Electrical Safety

Modifications to Electrical Equipment : NS Labour and Advanced Education, Building and Equipment Safety

Electrical Bulletin 2002-04

From: David MacLeod, C.E.I, P.Eng., Chief Electrical Inspector
Date: July 1, 2002

Subject: Field modifications to electrical equipment

When field modifications are made to electrical equipment such as switchboards, motor control centers or panels etc., the certification of that piece of equipment becomes void. The equipment shall no longer be considered certified and therefore not permitted to installed or utilized.

The exception is where an approved field installation kit from the manufacturer for that particular piece of electrical equipment is installed by a qualified person.

Modifications would include but not be limited to such things as the removal of existing bus to accommodate the addition of cabling for a transfer switch ,capacitor banks or additional lugs tapped off the bus to feed a new load or modifications to accommodate different breaker or fuse types.

The concern is that such modifications may effect or change the electrical withstand or mechanical strength of the equipment , the intent or purpose of the equipment or the safe operation of the equipment.

In order to make any such modifications and allow the use of this equipment a letter is required from the manufacturer of the equipment indicating that any proposed changes to the equipment do not affect the safe operation of the equipment, intent or purpose of the equipment and that the withstand or mechanical strength of the board has not been effected and that modifications generally comply with the applicable CSA Part 2 design standard for that equipment.

A letter from an another certified manufacturer ,who is not the manufacturer of the equipment, may be accepted only where the modifications are being performed by a qualified representative of that manufacturer who provided the letter.

Where a manufacturer provides a letter for modifications for their own equipment ,modifications can be made either by the manufacturers qualified representative or by an electrical contractor per the manufacturers direction.

In certain instances where the modifications are not considered substantial the Chief Inspector may accept a letter from a Professional Engineer ( Electrical ) in lieu of the manufacturers letter. In this situation a request shall be forwarded to the Chief Inspector for acceptance prior to starting any modifications.

In addition to the letter from a manufacturer or engineer, a special inspection is also required. This inspection shall be by one of the two special inspection organizations acceptable in NS for electrical ( CSA or Entela/QPS ). The letter indicated above shall be provided to the special inspection organization for their review prior to starting any modifications..

In no instance shall a special inspection be allowed where the modified electrical equipment is to be used in a location as defined in sections 18, 20 or 24 of the Canadian Electrical Code ( CEC ). Only full certification of electrical equipment for these areas is acceptable.

In all situations any changes that are required by either the manufacturer, special inspection organization or Chief Inspector shall be incorporated into to the modifications.

All electrical work shall be performed under an electrical wiring permit and shall be inspected by the electrical authority having jurisdiction prior to the equipment being energized .

The Electrical Code Regulations require that all electrical equipment sold and/or installed etc. in Nova Scotia shall be approved by a certification organization acceptable to the Chief Inspector. Therefore the installation, use or sale of non certified electrical equipment is a violation and can be ordered to be disconnected or removed by the electrical inspection authority or Chief Inspector.

Certified in reference to a manufacturer in this bulletin implies that the company has been approved as defined in the CEC 2002 and is acceptable to the Chief Inspector.

The Chief Inspector shall have the final authority in all situations to determine whether any modifications are acceptable.

All references to the Chief Inspector means the Provincial Chief Electrical Inspector working for Nova Scotia Labour and Advanced Education.

Any questions regarding this bulletin shall be forwarded to the Chief Inspector at 902-424-8018