What can I do if I am a new owner and there are problems with the electrical compliance certificate?
If you have recently bought a property in South Africa, you may have received an electrical compliance certificate (ECoC) from the seller. An ECoC is a legal document that verifies that an electrical installation is compliant with the legal requirements as stipulated in the Electrical Installations Occupational Health and Safety Act of South Africa. The ECoC is only valid for two years after issue or until such time as alterations or additions are made.
An ECoC is compulsory in South Africa for several reasons, such as:
- To ensure the safety and protection of people, animals, and property from electrical hazards such as shocks, fires, or explosions.
- To prevent or minimise the risk of damage or loss due to faulty or illegal electrical installations.
- To comply with the regulations and standards that govern the design, installation, maintenance, and inspection of electrical installations.
- To facilitate the transfer of ownership or responsibility of electrical installations between parties such as sellers, buyers, landlords, tenants, or contractors.
- To enable the enforcement and monitoring of electrical installations by authorities such as the Department of Labour, SABS, Eskom, or municipalities.
According to the Electrical Installation Regulations of 2009, an ECoC is required for:
- Any new electrical installation
- Any addition or alteration to an existing electrical installation
- Any change of ownership of a property with an existing electrical installation
- Any inspection required by an inspector or supplier
- An ECoC must be issued by a registered person who is qualified and authorised to perform electrical work and inspections. The registered person must also be in possession of a valid wireman’s licence issued by the Department of Labour.
Don’t risk your safety or liability by neglecting or ignoring your ECoC. AED Attorneys specialises in estate planning and administration, as well as property matters. We can help you to find a registered person who can issue an ECoC for your electrical installation.
However, what if you discover that there are problems with the electrical installation or the ECoC after you have taken ownership of the property? For example, what if you find out that the ECoC is outdated, incomplete, fraudulent, or does not cover all the electrical work on the property? What if you encounter electrical faults, hazards, or defects that pose a risk to your safety or property? What are your rights and responsibilities as a new owner in such situations? According to the law, the seller is responsible for providing a valid ECoC to the buyer before transferring ownership of the property. The seller is also liable for any damages or losses caused by a defective or non-compliant electrical installation. Therefore, if you are a new owner and you encounter problems with the ECoC or the electrical installation, you have several options to pursue:
- You can contact the seller and request them to rectify the problems or provide a new ECoC at their own cost.
- You can contact the electrician who issued the ECoC and request them to rectify the problems or provide a new ECoC at their own cost or if he fails you can report them to the Electrical Conformance Board (ECB) or their professional body for misconduct or negligence.
- You can hire another qualified electrician to inspect and repair the electrical installation and issue a new ECoC at your own cost. This can only be done after you have requested the electrician that attended to the inspection initially to rectify any defects or problems.