Electric fence: Certificate of compliance a must

2015-09-02 06:00
Stacey Bartlett, Associate, Phatshoane Henney Attorneys


Stacey Bartlett, Associate, Phatshoane Henney Attorneys Foto:

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I AM planning to sell my house which has an electric fence. I’ve heard that I need to get a certificate for my electric fence before the sale can go ahead. Is that true?

The necessity to regulate safety issues in respect of electrical fence installations has led to the promulgation of the Electrical Machinery Regulations in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act which regulates, among other things, electrical fencing and its certification.

These regulations stipulate that all electric fences installed after 1 October 2012 must be certified and have an electric fence certificate of compliance. It also applies to electric fences that have been altered, added to or where ownership of the premises changed after 1 October 2012.

It also stipulates that where there is a change of ownership of the premises on which the electric fence exists after 1 October 2012, the user must obtain an electric fence system certificate. This means that a homeowner whose installation was done before 1 October 2012 is not required to obtain such a certificate, but that such a certificate will be required by the user if the property is transferred after 1 October 2012 and the user wishes to make use of the electric fence system.

It is not stipulated, however, which party (buyer or seller) is responsible to obtain the certificate – and it is up to the parties to negotiate the matter of certification as well as the cost thereof.

In practice it often happens that this obligation falls to the seller in the same way as with electrical and gas certification. However, the Occupational Health and Safety Act does allow this undertaking to be transferred. Therefore a clause can be included in the sale agreement which relieves the seller of his responsibility to get certification and places an obligation on the purcha-ser to ensure that the system is certified as compliant at the cost of the purchaser. This may be particularly relevant where the seller is exempted from obtaining a certificate and that responsibility falls to the purchaser who wishes to use the electric fence.

Additionally, if a certificate has been obtained, a new certificate may be required if there has been subsequent alterations or additions to the system.

Accordingly, when a property is sold it would be wise to add a clause in the sale agreement that states that there have been no additions or alterations to the system (if this is in fact the case), allowing the existing certification to remain valid.

It’s thus advisable to discuss the certification of the electrical fence with your estate agent or legal advisor and ensure that this is properly addressed before the sale of your property.

) Stacey Bartlett, Associate, Phatshoane Henney Attorneys

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