What is a Compliance Certificate?

At a recent DIY Divas workshop it came to light that not every homeowner knows what a Compliance Certificate is, and the importance of this certificate when buying or selling a property.


There are laws in place that affect the buying and selling of a home. These municipal bylaws require that every homeowner obtain compliance certificates before a deed of transfer can take place on a property. While previously only Electrical and Beetle Certificates were required, new legislation stipulates that you must also supply/be provided with a Gas Certificate, Electric Fencing Certificate, as well as Plumbing/Water Certificates.

If you are not sure what these Compliance Certificates entail, here is a brief overview:

Beetle Certificate:

Beetles infest themselves in the timber of your home, especially in roof trusses. The beetle certificate has become standard practice, and it’s often a condition written into the sale agreement in coastal areas, although they it isn’t usually required for sectional title properties, or where the property is situated inland where beetle and woodborer problems are less common.

The Beetle infestation certificate guarantees the absence of beetles from any timber in the property. One of the major drawbacks of these certificates is that certain certificates only cover certain species of beetles, therefore, ensure that the exterminator will cover all species of beetles, since many banks and insurance companies require a beetle clearance certificate when a property is transferred to a new owner

Electrical Certificate:

An Electrical Certificate of Certificate (ECOC) has to be submitted before any electricity supply will be connected. Any Certificate has to be completed by a qualified electrician and has to be obtained by the seller and made available to the buyer.

The ECOC is a document that verifies that the electrical installations such as the plugs, lights, distribution board, geyser and wiring in a home comply with the legislated requirements as detailed in the Occupational Health and Safety Act. “

Only an ECOC issued within the last two years will be considered valid, provided no changes had been made to the electrical installations during this time. The regulations also demand that the electrician issuing the ECOC must be currently registered with the relevant authorities. When having any electrical work undertaken, or when requesting an ECOC for the sale of a property, homeowner must ensure that the electrician is registered with the Electrical Contracting Board of South Africa and the Department of Labour, by requesting to see the contractor’s registration card and accreditation certificate.

Electric Fence Compliance Certificate:

In terms of the Electrical Machinery Regulations of 2011, issued under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993, a compliance certificate is now required that relates to electrical fence systems. If you’ve installed electric fencing as a security measure, you’ll need an Electrical Fence System Compliance Certificate. As with an ECOC, this certificate is required where additions or alterations to an electrical fence installation have been undertaken, or when a change of ownership of the property takes place.

An electrical fence system, as defined in the regulations, is an electrified barrier consisting of one or more bare conductors erected against the trespass of persons or animals coupled with electrical machinery arranged so as to deliver a periodic non-lethal amount of electrical energy to an electric fence connected to it. This certificate can only be issued by a party registered as an electric fence system installer.

Gas Certificate:

Gas has become a more popular commodity due to the rising cost of electricity. Gas is a very dangerous component so the Gas Certificate was introduced for safety reasons. If your home is fitted with gas appliances you require a Gas Certificate of Conformity to confirm that all gas fittings are safe and in proper working order. This certificate is valid for a period of five years. It certifies that your gas installation is in a safe, working condition, that emergency shut-off valves have been correctly installed, and that the system is free of leaks.

Gas installations for which Certificates of Conformity are required, would include built-in gas fires or braais, gas stoves and hot water systems and the like. Furthermore, in terms of Regulation 17(3) of the Pressure Equipment Regulations, any person disposing of a property on which such a gas appliance is installed, must obtain a Certificate of Conformity in respect thereof, and must deliver a copy to the purchaser (on the same basis as an Electrical Compliance Certificate).

Plumbing/Water Certificate:

With rising water costs and the water shortage that our country is experiencing, as well as the fact that your home is vulnerable to major damage due to leaks and potential pipe bursts, makes this certificate one of the most valuable. The Plumbing/Water Certificate must be done by a certified plumber and guarantees that all plumbing in the property complies with the correct standards.

Every homeowner should check that:

  • any water installation conforms to the National Building Regulations
  • there are no defects
  • the water meter is registered
  • there is no discharge of storm water into the sewerage system

While these new regulations may make the sale of a property a bit more complicated, they are implemented to protect a buyer and ensure that any property being sold is in good condition and has no hidden defects or costs.

Adapted from article on private property