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
    • 20 Apr 2018
      Whenever changes in the political ecosystem of a traditional property market create uncertainty, smart investors begin to look elsewhere for new opportunities. Property experts at IP Global have analysed the trends and crunched the numbers to find new markets to explore in Europe and the United States.
    • 20 Apr 2018
      Energy and water self-sufficiency are increasingly important factors in home buyers’ choice of property – especially in Cape Town where the extreme drought of the past few years has made municipal supply costly as well as uncertain.
    • 19 Apr 2018
      During the last decade, rampant development has progressively transformed Cape Town’s property landscape with densification being the order of the day, but there are still one or two hidden gems like Scarborough which have retained their original character, offering an inimitable lifestyle and an attractive investment opportunity.
    • 19 Apr 2018
      The rental market is a cut-throat sector of the real estate market that waits for nobody. According to Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, first-time renters need to be fully prepared before they even start the process of looking for a place to rent in order to avoid the disappointment of losing out on their ideal property.
    • 19 Apr 2018
      Choosing to buy your first home instead of continuing to rent is a big decision that will usually take some time to put into action, but the sooner you can save up a sizeable deposit, the closer you will be to reaching your goal.
    • 18 Apr 2018
      Selling your home is no small task and as you will quickly find out, there are a lot of misconceptions about the process. Gerhard van der Linde, Seeff's MD in Pretoria East lists the top 5 misconceptions when you are selling your home.
    • 18 Apr 2018
      The Cape Town municipality is now installing water-management devices at properties that have been non-compliant with the new level 5 water restrictions and there are talks of fines between R5,000 and R10,000 for households that use too much water.
    • 17 Apr 2018
      The recent interest rate cut has stoked the coals in the first-time buyer’s market. At least for the next two months until the next interest rate announcement, homeowners are guaranteed lower monthly instalments than in the previous quarter. But, is it wise to take out a 100% bond just to enter the property market while interest rates are low?
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us