Illegal CoC Certificate Sign-offs of Electrical Inspections

Illegal CoC Certificate Sign-offs of Electrical Inspections

Have you ever entered into an agreement thinking you are getting “Apples” just to realize in the end you are sitting with “Bananas” and “Carrots”? You got everything but your “Apples”?  Now the compliance CoC certificate scenario can sometimes be like this. That is only because people do not take the time to read and understand the process of acquiring a CoC certificate beforehand.  Its not a state secret. All the necessary information with options is on our website and most other compliance companies websites too.

The confusion in the compliance industry often creeps in when a client calls a compliance company to secure an appointment for a CoC certificate or up to 5x CoC certificates.  That is the electrical certificate of compliance, which is compulsory. The Plumbing CoC certificate, the Beetle CoC certificate, Electric fencing CoC certificate and Gas CoC certificate.

Now the very first conversation or initial engagement we have with the client about the CoC certificate is when we immediately explain to them in no uncertain terms are they paying for the CoC certificate. The CoC certificate is issued at no extra cost if the inspection is passed. Rather you the client are paying for the one hour or less labour for the inspection time by a qualified electrician. You are paying for the drawing up of the fault list accompanied by the quotation for the repairs. The quote is based on the labor and  materials we need which we receive from the latest price list from our electrical supplies company. YOU ARE NOT PAYING FOR A COC CERTIFICATE! Again, this will be issued at the inspection fee rate if the house passes the inspection. If the inspection fails due to compliance issues picked up, we cannot issue the CoC certificate until this has been rectified by us. BUT I CAN ASK MY NEIGHBOUR/UNCLE – hes not qualified but he can do all the electrical work for half the labor rate you say? Then you cant you just issue us with the signed-off CoC Certificate once all the repairs has been done?  Read on!

 

Repairs done cheaper for the CoC Certificate

I wish i received R1 for every time i heard somebody say they know somebody else who can do the repairs at a much lower rate… I am sure i would be living the life by now. Yes we all know somebody that almost went pro in soccer and we all know somebody who can do the electrical compliance repairs for half the price.  So imagine the qualified electrician who studied hard, passed all his exams,  aquired a valid license and registered with the relevant authorities and boards just goes around signing-off CoC certificates for unqualified “bakkie electricians” at a meager R450 inspection fee. Isnt that just great, because the “bakkie electrician” did not even have to compile the fault list or put together the quote, he can just work of the list provided by the compliance company based on the electrical compliance officers findings and better the quote! Vwalla! Sounds fantastic!  Well needless to say you will not be a qualified electrician for very long.  

What are the risks involved? Read on

 

Who is Accountable after the CoC Certificate is issued?

ECASA – That is the abbreviation for the Electrical Contractors Association of South Africa released a warning in late 2017 titled, “WARNING: DO NOT SIGN CERTIFICATES OF COMPLIANCE FOR WORK YOU HAVE NOT DONE OR INSPECTED … IT’S ILLEGAL” 

The article clearly states they ECASA  received an inquiry from an electrical contractor (via the SAFEhouse Association) about a problem that – although illegal – has become common practice in the South African electrical contracting industry. That is, qualified electricians signing-off CoC Certificates (electrical compliance certificates) for unqualified “bakkie electricians”

They go on to say that Electrical contractors who sign off CoC certificates for unqualified electricians – “wittingly or unwittingly – are putting their livelihoods and reputations on the line and could face legal repercussions if the proverbial paw-paw hits the fan” There you have it! Straight from the horses mouth. 

So who should issue the CoC Certificate?

  • Issuing of the COC Certificate of Compliance

  1. (1) No person other than a registered person may issue a Certificate of Compliance.

(2) A registered person may issue a Certificate of Compliance accompanied by the required test report only after having satisfied himself or herself by means of an inspection and test that 

(a) a new electrical installation complies with the provisions of regulation 5(1) and was carried out under his or her general control …

Warning

Members are warned against issuing CoC Certificates of Compliance where someone else has done the work or inspections.

Regulation 5(4) is very clear that all installation work must be done under the general control of a registered person.

Regulation 9 (2) clearly prohibits the registered person from issuing a Certificate of Compliance unless he or she has satisfied himself or herself by means of an inspection and tests that it complies accordingly.

Regulations 9(2)(a) and 9(2)(c)(ii) require the registered person to confirm that he or she has exercised general of this particular installation.

Signing a Certificate of Compliance means that you confirm the above, and thereby forfeit any option of “he said” if you have not done so yourself, and you could be prosecuted for any transgressions that may be found in that installation. There is no way out!

Conclusion

Unfortunately, the practice described above by the enquirer is common practice. Please remember,  it is illegal !
see Regulation 5 (1) and 6 (1) above, and further in Regulation 4:

(4) A registered person shall exercise general control over all electrical installation work being carried out, and no person may allow such work without such control.

We all have to put food on the table and pay the bills, however there are rules and regulations put in place for a reason. The main purpose of these regulations is to ensure the safety of electrical installations and the safety of people, animals and property. The standards and regulations define precisely how electrical installations are installed and used. It is in place for a valid reason. 

These safety and regulation standards are constantly being revised or amended by the SABS National Committee, comprising of all stakeholders in the industry, with the ECA Technical Committee having representation on this committee. The aim of amendments is to bring the regulations into line with IEC Standards, and ever-changing technology and, most importantly, to ensure the safety of people, animals and property.

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