It is a sad reality that we sometimes have issues with buyers and sellers and their electrical installation on the property, despite there being an Electrical Certificate of Compliance (COC) in place.

The Health and Occupational Safety Act and the regulations relating to this Act has made it compulsory to have a COC done before transfer. The reason for this is to ensure a safe electrical installation and to regulate the process of ensuring that the user of electricity is not exposed to unnecessary injury or risk in their new home.

An electrical installation includes the transmission of electricity from a point of supply on your property to the point of consumption, including any article forming part of such an installation. Any article would include an appliance such as an oven or hob sold with the property. If this were found to be faulty and unsafe on inspection, the seller would have to have it repaired before a Certificate of Compliance can be issued and sent to the attorneys to submit on transfer.

The legislation comprehensively deals with the electrical standards for an installation in terms of the regulations published under section 44 of the Act. Just because your washing machine trips the electricity does not mean that the installation is unsafe and that the COC was incorrectly issued. The fact that the installation had a circuit breaker that tripped under excessive load was in all probability a good safety feature.

If there are issues that fall beyond this scope of the certificate, the best option is for you to approach the agent to discuss this with the seller and see where he is able to remedy it with a contractor. Should that fail, you can request an “approved inspection authority” to conduct an inspection. (This person may not operate as a contractor and do electrical installation work). If this inspector finds that there is a fault or defect with the installation that may indicate negligence on the part of the registered contractor, the inspector shall report this to the Chief Inspector, in which event you would have good grounds to insist on the owner who supplied the COC to provide you with a new COC.

If your issue is still not resolved, you may lodge an appeal with the Chief Inspector.

In conclusion, a word of warning: if you own property and do not have a valid COC you may vitiate insurance cover should your property be destroyed or damaged by fire caused by an electrical fault .