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What is the function of the electrical COC?

The Occupational Health & Safety Act places the responsibility on “every user or lessor” of a property, to ensure the electrical installation does not pose a threat to you, your family, any other person or animal, or the property.
The Occupational Health & Safety Act prescribes, through the Electrical Installation Regulations, who may carry out electrical installation work and, in this way, protects users of electrical dangers. These regulations also give protection to the public by means of an Electrical Certificate of Compliance (COC) which every user or lessor of an installation is obliged to possess and should ideally be provided every time a house changes ownership.

Who can issue an Electrical COC?

Only a *Registered person may issue a COC after he/she has inspected and tested the electrical installation and found it to be reasonably safe.
However, the work itself may be carried out by the contractor’s competent employees working under his/her general control.
If any fault or defect is detected in any part of the installation, the Registered Person must refuse to issue a CoC until that fault or defect has been rectified. Any CoC that has been fraudulently issued by an unregistered electrician is illegal and invalid and could endanger the lives of others.
*A Registered Person is an electrical tester for a single-phase, an installation electrician (IE) or a master electrician (MIE) who is registered with the Department of Labour according to the requirements in the Electrical Installation Regulations (1992).

You are entitled to ask to see an electrical contractor’s registration certificate and a Wireman’s licence from the Department of Labour. The date will indicate whether the contractor is currently registered as all electrical contractors are required to register on an annual basis

How long does it take for an electrical contractor to inspect and test property in order to issue a CoC?

Depending on the size of the installation, this can take anything between one to eight hours or even longer for commercial or industrial properties. However, if the electrical contractor finds faults, these would have to be repaired which may delay the issuing of the CoC.

What happens to my Electrical CoC when alterations are made to my electrical installation?

If any additions, modifications or alterations are carried out to an existing installation, you must insist that the electrical contractor provide you with a supplementary CoC that covers the additional work.
According to clause 7(4) of the EIR, it states: Where any addition or alteration has been affected to an electrical installation for which a certificate of compliance was previously issued, the user or lessor of such electrical installation shall obtain a certificate of compliance for at least the addition or alteration.

How long is an Electrical CoC valid for?

The CoC is valid for the lifetime of an installation unless any additions or alterations are made to the installation. The EIR states that a Certificate of Compliance is valid for 2 years for the purpose of the transfer. Regulation 7(5) states: Subject to provisions of section 10(4) of the Act, the user or lessor may not allow a change of ownership if the certificate of compliance is older than 2 years.

Is the Electrical CoC transferable?

In terms of the Electrical Installation Regulations, if the CoC and Test Report is not older than two years then the CoC is transferable. However, if a property is being sold and its CoC is older than two years, the seller must have the electrical installation re-tested and a new CoC issued.
The seller is required in terms of the OHS Act to sell an installation that complies with the Electrical Installation Regulations. The COC is the only recognised proof of this compliance.

What is and isn’t covered by the Electrical Certificate of Compliance?

Appliances such as lights, geysers, stoves, air-conditioning units, etc are not covered by the CoC. A non-working appliance doesn’t mean that the CoC is invalid; the CoC and test report covers the whole installation from the point of control (main switch in the distribution board) to the point of consumption anywhere on the premises (i.e., socket outlets and terminals of light fittings, geysers, stoves, etc.)
It is also possible that an electrical installation might not be fully functional (for example, some lights or plugs don’t work), but the installation is safe and the CoC and test report is valid. (Note 3 on the Test Report).

Do I need a CoC when my geyser is repaired or replaced?

Yes, you do, only if the geyser is replaced or the fixed installation is altered. Repair work, such as replacing an element or thermostat without touching any fixed part of the installation, would not require a CoC.
Even if the insurance company sends someone to replace your geyser, the EIR holds the user responsible to keep his/her CoC current.
According to clause 7(4) of the EIR, it states: Where any addition or alteration has been affected to an electrical installation for which a certificate of compliance was previously issued, the user or lessor of such electrical installation shall obtain a certificate of compliance for at least the addition or alteration.
The disconnection of a geyser and re-connection of another is considered to be an alteration.
The owner (or user) must ensure that you get a CoC for the replacement of a geyser, stove etc and any repair work, regardless of who gave the instruction because ultimately you remain responsible.


  • It’s recommended that your household appliances wear a label of a testing laboratory (i.e., SABS)
  • Avoid using numerous high amperage appliances (heat producing appliances) on the same circuit simultaneously.
  • Avoid plugging two or more appliances into the same outlet or circuit if together they exceed 1000W. Wattages are usually indicated on the appliance itself or in the instruction manual. Examples of such appliances are air conditioners, hot plates, irons, washing machines, heaters, dishwashers, etc.
  • Dust and cobwebs are an invitation for an electrical fire. Cobwebs around socket outlets that may be hidden, must be cleared regularly.
  • Dimmed lights, reduced output from electric heaters and dimmer/poor television pictures may be signs of a circuit overload.
  • Be cautious when drilling holes or driving nails into your walls; in case of hitting or damaging electrical wires.
  • Never use water to extinguish an electrical fire!