Is the Plumbing Industry Registration Board’s Certificate of Compliance (COC) compulsory or not?

Is it compulsory to issue a PIRB COC, with the assumption that the plumbing works will be unlawful if a PIRB COC is not issued?

First of all, it should be noted that PIRB registered plumbers should always issue a COC on all plumbing works because any licensed plumber ultimately signed the code which denotes this upon registration. And second of all, apart from this, it is a legal requirement for a PIRB COC to be issued when plumbing work is done on a geyser, a solar water heater or a heat pump.

This requirement was introduced through the Water Services Act, the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the National Building Regulations. It was ultimately published in the South African National Standards (SANS) 10106, SANS 1352, SANS 10252-1 and SANS 10254.

The National Standards:

SANS 10254 expressly demands the issuing of a Certificate.

Since SANS 10254 was incorporated into law, the issuing of a Certificate in terms of SANS 10254 is compulsory.

In so far as the issuing of a Certificate is concerned, SANS 10252-1 do not expressly require the issuing of a Certificate. BUT Regulation 14 of the Regulations relating to compulsory national standards and measures to conserve water, however, demands compliance, not only with SANS 10252-1 but also with SANS 10254.

The purpose of SANS 10252-1:

The purpose of this standard is to provide standards for the safe and correct installation of water supply installations for buildings and to ultimately demonstrate compliance with SANS 10252-1, thereby giving effect to their purpose, a Certificate must be issued.

SANS 1352

  • Paragraph 9.1 of SANS 1352 requires that a Certificate be issued.
  • Paragraph 4.4 of SANS 1352 captioned “Plumbing Installation” requires that the plumbing installation complies with SANS 10254, SANS 10252-1 and all relevant bylaws.
  • Even though SANS 1352 was not directly incorporated into law, SANS 10254, SANS 10252-1 and SANS 10252-2 were. As such SANS 1352 was indirectly incorporated into law, as allowed for in section 28 of the Standards Act.
  • The requirement that a plumbing installation must comply with SANS 10254, SANS 10252-1 and SANS 10252-2, coupled with the fact that SANS 1352 expressly requires the issuing of a certificate means that a certificate is compulsory for the installation, maintenance, replacement and repair of domestic air source water heating heat pump system.

SANS 10106

  • SANS 10106 was referenced in the Local Government Municipal Systems Act, 32 of 2000.
  • SANS 10106 also references SANS 10252-1 and SANS 10254, and the attendant obligations to comply therewith.
  • SANS 10106 also demands compliance with SANS 10254 and SANS 10252-1, and this, coupled with the obligation in paragraph 9.1 thereof to issue a Certificate means that a Certificate is compulsory for the installation, maintenance, repair and replacement of domestic solar water heating systems.

The PIRB verifies this enforcement set out by legislation through COC’s. The PIRB COC was thus not an ‘afterthought’ but a planned out ‘system’ to eventually enforce these standards within the plumbing industry.

The PIRB was also formally appointed by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) to monitor the standards of the plumbing industry.

And that’s why there are COC’s.