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Homeowners and their responsibility to Pressure Equipment Regulations

How much do you know about a homeowner’s liability or responsibility regarding Pressure Equipment Regulations (PER)? Are homeowners responsible for the correct installation of a geyser on his/her property? When can a homeowner hold a plumber responsible for an incorrect geyser installation?

Pressure Equipment Regulations, published in July 2009 by the Department of Labour, are meant to help and guide users, manufacturers, importers and approved inspection authorities in the application of the regulations in order to ultimately ensure safety when it comes to pressure vessels.

Now, according to Herman Strauss from the PIRB’s audit department, these regulations are quite detailed and onerous (and for good reason). Pressurised equipment poses a danger that most people are not aware of. The stringent requirements of the regulation ensure the safety of consumers and workers.

“In these regulations, geysers are acknowledged, and it is clearly stated that when a geyser complies with SANS 151 and is installed in accordance with SANS 10254, then it is regarded as compliant with the Pressure Equipment Regulations”.

In this case, SANS 10254 expressly demands the issuing of a Certificate of Compliance as 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”.

So, in order to clarify who is responsible to ensure that  a geyser is installed correctly, Strauss refers to the following sections of the Pressure Equipment Regulations:

REGULATION 2 – SCOPE OF APPLICATION

This section explains when a pressure vessel needs to comply with the regulation.

Regulation 2 (3) (h) specify that if a geyser complies with SANS 151 and it is installed in accordance with SANS 10254, then it does not have to comply with this legislation.

“Therefore, if a geyser that does not comply with SANS 151 is installed, it does not qualify for the exclusion in (h),” Strauss explains. “The same applies if the geyser is not installed in accordance with SANS 10254 then it does not qualify for the exclusion.”

The important regulation to consider is REGULATION 6 – DUTIES OF USERS

Regulation 6 – (1) states that the user is responsible to ensure that he complies with the act.

“Therefore, if a geyser is installed, but it fails to comply with SANS 10254, the user becomes liable. In this case, the user is the homeowner.”

REGULATIONS 10 – PRESSURE AND SAFETY ACCESSORIES

This regulation specifies that if any person who fails to comply with the listed regulations, is guilty of an offence. This means that the homeowner might be liable for a fine or imprisonment or both.

You Can View the Regulations Here:

So where does this leave the homeowner who does not have the technical knowledge to evaluate if the geyser was in fact installed as required?

This is where the PIRB Certificate of Compliance comes to the rescue of homeowners. The COC is a declaration by the plumber that all work done complies to all the required standards and legislation.

When work is done on a geyser, and a COC is handed to the homeowner, the homeowner can rely on this certificate as evidence that he as homeowner did everything in his power to ensure that the geyser and its installation complies with the requirements of the PER.

Therefore, to prevent becoming inadvertently liable for a non-compliant installation, ask your plumber to issue you with a PIRB COC.

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