Update Standards development in the gas sector

Issue 24 – February 2011

New Zealand's Gas (Safety and Measurement) Regulations 2010 ('Regulations') came into effect in May 2010. The Regulations included a requirement for appliance certification, to improve the safety of gas appliances and facilitate implementation of the trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Agreement (TTMRA) for gas appliances.

Reflecting the intent of the previous regulatory regime, the Regulations recognised certification from the European Union and Australia, and established a New Zealand certification regime.

Difficulties with recognition of the New Zealand and European certification regimes by Australian regulators resulted in unexpected restrictions on the implementation of the TTMRA. An understanding has now been reached with the Australian regulators, which will see partial implementation of the TTMRA while allowing New Zealand to maintain its specific recognition of other certification regimes.

Because of the changed circumstances it is now appropriate to review the relevant Standards and the range of certification systems that New Zealand should recognise, and subsequently, to amend the Regulations to reflect these changes.

Review of Standards and certification systems underway

As a foundation for this review, Energy Safety, with the agreement of Australian gas safety regulators, considered that New Zealand should focus on ensuring its regulatory system is suitable for its domestic market, in parallel with strengthening the trans-Tasman relationships. This refocus will enable the Australian and New Zealand markets to evolve in a direction that reflects their individual market needs and, for New Zealand, retains the recognition of certification provided by other significant trading partners.

Energy Safety has commissioned Standards New Zealand to review the relevant Standards and certification systems. A schedule of work is underway and a proposal will be developed and presented to Energy Safety. The proposal will help to shape regulatory requirements on how New Zealand recognises suitable certification schemes. The current certification regime needs to be modified to reflect this change in focus. An extension of the transition period to the new appliance regime will be sought by Energy Safety in due course.

Latest Standards development in the gas sector

The following Standards development activity is underway in the gas sector, by project committees managed by Standards New Zealand.

NZS 5262 Gas appliance safety (revision)

Scope: Review suitability to support regulatory requirements for gas appliances.

Stage: At its first meeting in December 2010, the project committee reviewed clauses of the Gas (Safety and Measurement) Regulations 2010 that reference NZS 5262. The purpose of this meeting was to review whether NZS 5262:

  • is still relevant, and the role it should fulfil
  • performs its role in a certification regime
  • will allow certification to an EN Standard or ANSI/CSA Standard.

The committee is still considering the final outcome. The committee agreed that:

  • New Zealand specific conditions – gas type; pressure; labelling; instructions; associated fittings and accessories, and; voltage/energy, will apply to all Certification Schemes recognised by the Regulations.
  • flexibility is required in the Regulations, so that the Regulations are more general and all encompassing, rather than being prescriptive.

Energy Safety advised the committee that the Regulations would retain the ability to express New Zealand requirements for products that do not otherwise meet the New-Zealand specific requirements. New Zealand specific requirements may eventually be expressed in a NZS, an AS/NZS, or NZS AS Standard.

Funder: Energy Safety.

AS/NZS 4645 Gas distribution networks (New Zealand Amendment)

Scope: To update referenced Standards to support the gas regulatory environment.

Stage: Members of the Gas Association New Zealand discussed the detailed scope of technical requirements for a proposed New Zealand amendment to AS/NZS 4645 in December 2010. Feedback from this discussion will shape the scope of the work.

Funder: Energy Safety.

In-service testing handbook – Gas installations

Scope: To produce a new handbook that:

  • is intended to form part of a compliance audit framework
  • is designed to assist competent persons in the gas industry to assess the safety of existing gas installations.

Stage: Standards New Zealand will start work on this handbook shortly.

Note: Work on a companion handbook for in-service assessment of gas appliances is likely to be scoped, and possibly started, later in 2011.

Funder: Energy Safety.

For more information on Standards development in the gas sector, please contact our Customer Services and Sales team by calling 0800 782 632 during business hours, or emailing enquiries@standards.co.nz.

Published in energy.