Given the confusion and ongoing debate around Certificates of Compliance (CoC’s) in standards and the role of the professional body for plumbers (PIRB) it is important to clarify a few points.

  1. IOPSA supports the need for a professional body for plumbers. If we as an industry want the recognition that plumbers so rightly deserve as a successful professional career, then a professional body is very necessary.Not only does a professional body raise the awareness of professional plumbers but they ensure that those plumbers act professionally and that the public can rely on them. Now PIRB is the only SAQA recognised professional body for plumbers, hence IOPSA’s ongoing support. It must be noted that the support is not unconditional and IOPSA regularly challenges PIRB on a range of matters. If, in future, another recognised professional body for plumbers is established IOPSA will certainly consider them.
  2. IOPSA supports the need for a certificate of compliance (CoC). In the absence of any other adequate mechanism to ensure compliance to the plumbing laws, regulations, and standards the CoC has proved to be the most effective tool available. The reality is that most municipalities do not have the capacity, skills, or funding to enforce compliance. This includes organs of state as well. The plumbing industry has been flooded by unqualified “plumbers”, non-compliant materials, and incorrect, dangerous, and sometimes illegal installations. The impacts on homeowners’ health & safety, the environment, water security and damage to municipal infrastructure has been massive. Not to mention the impact on the formal plumbing sector which has declined every year since 2016, slowly being swallowed by the unregulated informal sector. The only CoC which currently has any meaningful impact is the PIRB CoC. If, in future, another CoC or some other mechanism emerges which can protect the public and qualified plumbers, IOPSA would consider supporting it. For now, there is only one and without it (or something similar) our industry is in serious trouble.
  3. The proposed changes to SANS 10254. We have repeated the same message time and again; SANS 10254 is currently being reviewed, the process is ongoing and has NOT been finalised yet. There have not been any changes made yet and we therefore encourage all plumbers and especially IOPSA members to comply to the legal requirements as they stand. If/when the Standard changes, IOPSA will ensure that we communicate that immediately and we will strongly promote compliance to any revised standard as we have always done.
  4. A certificate of compliance through a government department. It is important to understand that likely there will still be a requirement for a CoC in some or other form, possibly though one or more of the government departments. Several government departments have already recognised the impending crisis that will unfold (and in some cases is already unfolding) if there is no mechanism to enforce the standards. Some of these departments are at an advanced stage in their deliberations and we are hopeful that they will be concluded in the very near future.
  5. The PIRB CoC will remain available. The PIRB CoC has been available for more than a decade. It was only after the benefits of the CoC became known that it was first incorporated in a SANS standard in 2014. The PIRB assured IOPSA that if the requirement for a CoC is removed from SANS 10254 the CoC’s will remain available for use and will be supported by IOPSA. Plumbers, consumers, and all other parties will still be able to benefit from the value and more importantly the protection brought by the CoC. There is ample evidence that South Africa’s water and sanitation situation is in real trouble. Plumbers obviously play a massive role in this sector and ensuring that there is compliance to the regulations and standards is critical. The effects that unqualified “plumbers”, non-compliance, sub-standard materials, and poor plumbing practices are having on the country and our industry are well documented and unless we collectively do something to stem the tide, we will all face serious consequences. IOPSA is determined to do whatever it can to protect its members and ensure that this situation is not allowed to continue. Once again, I would like to thank all IOPSA members for their support, we really couldn’t do it without you. We have some exciting plans for 2022 which will include some awesome member benefits, most importantly is the extension of our “find a plumber” campaign. Just in this month of February over 7000 clients contacted IOPSA members through our “find a plumber” webpage and it keeps growing. We will also soon be launching a program to assist members involved in construction and a revised membership portal which will make becoming a member a lot simpler.

Kind Regards,

Brendan Reynolds Executive Director