WARNING: DO NOT SIGN CERTIFICATES OF COMPLIANCE FOR WORK YOU HAVE NOT DONE OR INSPECTED … IT’S ILLEGAL
The ECA(SA) recently received an enquiry from an electrical contractor (via the SAFEhouse Association) about a problem that – although illegal – has become common practice in the South African electrical contracting industry.
Electrical contractors who do this – wittingly or unwittingly – are putting their livelihoods and reputations on the line and could face legal repercussions if the proverbial paw-paw hits the fan.
The enquirer asked: Is it compulsory for electrical contractors to be members of ECA? Can’t one register his/her company with the Electrical Contracting Board (ECB) or just be an independent electrical contractor registered only with the Department of Labour?
Can’t the registration of electrical contracting companies be enforced through Health and Safety Consultants for projects like schools, clinics and so on?
We have a problem with people asking us to help them quote for jobs and provide them with our certificates and the next thing they use unqualified people to do the job and ask another electrician to issue the CoC for it.
Cecil Lancaster, Regional Director, Bosveld Region of the ECA(SA) responds: No, it is not a requirement for an electrical contractor to be a member of the ECA(SA), although we (the ECA) obviously recommend it and membership of the ECA(SA) is usually a pre-requisite for advice such as this.
Electrical contractors’ registration is no longer done by the ECB but by the Department of Labour (DoL). A contractor can register directly with the Department, however, the ECA offers a service to its members whereby we assist contractors with their registration at DoL.
It must be remembered that the registration of electrical contractors is prescribed by the Electrical Installation Regulations (EIR 2009).
- Design and construction
- (1) No person may authorise, design, install or permit or require the installation of an electrical installation, other than in accordance with a health and safety standard incorporated into these Regulations under section 44 of the Act.
Thus, no person – including owners, developers, consultants, Departments of Education, Public Works, Health, etc) may allow (permit or require) unregistered contractors to do such work.
- Electrical contractor
- (1) No person may do electrical installation work as an electrical contractor unless that person has been registered as an electrical contractor in terms of these regulations.
(2) Any person who does electrical installation work as an electrical contractor shall register annually in the form of Annexure 3 with the chief inspector or a person appointed by the chief inspector.
Sadly, the practice described by the enquirer is common, even though it is illegal see Regulation 5 (1) and 6 (1) above, and further in Regulation 4:
(4) A registered person shall exercise general control over all electrical installation work being carried out, and no person may allow such work without such control.
- Issuing of Certificate of Compliance
- (1) No person other than a registered person may issue a Certificate of Compliance.
(2) A registered person may issue a Certificate of Compliance accompanied by the required test report only after having satisfied himself or herself by means of an inspection and test that
(a) a new electrical installation complies with the provisions of regulation 5(1) and was carried out under his or her general control …
Members are warned against issuing Certificates of Compliance where someone else has done the work or inspections.
Regulation 5(4) is very clear that all installation work must be done under the general control of a registered person.
Regulation 9 (2) clearly prohibits the registered person from issuing a Certificate of Compliance unless he or she has satisfied himself or herself by means of an inspection and tests that it complies accordingly.
Regulations 9(2)(a) and 9(2)(c)(ii) require the registered person to confirm that he or she has exercised general of this particular installation.
Signing a Certificate of Compliance means that you confirm the above, and thereby forfeit any option of “he said” if you have not done so yourself, and you could be prosecuted for any transgressions that may be found in that installation. There is no way out!
More info: Cecil Lancaster on +27 12342 3242