The South African Qualification and Certification Committee for Gas (SAQCC Gas) has been accredited by the Department of Labour to register “Authorised Persons”. The South African Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (SARACCA), as a member of that committee, is tasked with registering refrigeration and air conditioning practitioners. As part of its mandate, SARACCA aims to ensure safety and compliance in all HVAC installations within South Africa, as well as to ensure that these installations will not cause any hazards to end-users.
According to the Pressure Equipment Regulations of 15th July 2009 (PER), refrigeration and air conditioning that use a refrigerant gas should meet the standards for construction, installation and maintenance to ensure safety. These standards and regulations set out the requirements regarding the design, manufacture, operation, repair, modification, maintenance, inspection and testing of pressure equipment. In terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1993, the PER also requires persons handling the installation of any gas systems to undergo specific training and to be registered as Practitioners with SAQCC Gas.
Within the past few years, SARACCA has seen significant growth in compliance within the HVAC industry, however, certain areas such as Greytown, KwaZulu-Natal still remain areas of concern. Recently, the association received an alarming report from a registered practitioner Wynand Tweer, reporting about an unregistered contractor in Greytown.
“Durow Refrigeration & electrical is based in Greytown and operates from a cottage in Durban Street. This individual visits customers and tells them that he is about to be qualified in his trade. He has done work for the beer distributor in our area, 268 @ Rawstones guesthouse, Little Elephant guesthouse, some of the Barber family properties, and many more. The jobs facilitated by this individual are a mess. He has no invoices and just hands in job-cards as the invoice. Please assist and get this problem resolved in the area.” Wynand Tweer- Umvoti AC&R
The Director of SARACCA, Barney Richardson alongside the Department of Labour (DOL) inspectors have taken serious consideration to the matter, the DOL inspectors will be investigating this unregistered contractor and ensuring that he does not continue to endanger people with unsafe installations. End-users need to note that only a registered practitioner can issue a Certificate of Conformity.
The importance of a Certificate of Conformity
A Certificate of Conformity (COC) for Gas installations, including refrigeration, is a legal document which must be obtained whenever a gas system or appliance is installed, modified or repaired and should be retained for probable future requirement. When a COC is issued for an installation, this proves that the installation is safe and compliant with the regulations. End-users need to note that when the DOL inspectors make an official visit to their property, they are the ones who will be expected to submit a valid COC. Only a Registered Gas Practitioner can issue a COC for any air conditioning or refrigeration units installed. This therefore means, all end-users in Greytown whose HVAC installation were undertaken by this unregistered contractor cannot be accounted for with a valid COC.
A COC and your Insurance pay-out
Should there be no Certificate of Conformity, insurance companies will not accept liability for costs of damage caused to property or assets. The loss and damage suffered by an owner/user due to an air conditioner or refrigeration unit installation for which a valid COC has not been issued fall entirely on the owner. Regardless of the cost of reparation, the insurance will most likely not cover it.
Only Registered Refrigeration Gas Practitioners may issue a COC and a complete list of these practitioners can be found on: www.saqccgas.co.za