We list down the requirements to make sure your strata residential building is electrically safe.
Electrical safety is not an issue to be taken lightly. According to statistics released by the Fire and Rescue Department, a total of RM3.31 billion worth of properties were destroyed in fire-related incidents in 2018. Of that number, faulty electrical sources were at the very top of the list with over 5,300 cases recorded over the last three years.
The main cause of the incidents includes short circuits from old wiring, overloaded electrical appliance usage, as well as the use of non-compliant electronic products such as imitation universal serial bus (USB) wires, chargers and power banks.
On average, there were at least 58 electrical accident cases recorded in Malaysia every year, 50% of which resulted in deaths. – The Energy Commission (EC) of Malaysia –
As such, electrical safety is of paramount importance, even more so for today’s technologically-reliant homeowners. However, for strata properties in Malaysia, Electrical Safety Compliance requires a bit more focus and care especially when these buildings are managed and maintained by either the Joint management body (JMB) or Management Corporation (MC).
Fortunately, the inaugural TEEAM (The Electrical & Electronics Association of Malaysia) Public Discourse on Electrical Safety Awareness (ESA 2019) held recently, shed some light on the basics strata property owners need to know:
1. Proper and regular supervision by a competent person
As buildings age, the need for regular supervision in regards to the structure’s electricity needs and usage will need to be monitored more closely. This is primarily due to issues that may crop up over time such as wear and tear of the building including cracks to the masonry walls, water seepage and leaks – all of which may cause issues in the electrical riser. The JMB or MC has to ensure regular supervision to uncover any electrical deficiencies that are at risk due to faulty equipment, wiring, unregulated alterations, or illegal extensions.
According to the Suruhanjaya Tenaga (ST) Regulation 66 & 67, an inspection by a Competent Person (Electrical Services Engineer; Electrical Engineer or Electric Supervisor) is needed at least once a month for an installation not exceeding 600 volts. Installations between 600 volts and 11,000 volts and between 11,000 volts and 13,2000 volts will require two and four visits per month, respectively.
2 A full-time chargeman
What is the role of a chargeman? Well, basically this person is responsible for all electrical systems in a building, making their role one of the most important ones in building maintenance. Under Clause 23 of the Electricity Supply Act, a certified chargeman is to be engaged by the JMB or MC on a full-time basis with their roles defined to plan, operate and carry out work that’s related to electrical safety precautions and preventive maintenance.
The Suruhanjaya Tenaga has a list of certified chargeman and qualified electricians, which can be verified here.
This includes duties such as predictive and repair maintenance for high voltage powers in switch rooms and power generators, as well as inspecting and monitoring all electrical systems pertaining to the building including fire alarms, lifts and CCTV systems. The role of a chargeman is of sheer importance and one that cannot be limited to just a part-time or freelance basis due to the daily operational safety needs of a development.
3. Maintenance of protection relays
Not many people know what an RCD (residual current device) does or how essential it is. In a nutshell, it forms the heart of an electrical system, acting as a protective relay that switches off the electricity automatically when there is a fault. It not only helps prevent a fire or electrocution but can also prevent serious injuries and help save lives. It offers a level of personal protection that ordinary fuses and circuit-breakers are unable to provide.
The significance of this device cannot be underrated, which is why according to clause 110(4), ER (Electricity Regulations) 1994; any protective relay and device of an installation will need to be checked, tested and calibrated by a competent person at least once every two years, or at any time as directed by the Energy Commission.
4. Annual renewal of ST certificate
One of the most effective ways to strengthen electrical safety practices is through legislation. This is why under clause 9 (1), ESA (Electricity Supply Act) 1990, before the completion of a new installation, the JMB or MC will need to forward an application to the Energy Commission for registration.
Following a successful inspection and tests by the Commission, a Certificate of Registration will then be issued. This has to be done annually to ensure that any installation shall be maintained in good working order with safety precautions observed at all times to prevent danger. The ST Certification also extends to persons, contractors, manufacturers and equipment, which can be checked at the Certifications by ST link.
For more strata living tips, check out out our guide for strata property owners.