By: Martin Coetzee – technical officer at IOPSA
The Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA) takes a look at South African National Standards (SANS) 10106 and how it affects solar water heating installations
Numerous laws, regulations, bylaws, contract and tender specifications, service level agreements, rebate terms of reference etc., require that solar water heating installations must comply with SANS 10106 for the installation, repair and replacement of domestic solar water heating systems.
It has been seen by some as a market disadvantage to the good plumbers who do correct installations but who then get undermined by the bad plumbers who either don’t know what the SANS standards require, or they are in the business of cutting corners and quoting lower prices by using materials that don’t comply with SANS standards. The enforcement mechanisms in the plumbing industry are the municipal water/sanitation and building inspectors and the Plumbing Industry Registration Board (PIRB) certificates of compliance (COC) with built-in percentage inspection mechanisms.
Section 9 of SANS 10106: 2014 now makes the issuing of a COC a requirement, the same as an electrician must issue an electrical COC for the electrical installation. This section reads, ‘9.1 - A plumbing COC from the plumbing professional body registered under the relevant national body [the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA)] shall be issued ...where work has been carried out on the hot water reticulation system which includes the installation of a solar system.’ The professional body for plumbing registered with SAQA is the PIRB.
A solar water heating system is therefore not SANS 10106 compliant if a PIRB certificate has not been issued. It is important for plumbers who are complying with the legal requirements regarding all solar water heating installations, to ensure that their clients and potential clients are aware that they are in fact PIRB registered and do issue PIRB COC in full compliance with SANS 10106, as required. Such COCs will also be required for insurance cover of the installation. This now levels the playing fields so that the minimum level for competing in the market are the requirements of SANS 10106, nothing less. It is therefore in your interest to obtain a copy of SANS 10106: 2014 edition 4 and make yourself familiar with its requirements.
The practice of doing solar installations without being properly qualified, not using compliant materials and not issuing PIRB COC is now illegal in terms of the National Building Regulations, the Water Services Act, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the water and sanitation bylaws, and the Consumer Protection Act.