COC | Certificate of Compliance

The COC and its Importance to Commercial Building Owners

The past few years produced price hikes and an economic downturn, tempting some contractors to cut corners, so commercial property owners must demand a COC. Perhaps you might not recognise this acronym at first glance. However, if you have ever sold a house, a certificate of compliance confirming that the electrical installation is fully compliant with the South African National Standards (SANS 10142-1) would have been a legal requirement for you as the seller while also providing recourse for the buyer should the installation later prove to be defective.

The transferring attorneys and the bank or mortgage provider also require copies. To verify its validity, a qualified, registered electrician must sign the certificate of compliance. In practice, the contractor should also provide this form of validation whenever electrical work is conducted on a property. Certification is especially important to commercial building owners as they are subject to government regulations that make them liable for maintaining employee health and safety. Should an employee suffer an injury due to an electrical fault with an uncertified installation, the building’s owners will be unable to claim compensation from their business insurance.

What is Covered by a COC?

A certificate of compliance provides extensive assurances regarding the safety and functionality of each component of an electrical installation, beginning with the cabling from the incoming mains source to the distribution board (DB), and includes all elements of the board itself and everything beyond, but excludes any connected electrical appliances.

The DB board is the heart of an electrical installation from which incoming mains power is split into separate circuits for lighting and other functions. Breakers on the board protect against overload and faults that might cause a short circuit, limiting the risk of an electrical fire. In addition, the earth leakage relay is designed to monitor any direct or indirect leakage of current to earth. When leakage exceeds a specific value, the relay will trip and disconnect the current flow, providing protection from electrocution.

When checking for compliance, the investigating electrician will need to take various instrument readings to determine whether factors like voltage, insulation, and earthing comply with the relevant regulatory requirements. In brief, the primary areas of focus of the COC inspection will be as follows:

  • Confirming that all components of the installation are SABS-approved and of the correct type and rating for the application
  • Ensuring all equipment is installed in the approved manner
  • Checking that all electrical components are firmly secured in place and functioning correctly
  • Ensuring that switches and wall sockets are at a safe distance from taps
  • Checking circuit breakers and earth leakage on main- and sub-distribution boards and checking all isolators for fixed appliances such as fans, heat pumps, and geysers

For How Long Is a COC Valid?

Initially, a certificate of electrical compliance remained valid for as long as the certified installation remained unmodified. However, due to inevitable wear and tear and the possibility of unauthorised changes, it was decided that indefinite validity was impractical and potentially dangerous.

Accordingly, the revised regulations state that a COC is only valid for a maximum of two years, assuming there has been no further work on the system in the interim. 

Ensuring Your Electrical Installation Meets COC Specifications

In the wake of an economic downturn and runaway inflation, many commercial property owners have become victims of substandard electrical work from cut-price contractors, often backed by a fake certificate of compliance. It is, therefore, vital to insist on certified contractors for safety and peace of mind.

We at CCI Technologies have over 38 years of experience in developing, installing, certifying, and maintaining commercial and industrial power solutions. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information about our certified electrical services.

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