Vulcanised Indian Rubber (VIR) cabling
Q: Do I have to rewire an installation that has Vulcanised Indian Rubber (VIR) cabling?
YES, if you deem the cabling to be dangerous via electrical testing such as an Insulation Resistance test or a visual check. In other words, “insulation defects between live conductors”.
Why? As an electrician you have an obligation under the “Wiring Rules” to protect persons, livestock and property. See Clause 1.1 SCOPE in AS/NZS 3000:2018 amendment 1. Depending on which state or territory you are licenced in, there are regulations that place the onus on electricians for electrical work undertaken on an installation for the life of the installation.
NO, if you are satisfied that the cable hasn’t been disturbed, the cable has sound insulation and the Insulation Resistance test meets the minimum requirement. However, It is a recommendation that you install an Arc Fault Detection Device (AFDD).
Why? While an RCD offers good personal protection, it doesn’t offer protection against active to active faults. AFDD’s are a supplementary device to add to the overall protection of an installation. Clause 2.9 from AS/NZS 3000:2018 amendment 1, outlines the requirements for AFDD’s. There is informative guidance given in Appendix O. In short, clause 2.9 specifies the type of installations that should have an AFDD are defined clearly but are not limited.
What would I do?
I would recommend a rewire of the house. But many homeowners can’t afford this as the cost of a rewire is out of their budget. So, what would I do if the homeowner didn’t want the rewire? I would explain to them the importance of electrical safety in plain English and how some insurance companies will spend millions to save a dollar in trying not pay out a claim. I would recommend one of two things; upgrade the switchboard to RCD’s and install an AFDD. If this is too much of a financial burden, as a bare minimum, install an AFDD. Ultimately it is up to you to determine if a rewire, RCD’s or AFDD is required as you have to sleep at night. And in any case, always put what you have recommended in writing including the outcome to help explain any issues to the regulator if the need arises. Hopefully you won’t need to explain your actions. If in doubt, always consult your regulator for further information regarding deteriorated wiring.