Cape Town & compliance certificates

04 Dec 2012

Buyers of property should be aware that a valid Certificate of Compliance for the Water Installation as per the City of Cape Town Water By-Law 2010 is by no means a guarantee that the plumbing installation is in full working order.

A Plumbing Certificate of Compliance, which is obtainable from the Plumbing Industry Registration Board, requires full compliance with SANS which declare that the hot water demand is in accordance with specific tables which includes waste water, such as waste traps, sewerage, hot water cylinder drip trays, full compliance on hot water cylinders – vacuum breakers, faulty plumbing components such as damaged shower roses and waste traps and covers all leaks and includes blocked or overflowing drainage.

This is according to Mike Greeff, chief executive officer of Greeff Properties, an exclusive Affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate.

Greeff says the reality is that in order for the transfer to proceed, only a Certificate of Compliance for the Water Installation is required, and this applies to all transfers initiated after 1 March 2011.

However, the inspection required for this particular certificate is not as complete as that which is required for the granting of a Plumbing Certificate of Compliance, which is obtainable from the Plumbing Industry Registration Board.

The latter also fulfils the requirements for transfer to proceed.

“It’s up to the agent to ensure that the buyer understands that a Certificate of Compliance for the Water Installation as per the City of Cape Town Water By-Law 2010 is not a comprehensive 'Plumbing Certificate',” says Greeff. 

According to Tyron Vomberg of Inspecto, a property inspection company, the difference between the two is that the Certificate of Compliance for the Water Installation required as per the By-Law only covers a portion of the plumbing installation.

The parts of the installation that are covered by the By-Law are listed on the Certificate of Compliance for the Water Installation as follows:

1. The Hot Water Cylinder installation complies with South African National Standards (SANS), which declare that the hot water demand is in accordance with specific tables, but this is only required in installations done after September 2006

2. The water meter registers when a tap is open, and stops completely when no water is drawn. If there is still movement on the meter, this points to a defect (resulting in a loss of water) somewhere on the property

3. None of the terminal water fittings leak and they are correctly fixed in position

4. No stormwater is discharged into the sewerage system

5. There is no cross connection between the potable supply and any grey water or groundwater system which may be installed and the water pipes in the plumbing installation are properly saddled.

“What this certificate excludes is damage to waste water components, waste traps and drip trays, as well as sewerage which is handled by other by-laws.”

Greeff points out that the certificate only includes damaged components if they result in a loss of potable water.

“It also only requires full compliance on hot water cylinder installations installed from September 2006,” he says.  

A Plumbing Certificate of Compliance, which is obtainable from the Plumbing Industry Registration Board, requires full compliance with SANS, which declare that the hot water demand is in accordance with specific tables which includes waste water, such as waste traps, sewerage, hot water cylinder drip trays, full compliance on hot water cylinders – vacuum breakers, faulty plumbing components such as damaged shower roses and waste traps, and covers all leaks plus includes blocked or overflowing drainage.

Although a Plumbing Certificate is regularly used as an umbrella term, buyers should enquire whether the certificate being referred to is in fact a Certificate of Compliance for the Water Installation as per the City of Cape Town Water By-Law 2010, or a Plumbing Certificate of Compliance, which is obtainable from the Plumbing Industry Registration Board.

It’s a small difference that may go a long way to address the misconceptions around these documents, adds Greeff.

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