Sparks Electrical News

Getting to grips with SANS 10142-1 by Hannes Baard

We have slowly but surely worked our way through SANS 10142-1:2012 Edition 1.8, spending time on the Occupational Health and Safety Act (Act 85 of 1993) – the Act itself, its regulations and a few related issues too.

More recently, we looked at the registration requirements for accredited persons. The next step would have been to look at the registration requirements for electrical contractors, but guess what crossed my desk as I was getting ready to dive into the contractor registration requirements. The latest issue of SANS 10142-1 – yes, that is right. I received a brand spanking new copy of SANS 10142-1, published in March 2017! And the thing that struck me was we all have to go out and buy a whole new code. A completely new book? Yep! It appears the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) Standards Division has decided it is time to ditch the references to all previous amendments since the 2012 edition (all eight of them), add a few paragraphs and clauses here and there and, in so doing, rendering the old book effectively useless. Instantaneously also removing all amendment references to ‘when did things change from... to...?’ for hundreds of ‘old hands’ in the industry. So, be very careful when citing verbatim from memory... you could be in for a nasty surprise, as many clauses and page numbers have changed. But ‘nou ja’... change is a good thing... or is it?

Given the above, I thought it appropriate to divert our attention for an instalment or two and focus on this new edition of SANS 10142-1, before continuing with the requirements for contractor registration.

The first thing that struck me was the colour of the binder – black. Gone are the days of referencing ‘the green book’. No doubt, way back in the late 70s, the old hands of the time said the same, ‘gone are the days of referencing the blue book’. You see, the very first code of practice (even before it became a SABS Standard), was published by the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers (SAIEE). The publication had a blue cover and sometime around the 1980s, when the SAIEE publication became a national standard, the binder changed to green. Mind you, I think many of you will continue to refer to SANS 10142-1 as ‘the green book’. Others might start calling it ‘the little black book’.

So what lurks between the covers?

Proof that this is a totally new publication can be found on the cover page. In the page header, the ISBN number is different and the title reads... SANS 10142-1:2017 Edition 2. Also on the first page is a ‘WARNING’. Now I have to ask, are the writers of the code trying to scare me, or do they actually want to remind, notify or forewarn me that SANS 10142-1 references other documents and standards that must be consulted in order to fully comply with the electrical installation standards in South Africa? No such ‘WARNING’ was present in Edition 1, however, reference was made to ‘normative’ and ‘informative’ content in the ‘table of changes’, the ‘foreword’ and ‘contents’. There are however warning notices in the text of the code that make perfect contextual sense. Next. The ‘table of changes’ is completely empty – whether this can be regarded as a change or not, I’m not sure.

The next change we find is in the ‘foreword’ and namely, the committee number that approved this edition of SANS 10142-1, changed from national committee SABS SC 67F to national committee SABS/TC 067/SC 06.

The above does not really bring about any material change in the way the code will influence my working life, but the following sentence surely does (the first real change): “The test report in edition 1.8 may be used in parallel with the test report in edition 2.0 for a period of 12 months from the date of publication of Edition 2.0.” The test report referred to can be found in clause 8.8 of Edition 1.8 and clause 8.7 of Edition 2. What this means is: you can still use the old test report even though the particular edition of the code in which it was published is no longer in use. But from March 2018, you may only use the new test report. The few, more obscure, changes in the test report will be highlighted in a future instalment. Be wary of photocopying the test report direct from the latest SANS 10142-1. There are way too many copyright warnings around the test report example. I would be inclined to draw up or generate my own for now, as the code only requires a test report to be ‘in the form of’... Just be careful not to omit any detail from your own test report – you may have more information on yours, but not less than that shown in the test report in clause 8.7.

Also in the ‘foreword’, we find that non-relevant information to this edition was deleted and references changed, such as:

“Table 4.1 contains a list of the applicable standards for the components that may be installed in an electrical installation.” This was changed from Table 4.2 in Edition 1.8 to Table 4.1 in Edition 2. And...

“Information on national legislation that applies only in South Africa is given in text boxes in the introduction (see page 3).” In Edition 1.8 there were further references to more page numbers, clause 8 and the test report. In Edition 2 this information is now limited to page 3.

At the end of the ‘foreword’ we get the following sentences: “Annex I forms an integral part of this document. Annexes B, C, D, E, F, G, J, K, L, M, N, O and P are for information only”. Glad to see I’m not the only one that gets caught out with a ‘copy and paste’ exercise. Annexes A and H still appear to be missing in the shift from Edition 1.8 to Edition 2. Also note that Annex L in Edition 1.8, is renumbered Annex I in Edition 2, Annex O to Annex L etc., plus a whole bunch of others are renumbered too. Which we will look at in a future instalment.

Next, we move to the ‘Introduction’ on page 1 of SANS 101042-1:2017 Edition 2.

At first, there seems to be nothing different or changed in the body of the ‘Introduction’ other than the references to the test report in clause 8.8 in Edition 1.8 and its new home in clause 8.7 in Edition 2.

Two ‘text boxes’ (referred to in the ‘foreword’) form part of the ‘Introduction’ with a type of black border around them that reminds me of funeral notices. Anyway... the ‘text box’ on page 2 provides additional clarification on the requirements for electrical installations in the mining industry and the ‘text box’ on page three provides more clarity on which code of practice is applicable when...

Before I wrapped up this instalment, I scanned through the material we covered, to make sure I did not miss anything important. Just as well...

I spotted the following in the very last sentence of the ‘text box’ relating to the mining industry: “The certificate shall be in the form of the Certificate of Compliance published in the Electrical Installation Regulations, 2012, and the test report shall be in the form of the test report in this part of SANS 10142 (see 8.7).” I rubbed my eyes... shall I phone a friend...? The Electrical Installation Regulations 2012?

Till next time...

BANNER 2

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