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SANS and COCs – What you need to know

Meeting SANS requirements and getting the relevant CoCs are crucial to your cover

Your insurance policy requires that all electrical- and gas installations are accompanied by a certificate of compliance, and that installations are completed in accordance with specific laws and South African National Standards (SANS). Failure to comply with the relevant laws, regulations and statutory obligations could blow the fuse on your claim.

In terms of electrical installations, a certificate of compliance is sometimes called a compliance certificate, certificate of conformity, or a CoC. Put very simply, a CoC is a declaration made by a registered person (the electrician), that an electrical installation has been completed in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations. SANS is a division of the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), the country’s national standardisation body. The SABS was established in terms of the Standards Act, No 24 of 1945, and continues to operate under the latest Standards Act, No 8 of 2008.

The three main CoCs that must be in place to facilitate a successful claim are:

  • a generator CoC;
  • a gas appliance CoC (such as a geyser, stove or any other gas appliance);
  •  and an electrical CoC (including inverters, solar systems and such).

The separate CoCs may be defined more closely.

An electrical certificate of compliance verifies that, on the date of inspection, an electrical installation complied with all the legal requirements contained in the Electrical Installation Regulations, 2009, of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, No 85 of 1993.

A gas certificate of compliance confirms that gas installations and/or appliances have been installed, tested and maintained according to the relevant SANS safety regulations. This applies to residential, commercial and industrial installations.

With loadshedding no longer an occasional nuisance, but a part of everyday life, many of us are looking at alternative power sources. Solar installations are gaining popularity, but generators and LPG gas alternatives remain the most cost effective and most commonly used alternatives. For your own and the safety of others, and to ensure that your insurance policies remain valid, it pays to make sure that your installations are done to code by a registered professional.

Any portable or permanent generator installation must comply with SANS 10142-1 of 2017, which is concerned with ensuring the basic safety of electrical installations, and ISO 8528-13 of 2016, which specifies the safety requirements for reciprocating internal combustion engine driven generating sets up to 1 000 V. It must be installed by a qualified electrician who can issue an electrical CoC, in a well-ventilated area, with adequate firefighting equipment in place. Fuel storage must comply with SANS regulations and is typically based on the type of fuel used – your electrician should be able to advise you on fuel storage requirements.

Additionally, the local installation and use of generators must adhere to the Western Cape Noise Control Act of 2013 and any applicable by-laws for the prevention of public nuisances. Failure to comply with these laws will not only nullify your policy, but is a criminal offence that may lead to prosecution.

The installation of any gas appliance must be done by a professional who can provide you with a copy of their Liquid Petroleum Gas Safety Association of South Africa (LPGAS) registration certificate, as well as an installation CoC. All installations and gas bottle placements must conform to the stipulations of SANS 10087-1 of 2013. You can find registered installers and approved dealers at the LPGAS website. Good maintenance includes regularly checking that all valves open and close properly, that there are no gas leaks and that no pipes are damaged.

Top tip: pouring a light mixture of water and dishwashing liquid over connections and valves is an easy way to spot leaks. A leaky connection will produce bubbles in the soapy mixture.

While these stipulations must be followed to validate your policy, they are also set for your safety. Gas and electricity provide us with heat, light, entertainment and comfort. But they can just as easily lead to damage, destruction and physical harm if not installed and used correctly. Contact us for any assistance in ensuring that your installations are done in such a way that they keep you powered up, and that they keep you safe.

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