Sep 23

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Electrical Certificate of Compliance (Electrical COC) – All the information you need to know as a seller or buyer

By Jason Edwards

Sep 23, 2019


An Electrical Certificate of Compliance (ECOC) or coc certificate (COC) is a legal document also known as a compliance certificate which verifies the electrical installation at a specific premise on a specific inspection date is compliant with all the legal requirements as stipulated in the Electrical Installations Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act lays out the law when it comes to the implementation of electrical work done by electricians. 

The definition of an electrical certificate of compliance as defined by the Occupational Health and Safety Act:

"certificate of compliance" means ­
(a) a certificate with a unique number obtainable from the chief inspector, or a person appointed by the chief inspector, in the form of Annexure 1, and issued by a registered person in respect of an electrical installation or part of an electrical installation; or
(b) a certificate of compliance issued under the Electrical Installation
Regulations, 1992;

The electrical installation within your home can be summarised as the transmission of electricity from a point of control to a point of consumption anywhere on the premises. This means electrical items such as the wiring in your premises, lights, geyser, swimming pool, plugs and DBboard need to comply with the legislated requirements.

Your electrical certificate can expire

Due to changes within the Occupational Health and Safety Act, a COC certificate (compliance certificate) no longer remains valid indefinitely and can now no longer be transferred without limitations. This is good news for buyers as it helps to ensure the electrical installation complies with the necessary regulation.

Sellers can no longer provide the buyer with the COC originally received by the seller when they bought the property - This specifically applies in the case where the COC is two years old.

To get around the limitation in the old Act, a clause had to be added by the buyer to the “offer to purchase” that would specify that the COC needed to be current and up to date. Some buyers would also stipulate that a current COC meant no electrical changes done on the premises within three months after the coc was first issued. As you can see, demanding a new COC had to be accomplished by using the offer to purchase as this was not covered by the Occupational Health and Safety Act

According to the new regulation, an Electrical Certificate of Compliance (ECOC) issued within the last two years will be considered valid. This only applies in the case where no electrical changes have been made to the electrical installation of the property during the two-year period. We highly recommend that buyers still include a clause within the offer to purchase that stipulates a recent ECOC must be provisioned. If there is no clause stipulated, the electrical inspection will need to be done at the buyer’s expense - Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT:
“(5) Subject to the provisions of section 10(4) of the Act, the user or lessor
may not allow a change of ownership if the certificate of compliance is older
than two years.”

Your electrician must register every year

Every electrician doing any kind of electrical work must ensure they register with the relevant authority each year. This is great news for buyers and sellers as the electricians need to keep their registration information up to date. See the clause below from our legislature.

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT:
“(2) Any person who does electrical installation work as an electrical
contractor shall register annually in the form of Annexure 3 with the chief
inspector or a person appointed by the chief inspector. “

You are protected by the law

We also noted that there is some protection added to the Act for sellers and buyers:

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT:
“2.3.1 Sub-regulation 1 
Any person who has doubts that electrical installation work is not done according to these regulations and health and safety standards or has doubts over the validity of a certificate of compliance, should contact an approved inspection authority to investigate the case.”

If sellers wish to verify the electrician doing electrical work at their premises, they should contact the Electrical Contracting Board of South Africa and the Department of Labour. Sellers can ask for the electrician’s registration card and accreditation certificate. 

The seller is responsible for the safety of the electrical installation

When taking a closer look at the OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT, you need to carefully consider that the electrical contractor does not need to guarantee their work but to simply ensure it works. The responsibility falls on the seller to prove that due diligence has been applied to ensure the electrical installation is safe. See the details below from the Act: 

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT:
“2.1 Regulation 2 - Responsibility for electrical installations
2.1.1 Sub-regulation 1
Subject to subregulation (3), the user or lessor of an electrical installation, as the case may be, shall be responsible for the safety, safe use and maintenance of the electrical installation he or she uses or leases.”

It’s the responsibility of the seller to organise an electrical inspection of the property prior to the property being registered in the buyer’s name. This is enforced by the conveyancing attorney, as they are obliged to obtain the original ECOC from the seller before the registration of the property into the buyers name. The ECOC is transferable in the event that the coc certificate is not older than two years and if no electrical changes were performed on the premises within a two-year period. IF these two conditions are not met, the seller will need to get a new COC certificate.

As part of the Act, no amendments to compliance certificates are allowed. This is good news for buyers and ensures that electrical installations are kept up to date as sellers will need to supply a new ECOC when changes to the electrical installation are made.

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT:
“2.8.5 Sub-regulation 5
No person may amend a certificate of compliance.”

It goes without saying that a seller must then obtain a new ECOC if new work has been performed since the last ECOC was issued. The cost of an electrical coc is R500 and higher. This is of course dependent on whether further electrical work is required to remedy the electrical installation. The compliance certificate will only be issued once the electrical installation has been repaired and this cost is for the sellers account.

Should the seller dispute the electrician’s findings related to the compliance inspection, the seller can contact the Chief Inspector for advice and consultation.

If the electrical installation has been maintained by the seller, no significant costs should be incurred as a result of a new electrical inspection. 

You cannot transfer the ownership of your property without a valid electrical certificate of compliance

Many financial institutions will deny the transfer of the property if no valid ECOC exists. The conveyancing attorney is also restricted from proceeding with the registration of the transfer without a valid ECOC. This can add delays to the transfer process and its more than likely in the seller’s interest to ensure they use reputable electricians when obtaining an ECOC.

The buyer is entitled to obtain a valid ECOC from the conveyancing attorney once the property registration has completed as they are required by law to then produce the same certificate to prospective buyers in future if no new electrical work has been done within two years after the issue of the ECOC.

Documents related to an electrical coc and coc certificate

For your convenience, we have listed all the legislated documents that apply throughout the application of an electrical coc.

ELECTRICAL CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE. This document is filled out by a qualified electrician who must be registered with the chief inspector. 

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT, 1993, ELECTRICAL INSTALLATION REGULATIONS. This legislated document lays out aspects of your electrical installation, responsibilities of your electrician and other clauses that apply to the electrical work done on your property. 

Electrical certificate of compliance cost

The cost of the compliance certificate can range from R850 to R2200. The cost is dependent on the type of premises being inspected. Different prices apply for domestic, commercial and industrial locations.This however only covers the cost of the certificate and excludes any repair work that may need to be done on the premises. The electrician will normally send you a quotation so you can see what electrical work is needed. This does mean that the price range will be dependent on each property being inspected. An electrical compliance certificate in Johannesburg may cost more than one in Randburg and Pretoria

Jason Edwards

About the author

I enjoy writing informational articles that cover a wide range of topics. I’ve worked on projects for leading brands, agencies, startup's and charities.

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