CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE SERIES – PART 8
Certificates of Compliance:
Because of all the questions and the arguments regarding the Certificate of Compliance (CoC) for Electrical Installations, the ECA has 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:
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 8: The Test Report. Section 4 – Inspection and Tests
How to complete Section 4
The ECA(SA) has compiled this series of articles to clarify some misconceptions out 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 begin with the introduction to section 4, and discuss in detail the INSPECTION aspect when completing the CoC.
NB: Please remember that a copy of the ‘Tests’ portion must be completed for every distribution board, as well as for every supply, as per Sub-clause 8.6.1 …
… as well as the reminder at the top of section 4 of the test report.
The reason for this is that virtually all readings will differ from those at the main DB, mostly due to an increase in conductor length from the source. It also serves to confirm continuity of earthing conductors, operation of protection devices, voltages, etc. Obviously, different sources such as mains, a generator and/or an inverter will each have different characteristics, and all readings will differ according to the source in use at that instant.
You may make your own reproduction, or photocopy of the original, or make use of the additional test sheets the ECA has made available for this purpose. (three of these are on one A4 sheet).
In instances where there are only one or two minor sub DBs with only a few circuits each, such as in the outbuildings at a house, simply duplicating the ‘Tests’ portion as below and recoding the numbers of points and circuits under the sub-DB columns of section 3 may suffice.
Towards better clarity where the installation is more complex, and to mitigate the possibility of confusion, we recommend that the registered electrician rather complete a copy of sections 3 and 4 for each sub-DB, or as below:
Proceeding to the actual completion of the Sections 3 and 4:
Detailed instructions can be found under Clause 8.6 in SANS 10142-1. The first few sub-clauses have already been discussed; we now move on to sub-clause 8.5: INSPECTION.
Inspection is generally done before a new installation is energised for the first time, and an existing installation should be isolated to ensure safety prior to the inspection being carried out.
Please remember to make arrangements with any tenants before switching off the supply, or doing tests that may cause interruptions.
The instructions are to confirm compliance, and to confirm that equipment has not been damaged to the extent that it may constitute a risk.
The inspection has to be done according to the table, and the results confirmed by entering ‘Yes’ in the appropriate bock in the Test Report. You may not answer ‘No’ to any item, but there are a few for which ‘Not applicable’ may be acceptable (so ‘N/A’ would be acceptable in such cases).
Sub-clause 8.5.3 prescribes that the inspection be carried out according to the provided schedule of statements, and each of these statements be confirmed as correct, as follows:
Please ensure that for new, altered or temporary installations, all results are entered into the right-hand column, and where it is an existing installation, into the left-hand column.
- The first statement states that accessible components are correctly selected. In order to confirm this, we need to consider a few aspects:
Accessible: The definition is on page 32 of the code, definition 3.2
Thus, consider this for every component that forms part of the electrical installation and can be reasonably accessed without dismantling the structure (such as roofing sheets, brickwork, dry walling etc), and that components were correctly selected in terms of the following criteria:
- Maximum overcurrent expected.
- Maximum fault current expected.
- Maximum operating Voltage.
- Temperature rating.
- Protection for area of use (IP Rating: refer to Table G.1 on page 317 of the code).
For a new installation, all must be confirmed, and only then can ‘Yes’ be entered in the right-hand column against that line.
In the event of an existing installation, that information may no longer be available for components that have been discontinued and such, and the decision would have been made by the installer at the time and can be assumed compliant. In such instances an entry of ‘Not applicable’ can be entered against the line by entering ‘N/A’ into the ‘existing’ column.
In the event that you are familiar with the components and confident that all of them satisfy the requirement, enter ‘Yes’.
- The second statement requires that all protective devices be suitably rated to ensure adequate protection of components.
Ensure that all circuit breakers are of an Amp rating to protect components connected thereto against overcurrent. For conductors, cables and such equipment, the rating shall not exceed the maximum rating thereof. The exception to this rule is socket outlets, in which case the rating of the protection may exceed the rating of the connected socket by 25%, for example, a 16 Amp socket outlet may be protected by a 20 Amp circuit breaker. 6 Amp sockets for lighting may also be protected to 20 Amps.
Also note that it is permissible to connect over-current protection at any point in the circuit.
Also ensure that it is suitable for the operating voltage, and maximum expected fault current.
In this instance the acceptable answer for both existing and new installations can only be ‘Yes’.
If your findings make the statement true, enter ‘Yes’ against this item in the appropriate column.
First, determine the prospective short-circuit current (PSCC), also referred to as maximum fault current or fault level expected in this DB. It should be recorded in section 2 on page 2 of this document:
If this is the only DB in this installation, you can use this value, however if it is a more substantial installation with more DB’s the value for this specific DB will be determined and recorded in test 5 of Section 4 below: You may need to skip this entry for now and come back to it after completing said item.
Confirm that the short circuit withstand rating of all equipment in the distribution board exceeds the PSCC, so that it can protect against the worst short-circuit fault that can occur there.
These withstand ratings are marked on the equipment.
The PSCC will be the same throughout the board, and all equipment should have at least the same kA withstand rating (PSCC). In the event that there is equipment of differing kA ratings in the same DB, it may be cause for suspicion. Try and understand why this is so. It may be acceptable in some instances, for example where a 3 kA circuit breaker was not readily available, and a 6kA (oversized) unit was available and thus installed instead, or where cascading is implemented. If unsure, consult an expert.
If you are satisfied, enter ‘Yes’ in the appropriate block.
This one is complementary to 2 above.
In 2 we confirmed that the protection is suitable for the components (including conductors) and now we need to confirm that the conductors are rated to supply the load (more for new installations) and is suitably protected by the protective devices.
It is also emphasised that the voltage rating, voltage drop and short-circuit capacity also have to be considered and confirmed.
If you are confident that the installation is compliant on this item, insert ‘Yes’ into the appropriate block.
Consider that every component that forms part of the electrical installation has been installed correctly in terms of the manufacturer’s instructions, in terms of:
- Orientation, some items have to be installed with a specific side up, others may be correct upside-down or sideways.
- Temperature range expected: think about, for example, transmission towers in snowy areas and components installed inside freezers or ovens,
- Protection for area of use (IP Rating: refer to Table G.1 on page 317 of the code)
For a new installation, all must be confirmed, and only then can ‘Yes’ be entered in the right hand-column against that line.
If it is an existing installation, that information may no longer be available, for example if components have been discontinued, and the decision would have been made by the installer at the time and can be assumed compliant. In such instances an entry of ‘Not applicable’ can be entered against the line by entering ‘N/A’ into the ‘existing’ column.
In the event that you are familiar with the components and confident that all of them satisfies the requirement, and you are satisfied with access as set out below, you can enter ‘Yes’.
Furthermore, ensure that there is reasonable access to operating levers, buttons, handles etc. and any parts that may require maintenance or setting/re-setting. Consider how often the user may need access, and then whether it would be required to move something away or bring something to stand on. If it is expected to require access infrequently, it may not be unreasonable if the user needs to stand on a chair or such.
In Part 9, we will attend to the second part of the inspections and then discuss the tests.