How to safely install swimming pool and spa bonding
The Queensland Government’s Electrical Safety Office has issued the following information on swimming pool and spa bonding for installers.
There are specific requirements for equipotential bonding of steel reinforcing when working on concrete swimming pools and spas. If an electrical fault occurs, even at low voltage, while the pool is in use, it may lead to electrical shock, which can cause muscle spasms and potential drowning.
Clause 22.214.171.124.3 of the Wiring Rules states equipotential bonding conductors are to be provided to any fixed extraneous conductive parts of a pool structure, including the reinforcing metal of the pool shell.
Installing electrical contractors should adhere to Note 2 of Clause 126.96.36.199.3. This states that conductive tie-wires used during construction of reinforced concrete pools are considered to be an adequate electrical bond between the conductive reinforcing components. Provided the reinforcement is satisfactorily electrically connected together, one point of connection of the bonding conductor is satisfactory where bonding is required by Clause 188.8.131.52.2(a).
To satisfy this clause you must either:
- confirm the entire reinforcing is electrically continuous, in which case a single bonding conductor can be attached at a suitable location, or
- identify each section that is not electrically continuous and ensure each section is effectively bonded.
Either installation option can only be achieved through a visual examination of the reinforcing and by carrying out resistance measurements at various points. These tests can only be effectively carried out before the concrete is poured or sprayed.
Some installers have tried to avoid the need to have an electrician attend before concreting by leaving a length of reinforcing out of the pool shell for the electrician to later connect the bonding conductor. This practice is not safe as it does not allow the electrician to carry out tests to ensure the pool shell itself is effectively bonded.
In addition, attaching a bonding conductor from the pool structure to an earth electrode driven into the ground near the pool or spa does not satisfy the bonding requirements for swimming pools and spas.
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