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Topic # 239358 13-Jul-2018 14:28
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We have a meter board box containing the main switch and meter. This feeds to another separate box containing all the fuses etc. We want to install the meterbox inside, now that it doesn't need to be accessible from the outside. We had been told by the electrician that was all fine.

 

However when they came to install it inside, they said they couldn't because it needs to be at least 1.2 meters above the ground. It will be installed below the fuse box, so the bottom of the meter box is probably about 800 mm from the floor level. However the floor level is  500 mm above the actual ground level outside, so that is a total height above ground of 1300. I said why aren't they using a smaller meterbox, as the one they are using is huge, and only contains the meter and switch, but they said they needed a big one due to it being 3 phase power. My interpretation of ground level, is that it is the outside ground level, not the inside floor level they should be measuring from. From what I have read, the height requirement is due to potential flooding. But inside is never going to flood higher than the outside, so the board on the inside at 800 from the floor, is actually about 1300 above ground level, so is higher off the ground than it would be if it was outside anyway.

 

Anyone know the rules on the heights of meterboards? It also seems to vary between network providers, and I wouldn't be surprised if some didn't know the difference between ground level and floor level in their interpretations.  Apparently there are electrical standards, but that information is not readily accessible. I did read on an electrical forum about this rule,but are only referring to ground level, and it said some modern meterboxes were exempt from this rule now. 

 

 

 

Edit: I did find this link https://www.metrixinfo.co.nz/assets/sm/352/file/MeteringGuidePart1%20-%20General%20v1.0.pdf which refers to the 1.2 height, but that is only for business connections, not residential. Residential connections in this document doesn't have that rule.  That also says it is from ground level, not floor level in the house,but there is no definition of what ground level is. 


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  Reply # 2055916 13-Jul-2018 17:59
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From what I know, there isn't any legal electrical requirement for a meter board to at a certain height, there is for a main switch (although there are certain locations an electrical board is not allowed to be in)

 

 

 

As far as moving it inside, this shouldn't be a problem, but there may be a problem with your local power network company imposing conditions on where they would like the meter located, but also saying that, most people have a agreement with the power retailer not the local power company, there may also be T&C's from them about the location.

 

 




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  Reply # 2055930 13-Jul-2018 18:35
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gregmcc:

 

From what I know, there isn't any legal electrical requirement for a meter board to at a certain height, there is for a main switch (although there are certain locations an electrical board is not allowed to be in)

 

 

 

As far as moving it inside, this shouldn't be a problem, but there may be a problem with your local power network company imposing conditions on where they would like the meter located, but also saying that, most people have a agreement with the power retailer not the local power company, there may also be T&C's from them about the location.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for your help. Yeah I think that is the problem, it seems the local power companies rules before they will allow it to be connected up, and I think they maybe getting confused between ground level of the site verse floor level inside the house. But I am a bit surprised that the electrician didn't know this, as we had previously agreed on the location and height.  I will have to do more research. 


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  Reply # 2055936 13-Jul-2018 18:52
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keep in mind that this work is classed as high risk, your electrician will need to get an electrical inspector in on completion of the job before power goes back on.

 

 




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  Reply # 2055978 13-Jul-2018 20:52
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Just realised I do have a copy of the electrical standards, and it does discuss this. It says the switchboard can't be located within 1.2m of the floor, except if live parts are arranged  according to the requirements in another clause. That clause then mentions covers and protection etc but at the end there is an exception, which says the requirement doesn't apply to domestic switchboards. So I don't know if that means that the requirement isn't needed, and switchboards in domestic situations can be installed lower. Trustpower seems to allows their switch boards to be installed down to 75cm according to their manual. The alternative location is to install it in a cupboard that also houses a water heater, but that space will get warm.


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  Reply # 2055986 13-Jul-2018 21:18
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mattwnz:

 

Just realised I do have a copy of the electrical standards, and it does discuss this. It says the switchboard can't be located within 1.2m of the floor, except if live parts are arranged  according to the requirements in another clause. That clause then mentions covers and protection etc but at the end there is an exception, which says the requirement doesn't apply to domestic switchboards. So I don't know if that means that the requirement isn't needed, and switchboards in domestic situations can be installed lower. Trustpower seems to allows their switch boards to be installed down to 75cm according to their manual. The alternative location is to install it in a cupboard that also houses a water heater, but that space will get warm.

