What is a Plumbing Certificate of Compliance and why do you need one?

Have you heard of a Plumbing Certificate of Compliance and wondered if you do or do not need one? Here are answers to some of the questions you may have?


What does it mean to receive a Plumbing Certificate of Compliance? (COC)

A licensed plumber who’s registered with the Plumbing Industry Registration Board (PIRB) will issue you a Plumbing Certificate of Compliance when the plumbing work agreed upon has been completed. This certificate certifies that all plumbing work has been completed in accordance with PIRB standards and that the workmanship is guaranteed. In so doing, the plumber takes ownership over the plumbing work he has completed and is accountable for it. A Plumbing Certificate of Compliance can be issued to a homeowner, municipality or insurance company.


When will you need a Plumbing Certificate of Compliance?

The Plumbing Certificate of Compliance is unique to the City of Cape Town. It’s governed by a water-bylaw since 2011 and is required by the seller upon the sale of his/her property.


Why is a Plumbing Certificate of Compliance necessary?

A Plumbing Certificate of Compliance certifies that water installation on the property is in adherence to municipal and building regulations. 


What is included in the Plumbing Certificate of Compliance?

There are seven checks performed during a plumbing inspection. If any issues not mentioned in the checklist below arise, the seller cannot be held accountable.

  1. The hot water cylinder must be plumbed correctly and must comply with SANS 10252 and 10254. Vacuum breakers must be installed correctly, an emergency overflow must be plumbed to the outside of the property using a copper pipe. 
  2. The water meter must be in working order. The water meter must register water usage when a tap is turned open, and stop running when a tap is closed. This will also determine if there is a water leak on the property. 
  3. The licensed plumber must ensure that none of the terminal water fittings leak when turned off, and that they are fixed in position correctly.
  4. There is to be no storm water discharged into the sewerage system.
  5. The licensed plumber needs to observe that there is no cross connection between the potable water supply and grey water system.
  6. The private isolating valve must be in place and functioning.
  7. The water pipes must be saddled properly.


What is excluded from the Plumbing Certificate of Compliance?

  1. Blocked drains are excluded because they are considered a normal maintenance issue and not eligible for a certificate.
  2. Leaks in the secondary disposal system do not qualify as water wastage, as the water has already been used for its intended purpose, and is now being disposed of. Only leaks in the primary supply system, that is, from the water meter to the tap itself (and when the tap is closed), qualify for a plumbing certificate. 
  3. Checking pipes leading from your shower, bath, kitchen or bathroom sink to the outside drain is not included in the inspection. If these pipes leak, it’s considered normal maintenance work and not a certificate issue (even if it’s causing damage to your home).
  4. Low pressure water supply is not included. This needs to be checked with the municipality. 
  5. Water quality is not eligible for inspection. If your water is discoloured or has a foul odour, it could be that the geyser is rusted or the pipes are rusted. 
  6. Fittings in poor condition. Chips, cracks or discolouration of baths, sinks, showers and toilets are not a concern of the City of Cape Town.
  7. Fittings or connections to appliances that leak when switched on. This includes the connection to washing machines and dishwashers. This is not covered by the Plumbing Certificate as long as the tap doesn’t leak when it’s closed.
  8. Irrigation systems or swimming pool installations are excluded. If your swimming pool or irrigation system leaks, it’s a maintenance issue.
  9. Taps or fittings that are not connected to the installation. Occasionally a tap or fitting is found that’s not connected to the water supply. The seller, however, cannot be compelled to upgrade the plumbing installation.
  10. No hot or cold water supply to rooms where you would normally expect both. It isn’t the purpose of the Plumbing Certificate of Compliance to upgrade the plumbing installation. 
  11. Air blocks in pipes. This occurs when the water supply has been switched off for a while. 


Who has the authority to issue a Plumbing Certificate of Compliance?

Only a licensed and PIRB-registered plumber may issue a Plumbing Certificate of Compliance. Any unlicensed and unregistered plumber who issues certificates is doing so illegally and will be dealt with by the plumbing industry, when caught. 

If you need a Plumbing Certificate of Compliance for your City of Cape Town property, contact PlumVac at 072 292 1280


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