- A brief summary of the seller’s obligations for the various certificates
- Frequently asked questions and answers
- Request and inspection
Why is an electrical certificate of compliance required when selling a property?
In terms of Regulations 7(5) of the Electrical Installation Regulations (OHS ACT of 1993), a change of ownership cannot take place unless there is a valid certificate of compliance.
How long is an Electrical COC valid?
For the purpose of transfer of ownership, a COC older than 2 years may not be used. If any electrical work was done after the certificate was issued, a new certificate will be required. If any alterations are made within the 2-year period the certificate will be rendered invalid.
What does the electrical certificate cover?
- The main distribution board and any sub-distribution boards.
- Socket outlets and light switches.
- Wiring – is it in a safe condition and compatible with the circuit breakers in the DB board.
- Isolators – have isolators been installed for fixed appliances such as stoves, HWC’s, gate and door motors, fans etc.
- Earthing – all metal parts of the installation need to be earthed.
- Bonding – HWC pipes, TV antennae and satellite dishes etc.
What does the electrical certificate not cover?
- Fixed appliances such as – geysers & stoves, motors & fans, underfloor heating, pool motors.
- Note – wiring to fixed appliances is covered by the COC.
- Light bulbs.
- Telephone and internet conductors and alarm systems.
- Note: PV installations, generator set, inverter and UPS installations should be certified from the installer of the various systems.
How will my solar installation affect my electrical COC?
Although solar installations and equipment have been around for many years, it is a fairly new industry in South Africa. As such, regulation and legislation has not quite caught up. Currently there is no blanket regulation standard that covers the entirety of photovoltaic installations. Draft regulations are available as a guideline, however, at this time there is no specific “Certificate of compliance” that has been published. As a result, there is quite a bit of confusion pertaining to buying and selling of property where alternative energy, for example PV, has been installed. Including hybrid energy backup.
In an attempt to provide clarity, we have compiled a couple of the most frequently asked questions.
- How does alternative energy (PV, battery backup systems and generators) affect the issuing of an electrical Certificate of Compliance? – Equipment that is connected to the electrical installation and designed to operate as an alternative energy source (this includes grid tied PV which operates in parallel to the main grid), is regarded as a fixed or stationary appliance. Therefore, the equipment itself does not form part of the electrical compliance certificate. However, wiring and switchgear used to connect the equipment to the electrical installation does. There are specific requirements for different types of system connections, and general safety regulations would apply to positioning and selection of the equipment.
- Do you need an electrical certificate of compliance for an alternative energy installation? – Yes, absolutely. The installer of the equipment must be able to issue a compliance certificate. This is to ensure that the installation is safe, as well as, within the scope of relevant regulations.
- Does a PV or energy backup system have to be registered with council in order for property transfer to take place? – No, unless specifically required and stated in the offer to purchase. There is currently no legislation specifying that alternative energy systems have to be registered for property transfer. However, as is the case in Cape Town, there are certain council bylaws that require PV systems and alternative energy sources to be registered. If these systems are not registered, the owner of the installation may be fined, as well as the main electrical supply to the installation turned off. This does not apply to water heating systems where water is circulated through a solar collector panel or vacuum tubes.
- How does the registration process work and what are the costs included for registration? – The registration is submitted by the owner of the installation under guidance of the installer. The relevant registration documentation can be found online, depending on which district the installation exists. Although the registration is free, it requires supporting documentation which might incur additional costs. These documents could include wiring diagrams, electrical certificates of compliance as well as declarations by Engineering Council of South Africa registered individuals. If possible, this should be discussed with installers prior to commencement of installations.
Why is a water certificate of compliance required when selling a property?
The City of Cape Town by-law 2010 – section 14(1), stipulates that before a property can be transferred, a COC for the water installation needs to be issued. This came into effect on the 1 March 2011. It is a local by-law and only applies to properties sold where the City of Cape Town is the municipal authority. A new certificate needs to be issued each time a property is transferred.
Does the water certificate cover all the plumbing?
No, this certificate is not a plumbing certificate. It is limited to the by-law and is not as comprehensive as a plumbing certificate.
