Why you should employ professionals for your home maintenance | Advice

There are several good reasons for employing only qualified, registered contractors such as plumbers and electricians to carry out work on your home. Although you may initially be able to save a few rand by employing contractors without the proper qualifications, you could find yourself having to budget for expensive repairs or rework in future as a result. Also, insurance companies usually will not cover work that was carried out by unregistered contractors, so if things go wrong you could have insurance claims being repudiated.

Building regulations

Building regulations throughout the country are designed to create and sustain a built environment that keeps citizens safe and comfortable in their homes, offices, factories and other buildings. Properly trained contractors – from engineers and architects to bricklayers and plumbers - understand the reasoning behind the regulations and will ensure that they are adhered to.

Construction jobs that are carried out in line with building regulations and standards are also less inclined to develop problems further down the line, saving you money in the long run.

Safety

Taking shortcuts can lead to severe injuries or death, and safety should be taken seriously even in relatively small building projects. It’s important to bear in mind that if accidents do occur on your property, you could be held partially responsible if the proper safety procedures weren’t followed, for instance, the use of safety harnesses on ladders and scaffolding.

Professionally accredited contractors are trained to carry out work in a manner that doesn’t jeopardise their own safety or that of clients.

Plumbing

To protect your family and prevent possible health issues and tragedy in your home, it’s essential to employ plumbers who are reliable, efficient and adhere to the national building regulations.

By law, any person carrying out any plumbing work in a property must be a qualified plumber, or must work under the adequate supervision of a qualified plumber. Common problems that arise when using unqualified plumbers can include:

  • water or sewerage leaks
  • bad smells from drains and pipes
  • flooding
  • damp
  • mould
  • inadequate water pressure.

Other more serious issues can include contamination of clean drinking water, breeding of disease, scalding and burns, and even explosions. Using an unqualified plumber often results in additional costs to find problems, remedy them, repair any damage, and replace finishes. In extreme cases, poor plumbing work can lead to injury or even death. Waterborne disease is a leading killer worldwide, with thousands of children dying of water-related illnesses every day.

Electrical

In terms of the Electrical Installation Regulations, every user or lessor of an electrical installation must be in possession of a certificate of compliance (CoC) and test report, which can only be issued by a qualified electrician who is registered as an electrical contractor with the Department of Labour (DoL).

A new CoC must be provided every time a house changes ownership. In addition, any new electrical work must be covered by a CoC. For instance, if you add additional breakers to the mains board, or install a new pool pump you need a compliance certificate for that installation.

You should always ensure that the electrical contractor you intend using is registered with the DoL. For peace of mind, it is best to use an electrical contractor who is a member of the Electrical Contractors’ Association of South Africa (ECA(SA) as all members have to be registered with the DoL.

Industry bodies

If you have appointed a professional contractor to work on your home you will have recourse to the relevant industry bodies in the event of any problems.

Plumbers - The Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA) is a voluntary national body that provides a platform for qualified accredited plumbers. IOPSA members employ professional plumbers registered with the Plumbing Industry Registration Board (PIRB) and have met IOPSA requirements. The institute provides technical support, rates guidelines and, most importantly, recourse for consumers. For a list of qualified accredited plumbing companies in your area visit www.iopsa.org.za. Electricians – The Electrical Contractors’ Association of South Africa (ECA(SA) provides a range of services to assist electrical contractors and the association’s Workmanship Guarantee Scheme covers members’ work up to R20 000. Visit https://ecasa.co.za or email info@ecasa.co.za to find an electrician in your area or to confirm that your electrician is a member of the ECA.

Professionals like engineers and architects are governed by professional bodies, which have the power to sanction members who breach their codes of conduct.

Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) – http://www.ecsa.co.za

South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) – https://saia.org.za

Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS) – www.asaqs.co.za

Building contractors – For a list of registered building contractors in your area call the Master Builders Association on 011 205 9000 or visit www.masterbuilders.org.za

National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) - Visit http://www.nhbrc.org.za, email nhbrc@nhbrc.org.za or call 0800 200 824.

Courtesy of Sarah-Jane Meyer & Private Property