Over the last decade, an increase in break-ins in Cape Town has lead many homeowners to install electric fencing as protection against burglars and home invasions.
What home owners do not realize is that if it is found that they have not made use of a certified electric fence installer, they may run the risk of financial loss in the form of a insurance claims being rejected or legal costs associated therewith .
Homeowners who plan to have an electric fence installed or upgraded at their homes or businesses must ensure it complies with new legislation (Regulation 12 of the “ Electric Machinery Regulations of 2011.)
The legislation stipulates that all new, upgraded or repaired electric fences are required to comply with strict regulations that now govern the industry and the homeowner must have in their possession a certificate of compliance issued by a certified electric fence installer installer.
Homeowners with uncertified electric fences are at risk of insurance claim rejection and may also be held legally liable for injuries inflicted to others, even trespassers! A legal liability claim resulting from non-compliance with legislation will be excluded from cover under the homeowners’ insurance policy.
This even applies to properties being rented out .
If it is established that an electric fence was installed by an unregistered or unaccredited electric fence installer and the fence has to be fixed or replaced due to damage, such a claim can be rejected on the grounds of defective workmanship.
The homeowner will then be forced to remove or upgrade their fence and ensure that an accredited installer upgrades it to meet the legal requirements.
In order to issue a certificate of compliance, all electric fence installers must be registered by the Department of Labour and pass a trade test by 1 October 2013 to ensure that they are qualified and able to meet the regulations as prescribed in the new law.
The South African Electrical Fencing Installers Association (SAEFA) has stated that by 1 October 2013 , there will only be around 300 registered and accredited electric fence installers in South Africa..
For this reason, property owners in Cape Town need to be very cautious as to who they appoint to install their electric fencing and always ask for proof of registration before accepting a quote from an electric fence installer.
Homeowners will also be unable to transfer properties with electric fencing without providing a certificate of compliance to the conveyance attorney handling the property ownership transfer. The electric fence COC certificate must be presented along with the electrical compliance certificate. An electric fence coc (certificate of compliance) is then transferable to the new owner.
Property owners should also include an appropriate clause in their rental or sale agreement stating the requirements and responsibilities for electric fence compliance of each party before the property is occupied by a tenant .
According to the new regulations, property owners will have to make sure that proper warning signs are placed on the electrified fence lines.
The warning signs should be “high visibility yellow” in color and placed every 10 meters and at every entrance indicating that the fence is electrified.
Electric fence brackets should not protrude over into the neighboring property but rather vertically .
The lowest electrified strand should be no less than 1,5meters from the ground to safeguard against children being accidentally shocked.