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This is what your Electrical Compliance Certificate covers

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A Certificate of Compliance (COC) is a document that verifies that the electrical installations such as the plugs, lights, DB-board, geyser and wiring in a home comply with the legislated requirements as detailed in the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993.

What is covered by the Electrical Compliance Certificate?electrician resize

  • Everything in the main distribution board and any sub boards, circuit breakers, earth leakage etc.
  • All the cabling from the distribution boards to switches and plugs, including the wall plugs and light switches, through to the connection at the lights.
  • It further includes all circuits and wiring to any fixed appliances, even if they are plugged into a wall socket, but it does not include the actual appliance itself.
  • The earthing system and connectivity throughout the installation and the electrical certificate also includes the positioning of electrical equipment, e.g. light switches and plugs may not be within 1m radius from taps, shower, baths etc. The main switch must be accessible and within a certain height from the floor in case of emergencies. According to safehousesa.co.za “it may not exceed a height of 2,200mm above floor (or walking) level. However, the board may be mounted higher if it can be disconnected from the supply by a switch disconnector that is less than 2,200mm above floor level. Unless a residential distribution board is housed in an enclosure and direct access cannot be obtained by an infant, no part of an indoor distribution board can be less than 1,200mm above the floor level, and no part of an outdoor distribution board can be less than 200mm above the ground level.”

  • All electrical equipment in the installation must be approved, SABS- or other relevant approvals, and be of the correct type and rating for the application and all the electrical equipment must be installed in an approved manner, must be securely attached in place and suitably protected from children having access.
  • All parts of the permanent electrical installation must be in good working order, including safety features and the electrician will also take various readings to ensure that voltages, insulation, earthing and other values are within requirements.

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  • A COC is valid for 2 years and can be transferred from one owner to another during that time period, provided that no amendments have been made to the electrical installation in which case a new COC must be issued.

A deed of sale can contain a clause that the appliances must be in working order (our standard deed of sale contains such a clause). It is then the seller’s responsibility to instruct the electrician to ensure that all appliances are in working order.

This feature has been reproduced with the kind permission of MC van der Berg Incorporated


David A Steynberg, managing editor and director of HomeTimes, has more than 10 years of experience as both a journalist and editor, having headed up Business Day’s HomeFront supplement, SAPOA’s range of four printed titles, digimags Asset in Africa and the South African Planning Institute’s official title, Planning Africa, as well as B2B titles, Building Africa and Water, Sewage & Effluent magazines. He began his career at Farmer’s Weekly magazine before moving on to People Magazine where he was awarded two Excellence Awards for Best Real Life feature as well as Writer of the Year runner-up. He is also a past fellow of the International Women’s Media Foundation.

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  • Anonymous 18th December 2018

    My electrician neatened up the wires inside the DB board as part of my COC (at an extra charge). It passed all the previous COCs but he said it was messy. Now my lights keep tripping. Is it normal for an electrician to ‘neaten up’ the wires inside the DB board?

  • Paul 19th March 2019

    No it is not needed. As a certified accredited electrician for 20 years I can tell you that we only tidy up the DB for the plain purpose of easy fault finding and pride in your work.
    The reason why your lights is tripping is that the neutral for the lights during this exercise was possible moved. The earth leakage and the lights circuit does not share the same earth leakage. Unless the earth leakage is the main.

    Hope this helps