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Certificate of Compliance for Home Sellers in South Africa

Electrical Certificate of Compliance for Home Sellers

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), an electrical certificate of compliance for home sellers is required in order for a home to be legally sold.

Generally speaking, many home owners put time and effort into making improvements in and around their homes. These improvements often increase the market value of a home.

However, when making electrical related improvements, such as the installation of electrical fencing, repairing distribution boards or power points and installing new light fittings, it’s vital that the homeowner makes every effort to obtain an electrical certificate of compliance.

Electrical Certificate of Compliance when Selling

The certificate of compliance (COC) serves to verify the home’s compliance with the requirements set out by the OHSA.

Only a certified electrical wireman may issue the certificate and the house may not be sold until the COC has been issued.

There is a strict code of practice, according to SANS 10142, which all electrical installations must adhere to, in order to protect the home and its occupants from electrical related risks.

The following are potential hazards which may arise from inadequate electrical installations:

  • Overloaded electrical plug points
  • Electrical shock
  • Electrical plug point faults or failure which can be fatal
  • Inadequate insulation resulting in electrical sparks or arcs
  • Overheating from faulty wiring which poses a potential fire risk
  • Extreme voltage fluctuations which destroy electrical appliances when plugged in

Electrical Certificate of Compliance Checks

The following are minimum requirements during a home electrical compliance test:

  • All plugs and switches are tested for worn contacts, correct wiring. If plug points are metal, they must be correctly earthed
  • Insulation and earth spike tests done
  • A full and thorough check done on the main distribution board, including cable sizes, connections, circuit breakers, labelling, earth leakage and that all items are properly covered and secured
  • Full test done on fixed appliances and ensuring lights with exposed metal are correctly earthed and legally installed where necessary
  • Check that no electrical points, lights or switches are illegally positioned; not close to hazardous locations such as baths, showers or pools
  • Wiring checked to make sure the correct rating and type is appropriate for the fitting
  • Check that all rooms have a minimum of a single light fitting which is appropriate for the application. Bathroom are required to have an enclosed light fitting
  • Satellite dishes or television aerials must be correctly earthed

Legal Requirements for Electrified Fencing

Legal requirements for electrified fencing require the following:

  • Brackets: upright brackets may be used without any height restrictions
  • Angled brackets are to be installed on the inside of the boundary wall and must be angled at no more than 45 degrees outwards
  • Warning signs: Yellow warning signs placed at a maximum of 10 metre intervals are required when electrical fencing is installed along a public road or pathway
  • A minimum wall height of 1.5 meters for private property to be secured
  • Angled brackets may not be installed in such a way that they reach into the property of a neighbour, without their consent
  • Razor wire or barbed wire may not be electrified
  • All gates and access points must have warning signs
  • Electrified gates must allow any person to open or close them without receiving an electrical shock

Certificates Required when Selling a Property

As a homeowner, you must ensure that the COC is kept on the relevant premises.

Additionally, a full test report along with photographs of all installation check points, measurements and instruments used during the inspection as well as details of the electrical installation tests must be included with the COC.

Any person who purchases or lets a home must insist on seeing a valid COC before signing a sale or rental agreement.

Should the seller fail to declare any improvements, repairs or installations that were done since the last COC was issued, the existing COC is automatically nullified.

Only once all the alterations have been properly checked and tested according to the minimum requirements, will a new COC be issued.

Sectional Title Property Certificate of Compliance

The Body Corporate of sectional title schemes are required to obtain an electrical certificate of compliance related to all electrical installations which form part of the common property.

This serves as an indemnity for the Body Corporate should an incident relating to the electrical system arise.

Van Deventer & Van Deventer Incorporated – Property Attorneys in Cape Town

For more information on the importance of a certificate of compliance when selling property, or any other matters related to property law in South Africa, contact our property attorneys in Cape Town or Johannesburg.

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