orion - Don't want to know and commented that it is a private matter apparently! (Unbelievable!)

Also is this in a new subdivision? If so is there any covenants that say that you must build a fence? If so then legal action could be in order. As you could argue that the cable being there means you cannot build a fence as the covenant requires you to do so. Which would open you to liability for not complying with that covenant.


No, it is a new build on existing section as a result of quake rebuild!

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  Reply # 1372348 23-Aug-2015 10:22
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msukiwi:
Aredwood: Contact the Electrical workers registration board and ask them. Also contact Energy safety (which is part of the MBIE govt department). And try contacting the lines company in your area. (as they may have policies on where mains cables can and cannot be placed). And if any of these organisations decide it is unsafe. They can get the power disconnected to that cable. Which would force the owners of the house to quickly relocate the cable.

Orion - Don't want to know and commented that it is a private matter apparently! (Unbelievable!)

Also is this in a new subdivision? If so is there any covenants that say that you must build a fence? If so then legal action could be in order. As you could argue that the cable being there means you cannot build a fence as the covenant requires you to do so. Which would open you to liability for not complying with that covenant.


No, it is a new build on existing section as a result of quake rebuild!


Now that you have discovered that it is non-compliant (no protection or signal tape) you are now obliged by law to fix it. Seen it's a new build the mains will have to be inspected, and any inspector half way good will quickly start asking questions about the mains.

BTW as soon as the mains crosses the boundary line from the street the power company don't care about it, street side the power company own it, your side you own it.

At the end of the day you are going to have to go and bite the bullet and pay for something to be done, unless to can contact the electrician who done the work and persuade him to fix it (good luck).

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  Reply # 1372351 23-Aug-2015 10:29
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It's not that the power company doesn't care, they have no legal right to do anything unless it is unsafe. In which case they would disconnect it.

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  Reply # 1372353 23-Aug-2015 10:31
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Has the boundary been surveyed. Is the fence on the true boundary?

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  Reply # 1372363 23-Aug-2015 10:52
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The first thing th check is whether it really is the mains for the new house, or the remains of an old installation.

At this point, there is no proof it is non compliant either. If the cable was thrust or bored marker tape may not be required. I'm curious to know how deep it is though.

I imagine there is more than just electrical regulations to read. You probably need to check the building and property rules too. There are loads of acts, codes, and regulations about buildings and or electricity, and any one of those could contain clauses relating to this.

600mm sounds deep for a post in a town boundary fence. What kind of fence are they putting up?




Location: Dunedin

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