New electric fence rules for SA: how you are affected

What’s the deal with electric fence compliance certificates?

Home owners could have their insurance claims rejected or face criminal prosecution should they not have a compliance certificate for their electric fence, or if they used an uncertified electric fence installer, according to recent media reports.

However, feedback from OutSurance suggests that the consequences of using an uncertified installer may not be so dire – for the home owner at least.

New Electric Machinery Regulations

In an article on their company website, MD of Leapfrog Property Group, Bruce Swain, wrote that the certificate of compliance becomes important when selling a property.

“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,” Swain said.

OutSurance agreed with Swain, saying it is in line with other legislated or industry-regulated installation standards such as home alarms, vehicle tracking devices, and security gates.

Swain wrote that originally, only properties where an electric fence system was installed after 1 October 2012 were the ones affected, but added that according to Smith Tabatha Buchanan Boyes this deadline was extended until 1 December 2012.

This implies that only properties sold or fences installed from that day onward are affected.

Who can issue certificates of compliance?

The new Electric Machinery Regulations from the Department of Labour stipulate that “only a registered person may issue an electric fence system certificate”.

To register, installers must provide proof that they have successfully completed a “skills programme on Electric Fence System Installers from the Energy and Water Sector Education and Training Authority (EWSETA)”.

This presents a problem to installers, according to a document by Stafix distributed by the South African Electric Fence Installers Association (SAEFIA), as there are no government training programmes for electric fence installers as yet.

According to Stafix, interim measures are being put in place and will involve co-operation of those companies that regularly run training courses in basic electric fence installation.

In addition to personal particulars, ID photos, and a signature sample, the Department of Labour also requires that installers pay a R120 application fee.

SAEFIA offers its own membership procedure which allows installers to submit proof of any industry training and not only EWSATA programmes, but charges a R600 annual membership fee.

Along with their application forms installers are then also required to submit:

·       A recent invoice of electric fencing components bought from a components supplier;

·       a testimonial from a customer where they have installed an electric fence; and

·       a testimonial from a peer in the industry.

The SAEFIA website offers an alphabetically organised list of members, but these are not necessarily certified installers that can issue certificates of compliance. To find a certified installer, a SAEFIA spokesperson said you would have to look at the lists on the Department of Labour website.

Insurance claim rejection dangers?

Questioned about the reports that home owners might have an insurance claim declined if their fence were not properly certified or put up by an accredited installer, OutSurance said they would not dismiss claims based just on that.

“We will never repudiate a client’s claim because the installer did not adhere to some technical requirement,” a spokesperson for OutSurance told MyBroadband.

“As long as our client used a reputable installer and acted as any reasonable person would, then we would pay his claim and take recourse against the installer where relevant.”

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