Qualified Electrician & the Electrical CoC
So we all know Cape Town has no shortage of educated and highly skilled people. But does this mean that every electrician is trustworthy?
Today we are going to focus purely on identifying a good Electrician and and the issuing of the Electrical CoC.
So how do we identify if an Electrical company or an certain Electrician in Cape Town is above board to issue an Electrical CoC? Is there any way of verifying the electricians credentials?
What are the pros and cons of hiring a qualified electrician to issue your Electrical CoC vs a semi-qualified highly experienced electrician? Hopefully we can help you answer some of these questions.
The typical job description of a qualified skilled Electrician is to have the ability to install, alter, repair and maintain electrical systems. These systems are designed to provide heat, light, power, control, signal or fire alarms for all types of buildings, structures and premises. This includes domestic and commercial if you have a 3-phase qualification. And of course issue the Electrical CoC once the installation, inspection or repairs are completed.
Now in order to to be successful in their trade electricians must have the ability to do the following:
- a good electrician must have good communication and reading skills,
- an aptitude for mathematics,
- mechanical ability, strength and manual dexterity,
- a good electrician must have the ability to distinguish colours to work with colour-coded wiring
- the ability to plan and organize,
- the ability to work at heights,
- the ability to use proper lifting techniques for weights up to 25 kilograms,
- a good electrician must have the ability to get along well with co-workers,
- the ability to coach and mentor,
- the willingness to keep up with new developments in the field,
- the ability to create new ways of completing tasks,
- a good electrician must have the ability to do very precise work,
- problem solving, and
- computer skills.
VERY IMPORTANT: Those electricians who install or maintain equipment in existing homes or businesses also must be neat, friendly and able to deal with customers professionally.
Identifying a good Electrician to issue the Electrical CoC
One of the easiest ways to identify a legit business is to pay attention to their communication skills and operational habits.
For example, Are they a registered business with a unique business PTY registration number? Are the head electricians well trained and fully qualified and registered with the Department of labour? Do they answer the telephone politely and professionally? Is the telephone receptionist well spoken and well informed on the company products and service offerings? Do they have business branding and business cards? Are they well groomed and punctual? Do they communicate well with you and keep you informed?
These are all vital signs which signifies a well organised and professional outfit.
Now you have to use a bit of discretion here because an electrical company could be in its infant stage which means they might not have a receptionist just yet and the Owner which could also be the Senior or Head electrician could be responsible for multiple jobs like answering calls, replying to emails and working on-site etc. There’s nothing wrong with this in itself as long as the Electrician is well organised and professional enough and has the electronic resources to keep the client happy with excellent service delivery and good communication. After all, we know the constant improvement in digital technology and electronic tools has made some jobs obsolete and one person can easily do 3 peoples tasks if he works smart and manages his time wisely.
Fact is, most private businesses started off small and grows to a bigger outfit over time. Everyone deserves a chance to prove themselves, right.
How to identifying a bad/unqualified electrician
There are plenty of these guys around. They are commonly known as “bakkie electricians”. Typically these guys are in most cases unqualified and unregistered tradesmen. They definitely wont be registered with the department of labor. Most of them operate from home and do not have any branding or very little. They cannot issue a legal Electrical CoC. The only reason why they are still in operation is because they work at a much lower rate per hour than a qualified electrician. The unqualified sparky does not have to stick to his guarantee that he offers because there is no recourse if he doesn’t. You cant report him to the board for sub-standard work because the board doesn’t know he exists. You employ these tradesmen at your own peril. The risk far out-weighs the benefits of saving a few hundred rand.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please bear in mind, when you take on an unqualified electrician to do compliance repairs or to issue the Electrical CoC, that a qualified electrician cannot by law and will not sign off on the workmanship of an unqualified electrician. The qualified electrician will be held liable for that electrical installation for the next 2 years. He’s name and contact details and registration number is on the Electrical CoC certificate.
Verifying the electricians credentials on the Electrical CoC
So you are desperately in need of a qualified electrician in Cape Town but you want to ensure he is registered. Is there any way of checking or place to verify an electricians credentials on the Electrical CoC?
Do not panic, there is a means to look up his details. Simply log on to the http://www.labour.gov.za/and search for the electricians name and surname. Alternatively, before you agree to take on any electrical services in Cape Town ask for his electrical registration number. This will make it easier for you to trace his records on the departments website to verify his credentials on the Electrical CoC.
Now we not saying you must go in a witch hunt every time you employ a contractor but if you need compliance related electrical repairs then always make sure you get the right guys first time.
Identifying an unqualified electrician
We’ve so far identified more pros than cons in hiring an unqualified unregistered electrician to issue Electrical CoC certificates. There are other ways or identifying marks of an unqualified electrician which you can look out for.
For example, if the “sparkie” charges lets say R500 for an electrical compliance inspection and then charges an additional fee for the Electrical CoC certificate, this should raise alarm bells.
This usually means the unqualified electrician is doing work and piggy-backing off another electrician who either trained him up to a point or they have a buddy-buddy relationship. Please be careful when you come across this, because the job could cost you much more further down the line when complaints arise from the new owners and the electrician has disappeared.
Also look out for shoddy workmanship, like loose connections, untidy work, incorrect connection types, incorrect cable thickness. lack of conduit pipes, connection boxes, covers, labeling etc etc. Pay attention to these smaller things and kindly ask the electrician to walk you through the repairs and explain briefly what has been repaired or corrected and why, before you accept any Electrical CoC.
The purpose of this article is not to take opportunities away from anyone as we all have a place in this world and if you are prepared to work for your money then by all means, but get qualified.
We simply want to warn unsuspecting people out there that there are risks and we want to save you the hassle and a tone of cash. Everyone deserves the right to earn a living but nobody has the right to break the law in the process. You as a property owner are within your full right to ask the difficult questions beforehand. Don’t leave it too late till after all the damage is already done and your money is long spent. Be upfront and this will save you lots of headaches down the line.