There are often misconceptions around issues pertaining to Certificates of Compliance (CoCs), and I hope this article will help property owners as well as those of my colleagues in the electrical contracting industry. First, every user or lessor, as the case may be, shall have a valid CoC for the electrical installation he or she uses or leases.
CoCs are valid indefinitely and have no time frame on them, as long as there are no changes or alterations done to the installation for which the CoC was issued. I have heard a lot of people saying that the validity is two years from date of issue, which is not true. The two-year story only comes into effect when a property is sold, and the CoC is less than two years old. Only then is the certificate transferrable.
If the owner continues to live in the property after two years he/she does not have to have a new CoC issued. However, as alluded to above, should there be any changes to an installation that already has a CoC, a supplementary CoC for that ‘part of installation’ should be issued.
This is where the registered person (authorised by Department of Labour) should ask for the existing certificate so that he/she records that CoC number onto the supplementary CoC being issued for that part of installation – be it an extra or replaced geyser, stove, plug socket or light point – and hand both originals back to the property owner. Never forget to keep records of these for future reference should anything happen.
If at any time prior to the issuing of a certificate of compliance, any fault or defect is detected in any part of the electrical installation, the registered person shall refuse to issue a certificate until that fault or defect has been rectified.
Although there is no need to overemphasise the point that only registered persons may issue CoCs after he/she has inspected and tested the electrical installation, I still see CoCs that are issued ‘remotely’, if I can use that word.
Registered persons can be blamed sometimes as they send out people to carry out inspections, repair installations and even write CoCs, and all they do is sign from the comfort of their homes or offices. Not all registered persons are the same, but things like this are happening in our industry. At the end of the day, it is their heads on the block, as the registered person will face the music should there be any reports of bad workmanship or if faults are reported to the AIA (Accredited Inspection Authority) or the Department of Labour.
Finally, CoCs can also be issued for temporary installations. By virtue of being temporary, these installations are often dangerous, yet often overlooked. These could be for construction sites, marquees or mobile circuses. CoCs for these are not transferrable should they change location, and on sites, the temporary installation(s) should be inspected every week by a competent person and all tests recorded and be accessible for checking from time to time.
By Jonas E Mukupo