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Thread: Electrical Compliance Problems

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    Platinum Member Marq's Avatar
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    Electrical Compliance Problems

    A few questions - if I may?

    5 years ago I purchased my property and received an Electrical Certificate of Compliance.

    Today, I am told that the wires in my roof are not compliant, that certain circuits should be on earth leakage and some other electrical jargon that I don't know anything about except it equals bucks going out. These would have all been a problem 5 years ago as nothing has been touched since then.

    Is there some recourse against the person who supplied the certificate
    and if so how do I track him down - I only have his name,ID and a accreditation no that is on the Certificate???
    Can the current electrical company called out to fix a fault, threaten to switch off my mains and my business, as a result of the current non compliance?

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Oh boy! Where to start? So much comes to mind. But briefly for now:

    Call the Electrical Contractors Board (ECB). The local office contact details should be in your phone book. That should help with tracing your original contractor and should also resolve most of the accountability issues.

    As for being disconnected: Any electrical contractor is obliged to disconnect the supply if there is a dangerous condition. However, there is a significant difference between dangerous, unsafe and non-compliant. Sadly some aspects of what is deemed compliant is also actually unsafe IMHO. But those tales of woe I must leave for another time.
    Last edited by Dave A; 30-Aug-07 at 07:01 AM.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Platinum Member Marq's Avatar
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    Shock attack

    Thanks for that Dave.
    Sounds like there is a shocking conduit of polarities out there in the Electrical field!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marq View Post
    A few questions - if I may?

    5 years ago I purchased my property and received an Electrical Certificate of Compliance.

    Today, I am told that the wires in my roof are not compliant, that certain circuits should be on earth leakage and some other electrical jargon that I don't know anything about except it equals bucks going out. These would have all been a problem 5 years ago as nothing has been touched since then.

    Is there some recourse against the person who supplied the certificate
    and if so how do I track him down - I only have his name,ID and a accreditation no that is on the Certificate???
    Can the current electrical company called out to fix a fault, threaten to switch off my mains and my business, as a result of the current non compliance?


    There's always 2 sides to a story.

    All I'm saying is , it's your word against his. Unless you can proof that nothing has been changed for 5 years , you're not gonna win this battle. A Certificate
    is only valid for a very short time. The new occupant can add illigal wiring / ect in a matter of hours after the certificate has been signed.

    While we're on the subject. To do a propper certificate for an average 3 bedroom home , with an accessable roof , gatemotor and a swimming pool distribution bord , should take the electricians at least a day. ( Thats before fixing the uncompliancy issues ) ... but everyone want's a certificate for R450

    I'm sorry, but you get what you pay for. Unless you can find some way around it , like the guy who's willing to write you a certificate while he sits in his bakkie , without inspecting the electrical installation.

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    Platinum Member Marq's Avatar
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    Yes you get what you pay for.......

    So if I can get a certificate from a guy sitting in his bakkie when I sell my house, the new owner will be in same boat. This is what it seems has happened to me when I purchased it. Everybody is obviously going to do a bare minimum thing to get out of expenses when selling and the new owner takes the strain. The electrical world turns a blind eye to there certified electricians and its always the owners fault who looks around in despair for some help. This usually comes in the form of another electrician who can twist the wires even more than the first guy, swear its the best job he's ever done and then disappear into the darkness.

    I had some electrical wiring done about a year ago and have been waiting for a certificate on the section wired ever since. I haven't paid the guys so I have no idea what their problem is. Every month they make contact and I hear a different excuse as to why they cannot do the certificate. Last month is was that the DB was more than 2.2 mts high so that was a problem, the previous month they were concerned that a completely separate section was not compliant. Before that there were covers not placed on the junction boxes so couldnt do then. That one I pointed out that it was the circuit they worked on so why had the guy not replaced the covers. Simple stuff none of the excuses true, but they just do not want to put their mark on this job with a certificate. Eventually after all this time, where nothing has been done to rectify anything that they reckoned was the problem, I got this call to tell me that they had decided to issue the certificate. That was three weeks ago and I am not holding my breath on this one.

    The only reason I insisted on it was that they screwed me on the bill. So for an extra R500 that they did me on the bill, they have been back in total... I would guess for 6 hours, the boss has been round for about 1 hour, travelling and phone calls. Hey I don't know how they can call themselves a business.

    But it seems to my limited knowledge on this subject, that the electrical world is at fault here for not bedding down the process properly, having no real standards that are adhered to, guidelines that are followed and attaching some meaning to the certificate.

    Off the top of my head as one idea there could be log book kept in each DB which is registered and which reflects the work done, signed off each time by a registered authorised, legal keen to do business, sparky that knows his stuff. This is where the final sign-off of the house hand over is recorded and any changes are recorded. It is the certificate of continued compliance and shows a complete history of that db. There could be a space for the diy guys to fill in and at a point later - say house change time - the real electricians signs it off after removing it, fixing it or agreeing with it. If not recorded then the owner becomes liable for the fix. Get some guys from the institute or main body to audit the log books on a random basis and take it from there.

    Included in the db board should be an electrical layout plan showing the story of the wiring and what is hooked to what. My board is a shambles. This last guy spent quite a while switching cb's trying to find out which circuit he had actually worked on. I have outside lights mixed with inside lights mixed with certain plug points. I actually have no idea as to which cb does what as the few labels there bear no resemblance to reality. So I asked the guy doing this certificate for the circuit he had worked on..'did you not label the cb..surely this is part of making it all compliant'? 'oh no.thats someone else job, mine stops when I join the wire on the other side'.

    OK - Thats my 5cents worth ....ok inflation = 50cents worth but I will discount it as electricity is not my area of expertise. My only problem is that it does not seem to be anybody else' area either.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    There are some good ideas in there, Marq.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Those are some interesting ideas. Do you think it would be possible to turn the DB log into some sort of online database. The owner of the house could draw a report on all the work done (which would be the COC) and the electricians could log the work done on the database (which only qualified electricians could do).

    The board of electricians would then also be able to access the info and audit individual electricians, as well as draw interesting reports and see correlations (e.g. a certain electrician may regularly be linked to electrical fires).

    The whole idea would have to be expanded on a bit, but hopefully it makes sense.
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    Logging

    There was an idea going around a few years ago called bluebook something or other. The idea was the certificate information would be recorded onto a very expensive gadget which each electrician owned and this would be downloaded via internet onto a central database. From there all information relating to the house in question would be filed for further reference. Unfortunately the cost factor shelved the idea. However the present idea where the owner of the property retains the certificate for his new house and adds the new certificate (for new work) to it and then passes it on to the next owner works very well as long as the owners actually do all that. Those certificates have all the details necessary, just like the log book idea, except that Joe Public takes responsibility for his own electrical installation, and when sale time comes he passes it on as well as receiving the certificate for his new property. A bit like passing on the registration papers when you sell a car. The problem, as i have encountered it, comes when the owner has work done and does not get a certificate because he chose the cheapest quote which was from an electrician not capable of issuing a certificate and usually not capable of doing the job either. It all gets forgotten untill sale time and he gets a bill to redo the entire job properly. Most people usually only get bitten once and then look for a registered electrician to do the next job.
    Lee

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leecatt View Post
    Most people usually only get bitten once and then look for a registered electrician to do the next job.
    Or they swear blind it was always like that and the last electrician to issue a COC must have missed the problems
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    i know the feeling...
    i have to deal with these issues on a daily basis.

    think about this...the stats are something like 30 complaints a day with regards to COCs and only 30 complaints a years are seen to...makes you think...what are the chances your problem will be one of the 30 this year

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