Power Authorities / VEDN
The Victorian Electricity Supply Industry (VESI) is jointly managed by the five Victorian Major Electricity Companies (Formerly known as Distribution Networks or Distribution Businesses – DB’s) namely CityPower, Powercor, AusNet Services, Jemena and United Energy, with the transmission network owned and operated by AusNet Services.
VESI is a registered trade mark, and when the five Major Electricity Companies jointly agree to a procedure, practice or process it is branded as a VESI document to enable consistency, compliance and transportability across the companies.
The VESI website has been established to provide a common platform for the storage and reference for industry related information, links and contacts for documentation and issues common to all the businesses within VESI.
Opportunities for Civil Contractors within the power industry include: works directly managed by the Power companies such as their Capital Works programs and infrastructure renewal and replacement works; and works commissioned by Land Developers.
Land Developers can elect to take responsibility for the Design and Construction of electrical infrastructure that will one day be connected to a Distribution Network.
The Developer must ensure that the assets are installed and remain compliant to the network requirements up to the handover stage and including any warranty period thereafter.
The Victorian Electrical Distribution Networks (VEDN) is a committee of VESI which is responsible for accrediting or approving contractors who are involved in the civil aspects of underground electrical infrastructure. Examples of these works include:
- Installation of conduits/ducts
- Cable hauling
- Installation of earthing systems
Civil Contractors interested in gaining approval status for undertaking civil underground electrical infrastructure works must agree to accept the Conditions of VEDN Approval.
The CCF can provide assistance in achieving Approval/Accreditation through its retained Consultants.
Companies wishing to be approved by the VEDN to install underground electrical infrastructure must have a management system that either meets the CCF IMS code, or HSEQ certificates of conformity from a JASANZ certified auditing company. The scope of the management system must include installation of underground electrical infrastructure.
Approval status does not override the requirements of tenders, contracts, the network operator or their agent. Contractors with VEDN approval status must still obtain individual project approval from the host network operator or their agent prior to accessing their network or commencement of projects that will form part of the distribution network.
The VEDN maintains a register of VEDN approved Contractors.
In applying for VEDN Approval the Contractor agrees to accept the Conditions of Victorian Electricity Distribution Network Approval.
- Integrated management system
- Trained employees
- Inspection and Test Procedures
- Worksite and system audits
In all cases, the Contractor must have, and use a Management System certified to a reputable Standard, such as the CCF’s Integrated Management Code, or the ISO Standards; by a JASANZ Accredited Certifying Body.
The integrated management system must have been audited in the office and field, and certified by a VEDN recognised systems Auditor.
All personnel must have completed the VEDN Module 1 training ensuring that all VEDN civil works undertaken are performed at all times by trained personnel. This includes and is not limited to personnel who:
- Undertake trenching or backfilling
- Install conduits & marker tape
- Install poles & pits
- Install Earth systems
- Prepare substation sites
- Undertake cable hauling (Module 6 training required).
Inspection and test plans must cover all the controls and hold points from accepting the project to completion, including auditing/inspection requirements.
The minimum requirements for Auditing and management of Non-conformances include but are not limited to:
- Annual HSEQ Field Audit
- Copies of all Worksite Audits
- Preventing Non-conformances
Additionally, all works are subject to Audit by a VEDN Worksite Auditor.
Civil worksite auditors are authorised to inspect civil works in relation to the supply and installation of trenching, conduits, pits, substation reserves and associated excavations works for projects.
Civil contractors can save time and money by having a VEDN trained Worksite Auditor on staff.
VEDN Auditors include:
- Worksite Auditor (Civil) – approved only to carry out open trench audits (civil) i.e. the initial pit pipe/conduit and trench inspections – (step 1) for Developer / Customer managed projects on Greenfield sites
- Network Worksite Auditors (All stages) – Network Auditor employed/contracted to carry out all inspections on all projects including the pre-commissioning/final audits on behalf of the Network Owner
- Cable Hauling Auditors (All stages) – Electrical Auditor engaged to carry out inspections of the cable hauling process
- Network Business Auditor (Electrical) – approved only to carry out open trench audits (civil) and electrical inspections – (step 1, 2 & 3) for Network Owner managed projects. (Not pre-commissioning and final inspections)
- Network Business Auditor (Civil) – approved only to carry out open trench audits (civil) i.e. the initial pit pipe/conduit and trench inspections – step 1 for Network Owner managed projects.
NOTE: Auditors without a current Network Owner Electrical Access Authorisations must comply with government No Go Zone Regulations.
The VEDN auditing model defines two categories of auditing:
- Worksite Auditing Undertaken by an auditor on behalf of a 3rd Party (eg Land Developer). (Staged audits).
- Network Auditing Undertaken by an auditor on behalf of the network.
The VEDN audit process is a sample compliance assessment at a point in time, and unless this is undertaken in conjunction with Good Project Management & Effective onsite Supervision/Co-ordination the end result can be non-compliant infrastructure.
Due to 3rd Parties continuing to install noncompliant infrastructure the VEDN is now considering changes to the Auditing, Training, and 3rd Party requirements.
VEDN Worksite Auditor (Module 4) – 1 Day Course is available through CCF’s Civil Train. Other required competencies can also generally be obtained through CCF Civil Train.
The Contractor is also required to demonstrate proactive compliance to all OH&S Legislation and Regulation.
Works commissioned by Land Developers may only be constructed using Approved Contractors, or under a rigorous Audit protocol for:
Work Undertaken by Non-Accredited Civil Contractors
Electrical Infrastructure work undertaken by non-accredited civil contractors is subject to a more rigorous auditing process by an approved Network Auditor to confirm that the standard of work and materials are acceptable before backfilling or cabling works are undertaken.
The more rigorous auditing process is to ensure that work performed by non-accredited civil contractors complies with the host Network Owner’s Technical standards which will add significant costs and time to the project. All costs associated with this inspection process will be paid for by the Customer/Constructor or their Contractor.
The Customer’s Project Manager is responsible for managing this auditing process including engagement of the approved auditor, co -ordination of inspections and removal of any backfill.
- The Network Auditor must be engaged prior to commencement of civil work. See VEDN website for a register of endorsed Network Auditors
- The Network Auditor must visually inspect all aspects of the civil works during the construction such as the trench excavations, pits, conduits, sand, marker tape and backfill works
- The Works must be inspected and approved before the next step of the construction works commences. I.e. trenches are compliant before the conduit is installed, marker tape installed during backfill
- If the Works have been backfilled prior to inspection, then it may need to be totally excavated to allow an open trench inspection, and then reinstated after the inspection
- The Network Owner’s approval will be required where a visual inspection is not possible, such as in cases of installation using bore techniques or hard surfaces already reinstated. In these cases other methods will need to be used to demonstrate compliance to standards
- A copy of the completed VEDN Open Trench – Civil checklist must be provided to the electrical contractor and the Network Owner’s Project Manager.
Work completed by non-accredited civil contractors and not inspected as listed above will not be accepted by Network Owners and will either needs to be inspected as above or reinstalled by an accredited civil contractor.
A more rigorous auditing requirement means: that 100% of the civil works are visually inspected by the approved Network Auditor.
Prior to commencing work means: before any civil works are commenced.
Visually inspect means: the Network Auditor is able to see all the work that has been undertaken, materials installed, physically able to take measurements and take supporting photos.
For more information on this subject, contact the CCF Team on 1300 DIAL CCF.
More information on industry compliance is readily available to CCF Members via the CCF Member Portal.
Interested in becoming a member? CLICK HERE to apply.