Written by Eamonn Ryan
SANS 10254 standard is out for public comment with such comments having until 24th August 2021 to be made.
Should you wish to comment, the reference is SANS10254ED4.00_DSS, and can be found on the SABS website (www.sabs.co.za) with the necessary form for comment.
There have been mandatory requirements for a Certificate of Compliance (COC) in SANS Standards since 2011/12, and this requirement has been repeated in various standards and reviews in 2014/15, and again in 2017.
“This means that for the past ten years there has been different requirements for a COC in the plumbing industry. In 2018, the technical committee of SABS started a review process of SANS 10254, with the central focus of the review being whether or not to retain the requirement for a COC for every plumbing job performed. At the conclusion of the deliberations of the technical committee it was decided to retain the COC,” explains says IOPSA executive director Brendan Reynolds.
The reason is clear: It is the duty of municipalities to monitor that all plumbing work performed under their jurisdiction is done only by qualified plumbers – but they are unable to police the plumbers due to lack of capacity. “It has consequently become a free-for-all. The PIRB and IOPSA were established precisely to stop this downward spiral. The primary tool for this is the COC system, which ensures that the people doing plumbing work are doing so in a compliant manner and with compliant materials. That is starting to build a positive energy in the plumbing industry. But it only applies to qualified plumbers.”
The process following the decision to retain the requirement for a COC was one of public participation whereby the standard was sent out for public comment. “During the public comment phase, the response almost overwhelmingly was in favour of keeping the regulatory requirement for a COC. At that point, which was the finalisation and publication of the standard, one organisation lodged a complaint. At that point the SABS technical committee was debating whether only the PIRB should be permitted to issue COCs or if it should be opened to other professional plumbing bodies in the future.
“The technical committee referred the matter to the SABS Standards Acceptance Committee which used its own legal opinion for the basis of a decision. We (IOPSA) had obtained our own independent legal opinion, which SAC disregarded and stopped the SANS 10254 review process from proceeding. A requirement for approving a standard is to have consensus, and SAC decided that this consensus could not be obtained and again published SANS 10254 for public comment, but in which any reference to the requirement for a COC was removed.
“This comes after the entire SABS technical committee and public comment phase had almost unanimously agreed to accept the COC, with just a single party objecting. We’ve lodged an appeal against the SAC’s decision and are confident of winning that appeal. The standard has now been re-sent out for public comment. IOPSA is opposed to the removal of reference to a COC as we believe the COC is the only factor that enables control to be exercised over the quality of plumbing installations. The only thing. So this is an extremely important matter for qualified plumbers and they are urged to give public comment and have their voices heard,” says Reynolds.