New compulsory specification for luminaires

February 6th, 2014, Published in Articles: Vector


by Connie Jonker, IESSA technical adviser

The compulsory specification VC 8055 has been replaced by VC 9012 following a request by industry.

Connie Jonker

Connie Jonker

The compulsory specification for electrical and electronic appliances has covered a large range of electrical appliances including luminaires since its first publication in 1981, in Government Notice 466. It was later replaced by VC8055. This specification had the disadvantage that the stakeholders participating in its devlopment represented different technological backgrounds, which meant that each applied a different focus to the safety requirements to be regulated.

As this has had a negative effect on the content and development of VC8055 and on the method of regulation, the Illumination Engineering Society of South Africa (IESSA) and other technical associations requested the divsion of VC8055 into various parts covering different product groups.

The National Regulator of Compulsary Standards (NRCS) has subsequently approved a new project to develop VC9012, a compulsory specification for luminaires.

This project benefited from a new approach by the NRCS whereby the safety risks of the products categories are evaluated and graded high, medium or low-risk. The risks of electrical shock, fire and burns were evaluated for the various luminaire types and the outcome of this risk assessment was used to formulate the scope of VC9012. This scope now provides a much clearer selection of luminaire types covered by the compulsory specification. The new draft specification is expected to address many of the issues raised on the VC8055 scope.

The proposed scope of VC9012 mainly covers portable luminaires; luminaires which are touched, handled or adjusted regularly and luminaires to be installed by the “ordinary person”. Luminaires installed by skilled persons in fixed installations are generally excluded. The new scope should give users far more clarity, although some grey areas still exist in the luminaire types covered.

The new draft also provides for two types of approval, the present LoA system based on type approval, and a system for luminaires manufactured under a Type 5 product certification scheme. Here, conformity of production and audit reports issued by the product certification body are used as a basis for the renewal of Letters of Authority (LoAs).

Industry will be informed on the regulatory processes to be applied to SABS-certified luminaires once final agreement is reached between the SABS and NRCS.

The new draft VC9012 has developed through the working group stage and is now ready for further processing and approval by NRCS management. The NRCS is expected to circulate specification for comment during the first quarter of this year.

Contact Connie Jonker, IESSA technical advisor,

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