 

 

 

 

If you put the switchboard in a cupboard, "it must be for that purpose only and readily accessible", in with the hot water cylinder is a fail, not to mention that the extra heat would de-rate the trip curves of the circuit breakers, this would cause more problems than it solves.

 

 

 

As far as more than 1.2m from the floor, that's lower chest height, but then domestic switchboards are exempt from this anyway......

 

 

 

Remember what trustpower says and what the standards say can quite easily be 2 very different things, and a switchboard and a meter board are 2 different things......

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 2055991 13-Jul-2018 21:55
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Why can't you install it next to the existing one?

I have my flush mount switchboard, then next to it I have a flush mounted meter board. When the doors are closed, they both look the same.

Search Google images: v40mb vynco

https://www.google.co.nz/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.vynco.co.nz/products/distribution-boxes/flush-meter-boards&ved=2ahUKEwiI2q2t55vcAhVEHJQKHZCFCt8QFjABegQIBhAB&usg=AOvVaw3PQChhqFApzOHbDHLU9k5S

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  Reply # 2055992 13-Jul-2018 21:59
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jjnz1: Why can't you install it next to the existing one?

I have my flush mount switchboard, then next to it I have a flush mounted meter board. When the doors are closed, they both look the same.

Search Google images: v40mb vynco

https://www.google.co.nz/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.vynco.co.nz/products/distribution-boxes/flush-meter-boards&ved=2ahUKEwiI2q2t55vcAhVEHJQKHZCFCt8QFjABegQIBhAB&usg=AOvVaw3PQChhqFApzOHbDHLU9k5S

 


 

??? - No reason why you can't - but will the T&C's with your power company allow it?

 

 


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  Reply # 2055996 13-Jul-2018 22:05
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Lines company you mean..Yep.

Remember most meter boards used to be inside. They were relocated outside for convenience, however with 3G connections that is no longer required.

As long as you meet the electrical regs, you should be fine.

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  Reply # 2056009 13-Jul-2018 22:46
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jjnz1: Lines company you mean..Yep.

Remember most meter boards used to be inside. They were relocated outside for convenience, however with 3G connections that is no longer required.

As long as you meet the electrical regs, you should be fine.

 

 

 

Generally there is no relationship between the end consumer and the lines company, there is a retail company between them.....


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  Reply # 2056010 13-Jul-2018 22:52
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You're correct. The lines companies are the ones that set the rules by which you can connect to them.
(IE if a main switch is required at the meter, when the feed comes straight from the street).



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  Reply # 2056028 14-Jul-2018 00:35
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jjnz1: Why can't you install it next to the existing one?

I have my flush mount switchboard, then next to it I have a flush mounted meter board. When the doors are closed, they both look the same.

Search Google images: v40mb vynco

https://www.google.co.nz/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.vynco.co.nz/products/distribution-boxes/flush-meter-boards&ved=2ahUKEwiI2q2t55vcAhVEHJQKHZCFCt8QFjABegQIBhAB&usg=AOvVaw3PQChhqFApzOHbDHLU9k5S

 

 

 

Unfortunately it is a bracing wall, so can't be recessed into the gib if putting it side by side. There is a gap in the bracing wall for the  switchboard of 600mm but can't be any wider than that. The  switchboard has also been installed very high, so couldn't be installed side by side anyway. It starts at  almost at ceiling level (2400) and comes down the wall about 800. But the good thing about that is that the meterboard could be installed  below that, and still be with the 600 bracing gap.

 

 

 

It was orignally going to be recessed into an exterior wall. We just thought it would be easier and less work with flashing it etc,and safer, less risk of tampering, if it went inside, and the electrician said there wasn't a problem with  moving it onto the  inside of the wall. As late as last week they said there won't be any problem with having it under the switchboard, they would just have to splice the mains lead which is a couple of hours work, which was fine.

 

Now the electrician has told us that  the electrical inspector has told him that the meterboard must be 1200 above ground level, (but the box will end up being around 800 above ground level). The electrican has quoted us over $2000 to install a new integrated board with the meterboard  and switchboard all on the the same board, which would get it above the 1.2 meters, even though we have already paid for the two current new boxes. I would have thought the electrician has to come up with a solution to resolve it, that won't involve over  $2000 in additional costs, otherwise we would have left it to be installed on the external wall. It can't be installed on the external wall, because the builder has already clad over it.




