VIC Free access to main electrical switchboard via body corporate.

Discussion in 'Property Management' started by Chadwick, 25th Oct, 2023.

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  1. Chadwick

    Chadwick Active Member

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    A recent (mandatory) electrical safety check revealed some non compliant items in my investment property, work needs to be completed on the electrical safety switch within my property.
    In order for this to be possible, the electrician needs to isolate my unit at the 'MAIN' switchboard which services all the units on the block and is common property. This switchboard is locked and Body Corporate do not a key. They have advised me that their electrical contractor has the key and there is a charge to come unlock the Main Switch Board and then re-lock afterwards, the cost is to be on me only.
    My question is, does the Body Corporate have a responsibility to provide me free unrestricted access to common property (which the main switchboard is) and if there is a cost, shouldn't they pay for it?
    I have tried searching previous posts and have not found anything similar.
     
  2. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    It's a safety issue that any electrician must be able to isolate your submain at the MSB. The board should have the electrical distributor's NMB master key (which most sparkys have a copy).
     
    Last edited: 25th Oct, 2023
  3. Chadwick

    Chadwick Active Member

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    Thanks for your reply Scott, is this an opinion or an interpretation of law/regulation?

    Also for clarification, I'm in Victoria.
     
    Last edited: 25th Oct, 2023
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  4. Stoffo

    Stoffo Well-Known Member

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    Yep, many electricians have the Abloy to suit.

    I'd turn it back onto the BC, what happens to the BC insurance if your unit has a short and burns the complex down (now that they have identified the issue) ?
    Is it even your issue to fix ? Ie, is it BC property or lot owners responsibility?
    It's odd though that the sub isolator in/at the unit isn't sufficient for isolation ?
    What exactly are the 'non compliant' items ?
    The BC should be being pro active here

    @Scott No Mates is right that it is a safety issue (to deter any wanna be handyman from doing their own electrical works also) and the main board should be locked, imagine having a spiteful neighbor going in there all the time and turning your power off (I knew a committee member that would do this when parties went on too long into the night)
     
    Last edited: 25th Oct, 2023
  5. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    For NSW

    From Flatchat (commentary).

    The Authority lock is NMB which is the standard for the supplier.
     
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  6. Chadwick

    Chadwick Active Member

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    The Electrical Compliance Check report states the following issues need to be resolved:
    1. Switchboard does not have a main switch.
    2. RCD is wired as main switch.
    3. RCD is connected to too many circuits. Maximum allowed is three per RCD. Will need to change one circuit breaker connected to the RCD to an RCBO.
     
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  7. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    So what's being done to make the switchboard safe and compliant?
     
  8. Stoffo

    Stoffo Well-Known Member

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    This proves that (unless a previous owner did it 'live' ) it is probably an original installation and I'd throw it back on the BC to rectify as up to and including the isolation point at your unit would be BC property.

    Once the main switch is in your sparky can easily rectify the safety switch issues

    I would be asking your neighbors if yours is the only property in the complex with this issue........
     
  9. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    From the comments made about the non-compliant MSB, sounds like it's all on the OC.

    Simplest/cheapest solution is for a level 2 sparky to install the appropriate isolation switches for each unit on the MSB, replacement of the entire switchboard to modern standards isn't necessary and will be a major cost.

    Once each unit has its own isolation switch, then faults or work on @Chadwick's own board can be easily addressed.

    In the meantime, the OC should be paying for or facilitating access.
     
  10. jaydee

    jaydee Well-Known Member

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    In the apartment I own (WA), the main board is in a locked room in the foyer on the ground floor. The Strata Manager retains a key and Contractor's or Owner's have to collect and sign and return same day. If not returned owner is charged.

    I have had to access this to reset the main breaker when an electrical stove in my apartment shorted and tripped the RCD in the apartment and the main breaker downstairs.

    Definitely needs to be accessible.
     
  11. Chadwick

    Chadwick Active Member

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    Update on this, the Body Corporate Manager referred matter to the committee and they have decided the following:
    "The committee has asked me to tell you that the invoice for meter box opening will be your responsibility.
    Unfortunately we do not have this key in the office so the process for everyone will be the same moving forward for private electrical work."

    I disagree and wish to contest this. The cost was $253 (which I think is exorbitant but that is a separate issue). More importantly, I had requested that body corporate or a nominated committee member should have the key so that access can be provided at any time free of charge.

    I'm in Victoria, what is the next step to challenge this? I find it completely unreasonable that I need to pay to access common property, granted it is the same for all lot owners.
     
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  12. Paul@PAS

    Paul@PAS Tax, Accounting + SMSF + All things Property Tax Business Plus Member

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    The board also contains meters and a private lock cannot be installed. The master lock is common for that reason. And Fire Brigade. Your sparkie should be able to use the master. No fee. The fee is for attendance...If they dont attend no fee !! Dont try to challenge it - Just work around it. Ask your sparkie.

    Any mainboard defects are the OC to sort...and as a matter of safety.