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Deck trouble

1 January 2015

In the last six months Counties Power has come across four separate sites where the deck, or lack of one, has led to inspection delays or failures.   Here’s three questions to ask yourself if you are adding a deck, doing work where a deck is supposed to come later or doing work where are…..

  • Is the earth pin still accessible?
  • Will the distance from the top of the deck to any overhead service lines be at least 2.7m?
  • If the deck is planned for later, is the meter board not less than 1.4m and not more than 1.8m above finished ground level at all times.

It is not uncommon for a deck to built over an old earth pin.    This costs valuable time both in testing before a renovation is livened and testing after faults.   Ideally the earth pin shouldn’t be under the deck at all, but if it must be, be sure to design easy access to the pin in the design and identify the access with a sign.

There have been two recent incidents of fault crew arriving at a service line fault to find that an adult can stand on the deck and touch the service line near the point of entry.  That’s clearly a safety concern.  The inspectors can’t approve livening unless there is a 2.7 m clearance to all points of the service line – and 3.5m over areas used by vehicles.  Bare this in mind if you are asked to build a deck or fence under a service line.

The deck that ‘will be built later’ is another thorny one. The local requirements for electrical installations to do require the top of the viewing window in the meter to from 1.4 to 1.8 m above the finished ground levels.  That rule is in place for ease of meter reading, for access to the meter board for testing and for ease of access during emergency situations like fires.   At least one electrician has argued that since the meter is a smart meter, the height requirement is redundant.  That might be the case if all retailers were reading meters remotely and if there was another way to address the safety access issues, but right now the requirement stands.

Component Headline Deck trouble


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