IOPSA (the Institute of Plumbing South Africa) has noticed an increase in confusion, due to the number of different plumbing Certificate of Compliance (CoC) issued within South Africa. The local municipalities are responsible for the enforcement of the national Building & Water Regulations. Individual local authorities have their own form of a CoC if their bylaws require one to be issued by a plumber.
For the purpose of this article, IOPSA will focus on the City of Cape Town CoC and the Plumbing Industries Registration Board (PIRB) CoC to give an understanding of why there are different CoCs and what the differences are.
The City of Cape Town have implemented that a Certificate of Compliance is to be issued on the sale of a property in the same vein as the Borer and Electrical Certificate of Compliance. However, in terms of the requirements of the document, there are only specific points raised and required for the plumber to check:
- · The Hot Water Cylinder installation complies with SANS 10252 and SANS 10254
- · The water pipes in the plumbing installation (especially within the roof space) are properly saddled as per SANS 10252
- · The water meter records the flow when water is drawn, and does not register when consumption stops.
- · The private isolating valve as per subsection 23(2) (a) or (b) is in place and functioning.
- · None of the terminal water fittings leak and they are correctly fixed in position.
- · No storm water is discharged into the sewerage system.
- · There is no cross connection between the potable supply and any alternate supply.
The document has been amended since inception. A concern relating to the City of Cape Town CoC is that new property owners are under the impression that the entire plumbing system is compliant. As you can see by the points indicated; the plumber does not check all points of a Plumbing System relevant to the Regulations & Standards of plumbing. Complaints arise when service calls initiated for repairs and issues of non-compliance become apparent by the responding plumber. This reverts to Western Cape however in other regions; Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal, Southern Cape, a CoC is now being requested by the buyer.
Due to the lack of registration and poor quality plumbing installation, IOPSA initiated the Plumbing Industry Registration Board not only to register all plumbers but to proactively check quality of installations by means of the issuing of PIRB CoC’s.
This was initially a voluntary industry driven solution that is now been included in plumbing regulations since the PIRB has become a Professional Body. The value of the PIRB CoC is explained below:
The PIRB registered plumber is required to log CoC within five days of the installation, which, through the automated services, may result in an audit carried out on the installation. In the event of a failed audit, the plumber would be required to carry out rectification. It’s a controlled, measured system and process. Should the plumber not wish to rectify the issue, they will be removed from the PIRB register. It is important to understand the difference between a local CoC and PIRB CoC.
The PIRB CoC is seen as credible because it is:
- a) independently audited
- b) a pro-active approach rather than a reactive; they don’t wait for the consumer to complain
- c) linked to a register that is maintained on a regular basis which, if you aren’t compliant, you will be removed from
The local certificate is still a requirement in specific local authorities. This is a local government requirement so it’s compulsory. The PIRB is a voluntary requirement, except for solar geysers, heat pump and soon, fixed electrical geysers. If you install a solar geyser or heat pump, you must issue a PIRB certificate in addition to the local government certificate.
The consumer is looking for credibility and support, which they can get through the industry-driven solution that is the PIRB CoC. It has been implemented to assist the municipality.
A PIRB CoC is brought in and implemented for the self-certification of plumbing works carried out by the registered plumber. The various categories in terms of the CoC are denoted on the Certificate, and the plumber will define the specific work carried out on site e.g.: A new build:
- all categories of work done and then specified what was done, or
- in the event of a Repair/ Replacement/ Solar Installation, plumber will issue solely on work carried out.
The PIRB Certificate was not designed for usage on the sale of property; the issuing plumber may be held liable for any areas of non-compliance not noted. There have been instances where a registered plumber has certified, and not listed the areas of non-compliance, and was therefore held liable. The standards are very specific in terms of the responsibility of the plumber; they must advise the owner of any non-compliance in writing. With the inclusion of the checklist, this will alleviate uncertainty in terms of non-compliance and defective areas. It is to be noted that only a registered PIRB plumber may issue a PIRB Certificate of Compliance.
For more information, please visit the IOPSA website at www.iopsa.org. Or contact 08610 PLUMBER