The owner of every building with an electrical installation in South Africa should at all times be in possession of a valid electrical certificate of compliance.
An Electrical Certificate is valid for a maximum period of two years, as long as the electrical installation has not been worked on or modified in any way during that period, even something as simple as replacing a light fitting or installing a ceiling fan is considered sufficient to render the existing electrical certificate null and void.
Who is responsible for providing the Electrical Compliance Certificate?
When a building or home is sold it is generally the sellers responsibility to provide the buyer with a new electrical certificate of compliance assuring the new owner that the installation has had an electrical inspection performed by a qualified electrical inspector and complies, or has been made to comply, with all the latest electrical safety regulations.
It is impossible for us to go into every single little detail or electrical regulation here, but we shall endeavour to clear up some of the basics.
The electrical certificate confirms that the installation complies with the latest
SANS10142-1 electrical regulations and The Occupational Health & Safety regulations. These regulations are primarily concerned with the “safety” of the current electrical installation and not necessarily the overall state of the installation.
What do we mean by “electrical safety” versus overall state of the electrical installation?
It is not the purpose of the Electrical Compliance Certificate to upgrade, modernize or service the existing electrical installation.
An electrical installation could be 50 years old and possibly in need of some servicing or modernisation, but will still pass an inspection in it’s current state, because what is there complies with the electrical regulations that govern an electrical installation of that age. It is not the purpose of an electrical certificate of compliance to compel owners to upgrade or modernise the electrical installation.
An older electrical installation may also have considerably fewer plug circuits, outlets and light fittings to meet the demands of modern requirements, again we only certify what is there, not upgrade or add to the electrical installation. Bear in mind that many of us have a lot more power hungry electrical appliances today than we did just ten or twenty years ago this can lead to possible overloading and tripping of plug circuits requiring the installation of additional electrical circuits, this will be for the new home owners account.
An electrical compliance certificate is not a guarantee on existing electrical equipment, if a part of the existing electrical installation is operational and compliant at the time of the electrical inspection it will be passed, if it happens to go faulty after the electrical coc has been issued, even the day after the inspection, it is deemed normal maintenance and will be for the property owners account, however if new equipment has been installed in order to make the electrical installation compliant then the new equipment is guaranteed according to the manufacturers warranty. Light bulbs can blow at any time and are generally considered an owners maintenance issue.
It is also important to note that the electrical compliance certificate does not cover appliances, but only the installation, loosely defined as the point of origin to the point of consumption which covers everything from the point where the Eskom cables connect to the building supply to the point where appliances connect to the installation, be it a wall plug or a more permanent connection like a built in stove or air conditioning unit. The actual stove or air conditioning unit does not form part of the installation, but the cables and method of connection to the installation is covered, the same applies to other similar appliances. (The geyser is an exception as it is checked as part of the Plumbing Certificate.)
The Electrician will check all the cables of the correct type and size for their application and are terminated correctly.
The Electrician will check all the circuit breakers for correct rating for the cable sizes and application.
The Electrician will check all metal fittings and fixtures adequately earthed.
The Electrician will confirm that the earth leakage relay is operating correctly.
Do all the safety shutters on the socket outlets work, no worn contacts and socket outlets wired correctly.
Is there at least one operational light per room. (Most electricians will replace blown light bulbs within reason, even though they are considered a maintenance item.)
Are there any fittings or switches in “illegal” positions i.e. in bathrooms.
Is the earth spike reading correct.
Insulation and other readings on the installation.
Are all electrical devices properly secured with required ingress protection.
The Distribution Board will be thoroughly checked for compliance.
In general every part of the electrical installation should be operative, (excluding appliances).
During the electrical inspection we will check that fixed appliances connected to the installation are connected in a legal manner, correct type and size of cables, double pole isolators in place.
There are of course numerous other items that are taken into account in the Electrical Regulations, but as can be seen from the above list it involves quite a bit more than simply “Does it work ?”
Please note that all your appliances will be unplugged during the course of the electrical inspection, firstly to check correct wiring and operation of the socket outlets with a plug tester, and also to take readings on the electrical installation without the appliances interfering with the readings. We do take all precautions to reconnect appliances, but please just double check for your own peace of mind that all your essential appliances have been plugged in again at the end of the inspection and are operating, fridges, freezers, koi pond pumps etc.
What is NOT checked during the Electrical Inspection or not Covered by the Electrical Certificate of Compliance.
Electrical Appliances are NOT checked, during the electrical inspection and appliances are NOT covered by the Electrical Compliance Certificate, this includes all fixed and free standing appliances, stoves, ovens, aircon units, pool pumps, gate motors, garage door motors, pond pumps etc.
Ongoing electrical maintenance issues are not covered by the electrical certificate of compliance, an electrical certificate states that the electrical installation is compliant with the electrical regulations, it is not a guarantee on EXISTING electrical fittings or equipment.
Overloading of electrical circuits is not covered by the electrical certificate coc, if you are plugging too many appliances into a circuit you will need to either plug them into another less loaded circuit or add more plug circuits. If you are overloading the main switch you will need to upgrade the main incoming supply with Eskom.
Tripping of the Earth Leakage relay indicates that the electrical installation is doing exactly what it should for safety reasons, this is normally the result of a faulty appliance being plugged in, or moisture ingress into the electrical installation, common culprits are geyser elements, steam irons, kettles, fridges, freezers, stove plates/elements, toasters, outside lights etc. This is not normally an Electrical Compliance Certificate issue.
Electrical Installations that are clearly and obviously temporary in nature are not checked during the electrical inspection and are not covered by the Electrical COC Certificate.
Need an Electrical Certificate of Compliance, give us a call, or submit your request for an electrical inspection online.