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

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

Certificates of Compliance: Because questions and arguments regarding the Certificate of Compliance for Electrical Installations (CoC) remains one of the most frequent subjects of enquiries, we have prepared this series of articles in which we endeavour to clarify the requirements strictly in terms of the legal requirements.

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:
    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 7: The Test Report. Section 3 – Description of installation covered by this report

How to complete Section 3

The next part we need to consider in this series is how to complete installation related details:

Here, insert a concise description of the installation work covered by this Test Report.

This is also where you list any attached documents, if applicable.

Bear in mind that section 3 defines your responsibility in terms of this document, as referred to severally in the same document.

Firstly, in the notes at the top of the Test Report and Section 5 – Responsibility:

This is then repeated seven more times on the same page, noting explicitly that the liability of the signatory is limited to the contents described in this section 3.

Considering this, we trust that Registered Persons will understand and take to heart the importance of ensuring that this document is completed accurately.

Examples of such a description could be:

  • “New two-bedroomed house with single bathroom, combined lounge -dining room, kitchen and unwired carport only. No motors, borehole, pool, antenna or dish.”
  • “Test and inspection only of existing four bedroomed house, two bathrooms, passage, two lounges, kitchen, laundry and dining room, front and back porches both with one light and socket, detached double garage with two rooms and bathroom, two garage door motors and gate motor, pool and satellite dish.”
  • “Installation and connection of new 12 000 Btu air conditioner in main bedroom only. (Make model xxxx, serial no yyyy)”
  • “Disconnection and reconnection of hot water cylinder above main bathroom only. (Make 150 l, Model ====, serial no ++++) “
  • Or similar.

More importantly, the quantification and layout of the installation:

This is actually the easiest part and for that reason it’s the part that’s the easiest to make a mistake in because of reduced concentration.

It is also the most important part to get 100% right. A tiny error, like using the wrong line or column, or inserting an incorrect number, can cause the complete certificate to be disputed and invalidated.

It quite often happens that the report indicates something like two lighting points distributed over 17 lighting circuits! Such a document is obviously the result of an inadvertent administrative error, but nevertheless renders the document contestable and potentially invalid.

Further note that the left set of columns are for use relative to an existing installation, or the existing portion of a compound installation. The righthand set is for use relative to new, altered and temporary installations, or portions.

Thus, if you are issuing a CoC for an existing installation, test and inspection only, you will insert values into the left set of columns, cancelling the righthand set to prevent others from adding items later.

Likewise, if it is a CoC for the same existing installation, this time you have added one socket to one circuit in the garage, you will capture the existing part as previously, but will add under the ‘New/Altered’ column that you have altered one circuit, adding one socket.

In the event of it being a completely new installation, you do the opposite.

Always remember to cancel any unused spaces to prevent changes being made afterwards.

This can be done in several ways: by inserting N/A (as above), or dashes (as below), or crossing out with diagonal lines, as long as the intent is clear.

Please ensure that all relevant items are completed correctly.

Just to completely CYA; it is also good to add some information regarding connected appliances, a bit further down the sheet;

Recording the model and serial number of the equipment that you’ve certified may just help you to get out of trouble if the new owner’s buddy connects a new stove for him, and then tries to pin the death of his mother-in-law on you!

The next item that causes some confusion is the earth-leakage.

The question here is whether the whole installation is protected by earth leakage, or only the socket?.

If all of the installation is so protected, insert ‘Yes’ next to ‘Main switch’, and ‘No’ or ‘N/A’ on the next line:

In cases where only part of the installation is protected by earth leakage, insert ‘No’ next to ‘Main switch’and ‘Yes’ for ‘Socket outlets only’. If there are more items connected under the earth leakage, note them as such. If it gets too complicated, attach a diagram and refer to it.

Refer to SANS 10142-1. Sub-clause 6.7.5 regarding the requirements for earth leakage protection:

6.7.5 Earth leakage protection Except as allowed in and, non-auto-reclosing earth leakage protection shall be provided

  1. a) in a new installation for circuits that supply SANS 164-1 or SANS 164-2 type socket-outlets,
  2. b) in an existing installation for all the circuits that supply socket outlets when any such circuit or circuits are rewired or extended.

NOTE: It is recommended that earth leakage protection be installed in all circuits that supply socket-outlets in an existing installation.

In summary; all newly installed socket outlets (including welding sockets, see must be earth leakage protected.

There are a few exceptions such as dedicated sockets, but this remains subject to stringent conditions.

For existing installations, it is recommended that all sockets be earth leakage protected. As it is a recommendation, you may be able to get away without doing so, but we do not recommend it. It is just so much safer and sensible to follow the recommendation and install it.

In Part 8 we will look at Section 4 – INSPECTION AND TESTS.

About the Author

Cecil Lancster, the ECA(SA) Regional Director for the Bosveld region, is a Registered Engineering Technician and holds an NHDip (Electrotechnical Engineering – heavy current); Installation Electrician (IE); and Master Installation Electrician (MIE). He is a member of the SA Institute of Electrical Engineers (MSAIEE); and member of the Chamber of Engineering Technicians (MCET). He is also an assessor for the Electrical Skills Education Training Authority (ESETA) and serves on some 20 SABS technical committees and workgroups and other committees and associations.

Cecil joined the ECA(SA) as an ordinary member in 1986, and as an employee in 2002, when he was appointed Regional Director of the Bosveld (Pretoria) region. Cecil is the Technical Advisor and Secretary for the ECA(SA) National Technical Committee and serves on most of the ECA(SA)’s National Committees. 

Email:              infopta@ecasa.co.za


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