It is compulsory that a valid electrical compliance certificate (also known as a COC) be produced to the purchaser of your immovable property. This is a provision of the Electrical Installation Regulations which came into effect in 2009 in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (No. 85 of 1993) and applies to all property transfers.
The purpose of the certificate is to verify that the electrical work and installations that have been completed on the property are up to standard and in accordance with the Regulations as required by the South African National Standards.
In terms of the Electrical Installation Regulations only a registered electrician may issue a certificate of compliance after he/she has inspected and tested the electrical installations in the property. Should the electrician detect any faults or defects in any part of the electrical installation rendering the system unsafe, the registered electrician must refuse to issue a certificate until the identified faults or defects have been repaired. It is therefore paramount that you ensure your electrician is registered and that the certificate of compliance is issued only after the necessary repairs have been attended to. It happens too often in practice (and especially when a transfer is urgent) that the electrician issues the compliance certificate prior to tending to the repairs with the intention to attend at some later stage. This procedure is not allowed and it remains your responsibility, as the seller, to ensure that this does not happen. Remember in terms of the sale agreement you have a legal obligation towards the purchaser to provide a valid certificate.
You have the right to ask for proof of registration as an electrician from the person attending to the work as well as a copy of his registration certificate (license) issued by the Department of Labour. Make notes of all the details and do not proceed where the above information is not readily available.
It is important to keep in mind that should a purchaser become dissatisfied with the certificate of compliance you provide he/she may request that an electrical audit be conducted to ensure that fundamental safety principals are being adhered to. The purchaser may contact the Electrical Approved Inspection Authority Southern Africa (EAIASA) to determine whether the works carried out by your electrician complies with the relevant standards.
Should the EAIASA inspector find that your certificate is non-compliant they have the authority to withdraw the certificate and demand a new one be issued in accordance with their specifications. In addition to the exposure to new unbudgeted costs, there is a good chance that the withdrawal could delay transfer as the registration of your property cannot lawfully proceed without the certificate.
To sum up, ensure that you identify a reputable electrician in order to avoid problems arising in the future. Do not fall prey to unscrupulous and unregistered electricians. You may consult with Consumer Complaint forums to identify previous complaints against the electrician you want to use.
This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)