Electrical Compliance Certificates

What is an Electrical Compliance Certificate?

An Electrical Certificate of Compliance (COC) is a document verifying that electrical installations such as the plugs, lights, DB board, geyser, and wiring in a building complies with the legislated requirements as detailed in the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

In terms of the Occupational Health and Safety ACT of 1993 (Act 85 of 1993), a change of property ownership cannot take place unless you have a valid Electrical Certificate of Compliance. In order to get this certificate, your electrical installations must comply with SANS 10142-1 Regulations

Why do I need a COC ?

The purpose of this certificate is to prove that all of the electrical work and installations in your home are in good working order, and up to standard.

No person may market, sell, let, or supply an electrical installation that is unsafe. The onus has been placed on the homeowner (seller) to ensure that a faulty or non-compliant electrical installation in his/her house does not pose a safety threat to any person, animal, or property. Should an injury or incident occur and there is no COC in place, the homeowner could be held liable and the insurance on the house could be declared invalid, and you’ll be responsible for any damages incurred.

The seller of a property is therefore obligated to obtain a COC before transfer of the property from a legitimate contractible company which complies with all the criteria as stipulated by the authorities, and conforms to the latest Code of Practice.

Any person who owns any type of electrical installation should – at all times – be in possession of a valid Certificate of Compliance.

How long is an Electrical Compliance Certificate valid for?

    • The certificate is valid for 2 years from the date of issue, as long as no changes have been made to your electrical installation since the certificate was issued.
    • If changes have been made, a registered electrician would need to issue a supplementary certificate for the alterations, extensions or maintenance undertaken by them.
    • However, it is recommended that you get a new certificate for every building transfer.

What is covered by the Electrical Certificate of Compliance (COC)

Firstly, it is important to understand that the distribution board (DB board) of your home serves as the heart of your electrical installations. From here, the incoming supply to your mains are further split into the various plug, light, and other circuits. The circuit breakers protect against overload and short circuit faults (without this you could run the risk of electrical fires), while the earth leakage (ELU) on your DB board protects against potential electrocution situations. The circuit breakers and wire size need to be correctly rated according to the maximum amount of electricity that the connected circuit may be expected to carry. Minimum regulations require that the main switch must be easily accessible in case of emergencies, although it is preferable that the entire board is easily accessible.

The Electrical COC covers:

    • Everything in the main distribution board and any sub boards, i.e. circuit breakers, earth leakage etc.;
    • The earthing system and connectivity throughout the installation;
    • Bonding of all metal components (antennas and satellite dishes);
    • Socket outlets and light switches;
    • All isolators for fixed appliances;
    • All the wiring from the mains incoming point to the main distribution board;
    • All the wiring from the distribution boards to switches and plugs (including the wall plugs and light switches, through to the connection at the lights);
    • All circuits and wiring to any fixed appliances, even if they are plugged into a wall socket (excluding the actual appliance itself);
    • Positioning of electrical equipment (e.g. light switches and plugs that may not be within a certain distance of taps, shower, baths etc.);
    • Mains switch and their accessibility within an approved height from the floor in case of emergencies;
    • Ensuring that all electrical equipment in the installation is approved by SABS or other relevant standard regulation authorities
    • Ensuring that all electrical equipment in the installation be of the correct type and rating for the application;
    • Ensuring that all electrical equipment is installed in an the approved manner;
    • Ensuring that all electrical equipment is securely attached in place and suitably protected from little fingers gaining access;
    • Ensuring that all parts of the permanent electrical installation is in good working order (including safety features);
    • An electrician will also take various readings to ensure that voltages, insulation, earthing, and other values adhere to regulatory requirements.

What is NOT covered by the Electrical Certificate of Compliance (COC)

A common misconception is that the registered electrician appointed to issue an Electrical COC is expected to service or upgrade the electrical installation, while in actual fact s/he merely ensures that what is already installed in your home is operational, complies with regulations, and is deemed safe. According to regulations, each room in your home only requires a minimum of one operational light, while there are no regulations mentioning the minimum amount of plug circuits or socket outlets.

Your Electrical Certificate of Compliance DOES NOT include temporary installations, meaning that it does not cover something that can simply be unplugged and removed by hand, and that was clearly intended for temporary use only (i.e. extension cords).That being said, if you have performed the installation in such a manner that it is intended for permanent usage, then it will need to be done according to regulation or otherwise removed.

Fixed home appliances are checked in order to ensure that they are connected to the installation via approved means, rather than making sure that they are in working condition.

Fixed home appliances would include, but are not limited to;

    • ovens, stoves and hobs
    • air conditioning units
    • swimming pool pumps
    • bore hole pumps
    • pool lights
    • garage and gate motors
    • pond pumps
    • HVAC systems
    • alarms
    • wall heaters
    • geysers
    • stoves
    • motors
    • fans
    • underfloor heating

The procedure and cost of an Electrical Certificate of Compliance (COC)

The price of an electrical COC inspection is usually a fixed fee depending on which legitimate contractible company you appointed for the COC inspection/s.
At Bugs & Sparks we offer a very competitive inspection fee of R495, with further discounts applicable when more than one COC inspection is requested through our company (I.e. Beetle, Gas, Plumbing or Electric Fence).

After our qualified inspectors have inspected your electrical installation, we will inform you about any potential issues that need to be addressed so that the installation complies with the Code of Practice and relevant SANS regulations. Bugs & Sparks will also provide you with a full quotation for work required in order to ensure COC compliance.
At this point you (the client) can decide to either:
a) Accept the quotation so that the electrician can perform the work, after which they will issue a new electrical certificate (COC).
b) Appoint another qualified electrician/company to perform the work and issue the COC.

IMPORTANT: Electricians cannot issue COCs based on the work of others as the certificate also serves as a guarantee on materials and workmanship. Please note the inspection fee is a consultation fee, and not a certificate fee (although Bugs & Sparks does not charge an additional fee for the COC). The fees, therefore, remain payable irrespective of who ultimately issues the certificate.

Do you need an Electrical COC?