Finding the right fit
ESV has issued an alert to plumbers and gasﬁtters to ensure consumer piping is adequately labelled and correctly positioned, writes Michael Weber of Appliance & Component Safety ESV.
Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) has found a number of common non-compliance issues (as per AS/NZS5601.1: 2013) involving aboveground consumer piping installations that have led to non-compliance notices being issued and is concerned about their increasingly regular occurrence.
Please ensure that your pipework complies before your job is inspected and that the gas installation is under pressure test at the time of inspection. Being issued with a non-compliance notice represents more than just inconvenience: it is a cost to your business, a delay for your client and (most importantly) a blow to your reputation.
ESV’s most signiﬁcant concerns involve:
- pipe labelling
- individual occupancy manual shut-oﬀ valves
- identiﬁcation of proprietary systems
- incorrect use of hose assemblies (ﬂexible connections).
Labelling of above ground consumer piping is a requirement (except for single occupancy residential premises) when the:
- consumer piping operating pressure exceeds 7kPa
- the pipe’s location stops it being readily identiﬁable as consumer piping.
When labelling is required:
- The markings must comply with Figure 5.1 (AS/NZS5601.1:2013, clause 188.8.131.52) and be placed: – no more than 8m apart – next to wall and ﬂoor penetrations as well as branches, junctions, and valves – on all tailpipes.
- The identiﬁcation must also fully comply with AS1345 Identiﬁcation of the contents of pipes, conduits and ducts.
- Other gas types (within the scope of the Standard) must be identiﬁed and marked in a manner acceptable to the Technical Regulator.
- Where consumer piping is sleeved (for example, with a conduit), the sleeving must also be identiﬁed as per Figure 5.1.
Common pipe labelling non-compliance issues include: ∫ incorrect, incomplete or missing labelling ∫ pipes not being readily identiﬁable as consumer piping.
Individual occupancy manual shut-off valves
In the case of multiple occupancies within the same building, individual occupancy manual shut-oﬀ valves are a requirement. AS/NZS5601.1:2013, clause 5.2.9, states that:
- the consumer piping to each occupancy must include a quarter turn manual shut-oﬀ valve that is accessible and located outside (where possible)
- a durable, permanent sign must be prominently located next to the shutoﬀ valve, identifying it as a gas valve and, if remote from the occupancy, identifying the occupancy.
Where a shut-oﬀ valve is installed within an accessible, unventilated roof or wall space, the joints are to be permanent as per Table 5.2 (AS/ NZS5601.1:2013, clause 5.3.8).
Common shut-oﬀ valve issues include:
- failing to install manual shut-oﬀ valves
- manual shut-oﬀ valves installed with mechanical joints in unventilated spaces (roof and wall)
- not installing appropriate signage.
Identification of proprietary systems
A label must be attached next to a gas meter, LPG tank or cylinder(s) indicating the make or trade-name of the proprietary system (AS/ NZS5601.1:2013, clause 4.5.4).
Incorrect use of hose assemblies (flexible connections)
Under normal operating conditions hose assemblies must not be installed where they are (AS/NZS5601.1:2013, clause 5.9.5):
- subject to strain, abrasion, kinking or permanent deformation
- exposed to temperatures exceeding the manufacturer’s maximum temperature speciﬁcations
- subject to damage by vermin.
Additionally, where a hose assembly is installed on an appliance (other than portable space heaters) heavier than 20kg and designed to move on castors, rollers or wheels (mainly for servicing), then the appliance must be restrained by something other than the hose assembly (for example, with a chain or cable) and the restraint must be shorter than the hose assembly (no more than 80% of its length).
Hose assemblies connecting a gas appliance form part of the gas ﬁtting line and must be at least 50mm above the ﬁnished ground/ﬂoor level (AS/NZS5601.1:2013, clause 5.3.7).
Common hose assembly non-compliance issues include:
- hose assemblies subject to strain or kinking
- appliance restraints either too long or not in place
- hose assemblies either too close to, touching or left lying on ﬂoors