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Peter Vandenheuvel

Our birthday Standards Heroes have been nominated by their peers to represent all our contributors - individuals we consider to be the real heroes of standards, in Australia and internationally. We thank those who contribute their knowledge and expertise, service, and time to Standards Australia for the benefit of the Australian community.  

Peter Vandenheuvel has been a part of the electrotechnology industry for 60 years, with an extensive and well-respected list of achievements to his name. He has had a close affiliation with AS/NZS 3000, commonly known as ‘the Wiring Rules’. Peter currently sits on Standards Australia committees EL-001 Wiring Rules, EL-006 Industrial Switchgear and Controlgear, as well as EL-001-05 South Australia Subcommittee.        

How did you become involved in standards development? 

Having had close involvement with the electrotechnology industry for 60 years; with the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA) for 30 years, including as its National President for four years, and South Australia State President for seven years.  

I saw a great opportunity to help guide the industry and its people in ensuring the standard AS/NZS3000 “The Wiring Rules” and its many companion documents were always as relevant as possible to them ‘at the coal face’ in terms of understandability, practicality, and commerciality.      

What role have standards played in your career?   

They’ve played a role in my many different positions and their associated responsibilities. From Apprentice to MD in leading Australia wide enterprises in Electrical Installation and Switchboard Manufacturing.  

The many standards have not just been the roadmap for ensuring compliance with the works delivered but have also made me conscious of the need for the works to be carried out safely so that workplace injuries are eliminated, and customer and public safety are protected at all times.

What is a project you’ve been particularly proud to have helped deliver? 

Joining the standards committee EL-001, one of the larger standards committees, in the early 1990s was itself one of my proudest standards achievements; because this not only involved AS/NZS 3000 “The Wiring Rules”, but it also includes the many other standards referenced within that document.  

The work encompassed major revisions following publication of the 1991 Edition, for example the 2000, 2007 and 2018 editions with their introduction of many emerging technologies. This required the revisions to, and harmonisation with, many associated standards.  

There were also substantial works on EL-006 Industrial Switchgear and controlgear projects for AS/NZS3439, Low-voltage switchgear and controlgear assemblies, and consequently the transition to the new switchboards standard AS/NZS61439, Low-voltage switchgear and controlgear assemblies.

Outside of standards development, what have been some highlights of your career? 

Starting out as a fifteen-year-old apprentice and retiring as the Managing Director of a large, respected Australia-recognised company must rate highly. It shows the career potential our industry offers.  

Other highlights could include:  

  • Election as National President of NECA for four years
  • Winning the SA Australian Institute of Management Medal (AIM) in 1989
  • Recognition as ‘Fellow’ of AIM
  • Third party accreditation as a ‘first-four’ Australian organisation to Quality Standard ISO 9001
  • Award of the one-off Australian defence project as the only company in Australia considered capable of undertaking the critical Collins Class Submarine Main and Propulsion Switchgear
  • As well as landmark projects in most states.

What do you think the future of standardisation looks like? 

The introduction of more-technically backgrounded Standards staff support to expedite development and adaptation that will keep the Standards ‘ahead of the game’.

Adoption and adaptation of more world-wide Standards. More streamlined standard development and revision processes, procedures and supporting software, all accessible to committee members.

Direct seamless interaction with mobile devices, 2D and 3D ‘walk-thru’ features; but ensuring there is no conflict in the information across mediums.  

Is there anything you’d like to say or mention about Standards Australia’s centenary year? 

Congratulations to Standards Australia. Over the 100 years, for a small country like Australia, it has served us well.