What Are The Rules around DIY More Cabling through an Existing Conduit?

So I've got an existing electrical conduit for CAT6 cabling for some POE cameras that goes through a brick wall from our garage to the outside.
I'm thinking of adding an additional CAT6 cable via the existing conduit for an extra camera on the outside.
I know that normally it is considered illegal to do your own "permanent" cabling, however is this still the case when all I'm doing is adding a cable in an existing conduit?

Based in VIC by the way.


  • -2

    The law you’re referring to is for electrical cabling not networks. Go nuts.

    • I see your point, but wouldn’t PoE be electrical cabling?

      • +1

        The PoE is from a plug pack you put into a power point, isn;’t it? So by definition not power.

    • +6

      Networking cabling falls under similar rules. It's free reign until you have cabling entering walls and then it's technically licenced cabled required.

      Absolutely dumb laws that I personally don't follow, but they exist.


      • Those regulations only apply to fixed connections to the AUSTEL regulated network, the NBN/PSTN.

        Nearly everyone has an NBN device where the NBN terminates in their home, then runs a cable from it. If it is after the physical NBN hand off, AUSTEL cable rules are not applicable, as you are just plugging it in, not hard wiring it.

        • +6

          Consensus from my understanding, others below, and many many posts on whirlpool etc, is that in Australia (unfortunately) it's regardless of its connection location.

          Fixed network cabling within walls is covered by the legislation and technically requires a licenced cabler to install.

          I've never found any references or legal/legislation links to invalidate that understanding.

      • Right, so technically the existing conduit going through the wall is under that “licensed cabler” category

        • +4

          I'm a registered cabler.
          If you run pre-terminated cat6 cable through a conduit that only has other network cable it's fine for you to do it.
          Doesn't matter if it is Poe.
          Just can't run in the same conduit as electrical cable.
          You can't terminate cables legally.

    • The law you’re referring to is for electrical cabling not networks. Go nuts.

      Errr it covers 'data' cabling as well.

  • +1

    Whirlpool has a wiki page detailing this perfectly.

    • That page is about connections to the public telephone network.
      I nearly commented above, that as long as you aren’t tapping directly into the NBN, but OP gave no indication they are.

      You can cable as you wish in your house if it isn’t fixed electrical, or cabling to the NBN/PSTN.
      If you connect a router/switch to the NBN/PSTN and permanent cables within your house connecting to that, you can do what you want.

      • That page is about connections to the public telephone network

        Pretty sure the rules cover any rj45 or rj12 terminationa due to the 'potential' for it to be connected to external facing infrastructure (even accidentally etc)

        (As above, I don't agree with such laws )

        • I’ll accept the rules might have changed about “potential” to connect to the public network, but it has been previously 100% about networks connected to the public network - the vast bulk of LAN cabling in Australia would be not permanently connected to the public network, as until the NBN you had to have a device to connect a LAN to the PSTN.

        • I work in the field and I don't agree with it either. The potential for anything to go catastrophically wrong is so miniscule compared to electrical installations.

      • My understanding is you can not install fixed ethernet cabling in your home unless it's external patch cabling. For anything that is internal like in wall or roof cabling you require a licensed technician to install.

        I'm a telecommunications technician that mainly works at the exchange end and that was what I remembered from our structured cabling course.

        • Not disagreeing that this is true for connections to the public network, but unconnected networks have not previously been regulated. This may have changed post PSTN, but the Whirlpool thread above also assumes patching into the public network, but most people terminate their NBN where it enters the premises, then plug the rest of their network into a device, so by definition not permanently connected.

    • Thanks. I’ve read through the wiki and I’m not sure I’m finding the section that details this situation? Would you be able to enlighten me on this? Perhaps I’m just a little blind.

  • however is this still the case when all I'm doing is adding a cable in an existing conduit?

    Yes, it is.

    You can run pre terminated cabling around skirting etc but that's about the extent of it. Of course it's not policed and any problems you're likely to experience will only effect yourself. Keep in mind if you do it anyway and you get someone in to do future electrical work or NBN repairs etc and they notice, they could make trouble for you if they wanted to.

  • +2

    After the comments above that suggest you need an AUSTEL licence to cable, I went and looked at the legislation in case there were changes that mean I was wrong:

    I’m not a lawyer, but all the references to cabling read to me to apply to cables to be connected tot he NBN/public network or cables being installed in a new build house to be connected to the NBN in future. I’d be interested in understanding if I have missed something.

    The reason this seems straight forward to me is because every office in the country was cabled by the IT guy to network all the computers together in the 1990s and 2000s, and these networks were not hard wired to the public telecoms network, and had no requirement to be AUSTEL approved or installed by licensed cablers (though sometimes they were).

    That doesn’t mean the law hasn’t changed, but I can’t see anywhere that implies it has, except a couple of media articles and ‘how to’ web pages that talk about wiring up your home to the NBN and saying cabling must be installed by a licensed cabler without actually saying why they think that.

