Electrical wiring legality issue

Discussion in 'Renovation & Home Improvement' started by KevinNSK, 19th Jul, 2019.

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  1. KevinNSK

    KevinNSK Member

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    Hi guys!

    I have just purchased an investment property and is currently undergoing reno. The electrician has discovered that the wires are White and Brown and said it is illegal. Can you guys give your opinion o about this? The house is built in 1976.

    Images here - Imgur

    Much appreciate your help thanks!!

    Kind regards,
    Kevin Ng
     
  2. Propertunity

    Propertunity Well-Known Member

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    These colours are "usually" for different phases - like 3 phase for example. Is the photo you posted just in one area like a powered up garage / workshop? (I have some doubts because of the wallpapered wall in the background.

    There is no Earth wire either. Your sparky may be right?? I'm sure a tradie will be along here in due course to let you know.
     
  3. KevinNSK

    KevinNSK Member

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    The wiring is throughout the entire house, so not just concentrated in one area. Thanks for your help so far.
     
  4. Marg4000

    Marg4000 Well-Known Member

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    Looks like the old dodgy rubber covered wiring - a fire just waiting to happen.
    If it is, it all needs to be replaced.
    Marg
     
  5. Handyandy

    Handyandy Well-Known Member

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    Firstly get another electrician as the colours don't matter as long as the wiring is sound and the electrician can figure out which wire does what. Better if it's the standard colours but just find an electrician who can work with it. By the way brown should be active and white neutral. They also use white and blue.

    As far as the wiring in the picture it looks sound to me and the insulation tape around the wires to the switch is just to keep is tidy. Similarly the outer cover of the twin cable should be the same material as that surrounding the copper wire.

    You do not wire an earth circuit to a switch so that explains the lack of any earth at the switch. In the 2nd picture there is an earth shows

    We have had similar responses from tradies in the past and put it down to them wanting to talk themselves into a bigger job. I suspect the electrician suffers from this symptom.
     
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  6. Pumpkin

    Pumpkin Well-Known Member

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    From someone I trusted:

    The house was built in 1976, at that time the use of white and brown was permitted. Indeed as late as Rules AS3000-1991, these colours could be used. The only stipulation at that time was the colour of earth wires.

    Rules from AS3000-2007, and maybe a bit earlier stipulate that the neutral wire shall be black or light blue and earth wire green/yellow. The active wire can be any colour except black, light blue or green/yellow. Sleeving can be used also to identify the cables.

    Having said this, if substantial renovations are being carried out then it would be good practice to replace all the wiring.
    Indeed, get a second opinion.​

    So, looks like if that's the only "reno" that you are doing it'd be fine. If not, better be safe than sorry....
     
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  7. Anthony416

    Anthony416 Well-Known Member

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    Handyandy and Pumpkin seem to be on the right track. The most recent rules are now AS3000-2018.

    Basically though the original electrician was scaremongering saying it is illegal........it does depend somewhat though on the extent of the modification to the electrical circuits. All new circuits will also require safety switches on the board (as opposed to normal breakers).
     
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  8. lmac

    lmac Active Member

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    From the electrician's I've spoken to, running into a wiring job that is dodgy and/or they don't fully understand could mean a shockingly early retirement. If you have a non-standard set-up you may need to find a sparky with suitable risk apetite to work on the property or consider the costs of a full re-wire.
     
  9. KevinNSK

    KevinNSK Member

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    Thank you so much guys for all the very helpful advice so far. Another warning sign of the white and brown wires is that they are only 1mm thick, as opposed to 1.5mm. I will be going with my electrician's advice to replace them just to be safe than sorry.

    Valuable lesson learnt to check the electrical wiring of a house before buying it!
     
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  10. gman65

    gman65 Well-Known Member

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    Just an old house with wiring that was probably standard at the time.. Sparky young and probably just not used to working on houses so old, so probably being cautious.
     
  11. James90

    James90 Well-Known Member

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    There is actually nothing wrong with only being 1mm, whilst not the preferred method it’s still being sold and installed. Just have to make sure the circuit breaker protecting it is correct.
     
  12. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    1mm wires are sufficient for a lighting circuit but not a mixed circuit (been a long time since I looked at the AS).
     
  13. marmot

    marmot Well-Known Member

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    The older the property the higher chance that over the years additional home handyman work was added to the electrical wiring , and not that uncommon in the 70s and 80s, as people put in pools and added patios to houses etc
    Many that moved here from the U.K were already proficient in having to fit power plugs to new appliances, so they never considered it a major problem to do their own minor electrical work.