Certificate of Compliance



Once your solar PV or backup system has been installed, it’s important to ensure that a Certificate of Compliance (CoC) is issued. What is it and why do you need it?

Basically, this document checks that the electrician who performed the installation has complied with the rules and regulations that are in place to assure a safe installation.


Although solar installations* and equipment have been around for many years, it is a fairly new industry in South Africa. As such, regulation and legislation has not quite caught up. Currently there is no blanket regulation standard that covers the entirety of photovoltaic installations. Draft regulations are available as a guideline, however, at this time there is no specific “Certificate of compliance” that has been published. As a result, there is quite a bit of confusion pertaining to buying and selling of property where alternative energy, for example PV, has been installed. *Including hybrid energy backup In an attempt to provide clarity, we have compiled a couple of the most frequently asked questions.


How does alternative energy (PV, battery backup systems and generators) affect the issuing of an electrical Certificate of Compliance? Equipment that is connected to the electrical installation and designed to operate as an alternative energy source (this includes grid tied PV which operates in parallel to the main grid), is regarded as a fixed or stationary appliance. Therefore, the equipment itself does not form part of the electrical compliance certificate. However, wiring and switchgear used to connect the equipment to the electrical installation does. There are specific requirements for different types of system connections, and general safety regulations would apply to positioning and selection of the equipment.


Do you need an electrical certificate of compliance for an alternative energy installation? Yes, absolutely. The installer of the equipment must be able to issue a compliance certificate. This is to ensure that the installation is safe, as well as, within the scope of relevant regulations.

Does a PV or energy backup system have to be registered with council in order for property transfer to take place? No, unless specifically required and stated in the offer to purchase. There is currently no legislation specifying that alternative energy systems have to be registered for property transfer. However, as is the case in Cape Town, there are certain council bylaws that require PV systems and alternative energy sources to be registered. If these systems are not registered, the owner of the installation may be fined, as well as the main electrical supply to the installation turned off. This does not apply to water heating systems where water is circulated through a solar collector panel or vacuum tubes.


How does the registration process work and what are the costs included for registration? The registration is submitted by the owner of the installation under guidance of the installer. The relevant registration documentation can be found online, depending on which district the installation exists. Although the registration is free, it requires supporting documentation which might incur additional costs. These documents could include wiring diagrams, electrical certificates of compliance as well as declarations by Engineering Council of South Africa registered individuals. If possible, this should be discussed with installers prior to commencement of installations.


Certificate of Compliance (COC) is a document that verifies that the electrical installations such as the plugs, lights, DBboard, geyser and wiring in a home comply with the legislated requirements as detailed in the Occupational Health and Safety Act.


Only a registered person may issue a COC. Therefore the person must have a licence issued by the Department of Labour. An unregistered person may work at the property, but only under supervision of a registered person.

A CoC must be issued when any alterations are done to an electrical installation. For example, if traditional lighting is replaced by downlights, the electrical contractor must ensure that a valid CoC is issued for that work.


A new certificate is not required for transferring ownership of a property if there is a valid certificate in place that is not more than two years old, provided that no alterations have been made to the installation since the certificate was issued.


How long is a COC valid for?

Why do you need an Electrical Certificate of Compliance (COC)?

Electricity, just like water and gas, can “leak”. This leakage current is potentially dangerous as it can flow through you when you touch the “leaking” appliance. The earth leakage relay is designed to monitor for leakage current going directly or indirectly to earth and if it exceeds a certain value it will trip and disconnect the current flow. This is why it is so important that all circuits are properly earthed to ensure that the earth leakage relay would operate in an emergency.


The onus has been placed on the homeowner (seller) to ensure that a faulty or non-compliant electrical installation in his / her house does not pose a threat through fire or electrocution to any person, animal or property. Without a valid COC, should an injury or incident occur, the homeowner could be held liable and the insurance on the house could be declared invalid.

When is an Electrical COC required?

A valid electrical certificate is a legal requirement, the owner of an “electrical installation” should be in possession of a valid electrical certificate at all times.

In terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) no person may market, sell, let or supply an electrical installation that is unsafe.


The Seller of a property is therefore obligated to obtain a COC before transfer of the property from a legitimate contractible company which complies with all the criteria as stipulated by the authorities and conforms to the latest Code of Practice.

What does an Electrical COC Cost?

The price of the inspection is normally a fixed fee – the total cost is however depended on the work required (or not). The inspector will submit a report stating what work needs to be done to the installation to comply with the Code of Practice.


When accepted by the seller, the transferring attorney will give the inspector the go ahead to complete the work.


Should the electrical installation be 100% compliant the inspector should issue a new certificate at no additional charge over and above the inspection fee.


In the event that rectifications are required in order to make the electrical installation compliant, the inspector will issue a detailed report with a quote to perform the necessary rectifications.


At this point the client can decide to either:


  • A: Accept the quotation – so the inspector can perform the rectifications after which they will issue a new electrical certificate (COC).


  • B: Appoint another qualified electrician to make the rectifications AND issue the COC.

Inspectors cannot issue electrical certificates based on the work of others as the certificate also serves as a guarantee on materials and workmanship. Please note the inspection fee is a consultation fee, NOT a certificate fee, and remain payable irrespective of who ultimately issues the certificate.

What is checked during an Electrical COC Inspection?

