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The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) has recently issued an advisory note aimed at promoting safer installation and usage of electric vehicle (EV) chargers. This is in support of the National Construction Code’s (NCC) requirement that new buildings must be ready for EV charging.

According to the ABCB, while EVs are less likely to be involved in fires compared to internal combustion engines, battery fires possess distinct characteristics from liquid fuel fires.

“Global evidence indicates that EVs are much less likely to be involved in a fire than traditional petrol and diesel vehicles. Based on knowledge gained from around the world, our advisory note sets out some […] sensible and low-cost things that we can do to make charging safer for our buildings, residents and first responders,” said ABCB CEO Gary Rake.

The advisory note highlights 15 recommendations that prioritise affordability, visual impact reduction, and ease of implementation. This includes providing a master isolation switch, using chargers that have the Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM), and providing placarding/signage to identify each EV charge points. They also advocate for prioritising the use of smart charging, ensuring regular maintenance, seeking comprehensive, specialist fire safety assessment and advice for complex buildings among others.

The ABCB says that these align with the best practices already adopted by reputable EV charging equipment suppliers, which can mitigate the risks associated with substandard equipment or installation practices as the EV charging industry continues to expand.

In a statement, the ABCB says it will continue to collaborate with other government bodies and emergency response agencies to assess the latest evidence and global trends in EV charging. It also committed to providing quarterly reviews and updates to the advisory note to ensure that it is up to date and relevant.

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