building process

Choosing your Electrical Contractor

  • Creation Date: Wednesday, 12 June 2019

 Choose your electrical contractor wisely.

When you sell your home, you are required by law to obtain a valid Electrical Certificate of Compliance (CoC) before a transfer can take place. However, choosing the right person for the job involves more than finding the cheapest quotation around.

In terms of the Electrical Installation Regulations, which are a Schedule to the Occupational Health & Safety Act, an electrical contractor must be registered as an accredited person (i.e electrical tester for single phase, installation electrician or master installation electrician) with the Department of Labour (commonly referred to as a Wireman’s Licence), and be registered with the Electrical Contracting Board of SA (ECB) to legally undertake electrical installations and issue Certificates of Compliance (CoC).

These are the minimum requirements and there are literally hundreds of contractors around who fit the bill. So are the sorry tales of homeowners who were ‘done in’ by unreliable or unregistered ‘pirate’ contractors who did not offer a guarantee on their work and simply disappeared, leaving them with huge problems after spending a fortune to obtain compliance certificates. Or a buyer finds that a certificate was issued while the property was never inspected.

Finding an established, reputable contractor with a proven track record is therefore essential. First of all, make sure the contractor is a member in good standing of the Electrical Contractors’ Association of SA (ECA), the employers’ organisation that represents the majority of the electrical contractors in the country.

Contractors must be registered with the ECB before they can apply for ECA membership and must be qualified and accredited for the work they are authorised to perform. You can check a contractor’s credentials by requesting to see his ECB registration card and the original accreditation certificate issued by the Department of Labour on which the contractor’s name, ID number and photograph appear and which proves that he is qualified and authorised to issue CoCs.

Also, establish a contractor’s policy on defective workmanship, i.e. do they return to fix a problem after a certificate has been issued? All ECA members have a workmanship guarantee of up to R20 000, which enables you to find recourse should something go wrong. ECA members also have access to the latest technical information and are kept up to date on regulatory changes.

Ensure you enlist the services of a contractor who provides a professional, comprehensive service that includes expert advice, after-sales and backup service, and who guarantees their work and can be located if there is a problem. The contractor should ideally specialise in the testing of electrical installations, fixing of non-compliant items and issuing of CoCs as there are many qualified contractors who do very few of these in their scope of work, with the result that they lose track of the latest requirements and technical information.

Companies specialising in beetle and electrical inspections will ensure that they keep up to date with the latest developments and regulations, and if it is a professional company worth their salt, they would most certainly keep computerised records of reports and certificates issued. They would also, as an additional service to clients, provide copies of their inspection reports and certificates to all parties concerned, i.e. the seller, an estate agent (if arranged through them) and the conveyancing attorneys.

You can, therefore, enjoy peace of mind that the electrical compliance aspect of selling your home is taken care of by professionals, which will go a long way to help alleviate the stresses of selling your home.

If you need assistance in locating a registered electrical contractor, contact the ECA’s offices in your regional area.