The distribution board contains the heart of the electrical installation. From here the mains incoming supply is split to the various plug, light and other circuits. The circuit breakers protect against overload and short circuit faults, which could cause fires.


The circuit breakers and wire size need to be correctly rated according to the maximum amount of electricity that the connected circuit may be expected to carry.


The earth leakage protects against potential electrocution situations. At least the main switch must be easily accessible in case of emergencies, preferably the entire board should be accessible.


The electrical certificate covers the permanent electrical installation which includes:

  • all the cables from the mains incoming point to the main distribution board;
  • everything in the main distribution board and any sub boards, circuit breakers, earth leakage etc. ;
  • all the cabling from the distribution boards to switches and plugs, including the wall plugs and light switches, through to the connection at the lights;
  • all circuits and wiring to any fixed appliances, even if they are plugged into a wall socket, but it does not include the actual appliance itself;
  • the earthing system and connectivity throughout the installation;
  • positioning of electrical equipment, e.g. light switches and plugs may not be within a certain distance of taps, shower, baths etc.;
  • mains switch must be accessible and a within a certain height from the floor in case of emergencies;
  •  all electrical equipment in the installation must be approved, SABS or other relevant approvals, and be of the correct type and rating for the application;
  • all electrical equipment must be installed in an approved manner, must be securely attached in place and suitably protected from little fingers gaining access;
  • all parts of the permanent electrical installation must be in good working order, including safety features;
  • the electrician will also take various readings to ensure that Voltages, insulation, earthing and other values are within requirements.

What is NOT covered by the Electrical COC?

An electrical certificate is very similar to the roadworthy test on a car. The issuing electrician is not servicing or upgrading the electrical installation – he or she just need to ensure that what does exist is operational, complies with regulations and is deemed safe.


  • No upgrades to the electrical installation of older homes. According to regulations each room only requires at least one operational light. There are no regulations stating that a home must have a certain minimum number of socket outlets per room or a number of plug circuits. In some cases even the old fuse boards are still perfectly legal;
  • fixed home appliances are ONLY checked to ensure they are connected to the installation via approved means – not whether they are in working condition. This includes items such as ovens, stoves, hobs, air-con units, swimming pool pumps, bore hole pumps, pool lights, garage and gate motors, pond pumps, HVAC system, alarms, wall heaters and anyother fixed appliances.
  • temporary installations are not included, defined as something that can simply be unplugged and removed by hand that was clearly intended for temporary use only. If however you have performed the installation in such a manner as to indicate that it is intended for permanent usage, then it will need to be done according to regulation.

What are the legal requirements of the Electrical COC?

Only a Qualified Electrician with a Wireman’s License, accredited by the Department of Labour and who is registered with the Electrical Contracting Board of South Africa (E.C.B) can issue an electrical COC.


The SANS10142-1 electrical installation regulations comprises of an entire book of complicated regulations – and then there is also the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations to consider from time to time. The Code of Practice is amended regularly by a working group of technical experts in the industry who meet on a regular basis at the SA Bureau of Standards. The inspector works strictly according to the Code and cannot issue a C.O.C if the installation is not safe as determined by the Code.

What is the validity period of the Electrical COC?

For a long time the electrical certificate was valid for as long as the electrical installation was not amended or worked on in any way.


Two shortcomings in this practice:


  1. Wear and Tear, everything eventually breaks or wears out, including electrical equipment. There is simply no way an Electrical Certificate can be valid forever.
  2. The new owner was simply expected to take the sellers word for it that he had not amended or worked on the electrical installation in any way in all the years he had lived in the premises.

At present the electrical certificate can only be valid for an absolute maximum of two years, subject to no alterations or work being done during that period. Sometimes an affidavit needs to be signed to this effect.

What is the procedure in obtaining an Electrical COC?

The seller, estate agent or transferring attorney can make the request for an Electrical Certificate.


As there is a fee involved the seller always need to familiarise themselves with the fees and payment options and permit the electrician (inspector) to proceed with the inspection.


The inspector will then make an appointment with the current occupant (owner or tenant) of the property and will require access to every part of the electrical installation – the main distribution board, every plug, light switch, light fitting etc. on the premises – not just inside the main dwelling, but garage, out buildings and even roof spaces etc.


It is necessary that all socket outlets, plugs, be tested so all appliances will be unplugged during the inspection, readings will be taken once all appliances have been unplugged. Power will be switched off for a short period during the inspection.


Although inspectors normally plug all the occupant’s appliances in again at the completion of the inspection, occupants should be warned to ensure and confirm that they have done this – especially essential appliances like fridges, freezers, koi pond pumps etc.

Certificate of Compliance (COC) Electrical Work and Issuing

Electrical certificates of compliance, COC, becomes incredibly important when selling your house or property. This is a document that verifies that the electrical installation conforms to the South African National Standards 10142-1 (SANS 10142-1). It states that all electrical work is to the correct standards and meets all safety guidelines. It is up to the current owner, not the new owner, to get the certificate which is valid for 2 years. We aim to make this process as simple and easy as possible, with these steps:


  1. Compliance inspection of the premises
  2. Quotation to make everything compliant
  3. Remedial work is done
  4. Certificate is issued

Note: Even if the house used to be compliant, an inspection still needs to be done.

Servicing and Repairs

We install, repair, supply and connect electrical equipment for residential properties. Supply of COC, Fault finding, Thermal Scanning and connection of electrical appliances.