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Municipalities recognise the value of the COC system as their water services ‘policing’ arm

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By Eamonn Ryan


The PIRB COC system has an inspection process behind it. For municipalities to replicate this system would require a huge amount of manpower which, given the financial collapse which the vast majority of municipalities are in at the moment, is not feasible.

It is both a regulation and a legal requirement that a building inspector shall inspect a drain before it is closed and be present when the pipe is pressure tested. It is important to note that the building inspector does not inspect the water installation; he or she only has to inspect the hot-water generation and the elements pertaining to SANS10400-XA. Only on the final inspection will he or she issue the Certificate of Completion. The building inspector is supposed to inspect the total installation to ensure it complies with the deem-to-satisfy rules if it is not a rational design. If it is a rational design, then the engineer is responsible for approval.

Consequently, the amount of inspection of plumbing installations (especially of geyser replacements) other than drainage that is being performed by municipalities is minimal. While it is being done by Cape Town and Ethekweni municipalities, typically it is only in response to a complaint. While municipalities claim to do regular inspections, the inspection rate is unknown, says Herman Strauss, PIRB compliance manager. “And why should they have to,” he says, “when the PIRB already has a system in place nationwide?”

Inspections of plumbing systems in buildings is receiving attention at the moment, and Strauss believes that government will come to see that logically, the PIRB COC system should receive a form of official endorsement as the policing system of municipalities.

PIRB is currently undertaking research on the state of municipalities, from the viewpoint of plumber. From the preliminary results, the 260 respondents answered the following questions as follows:

Does your municipality have water by-laws?

No: 3.8%

Don’t know: 29.6%

Yes: 66.6%

Do you have a copy?

No: 72.3%

Yes: 27.7%

Does your municipality have capacity to control plumbers?

No: 67.7%

Yes: 32.3%

Does your municipality have a water inspector?

No: 13.8%

Don’t know: 47.3%

Yes: 38.9%

Does your municipality keep a register of plumbers?

No: 25%

Don’t know: 51.9%

Yes: 23.1%

Are you registered with the municipality?

No: 73.5% (Considerable variance from the above question)

Yes: 26.5%

Does your municipality hold plumbers accountable?

No: 78.1%

Yes: 21.9%

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