- Electricians often request information on how to obtain a Wireman’s License as well as information on the unit standards involved in the process.
- Leading supplier of electrical training and development competencies to industries P&T Technology MD Nick Du Plessis explains the difference between an unlicensed electrician and an electrician with a Wireman’s License.
“An electrician with a license, known as the Registered Person, has applied to the Department of Labour (DoL) and has demonstrated his knowledge, skills and ability to conduct verification and certification of the construction, testing and inspection of the electrical installations for which they have been registered. The Registered Person is permitted to issue a Certificate of Compliance (CoC), which proves that the electrical installation is compliant.”
There are three categories of registered people who are permitted to issue a Certificate of Compliance (CoC).
- Electrical Tester for Single Phase: This is an electrician who has been registered as an electrical tester for single phase in terms of regulation 11 (2) for the verification and certification of the construction, testing and inspection of electrical installations supplied by a single-phase electricity supply at the point of control, excluding specialised electrical installations.
- Installation Electrician: This is an electrician who has been registered as an installation electrician in terms of regulation 11 (2) for the verification and certification of the construction, testing and inspection of any electrical installation, excluding specialised electrical installations.
- Master Installation Electrician: This is an electrician who has been registered as a master installation electrician in terms of regulation 11 (2) for the verification and certification of the construction, testing and inspection of any electrical installation.
For each of the registration types, there are three options – practical knowledge, theoretical knowledge and knowledge of statutory requirements – and each contains criteria or conditions that the applicant has to fulfil before applying for registration.
“One criteria for a person applying for registration as an installation electrician is that they must have a trade qualification as either an electrician; an electrician (engineering); an electrician (construction); a millwright (electro-mechanical); a lift mechanic; or the Electric: Chemical Electrical NQF level 4 qualification issued by the Chemical Industries Education and Training Authority (CHIETA).” He stresses that the individual would not be accepted if they were to have any other trade.
The next step is to submit documentary proof of successful completed ‘unit standards’ on inspection, testing and certification of three phase industrial/commercial installations as prescribed by the ESETA.
These ‘unit standards’ mean that an assessor, registered with the Energy Sector Training Authority ESETA, must assess the applicant to establish that they have the ability to interpret the codes of practice in various electrical installations. The applicant would also have to use test instruments and inspection reports to show the assessor that they know how to use the test instruments and interpret the readings. The applicant would also have to correctly evaluate a CoC against an electrical installation.
Once the assessor has found the applicant to be competent, the details are sent to the ESETA, who will then issue the applicant with a letter for the DoL.
“The minimum theoretical qualifications needed by a person applying for registration as an installation electrician is an N3 certificate issued by the Department of Education, with minimum pass of 40% in each of the following subjects: mathematics, engineering science, and electrical trade theory or Electro-technology. Also acceptable is a Grade 12 certificate with a minimum pass of 40% in mathematics, science, and Technica – electr4ixcal or an equivalent subject that may include an N3 subject.” explains du Plessis.
Finally, the applicant will have to submit proof of knowledge of the legislation and relevant health and safety standards applicable to electrical installations by having passed the subject, Installation Rules, as administered by the Department of Education through an FET campus or college.
Du Plessis explains that there are two examinations for this subject and the applicant must have a minimum of 50% for each paper. Although both papers do not have to be written at the same time, the second paper must be passed within 12 months of passing the first. However, if the applicant obtained more than 75% of 100 marks in any one of the examinations, he or she will be permanently exempted from rewriting that examination.
He finally emphasises that having a Wireman’s License (Registration) means that the electrician carries a great deal of responsibility and should he/she issue a Certificate of Compliance but have not done what is expected of them by law, the Department of Labour will prosecute them.
Author: Bryan Groenendaal