Use of prototypes and displaying unapproved equipment in BC

Sometimes we receive questions about the application of codes and regulations for electrical or electronic prototypes and other user-made equipment used in a research environment or on display for sale.

The Safety Standards General Regulation (SSGR) permits the building and testing of prototypes prior to having approval (e.g.,CSA, cUL, Intertek, and more). However, there are some points to note in the SSGR S. 22. A review of Part 10 of the Safety Standards Act provides further clarification on permissions and prohibitions:

  • The operating permit holder and the named field safety representative for the establishment using or testing the equipment must request that the use of prototypes be added onto the terms and conditions of the permit.
  • The terms and conditions should outline the type of equipment under prototypes, location where it’s used, applications, testing involved, supervision, whether safety devices (such as spark detectors) are in place to ensure safe operation of these prototypes.

If an electronic or electrical device that is not a prototype is used for research under supervision, it must be approved. The device may currently  be under close supervision, however, over time, expectations may relax and safety may become compromised. The product will require approval as it is no longer a prototype. Contact any of the recognized inspection bodies listed in our bulletin to obtain approval.

To display any electrical or electronic equipment within the province, you must request permission from the local electrical authority having jurisdiction.

Certification or approval mark required for electrical equipment

21 (1) Subject to subsections (3) and (4), a person must not use electrical equipment in British Columbia, or offer for sale, sell, display or otherwise dispose of electrical equipment for use in British Columbia, unless the electrical equipment displays a label or mark as follows:

(a) a certification mark;

(b) a label or mark of a certification agency that is acceptable to the appropriate provincial safety manager to certify electrical equipment for a specific installation;

(c) an approval mark issued under section 10 of the Act;

(d) in the case of used manufactured homes, used factory-built structures and used recreational vehicles, a label supplied by the appropriate provincial safety manager.

(2) An approval mark under subsection (1) (c) signifies compliance with requirements in respect of fire and electrical shock hazards only.

(3) Electrical equipment that does not require approval under the B.C. Electrical Code does not require a label or mark.

(4) Electrical equipment that has not been approved under subsection (1) may (a) be displayed for not more than 14 days if the regulatory authority gives written permission to do so, or (b) be used by a utility in its capacity as a utility if a professional engineer has certified that the use of the equipment is safe.


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