Data cabling in Australia is the most regulated in the World | DIY ILLEGAL!

Australia not content with having the most cumbersome laws for pretty much everything has taken it further and now made it illegal for registered cablers to make patch leads. The draconian laws apply to both homes and business and Australia is the only country in the world where data cabling in the home is illegal unless performed by a registered cabler. Even running a premade telephone cord between rooms using any method of fixing and even under a rug is illegal in Australia and punishable .

DRAFT AUSTRALIAN STANDARD DR AS/CA S008:2019
Requirements for customer cabling products

DRAFT AUSTRALIAN STANDARD DR AS/CA S009:2019
Installation requirements for customer cabling (Wiring rules)

Imagine using premade data cables and install a patch panel that has RJ45 ports on each side so you can plug all the premade cables in, you would think this would be legal but not in Australia if it is attached to or runs though any part of the building structure. Anything relating to data work is illegal for a homeowner and the new standards are only expanding what you can’t do.

There is more usage of fibre and a logical path forward would be to relax the regulations as there is no risk of interference, injury or death in installing a fibre optic cable but we now have additional regulations around them.

I cannot find anywhere in the world where data cabling is illegal for the homeowner, there are regulations for commercial data cabling in many countries but many still allow some DIY. In Australia it is illegal to perform any data cabling including making patch leads or running a CAT 6 cable between rooms unless you are a licensed cabler.

5.9.2 Connecting cords, patch cords and extension leads
A CABLING PROVIDER shall not make an equipment connecting CORD, PATCH CORD, extension lead or the like using component parts, whether or not such parts meet the requirements of AS/CA S008.
Note: CORDS are required to meet the requirements of AS/CA S008.
Manufacturers are directed to the regulatory obligations for compliance labelling of CORDS.

To summarise this new rule, a registered cabler is no longer able to make a patch lead of any type even when a patch cable may not be readily available. Customer would like a 3.7m telephone patch lead with RJ45 on one and RJ12 on the other, they’ll just have to order a 5m online and wait.

There are many products installed in Australia that require custom patch leads to be made for example where the patch leads are no longer made or take too long to obtain but no matter what the reason we trust a cabler to install all the data cabling throughout the building but there is no trust in making a simple patch lead?

This would apply to any devices connected to a network either wired or wirelessly. Arduino and Raspberry Pi owners connecting to other modules using I2C cables have to have cables manufactured that meet the AS/CA S008 standard and cannot make their own cable.

CCTV installers who run cable between the Network Video Recorder (NVR) and terminate each end with a RJ45 plug to connect the NVR direct to the camera will also be illegal and the only way to legally do this would be to create a pigtail so RJ45 on the camera end and fit a patch panel at the NVR end adding extra cost and complexity to installs which are passed on to consumers.

However only a registered data cabler can replace a CCTV camera installed in this manner and the same applies to a WiFi access point installed on a ceiling, if the cable is terminated to a plug it is illegal for anyone who is not a registered cabler to change the WiFi access point or camera and even to unplug or plug it in.

The rules, laws and regulations in Australia for many industries are only there to protect the industry, they have nothing to do with safety but everything to do with increasing costs and protecting certain jobs.

Logically there would be guidelines for home wiring that give homeowners advice, guidance and examples on how to run cabling in a safe manner and legalise data cabling by the homeowner. Education is the key not draconian laws and regulations that make no sense and that are ignored by many.

Many homeowners are going to do their own data cabling work regardless of the laws but at the moment they cannot get information on how to run the cable in a safe manner because to access the standards that give this information costs hundreds of dollars.

If the NBN can’t enforce their data cablers to install as per the existing rules and the ACMA won’t enforce the rules, why even have them?

4 thoughts on “Data cabling in Australia is the most regulated in the World | DIY ILLEGAL!”

  1. Ok so as a registered cabler you probably expect me to disagree with you but there is only one point I will correct and that is “If the NBN can’t enforce their data cablers to install as per the existing rules”. The simple fact is that as a carrier, the NBN technicians are not bound by the cabling rules. The Cabling rules only apply to cabling on the customer side of the network boundary so anything on the NBN side of the network boundary only has to meet standards that NBN accept. I have for a long time said that there should be a way for domestic cabling to be carried out by the home owner but I am just a voice in the wilderness. Oh heck, this raises a second point that I have to disagree on! It is permissable to run a preterminated cable yourself as long as it does not penetrate a void! so if the wall you are going through is a single skin, no problem but if there is plasterboard both sides of the wall(or brick with a cavity wall) then no go and you are allowed to fix the cable to the wall and even put it in ducting. Just don’t penetrate any voids and a ceiling space and under floor are considered voids.

    Otherwise yes the laws are draconian and becoming more so.

    1. Thank you for your comments, I’m not advocating open slather electrical or data cabling but a common sense approach with free access to the standards, the ability to ask for help and to know when you are unable to do a job through education.

      1. The Irony is that Telstra (Australia’s largest and oldest carrier has effectively produced a how to document for the DIYer although they won’t admit that that is what it is! Check out the link below, it even give pictorial guides on how to terminate a socket, something that anyone in the trade knows and anyone not in the trade (if we are observing the rules) doesn’t need to know! So why does this document exist

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