How valid is your electrical CoC?

One of the most common complaints heard by HouseCheck inspectors is that the electrical compliance certificate issued at the time of transfer “is not worth the paper it is written on”.

John Graham, CEO of HouseCheck explains that after 1994 the Department of Labour introduced sweeping internal management changes, which greatly reduced the effectiveness of the government’s internal inspectorates.  At the same time the municipal authorities also downgraded their inspectorates. 

Basically this left the electrical contracting industry, to regulate itself, in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Act No 85 of 1993 and meant that, practically speaking, there was no-one to effectively police the lucrative electrical compliance industry.

It didn’t take too long for the authorities to realize that the electrical contracting industry was unable to regulate its own activities satisfactorily.  Bakkie electricians and downright fraudulent certificates of compliance (CoC) proliferated – as many an unhappy house owner discovered to his cost. 

While reputable electricians continued to do a good job and properly test circuits for earthing and other aspects of compliance, many a bakkie electrician took the route of the fast buck and maybe also a bribe.

As a result of this lack of policing of the electrical contracting industry, the Department of Labour then piloted the establishment of privately owned “Approved Inspection Authorities” (AIA) in 2009.  These approved authorities were empowered to investigate incidents and complaints in terms of the provisions of the Electrical Installation Regulations (2009).

The AIA’s in the various provinces are officially authorised to help the public by uncovering dangerous and illegal electrical work.  These authorities are also able to audit CoC’s and to verify compliance of new electrical installation work performed by electrical contractors.

While the initial investigation by the AIA is for the account of the home owner commissioning their services, if problems are discovered then the AIA can force the guilty electrical contractor to “make good” at his own cost.  If fraudulently issued CoC’s are discovered, then criminal prosecution is on the cards for the offending electrician.

Only an AIA accredited by the Department of Labour should be used to verify any electrical installation work or to audit a suspect CoC.   If you think you may have a problem with your electrical installation or CoC then Google “Approved Inspection Authority” to get the contact details for the closest AIA to you.

While HouseCheck home inspectors are not licensed electricians and do not issue electrical CoC’s,  HouseCheck inspectors do receive basic training in all aspects of compliance and will bring to the  client’s attention non-compliant aspects of the electrical installation which have been observed by the HouseCheck inspector during the home inspection.

 John Graham john@housecheck.co.za

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