Contact Building and Energy
For licensing and technical enquiries
Building and Energy general queries
Tel: 1300 489 099
Fax: (+618) 6251 1501
As WA settles in for a season of Christmas lights, barbecues, new outdoor equipment and DIY projects, Building and Energy is sharing its top tips for a safe summer when using gas, electricity, roof spaces and items attached to building structures.
Building and Energy A/Executive Director Saj Abdoolakhan is encouraging people to ensure their interior and exterior festive lights are safe, in good working order and compliant with Australian standards.
“Damaged or incorrectly used lights can cause electric shocks and fires,” he said.
“Like all electrical equipment and appliances, Christmas lights must meet safety standards and require Australian certification. Look for authentic regulatory compliance symbols and be wary about purchasing lights from overseas as they may not comply.”
Key advice for Christmas lights
Mr Abdoolakhan said incorrectly maintained gas barbecues could cause fires, injuries and property damage – but simple checks could help to reduce the risks.
“Check the hose for cracks, kinks or flaws that could result in a gas leak,” he said.
“We also suggest spraying a solution of household detergent and water on all the exposed joints and connections. If bubbles appear, there is a gas leak.”
Look for a label on the barbecue showing its Australian safety certification and a stamp on the gas cylinder indicating when it was last tested – if this was more than 10 years ago it should be replaced or retested.
“Regular cleaning also reduces fire risks from built-up grease and oil,” Mr Abdoolakhan added.
“If there are any concerns with your barbecue, turn off the gas immediately and arrange for the faulty component to be replaced or repaired by a licensed gas fitter.”
With the holiday season being a popular time for DIY projects, Mr Abdoolakhan is urging people to be particularly cautious about electrical hazards in roof spaces.
“DIY electrical work is illegal and extremely dangerous, so always use a licensed electrical contractor,” he said.
“If you must access the roof space for another reason, it is vital that the electricity supply to the house is turned off at the main switchboard before you go up.
“The wiring in the roof space may have damaged insulation or exposed live parts, or you may accidentally dislodge other components, risking electric shock and possible electrocution.
“If you see any damaged or bare wires, call your licensed electrical contractor immediately.”
Battery-powered headlamps or torches should be used to help with safe movement in the roof space and navigation around electrical infrastructure.
“Avoid storing items in the roof space and keep thermal insulation away from light fittings,” Mr Abdoolakhan added.
Consumers should be cautious about how and where equipment such as hammocks, swings, hanging chairs, shade-sails and basketball hoops are installed.
Mr Abdoolakhan said items like this should only be used if the supporting structure – including brick piers, walls, roofs, ceilings and beams – could handle the weight and loads.
“Structures at your home are not necessarily designed to carry additional attachments,” he said.
“Isolated brick piers, for example, are primarily designed to carry vertical loads from above. They should not be retrofitted with items that may pull or push the pier sideways or off-centre, such as a hammock.
“Sometimes it’s hard to tell if a building element is strong enough to support the item you are thinking of attaching. If in doubt, don’t risk it.”
The manufacturer’s instructions should also be followed when installing items.
“Some goods, such as basketball rings and backboards, must have instructions provided about safe installation and use,” Mr Abdoolakhan said.
“You should also consider getting expert advice on the safe installation and use of any item attached to a structure.”
Media contact: BEmedia@dmirs.wa.gov.au
Building and Energy (a division within the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety) was formed in January 2018 by the amalgamation of the Building Commission and EnergySafety.