You may hear of these mentioned as required when referencing the establishment or replacement of significant electrical systems, wiring, power boards or appliances in a home. A COC can appear to be simple but important document.

What does a Certificate of Compliance do?

A certificate of compliance is document whose purpose is to certify the legal completion of electrical work, assure that the end user that the works completed were up to Australian standards, protect the electrician by clearly defining the responsibilities of the electrician in the installation and allow the regulatory body governing electrical works to appropriately audit and manage the effective users in the industry.

A certificate of compliance can be particularly important in the case of failure of the device or adverse circumstances (for example an electrical fire), where a compliance certificate will help any follow up insurance claim investigations etc.

If an electrical contractor doesn’t provide a certificate of currency, they can be liable for penalties including warnings, expiation notices, disciplinary interviews and potential legal action.

Are there other types of Certificate of Compliance?

Yes there are for a variety of industries. You will also commonly see CoC’s being used in gas installations, plumbing and construction. Each industry will have specific requirements and these will vary by local jurisdiction. Compliance certificates will generally fall under State based laws and regulatory bodies, but be sure to check whether yours may require any other bodies.

Do other countries use Certificates of Compliance?

Yes – this form of regulation has become popular in many countries, particularly in Commonwealth and Western countries as a means of regulating and administering a minimum acceptable standard of quality for trades services, particularly where there is a potential safety or significant financial burden for substandard works being completed. For example electrical CoC’s are required in South Africa, along with water, gas and beetles. In the United Kingdom, the use and requirements for CoC’s to be issued will depend on the types of work completed and the jurisdiction, with some works requiring provision in Britain, whilst not required in Wales or vice versa – for both electrical and plumbing. Valley View Repair notes that in Canada any major listed works completed to fixed electrical appliances (such as ovens) will require a CoC, whereas non-fixed small appliances such as microwaves are exempt. Other industries such as chimney sweeps do not require CoC’s at this time, however legislative changes will likely encompass this in the future for any repair based works as it has now taken over with carbon monoxide alarms etc.

Other Considerations

Ensure when you receive your certificate of compliance that this is stored in a safe place. Store this with any other compliance certificate in safe storage, ie a filing cabinet, so they can be easily found in case they’re needed for insurance or other purposes. Home expert Amilia from Water and a Cloth notes that the most common question she’s found home owners ask about insurance claims is how they can find a copy of their CoC and whether the contractor who issued the CoC has to maintain a copy or lodge a copy elsewhere – so keep it in a logical safe place that you can refer back to if in the unfortunate case its needed.