By Cecil Lancaster, ECA(SA) Regional Director, Bosveld region

The tenth in a 13-part series that gets back to the basics …

Certificates of Compliance:

The ECA compiled this series of articles to clarify some misconceptions in the field, and to ensure that our members are better equipped to do their work, particularly when issuing CoCs.

In this part we will conclude the detailed discussion of the INSPECTION aspect of completion of the CoC.

The documents referred to are:

  • The Occupational Health and Safety Act, No 85 of 1993 (OHS Act).
  • The Electrical Installation Regulations of 2009 (EIR).
  • SANS 10142-1:2017, Edition 2.0:
    South African National Standard
    The wiring of premises
    Part 1: Low-voltage installations

All these documents are available in the public domain, the first two from our website http://ecasa.co.za at no cost to our members, and the other directly from the SABS or via our offices.

Part 10: The Test Report. Section 4 – Inspection and Tests – Part 3

From Item 7 onwards

Ensure that the primary and secondary circuits of isolation transformers, safety supplies, ELV and PELV, etc – for example, swimming pool underwater lights – are installed in such a manner that inadvertent contact between the two is prevented.

Refer to the note under for more clarity on the terminology:

When installing circuits of different voltages in the same wireway, separation can be facilitated by additional sheathing or screening. All conductors sharing a wireway must be insulated to at least the highest voltage expected to be present.

Where separation is required, unless there is sufficient space to keep them separate, barriers are required to facilitate separation.

Once you have satisfied yourself of compliance, enter ‘Yes’ into the appropriate space.

Ensure that every connection is mechanically sound. The only way to confirm this is to feel by lightly pulling on each connection. Take care to re-terminate any that may have come adrift while doing this.

Note that there is a specific requirement that the simple twisting together of conductor strands is not considered sufficiently reliable for the connection of earth continuity conductors.

Consider the merits or difference between simply twisting or hooking around and winding together, e.g. with pliers over a centimetre or so.

If you are satisfied that it will remain securely connected, insert ‘Yes’ in the appropriate space.

While busy at these terminations and connections, test each of them to confirm that they are, in fact, electrically continuous as well.

It is recommended to use the same instrument required for testing of the continuity of bonding:

Thus, open-circuit voltage of 4 V to 24 V and short-circuit current of 0.2 A. These requirements are generally not met by normal multimeters, but most Insulation Resistance Meters (traditionally referred to as a ‘Megger’) on the Ohm scale do meet requirements. Once you have satisfied yourself of compliance, enter ‘Yes’ in the appropriate space.

Confirm that everything is marked or identified clearly, permanently and legibly.

Double check every circuit to ensure that there are no incorrect labels, such as a light or pool on a circuit marked only as ‘Sockets’.

If there is a cascaded system, which you will only find in larger installations (like the orange floor-standing boards), make sure that you fully understand what this is about.

If unsure, consult an expert. Generally, the manufacturer of the switchboard or installed equipment will assist at no charge, otherwise the consultant on the project may help.

Once you are sure, enter ‘Yes’ in the appropriate space.

The fire barrier is the ‘nine inch’ or ‘double brick’ wall between the ceiling and roof (it reaches right up to the roof), as often found between a house and an attached garage, or between attached town houses in a complex are examples of a fire barrier. Its purpose is to prevent a fire from spreading between units.

It is not the duty of the electrician to decide whether and where fire barriers need to be provided, that decision is the responsibility of the architect and fire consultant/chief.

Ensure that where a fire barrier has been provided, any work done by your staff has not compromised its ability to contain the possible spreading of fires. Any openings in fire barriers larger than 13 000 mm2 (10 x 13 cm; half-brick) must be sealed. An opening smaller than that is not considered to be an undue risk.

Be especially aware in multi-storey buildings where the cables and other services are fed through a vertical shaft. Often, the floor DBs are installed in the same shaft. The openings in the floors between each level must be sealed to prevent the chimney-like propagation of fire up the shaft.

Be aware of other services that will use the same shaft after you and that someone may break through to install pipes, communication cables, aircon systems and the like. Remember that your CoC makes you the ‘policeman’, so it is in your best interests to go back and re-check as long as there are other contractors on site.

Once you are comfortable that you have complied, take photos of every possible such barrier as proof for your records, and only then enter ‘Yes’ in the appropriate space.

As with the fire barriers above, it is not the duty of the electrician to decide whether and what is to be installed, that belongs to the architect and fire consultant/chief.

Your responsibility is to ensure that any such equipment functions as intended, if installed.

Confirm its operation and especially in cases of battery backed-up lighting, that the standby time is still within specifications.

Once you have satisfied yourself of compliance, enter ‘Yes’ in the appropriate space.

In the case of new installations, there must be total compliance with all current legislation.

In such case you need to insert N/A (‘Yes’ would not be wrong) in the ‘existing’ column against 13 a), and ‘Yes’ in the ‘New/Altered’ column, and N/A in both columns against 13 b).

In the case of an existing installation (that would be one that existed prior to the publication of the last edition of the SANS 10142-1 (as at September 2018, the latest is Edition 2.0 published March 2017) it needs to be compliant with the basic safety principles of code, and be reasonably safe when properly used. The basic safety principles are contained in Clause 5 of the code.

In this case you need to insert ‘Yes’ in the ‘Existing’ column against 13 b), and N/A in the ‘New/Altered’ column and N/A in both columns against 13 a).

Consider carefully, and only when you are convinced that you are correct, complete the fields as set out above.

If there are no alternate supplies installed, such as standby generators, wind or solar systems, UPSs, inverters or similar, enter ‘N/A’ into the applicable space, and move on.

If it does include an alternative supply, read 7.12, then confirm that the connections, change-over switch and indicator comply with the requirements of the code by entering ‘Yes’ in the appropriate column.

For new installations, the installation of an earthing terminal as prescribed in sub-clause 6.11.5 is optional, but if installed, confirm that its location is indicated on the DB.

In existing installations, it may not be present and as it is not considered a fundamental safety item, you may enter ‘N/A’ in the relevant space.

If the label is present and correct, enter ‘Yes’ in the relevant space.

This will continue in Part 11 of the series, where the tests will be discussed.


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