Selling your house - New Certificates

Gas Installations - Certificate of Conformity

Home owners in South Africa has turned to gas appliances in an effort to curb rising electricity costs. But when the time comes to sell their property not many of the home owners are aware that they need to be in possession of a Certificate of Conformity if they intend on selling their property with the gas appliances installed.

Most would be aware of the Machinery and Occupational Safety Act of 1983. This act requires owners of buildings to hold a certificate of compliance in respect of the electrical installation. However this has been extended by amendments to the regulation which became effective in October 2009.

This New Pressure Equipment Regulations was declared under the Occupation Health and Safety Act, which brought gas appliances installed in property more or less in line with electrical installations. In short, any person installing a liquid gas appliance onto a property must have a Certificate of Conformity issued in respect thereof.

An authorised person, who is registered with the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Safety Association of Southern Africa (LPGAS), issues the certificate after an inspection has been done on the installation and it has been declared safe and leak free.

Gas installations for which Certificates of Conformity are required would include built in gas fires or braai's, 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 gas appliance is installed, must obtain a Certificate of Conformity in respect thereof, and must deliver a copy thereof to the Purchaser (rather like an electrical compliance certificate).

Also remember that if the appliance was installed before October 2009 a Certificate of Conformity is still needed.

Estate Agents should use these pointers when dealing with properties for sale:
  • Check for the existence of gas appliances in any of the properties they have a mandate to sell
  • Ascertain who, among the dealers in gas appliances in their area, are authorised persons with LPGAS, and who are competent to issue Certificates of Conformity
  • Advise all sellers whose properties do have gas installation, of the need to obtain a Certificate of Conformity
  • Make provision for the seller to obtain the Certificate of Conformity in the eventual sale document, should a gas appliance have been installed in the property sold. The cost of obtaining the Certificate (and the cost of any work required to render the installation safe and leak free) will be for the seller's account.
The Certificate of Conformity would not only ensure that the gas appliances is safe and leak free but is also necessary for insurance purposes as many indications show that insurance companies may seek to avoid liability for damage caused to a property by a defective gas appliance, should there be no valid Certificate of Conformity. This being the case, it won't be long before banks granting the Purchaser the mortgage finance to purchase property will require a copy of the Certificate of Conformity, should a gas appliance have been installed thereon.

Estate Agents should, therefore, ensure that a certified copy of any Certificate of Conformity is supplied to the transfer Conveyancer.

In simple terms, from now on deal with gas appliances in properties you sell, as you deal with electrical installations.

Water Certificates: A new transfer Requirement

A new by-law published by the City of Cape Town (Section 14 of 2010) now requires the Seller in a property sale transaction to submit a Water Certificate to the City before the transfer of a property in order to obtain rates clearance. The date of implementation is however still uncertain.

This ‘Water Certificate’ is similar to the electrical and gas certificates already required and basically requires an accredited plumber to certify that:
  • the 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

This bylaw affect the installation of irrigation systems, wells, boreholes, well points, and water sources other than municipal water supplies such as storage tanks. It will also implicate solar heated water installations and make sure that it complies with the relevant standard set by the South African Bureau of Standards in terms of the Standards Act, 1993 (Act No. 29 of 1993).

Many my ask what the intent of the by-law is and there is several answers to this. The City of Cape Town explains that this is not only measure to control wastage (an approximate of 79 000 million litres of water per year is lost) from private homes. It also protects the buyer from latent defect claims and high water bills. It also ensures that there is not a cross connection between storm water and the sewer.

These certificates at the end of the day has been implemented to protect both the buyer and seller, wouldn’t you agree?

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