As the need for energy alternatives increases in South Africa, the use of gas as an ideal alternative energy source keeps growing. Domestic, commercial and industrial sectors are increasingly incorporating gas in their energy mix. As an electrician is required to be certified to carry out an electrical connection on a property, so does a Fuel Gas Practitioner. This also applies to the Gas Practitioners involved in the air conditioning and refrigeration Industry, the Industrial Gas and Medical Gas Industries.
When having gas equipment installed in your home, you are required by law to only contract a registered Gas Practitioner. These are trained and skilled individuals who have been certified to undertake gas installations within their specific scopes. Over and above the safety element of contracting a registered Gas Practitioner, every gas installation, whether fuel gas, compressed or refrigerant gas, Industrial or Medical Gas, requires a Certificate of Conformity (COC) upon completion of a new installation or the maintenance or repair of an existing one. Only a registered Gas Practitioner may issue this document.
The increase in the demand for the installation of gas systems has unfortunately also sparked an increase in illegal Gas Practitioners. This has, in turn, also increased fraudulent COC’s being issued.
Fraud is one of the least spoken about crimes, it is not as forceful and eventful as robberies or heists. Very often individuals do not report fraudulent offenses for the reason that they often go undetected for a long time, whilst businesses keep such matters internal for fear of reputational damage. Although fraudulent activities are not as popular with the authorities, such crimes may result in hefty amounts of money lost.
Each registered Gas Practitioners has a book of Gas COC forms to be filled out upon completion of each installation they undertake. Practitioners need to protect their COCs and their registration information at all times. When completed and signed by another Gas Practitioner rather than themselves, this COC is considered fraudulent. When a Gas Practitioner hands out a COC that is not registered to them, he commits a fraudulent safety declaration.
SAQCC Gas has been mandated by the Department of Labour to register all Gas Practitioners in South Africa, the respective gas Associations issue each registered Practitioner with a Gas COC book. Only documents from this book may be issued to certify that a gas installation has been completed as per the Pressure Equipment Regulations (PER) and relevant standards. When this document has been falsely created by an unregistered person, the COC is considered fraudulent and invalid which shall lead to legal prosecution.
Consumers should insist on a COC from the Gas Practitioner upon completion of the installation. This is the registered Gas Practitioner’s confirmation that the installation is compliant with all relevant regulations and national safety standards. Incidents resulting from poor installations can vary from property damage to loss of life. If a gas accident occurs, insurance companies will not accept any liability when a valid COC is not produced. Fraudulent COCs will most likely end up causing the end user unnecessary loss of money.
To confirm whether or not a Practitioner is indeed registered, one can check the information provided on the SAQCC Gas website: www.saqccgas.co.za or Dial*120*926#