What does the Water Installation COC cover?
- The HWC installation complies with SANS 10252 and SANS 10254 excluding drip trays on geysers installed before 2006.
- The water pipes in the plumbing installation are properly saddled as per SANS 10252.
- The water meter records the flow when water is drawn and does not register when consumption stops.
- The private isolating valve is in place and functioning.
- None of the terminal water fittings leak and correctly fixed in position.
- No storm water is discharged into the sewerage system.
- There is no cross connection between the potable supply and any alternate supply.
- Pressure release valve (PRV) is of the correct value.
- Vacuum breakers are correctly installed.
- Emergency temperature pressure valve overflow is installed with the correctly sized and rated copper pipe.
- All three geyser overflows are separately plumbed to the outside, and must safely discharge to the atmosphere.
What isn’t covered by a Water Compliance Certificate?
- Slow bath-water draining.
- Low water pressure
- Sink, toilet or basin waste-water leakage
- Broken toilet or flusher handle
- Blocked drains
If any alterations are made within the 6-month period the certificate will be rendered invalid.
Why is a gas certificate required when selling a property?
In terms of Regulation 17(3) of the Pressure Equipment Regulations (OHS ACT of 1993), a gas certificate of conformity must be issued when there is a change of ownership. This came into effect on the 1st October 2009. Certificate valid for 5 years.
What does the certificate cover?
- There are no gas leaks.
- Emergency shut off valves have been installed in the correct positionsthe gas piping, regulator and valves and gas appliance are in a safe working condition and not corroded.
For gas cylinder/s installed on the exterior of a property:
- Are at least 1 metre away from an airbrick, door or window.
- Are at least 2 metres away from a drain.
- Are at least 5 metres away from an electrical source of ignition, e.g., a motor, air-conditioner, distribution board etc.
- Do not exceed the maximum volume of gas allowed on a property, which is 100kg.
For a gas cylinder installed in the interior of a property, usually inside a cupboard:
- Is not situated directly below the hob.
- That the cupboard is vented to prevent the accumulation gas.
- There are no electrical switches directly below the hob or in the compartment where the cylinder is positioned.
- There are no electrical switches within 200mm of the hob.
Potential stumbling blocks
- In an apartment above the ground floor, the maximum volume of gas allowed is 9kg. this is of concern where there is a gas fireplace. A gas fireplace requires a cylinder of at least 19kg in order to operate effectively. Reducing the size of the cylinder to 9kg will result in performance issues and is therefore not a viable option. It would be preferable to decommission the fireplace. It is important that all parties are aware of this when signing an offer to purchase.
- In a freestanding property. The maximum volume of gas that may be stored is 100kg, unless there are plans that been approved by the Fire Department as well as Town Planning. If the seller has a copy of these plans, they can be handed to the gas inspector. This will prevent delays. If there are no approved plans then the volume of gas stored on the property must be reduced to a maximum of 100kg.
“Beetle Clause” for the Deed of Sale
The seller shall arrange to have the accessible timbers on the property inspected by a qualified wood borer inspector who is a member of the South Africa Pest Control Association for infestation by wood destroying insects and for the replacement and/or treatment of any timbers found to be infested, in accordance with the recommendations specified by the inspector. Not all properties require a beetle certificate, recommendation would be to check the deed of sale.
ELECTRIC FENCE COC
We recommend that you appoint the original electric fence installer. His contact details should be prominently displayed on the fence.
Reasons for this is that the original installer will be familiar with the property and in many instances the original installer will have a maintenance contract in place, inclined to give a better price and know what year it was installed and will apply the regulations accordingly.
If, however the Seller does not know we will then be happy to assist with obtaining a COC.
The requirement does not apply to a system in existence prior to 1 October 2012. However, as with an electrical compliance certificate, this certificate will be required where an addition or alteration is affected to the system or where there is a change of ownership of the premises on which the system exists if the change of ownership takes place after 1 October 2012.
THIRD PARTY WORK
Under no circumstances will Hagleys Development undertake 3rd party work. No certificate of compliance will be signed off if repairs have been undertaken by someone else.