Support - The certificate of conformance

Support - The certificate of conformance

By Grant Laidlaw

In terms of refrigeration, when do you need a certificate of conformance and how do you get this? 


Barry asks: Grant, where do we stand with certificates of conformance (COCs)? We know that persons working with refrigerants require a safe handling licence, and we have complied. Now our clients are requesting a refrigerant certificate of conformance. This is not the electrical certificate but an additional refrigerant certificate. We are not sure if this is necessary and what does such a certificate consist of? Please help.


Hi Barry. Thinking about the hype created around safe handling registrations, the requirement for a certificate of conformance has been somewhat lost.

But Pressure Vessel Regulation 17 does require certificates of conformity.

Looking at the detail required by the regulation, we find the following:

(1) No person shall –

(a) handle, store or distribute any gas in any manner, which includes the filling of a container, other than in accordance with the relevant health and safety standard incorporated into these Regulations under section 44 of the Act;

(b) install or remove an appliance, pressure equipment or system for gas in any manner other than in accordance with the relevant safety standard incorporated into these Regulations under section 44 of the Act;

(c) install or remove a gas appliance, or a gas system or a gas reticulation system, unless such person is an authorised person; or

(d) use pressure equipment or systems for gas in any manner other than in accordance with the relevant safety standard incorporated into these Regulations under section 44 of the Act.

(2) After installation or re-installation, and before commissioning a gas system, the user shall ensure that an external inspection and a leak test are performed by an authorised person or an approved inspection authority as applicable in terms of sub regulations (1)(c).

(3) An authorised person or an approved inspection authority shall issue a certificate of conformity after completion of a gas installation, modification, alteration or change of user or ownership in the form of Annexure 1.

Barry, point 3 has particular reference to your question.

The South African Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors’ Association (SARACCA) issues books of certificates for which you need to apply. The currently accepted certificate, referred to as Annexure 1 in the Regulations, is illustrated in the image.

The South African Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors’ Association (SARACCA) issues books of certificates for which you need to apply.

Notes on the Regulation:

(a) The intent of Pressure Equipment Regulations (PER) 17 is to ensure safety in the domestic, commercial, and industrial gas market applications where the competence is needed for correct material and component selection, installation, and commissioning as currently fulfilled by the South African Qualification and Certification Committee for Gas (SAQCC Gas) Practitioners Registration Scheme. This scheme assures quality and safety of installations. For process plants, pipeline systems, and gas storage facilities installation, compliance is verified by Approved Inspection Authorities (AIA) to typical process piping health and safety standards.

(b) The definition of the gas system in the PER also treats utility air as a non-dangerous gas installation and needs to be categorised in accordance to SANS 347 and need not be inspected or certified by an Authorised Person for gas reticulation systems as defined in the PER. Air and nitrogen used for process equipment and/or blanketing purposes do not have to be inspected and certified by an Authorised Person for gas reticulation systems as defined in the PER, but shall comply to the requirements of SANS 347.

(c) Refrigeration systems of category II and higher shall comply with the requirements of SANS 347. For category I and below, certification to SANS 10147 is also required. Sound engineering practice (SEP) applies to equipment that is not subjected to conformity assessment but that shall be designed and manufactured and installed in accordance with sound engineering practice (best practice) to ensure safe operation and use. Such equipment shall be designed, manufactured, and installed to take into account all the relevant factors that influence safety during its intended lifetime. The equipment shall have operating instructions for the safe use of the installation and shall bear the identification of the manufacturer. SEP equipment is not required to meet any other of the essential statutory requirements listed in the relevant national legislation (See SANS 347.)

(d) As from October 2009, all new industrial thermal processing combustion and fuel-handling system installations require a CoC to the requirements of SANS 329 as per Annexure 1 of the PER.

(e) When maintenance, modification, or repair work is performed on gas systems, it is acceptable for the gas practitioner to issue a certificate of conformity that is specific to the scope of work performed.

(f) Gas reticulation systems require a CoC from a gas practitioner. When the pipe diameter of the reticulation system causes it to be in category II or higher, as defined by SANS 347, an AIA involvement is required as per SANS 347, and to countersign the certificate of manufacture issued by the manufacturer or gas practitioner, as applicable.

(g) A CoC shall be issued by the SAQCC Gas-registered gas practitioner for the installation, repair, or modification and/or maintenance of a refrigeration system in terms of the PER, SANS 347, and SANS 10147. When the refrigeration system size causes it to be in category II or higher, as defined by SANS 347, AIA involvement is required as per SANS 347, and to countersign the certificate of manufacture issued by the manufacturer or gas practitioner, as applicable.

(h) The intent of PER 17 (3) is that only the gas practitioner and not an AIA issues a CoC for activities as listed.

(i) On change of ownership of a gas system, the certificate of conformity shall be transferred to the new owner, except for domestic or commercial entities servicing the public where a certificate of conformity, as provided by SAQCC Gas, shall be issued on the change of user or ownership. The seller is responsible for obtaining a certificate of conformity where relevant.

(j) If an existing installation commissioned before July 2009 is not designed and constructed to the requirements of SANS 329 as published at that time, the user shall determine that the equipment is designed, maintained, inspected, tested, and operating in a safe manner. Safe operation and maintenance shall be ensured by procedures, documented and enforced, to address all deviations to the requirements of SANS 329.

(k) Any modifications done on such a system as above in note (j) shall comply with the requirements of SANS 329 as published at the time of the modifications, and where equipment is replaced on a system constructed before July 2009, such equipment shall be issued with a permit by an organisation approved by the chief inspector as referenced in Regulation 5(3) and a CoC issued within the scope of work performed.

(l) All pressure equipment imported or locally manufactured for natural gas or LPG installations must be verified and accepted in accordance with Safe Gas Equipment Scheme and Safe Appliance Scheme as mandated by the Department of Labour (DoL).

Barry, thanks for the question. Remember, there are various categories of registration. In most cases, to issue certificates of conformance, you will need a qualified, trade-tested artisan to apply for registration with SARACCA in the appropriate category. In addition, for higher-capacity systems, it will become necessary to attend an NQF Level 5 course prior to registration. This has been implemented to cover the legal aspects, roles and responsibilities, processes, and procedures for the issuing of a certificate of conformance or a non-compliance report.

You need to issue a certificate of conformance when you complete an installation, or reissue when you work on a system using refrigerants or when the system changes ownership.

In summary, you need to issue a certificate of conformance when you complete an installation, or reissue when you work on a system using refrigerants or when the system changes ownership. This is a legal requirement.

Click hereImage credit: SARACCA


Thank you for all your questions. Send your problems (and sometimes your creative solutions) to acra@netactive.co.za with “Solutions Page” in the subject line. You may include pictures. 


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