What’s going on with Electric Fence System Compliance Certificates?

According to the Electrical Machinery Regulations of 2011, as issued under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993, property sellers now need to obtain Electric Fence System Compliance Certificates just like they need Electric and Plumbing Certificates and, in the coastal regions, Beetle Certificates.

Originally properties affected were those where an electric fence system was installed after 1 October 2012 and those where any alteration or addition was effected after said date. Dykes van Heerden Attorneys indicate that a certificate also needs to be issued should a transfer of property with an electrical fence take place after 1 October 2012. According to Smith Tabatha Buchanan Boyes this deadline was extended until 1 December 2012, implying that contracts signed on that date or thereafter are affected.

Johan Pretorius, National Chairman of the South African Electric Fence Installers Association (SAEFIA) clarifies what seems to have caused some confusion: electric fence installers who qualified and applied were granted temporary licences authorising them to issue these COC’s (Certificates of Compliance) but the deadline for registering for a permanent license has been extended until September 2013. As such fence installers can still apply for a temporary license but, will need study and attain the required qualifications to obtain a permanent license by the September 2013 deadline.

In the interim there are thus fence installers who can issue home sellers with their COC’s. Pretorius indicates that there are around 25 registered, certified persons in the Western Cape and numerous other scattered across the country who can issue these certificates. Sellers can contact the Department of Labour which will be able to tell them which persons are registered in the various provinces. “Leapfrog has tried to contact the Department of Labour and has yet to have anyone answer the phone, we have also contacted the Western Cape Approved Electrical Inspection Authority who were also unable to produce a list,” says Bruce Swain, MD of Leapfrog Property Group, “as such I am at a loss as to how the average seller is supposed to find a registered fence installer who can issue COC’s”.

There have been numerous reports that these Electric Fence System Compliance Certificates are transferable. Pretorius is adamant that they are not and that the COC’s also expire after two years so new owners will have to have the fence tested again before they re-sell, as is the case with the other Certificates of Compliance.

“It seems that the idea behind the law is good as buyers will be better protected as sellers will be forced to ensure that their electric fences (which add value to their properties) are up to standard. It does seem though that the law has moved faster than its implementers in this instance as installers are scrambling to register”, says Bruce Swain. “However one could also play devil’s advocate and ask whether these certificates are not just a money making scheme for the Department of Labour and yet another expense that sellers need to incur in order to sell their properties.”

According to the Regulations an electric fence is classified as “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”.

Livewire Electric Fencing lists the following criteria for electric fences as documented in SANS60335-2-76:

  • Wall Height:  Minimum wall height of private property to be secured - 1.8 metres.
  • Brackets:  Upright brackets may be used without any height restriction.
  • Angled brackets:  Brackets can be angled at no more than 45 degrees out and are to be installed on the inside of the boundary wall.
  • Neighbours:   It is not permissible to angle brackets into a neighbour’s property without their knowledge or consent.
  • Hazard:   Electrified fences are to be installed and operated so that they cause no electrical hazard or entanglement to persons or animals.
  • Barbed wire or razor wire:  These shall not be electrified by an energiser.
  • Warning Signs:  Electric fencing installed along a public road or pathway shall be securely identified with yellow warning signs (100 x 200cm) at intervals not exceeding 10 metres. All gates and access points to have warning signs.
  • Electrified Gates:  To be capable of being opened/closed without the person receiving a shock.

The guidelines indicated above are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to installing these fences but offers clients a basic idea of what is expected. Should either buyers or sellers have queries or, wish to report an installer they can contact the Department of Labour.

“My suggestion to buyers and sellers would be to include a clause regarding electric fence systems in the purchasing contract which can be modelled on the existing clauses for plumbing and electrical system compliance certificates”, says Swain, “buyers would be well advised to insist on such a clause should they see an electrical fence on the property in order to ensure that the fence is indeed up to standard before they purchase”.

  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
Characters remaining

    Latest Property News
    • 23 Jan 2018
      Many people only start thinking about home-ownership when they are ready to “settle down” or start a family, which is why first-time buyers these days are generally in their mid-30s, compared to those in the previous generation who were usually in their mid-20s.
    • 22 Jan 2018
      Moving away from the city to a country or coastal town and a slower-paced life is a frequent new-year resolution for South Africans, but thorough research should be done before you break free from the hustle and bustle, because making the wrong move could turn out to be a very expensive mistake, and even more stressful for you and your family than staying in the “big smoke”.
    • 22 Jan 2018
      Cape Town is home to many breathtaking and historic homes, but House Invermark designed in 1969 by South African architect Gilbert Colyn, with inspiration from two modernist icons: the Glass House by Phillip Johnson and Farnsworth House by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is in a class of its own.
    • 22 Jan 2018
      2017 was a challenging year for the South African property market in general, despite small pockets of thriving activity in areas like the Western Cape. As we head into 2018, Tony Clarke, Managing Director of the Rawson Property Group, casts his eye forward to property trends and market influences that could make their impact felt in the New Year.
    • 19 Jan 2018
      Extending from Randfontein in the west to Roodepoort in the east and including the towns of Krugersdorp and Magaliesburg, the West Rand has a plethora of property available to residents who choose to make this unique area their home.
    • 19 Jan 2018
      When it comes to financial planning, doing the work to ensure you’re prepared for unexpected emergencies is just as important as ticking off your other goals and New Year’s resolutions. The beginning of the year is also the perfect time to review your various insurance policies.
    • 19 Jan 2018
      No surprises at the first Monetary Policy Committee of 2018, as Reserve Bank Governor, Lesetja Kganyago, announced that the interest rates would stay at their current levels.
    • 18 Jan 2018
      The Southern Suburbs make up some of the most popular residential areas in Cape Town, comprising charming groups of suburbs which lie to the south-east of the slopes of Table Mountain. It is seen as the city's most expensive residential neighbourhoods with a choice of various private schools, upmarket eateries, wine estates, beautiful homes and trendy apartments.
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us