NESMA’s future-focused leader in clean, green South Australia sees generational change arriving with AS/NZS 61439

Anthony Spadavecchia, right, with Jarrad Pangrazio from JP Solar after BE Switchcraft turned its own roof into a solar power station. Over 18 months, BE Switchcraft installed 200 kW of solar panels to reduce its own energy consumption from the grid and decrease daily consumption from 140 kW to just 40 kW per day.

A NESMA leader at the forefront of custom-fabricated electrical switchboard technology says the new AS/NZS 61439 Standard Update is the biggest and most important change in the low voltage switchboard design and manufacturing industry for more than 20 years.

Compliance with the new Standards – and widespread support and education through NESMA about their importance – is critical at a time when managing energy is becoming more important than it has ever been before, says South Australia’s Anthony Spadavecchia, who is Managing Director of BE Switchcraft, which has been designing and manufacturing switchboards for over 50 years.

BE Switchcraft has, for more than 50 years, been a future-focused contributor to the advanced industrial fabric of South Australia, sharpening its technology capabilities as the State has progressively emerged as a world-leader in energy sustainability and green energy, with around 71 per cent of the State’s energy now produced from renewable sources. SA is now using its expertise to help other nations kick green energy goals, drawing on the skills, resources and leadership of companies such as BE Switchcraft.

Advanced energy management projects in which BE Switchcraft has been involved include SAHMRI, which is South Australia’s flagship independent not-for-profit health and medical research institute


Maintaining its future commitment, in 2019, BE Switchcraft moved into purpose-built premises at Royal Park where the company produces advanced technologies including energy management systems and lighting and room control systems that are saving their client’s money and protecting the environment. Practising what it preaches about sustainability, the company has turned its own new rooftop into a solar power farm that cuts its own power consumption by more than two-thirds.

“Managing energy has never been more important than it is today, which is why, through our energy management systems, we deliver building owners valuable data that can help them to make decisions that can deliver substantially reduced costs with increased sustainability. Our lighting control and building automation proactively monitor and manage consumption,” says Mr Spadavecchia, who graduated in Software and Electrical Engineering at the university of South Australia before a career with global leaders in energy and automation digital solutions for efficiency and sustainability. He took over as Managing Director of BE Switchcraft in 2017.

New Standard

“BE Switchcraft’s commitment to quality, compliance and innovation in switchboards has become part of the fabric of many of our most innovative buildings, from health to major industrial and commercial premises. We’ve also developed and retained a wealth of talented and experienced people, passionate about quality outcomes, which is why the introduction of AS/NZS 61439 is so important to all of us here and to our industry.”

“AS/NZS 61439 is a generational change, which really brings Australasia into line with world-best practice and IEC standards of safety, compliance, testing and sustainability. This is happening a time of momentous change in technology and needs when quality assurance and traceability has never been more important.”

“As the new Standard is increasingly written into contract specifications, starting from the time of its introduction last year, it is up to us as members of NESMA to demonstrate that we as low voltage switchgear manufacturers promote and adhere to the new Standards expected of us across the board.”

The new Standard applies to low-voltage switchgear and control gear assemblies, as well as to assemblies intended for use in connection with the generation, transmission, distribution and conversion of electric energy and for the control of electric energy consuming equipment.”

“We have had five years to prepare for this. Leading manufacturers have seen this change for what it is, a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate their leadership and equip ourselves for the future. Others may be willing, but a little unsure about what it all means and how to implement it. These are some of the companies NESMA needs to lead, because the changes are broad in scope and essential in their range of applications.

“This important new Standard isn’t an opt-in or opt-out choice – it is a defining commitment to quality, compliance and testing which companies ongoing must adhere to if they are to function responsibly, ethically and successfully. Our role in NESMA is to create a clear understanding of the benefits and to help all members achieve them, in the interests of our own industry’s quality and compliance standards and a visible commitment to our customers that we embrace quality principles and practice.”