Are You A Criminal and Don’t Know It?

Are You A Criminal and Don’t Know It?

An Electrical Compliance Certificate (ECC) is a certificate issued by a qualified and registered electrician (registered with the Electrical Contracting Board of South Africa [ECB]), which certifies that the electrical installation in your home is safe, according to the minimum standards set out in the regulations.
 
Since May 2009, the regulations issued in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85/1993 (OHASA) (primarily for work place safety and administered by the Department of Labour) apply to dwellings, i.e. your home.
 
In effect, every home must be in possession of a valid ECC, as the “user or lessor” of an electrical installation is responsible for the safety, safe use and maintenance of the electrical installation he or she uses. Even if you have a valid ECC, if you change an electrical installation, you will need an additional certificate for the addition or alternation.
 
In terms of Regulation 7, “the user or lessor may not allow change in ownership if the Certificate of Compliance is older than 2 years.” And then in terms of Regulation 10, it is a criminal offence not to comply with this regulation. You could receive up to one year’s prison sentence! You cannot agree with your buyer that you won’t supply one.
 
The ECC is often mentioned in the sale agreement, but the obligation to provide the certificate is not only in terms of this agreement, but mainly in terms of the OHASA with the criminal liability attached.
 
Fortunately the conveyancing attorney, and in some instances the bank providing a mortgage, will not allow a transfer to be registered, until the seller has provided the ECC, protecting the seller from criminal prosecution, and the buyer from an unsafe electrical installation.
 
Other than the transfer of ownership, if you have a valid ECC, the ECC will remain valid, and won’t expire. A word of caution though: the minimum standards affecting the regulations do change, and sellers who have a previous ECC from many years ago, will be horrified to learn it could cost them thousands to obtain a new ECC when they sell their home.
 

In summary:

 

When the seller does not have an ECC

The seller will be in breach of  the agreement and may face prosecution under OHASA

When the seller has an ECC., but  the electrician is not registered with ECB

The certificate is not valid

The seller will be in breach of  the agreement and may face prosecution under OHASA

When the seller has an ECC, but an accredited electrician issued the certificate without the installation being compliant with regulations

The purchaser’s recourse is against the electrician.

 

The seller is not in breach, and there is no possibility of prosecution.
Either the ECB will investigate complaints in connection with its member’s workmanship or the issuing of invalid compliance certificates, or the complaint must be referred to the Department of Labour

 
The ECB’s contact details can be found on http://www.ecbsa.co.za/
 
This article was prepared by:
 
Nichola Wolff
Thomson Wilks Inc
Tel  27 (0) 11 784 8984
Fax 27 (0) 11 883 8660
www.thomsonwilks.co.za
23 Impala Road, Chislehurston, Sandton
P O Box 3242, Parklands, 2121

Ecliptic Estate Management