Four certificates now necessary when selling a home (Ulrik Strandvik 20 July 2011)

25 Jul 2011

To enable the conveyancer to carry out the transfer of a home from one owner to another, traditionally Capetonian homeowners have had to get an Electrical and Beetle Certificate (for all exposed wood) prior to registering the transfer.

That situation is now much changed. Since the passing of new municipal laws and bylaws, it is now essential, in addition to the Electrical and Beetle Certificates, to obtain a Gas Certificate (issued by an authorised gas dealer) and a Plumbing/Water Certificate (issued by a registered plumber).
Both certificates are important because a gas leak can be both expensive and dangerous and water leaks have resulted in massive wastage in recent years - and are also expensive to the homeowner who will be billed for them.
The problem, however, is that putting matters right can be expensive. I know of a case where a home seller recently paid out R20 000 to rectify certain fairly minor electrical faults and R3 000 for plumbing improvements to make his plumbing network compliant.
Quite frequently the electrical contractors issuing the certificate report that the problems appear to have been caused not by the original builders, electricians and plumbers but by ?others' - particularly security gate, satellite and gas appliance installers. The work of these people, coming later on to the property, is not inspected by a clerk of works and quite often the installation is "irregular". For example, the electrical fitting is not earthed or a geyser does not provide an extension overflow.
Whenever work is done on any electrical, gas or plumbing installation, the contractor should be asked for a certificate specifying exactly what his job has encompassed: he should provide a detailed report covering every aspect of the work completed. If the owners have doubts, they should report these to the relevant authority and then ask them to check the installations comply with the regulations. If the work is non-compliant the authority will then take it upon themselves to ensure that it is put right by the contractor.
*Ulrik Strandvik is from Gunston Attorneys.