    I guess my conclusion is, the law is very clear you need a cabler to connect to the public network. I don’t think the OPs use of running a cable for a security cam has anything to do with this, so I don’t think think it needs AUSTEL cabling (or electrician cabling, as it isn’t fixed power wiring).

    • +4

      I kept looking, and this definition of cabling does say cabling work that is in a wall cavity is subject to regulation, so it looks like it has changed (8 years ago, so I am up with the times, not), and it is against the law to do cabling work in a wall cavity in the circumstances OP is contemplating.

      I guess my only remaining question is whether cabling work is only applicable to people doing the work as a business, and if it applies to individuals too.
      Lots of laws apply to businesses, but not private people - I can’t work as a hairdresser without a license, but I can cut my kids hair.

      • +1

        Thanks for doing the work and following up with another post @mskeggs
        My understanding was based on third party sources only so I am by no means an authority.

      • +1

        Thanks @mskeggs for looking through this for us!

  • +5

    If it's network cables only, just do it. No one cares and there is no danger.

  • +4

    Australia is the only English speaking country in the world that doesn't trust people to change a light bulb, run Ethernet cables through a wall cavity, change water taps, change smoke alarm batteries, etc, without paying tradies $100 p/h for a part that cost $8.

    Well done for protecting consumers.

    • -1

      The joy of unions, and politicians sucking up to them.

    • +3

      I have this sentiment occasionally as well. I grew up using UK plugs, and got taught at school how to wire it up yourself because you have to be able to disassemble the plug partially (some don’t require that these days) to replace a blown fuse.
      Here in Australia, it’s illegal to even open it up!

  • In reference to 'fixed cabling' -

    I believe that it's not just the AUSTEL/NBN issues that forces a licencing requirement; it's also the fact that you have the 'potential' for new/existing/DIY cabling (ethernet or 240v) to cause interference with each other, up to and including the ability for ethernet to easily carry 240v from a shorted cable and kill you when you go to plug in a network cable. Induced voltages from running cables too close is also an issue but nobody ever thinks about that.

    Reminds me about a policeman who was 'assisting' with a fallen powerline from a tree; he was trying to be helpful by dragging the Austar cable away but got yelled at by the linesmen, as the 20kV lines 'don't care what kind of cable it is! It'll kill you just the same!'

    He went rather quiet after that comment.

    • not sure how a shorted ethernet could give you 240V? I’d like to learn how if possible, would definitely think twice if so.
      also with interference, isn’t it why RJ45s are twisted pair? mitigates interference?

      • +1

        If, say, a 240v cable gets hot and melts without burning your fuse (e.g. running lots of loads will increase your wiring temps without a fault), it's liable to melt through any other cables nearby like a DIY ethernet cable that you've put ontop while running it through your roof. Thus you get exposed 240v in any other connected cables, which now includes the melted ethernet cable and any connected devices (which creates your route to ground).

        Usually, you'll fry your NIC in your PC but you don't know why the network died. Loose cable maybe? You jiggle, then remove and clean the RJ45 contacts with your finger - zap.

        The twisted pair helps with transient noise and EM interference/radio waves etc, but if you've got a set of parallel wires (say 10m in your roof) then the two wires then act like a long, unwound transformer. The closer together the more easily the voltage is induced - which is induced in both sides of a pair simultaneously, yes, but at high enough voltages that you can also burn out equipment on each end without knowing why. Same as above, where a device then becomes a ground source so the NIC is receiving a 100MHz signal as well as a 50Hz 'signal' (i.e. an AC voltage).

        • right, but if there is an existing conduit with ethernet, doesn’t sound like adding an ethernet cable through the same conduit would cause any trouble with regards to shorting, if the previous electrician had done their job.

          With induction, wouldn’t there need to be significant voltages? Understand that surge from say lightning could be a possibility, but normal op would be up to 48V over PoE to my knowledge. Wouldn't induction be very limited?

          • -1

            @omnoms: There's no guarantee the cable isn't in a less-than-pristine condition halfway along the conduit or something..
            If something were to go amiss at some point in the future and it was found an unlicensed individual installed it, I imagine it wouldn't be covered by insurance.

          • @omnoms: In your context, I'd have no issues adding another cat6 cable - even DIY. The fact that it's in conduit is a good indication the existing cabling will be up to spec and properly distanced etc - any insurance inspector wouldn't be able to identify another additional cable that's not officially 'licenced' so to speak.

            Still technically 'illegal', but minimal risk; to answer your original question.

            • @Switchblade88: Out of interest, is cat6 cable meant to be routed through conduit in a house (under floor or through roof space)?

  • -2

    Everyone who said RJ45 to refer to a non-registered jack used for computer networking should be ignored.

    • +1

      Thankyou for your stellar contribution to this discussion.

      It's a pity that your mind is as narrow as your definition

      • Am I wrong?

        • If you go to search for something on the internet, people understand you if you say you're 'googling' it.

          RJ45 is already a narrow enough descriptor that everyone with a cursory understanding of networking knows exactly what is being referred to. There is no need to dismiss others because you are pedantic.

          • @Switchblade88: We are talking about legislation that includes differences between connections to public networks and not.

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