The Certificate of Compliance (CoC) is just a one page legal document. The remaining information you receive from your electrical contracting company is what is known as a ‘test report’ and can include wiring diagrams and photos. The test report is designed to be a concise record of the work done as well as the inspection and tests on your property that ensure it is safe and compliant with the standards.
Under the law, the electrician you hire is responsible for your electrical installation by issuing a CoC. The CoC should have a unique number to allow it to be traced. Your electrician must also be registered as an electrical contractor (see more below). By law, an electrical contractor registers themselves yearly keep track of who is selling their services. This process creates a chain of responsibility to monitor and audit work done in the industry.
The CoC issued to your for your property is known as an Initial CoC and is intended to cover the entire property. Additions or alterations are called Supplemental CoCs. Annexures are issued with your test report that include all tests specific to your property the electrician could not fit on the one page test report document that comes with the CoC. Please see the list of annexure pages the ECB has created to assist electricians here – ECB Annex Pages >>
THE USER OR LESSOR OF THE ELECTRICAL INSTALLATION IS RESPONSIBLE
The law doesn’t say that the property owner is responsible for the safety, safe use and maintenance of the electrical installation. It is the person how is using the property or the person who rents it out. This could mean you are responsible and are unaware.
Often you will find a rental agreement transfers this responsibility to the person/company renting the property which often occurs without the certificate of compliance being shown or agreed in advance. We advice that at all times you insist you have seen a valid certificate for the property you are renting and that you only take responsibility for this certificate if the property owner or rental company validate the CoC issued.
YOU MUST HAVE A CoC FOR YOUR PROPERTY AT ALL TIMES
The law is very clear on this. Again, it states the “user or lessor” must have a valid certificate. Without it your insurance and even your bond could be invalidated if you wish to make a claim. Again, please remember this doesn’t necessarily put the requirement on the property owner and if you are the user or lessor then you could open yourself up to a counter claim from the property owner if you manage the property.
HOW LONG IS MY CoC VALID?
Your COC is valid as long as you are in the property. The OHS Act states that “the user or lessor may not allow a change of ownership if the certificate of compliance is older than two years.” Therefore, only if the property goes through an ownership change does the CoC potentially need to be renewed.
HOW ARE ELECTRICIANS QUALIFIED?
Electricians have 3 levels of professional qualification:
- Electrical Tester for Single Phase (ETSP) – professionally qualified and registered for the verification and certification of the construction, testing and inspection of electrical installations supplied by a single-phase electricity supply at the point of control, excluding specialised electrical installations.
- Installation Electrician (IE) – professionally qualified and registered as an IE for the verification and certification of the construction, testing and inspection of any electrical installations supplied by a single-phase or three-phase supply at point of control, excluding specialised electrical installations.
- Master Installation Electrician (MIE) – professionally qualified and registered for the verification and certification of the construction, testing and inspection of any electrical installation for which they can prove competency.
Master Installation Electrician is the highest professional qualification for electrical installations in South Africa and is a requirement for all specialised electrical installations, however, the MIE must show they are competent in the specialised work they are doing.
HOW DO I KNOW MY ELECTRICIAN IS QUALIFIED?
As with every industry that ensures their personnel are professionally qualified, electricians must always carry around their credentials, Every electrician should be able to present you with at least 2 pieces of documentation.
- Registered Contractor License
- Registered Person License
Both documents are issued by the Department of Labour, however, the Registered Contractor’s License should be renewed yearly and the Registered Person license is for life (unless revoked). Three has been many concerned calls by the public where the Department of Labour renew the Contractor’s license every 3-5 years rather than yearly. We have brought this up with them regularly and although it is against the law the practice continues. They have, however, agreed to renew the ECB registered parties yearly.
The ECB also issues ID cards to electricians and contractors who register with them. This card acts as a single validation that we have also checked their professional qualifications and registrations. We list all of the contracts who wish to be registered on a free to access map-based website – https://electrician.org.za – just put in your address and you will find all the registered electricians in your area.
Above shows the Department of Employment and Labour’s Registered Person & Registered Contractor Licenses. Beside it is the example of the ECB cards we deliver to our registered parties.
HOW DO IT KNOW IF MY COC IS VALID?
To the layman, there are not too many ways to tell if your CoC is valid, however, we suggest you follow these rules:
- Ensure you have checked their Registered Person Licence.
- Ensure you have checked their Registere Contractor Licence.
- Check they are ECB registered (optional) – https://electrician.org.za
- Check that all the sections of the CoC are completed.
- Check that most of the sections of the Test Report are completed.
- Ensure you have annexure pages included to cover test for all your plugs, circuits and additional test relevant to your home. Click the link for a list of the possible annexure pages the electrician might need to include >>.
- Ensure the CoC and the Test Report has been signed by the electrician, with their contractor licence and registered person license entered in the correct locations.
We also recommend the electrician take photographs of the work performed before and after as well as marking your DBs with the CoC number they have issued to you.