The City of Cape Town Water by-law 2010 – Section 14(1), stipulates that before a property can be transferred, a COC for the water installation needs to be issued. This came into effect on the 1st of March 2011. It is a local by-law and only applies to properties sold where the City of Cape Town is the municipal authority. A new certificate needs to be issued each time the property is transferred.


NO, the Water Installation Certificate is applicable to existing installations. The Plumbing Compliance Certificate is applicable to new installations. A Water Certificate (which has loosely been called a “Plumbing Certificate”) is required with every transfer of ownership. Is not a full plumbing check and fix! Please ensure the buyer understands this.

This Certificate confirms.

  • The water installation conforms to the National Building Regulations
  • The property’s water meter is registering.
  • There are no defects that can cause water to run to waste.
  • No rainwater leaks into the sewerage system.
  • The intention of the legislation:- Manage water resources and water loss.
  • Protecting buyer from latent defect claims and high water bills due to leakages.
  • Health and safety (not allowing a cross connection between storm water and sewer).
  • Ensuring water meter accuracy.
  • Provide an opportunity to gradually eliminate the increasing number of storm water connections into our sewers that is putting capacity pressures on our sewerage network and treatment capacity (which connections are illegal).
  • The plumber attending at the property basically does the following:-
    Checks that the water meter is standing still when all taps are closed (this means there are no leaks on the property).
  • Checks the roof gutters / storm water drains and the sewerage manholes.
  • Checks that the geyser is up to SABS standards.
  • Checks pipes under basins / sinks.
  • Checks that all external pipes are bracketed properly.

In respect of all other plumbing works or sanitary ware which is not working properly, this is a latent defect and a matter to be resolved between the Seller and Purchaser, bearing in mind the voetstoots law.
Where there is an undeveloped property / vacant land – if there is an existing water meter, then the plumber will check the water meter for leaks and that the meter is registering correctly. If there is no water meter, then there is no need for a Certificate to be issued.

With sectional title property, the plumbers do exactly the same checks, excluding the outside work and they also check the ducting (separate room for all pipes) and do a pressure test on the pipes inside the property.
In terms of the legislation, the Seller is actually required to submit the Certificate of Compliance to the City of Cape Town prior to transfer.

The practice in place amongst conveyancers is that the conveyancers submit a copy of the Certificate to Council and the original Certificate of Compliance is delivered to the Purchaser on transfer.
As with the other Certificates, it is best that the inspection and any remedial work is attended to prior to occupation of the property by the Purchaser and as early as possible may be needed where a bond is being lodged.
Council do cater for the scenario where the Purchaser will be renovating the property and undertakes in due course to obtain the Water Certificate and submit it to Council; this must be recorded in writing between the parties.

Common Water Installation Problems & Solutions


No hot water / geyser breaker tripping : Element and thermostat packed up
Water overflow : It might be a burst geyser, TP (Temperature & Pressure Relief) valve, vacuum breaker / PRV (Pressure Relief Valve) faulty
Water too hot : Thermostat faulty / set to high


It can be loose pipes in the roof space, washers on taps, sometimes a faulty PRV (Pressure Reducing Valve) can also be the cause of this


No vent valve installed on the sewer line, a trap not installed or the drains might be blocked


Can possibly be a water / waste pipe broken in wall / floor area


Can be faulty / broken ballvalve, flush mechanism, cracked cistern / toilet / pan seal

What isn’t covered in the water installation certificate?

  • Water draining too slow
  • Toilet waste-water leaking
  • Broken toilet, or flush handle
  • Blocked drain
  • Low water pressure
  • Plumbing remedial work and sanitary ware


Obtainable from the City of Cape Town website Obtainable from the Plumbing Industry Registration Board
Requires compliance with the City of Cape Town By-law 2010. Only hot water cylinders newer than Sept 2006 need to comply with SANS regulations. The entire installation needs to comply with the regulations – SANS 10252 and SANS 10254.
Excludes waste water, waste traps, drip trays (for HWC pre 2006) Includes waste water – Waste traps sewerage, drip trays, etc.
Only includes damages components if they result in a loss of potable water. Includes faulty plumbing components –cracked basins, toilet pans, waste traps.
Does not cover leaks on waste / sewer water Covers leaks from waste water as well
Does not cover drainage, with the exception of storm water discharging into the sewer Includes blocked or damaged drains