FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT ELECTRICAL CERTIFICATES OF COMPLIANCE – AND THE ANSWERS
The most frequently asked questions received by the ECA are from homeowners and centre around the electrical Certificates of Compliance: How long is a CoC valid for? Who can issue a CoC? How long does it take for an electrical contractor to inspect and test an installation, and what would it cost? Do I need a CoC when I do alterations to the electrical system in my house? And, how do I know if an electrical contractor is registered? To assist homeowners, the ECA has compiled a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) and answers about the electrical Certificate of Compliance.
How long is an electrical Certificate of Compliance (CoC) valid for?
No mention is made in legislation regarding the expiry or lapse of the CoC; it remains valid for what it has been issued for. Confusion arises due to the Electrical Installation regulations stating in Regulation 7(5) Subject to the provisions of section 10(4) of the Act, the user or lessor may not allow a change of ownership if the certificate of compliance is older than two years. A CoC remains valid for the lifetime of an installation but excludes maintenance items, and if any alterations have been done to the electrical installation, the owner/lessor must obtain a supplementary CoC according to clause 7(4) which states: Where any addition or alteration has been effected to an electrical installation for which a certificate of compliance was previously issued, the user or lessor of such electrical installation shall obtain a certificate of compliance for at least the addition or alteration.
Who can issue a Certificate of Compliance?
Only a Registered Person, employed by/on behalf of a registered electrical contractor may issue a CoC after he/she has inspected and tested the electrical installation and found it to be reasonably safe. If any fault or defect is detected in any part of the electrical installation, the Registered Person must refuse to issue a CoC until that fault or defect has been rectified. Any CoC that has been fraudulently issued by an unregistered electrician is illegal and invalid and could endanger the lives of people and pets and damage or destroy property.
How long does it take for an electrical contractor to inspect and test a property in order to issue a CoC; and what would be a reasonable cost for obtaining a CoC ?
This can take anything between two and three hours. Be wary if an ‘electrical contractor’ issues a CoC in 30 minutes. Be very suspicious of street pole advertising that offers CoCs for R700 or less. Remember, you get what you pay for! Depending on the location, condition and size of an installation, a legal CoC would cost between R1 500 to R5 000 or more. It’s worth it!
Do I need a CoC when I do alterations to the electrical system on my property?
Yes. A CoC must be issued when any alterations are done to an electrical installation. For example, if traditional lighting is replaced by downlights, the electrical contractor must ensure that a valid CoC is issued for that work. Where any addition or alteration has been done to an electrical installation for which a CoC has already been issued, the user or lessor of that electrical installation must get a supplementary CoC for the addition or alteration. Both CoCs must be kept together in a safe place.
How do I know if an electrical contractor is registered?
If the electrical contractor is an ECA member, he/she is certainly registered because it is a condition of membership. If an electrical contractor is not a member of the ECA, it is best to ask to see his/her registration certificate from the Department of Labour. If there is any doubt about the registration, take note of the registration number and contact the Department of Labour to verify that the electrical contractor is indeed registered.
Contact the Department of Labour in Pretoria on (012) 309 4000 or in Alberton on (011) 861 6130.
The most important thing to remember is that while not all registered electrical contractors are members of the ECA, all ECA members are registered electrical contractors.
For more information, contact the ECA(SA) in your region or go to www.ecasa.co.za