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  Reply # 2056029 14-Jul-2018 00:58
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gregmcc:

 

mattwnz:

 

Just realised I do have a copy of the electrical standards, and it does discuss this. It says the switchboard can't be located within 1.2m of the floor, except if live parts are arranged  according to the requirements in another clause. That clause then mentions covers and protection etc but at the end there is an exception, which says the requirement doesn't apply to domestic switchboards. So I don't know if that means that the requirement isn't needed, and switchboards in domestic situations can be installed lower. Trustpower seems to allows their switch boards to be installed down to 75cm according to their manual. The alternative location is to install it in a cupboard that also houses a water heater, but that space will get warm.

 

 

 

 

If you put the switchboard in a cupboard, "it must be for that purpose only and readily accessible", in with the hot water cylinder is a fail, not to mention that the extra heat would de-rate the trip curves of the circuit breakers, this would cause more problems than it solves.

 

 

 

As far as more than 1.2m from the floor, that's lower chest height, but then domestic switchboards are exempt from this anyway......

 

 

 

Remember what trustpower says and what the standards say can quite easily be 2 very different things, and a switchboard and a meter board are 2 different things......

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks. NZS3000 only seem to discuss switchboards, I didn't see any mention of the meterboard heights in NZS3000, and as you say domestic appear to be exempt anyway. I am wondering what the electrical inspector is basing the heights restriction from.  Agree about the hot water cupboard. It could be framed off as a dedicated cupboard, but that is overkill. I just hope they follow some common sense.


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  Reply # 2056032 14-Jul-2018 06:25
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mattwnz:

 

gregmcc:

 

mattwnz:

 

Just realised I do have a copy of the electrical standards, and it does discuss this. It says the switchboard can't be located within 1.2m of the floor, except if live parts are arranged  according to the requirements in another clause. That clause then mentions covers and protection etc but at the end there is an exception, which says the requirement doesn't apply to domestic switchboards. So I don't know if that means that the requirement isn't needed, and switchboards in domestic situations can be installed lower. Trustpower seems to allows their switch boards to be installed down to 75cm according to their manual. The alternative location is to install it in a cupboard that also houses a water heater, but that space will get warm.

 

 

 

 

If you put the switchboard in a cupboard, "it must be for that purpose only and readily accessible", in with the hot water cylinder is a fail, not to mention that the extra heat would de-rate the trip curves of the circuit breakers, this would cause more problems than it solves.

 

 

 

As far as more than 1.2m from the floor, that's lower chest height, but then domestic switchboards are exempt from this anyway......

 

 

 

Remember what trustpower says and what the standards say can quite easily be 2 very different things, and a switchboard and a meter board are 2 different things......

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks. NZS3000 only seem to discuss switchboards, I didn't see any mention of the meterboard heights in NZS3000, and as you say domestic appear to be exempt anyway. I am wondering what the electrical inspector is basing the heights restriction from.  Agree about the hot water cupboard. It could be framed off as a dedicated cupboard, but that is overkill. I just hope they follow some common sense.

 

 

 

 

Maybe it's an old school inspector who is thinking of some old rules from when the supply authority regs were still in force 20 years ago

 

 




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  Reply # 2057151 16-Jul-2018 15:17
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I have been in touch with another electrical inspector today, and they have confirmed that the meterbox is actually defined as a switchboard under nzs 3000, and they quoted the rules and didn't agree that a domestic connection is exempt.  However in the definitions switchboard, and switchboard,main, have two different definitions.

 

As a result they say it must be installed at a minimum of 1.2 m from ground. However many line companies actually state that meterboards can be installed down to 1 metre. So there is as lot of conflicting information  out there over this. Doesn't seem to be any way to get a straight answer as to which is correct, as it all comes down to interpretation. So also probably no easy quick way to challenge their interpretation.  Our one is at 1 metre, which is what many lines companies allow, but that would conflict with what electricity inspectors would allow. However my lines company doesn't have any rules over meterbox heights at all, it seems to be all down to the electrical inspector and what they will sign off. Got to love NZ rules and regulations, no wonder it costs so much to build in NZ.


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  Reply # 2057200 16-Jul-2018 16:06
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The 2005 homeowner guide states, not less than 1.2m and not more than 2.0m. Now that may have changed but I would assume the mimimum height is to keep out of reach of children and the maximum to ensure easy access in emergency and for servicing.

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