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Posted By Topic: COC for heat pump

Jan 13 2020 23:30


I am a homeowner. I recently had a heat pump installed. The work was done by persons A and B; B did the electrical work. Person B was borrowed from another company to help person A.

The COC supplied was in the name of person C, who is apparently B's boss. Person C has not visited the site.

Is this acceptable?

Also, the ESC portion of the form was left blank. Should that have been completed?

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks.

Jan 14 2020 10:10

Yes, Person C can issue the CoC for the work done by someone else (assuming Person C holds a relevant & current practicing licence).
But no, it's not OK for the ESC part to be blank unless a separate ESC has been issued.

Certification requirements are set by the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010; which you can find at

The electrical installation work must be certified on a certificate of compliance, which must specify what work was done; particular info to be included is specified in ESRs 66 & 67.
The CoC is generally issued by a person who did some or all of the work; but can be issued by any person who is authorised (ie holds a current practicing licence) to do that type of electrical work. It's the issuer of the CoC that carries the responsibility for the safety & compliance of what was done.

In addition to the CoC, the final connection of the new equipment must be certified on an electrical safety certificate (ESC). ESR 74A refers. This MUST be issued by the person who actually made the connection to supply. So while a third party can issue an CoC, only a person who was physically on site can legally issue a valid ESC.
The person about to make the connection to supply must sight the CoC (among other things) before connecting; so technically the CoC has to be issued before the final connection to supply is made. But common practice is to do all the work first and paperwork after.

It's OK to combine the two forms, in order to avoid a lot of repetition of same info on each. But when using a combined CoC / ESC, ALL info required for both forms must be included; and there must be 2 signatures & 2 PL numbers (which may be the same person), 2 dates-of issue (which may be the same), and also the date of connection 2 supply.

The person required to issue the ESC must do so as soon as practicable (max 20 working days) after connecting to issue the ESC, and another 20 WD to supply you with a copy.


Jan 14 2020 11:40

Thank you for that very helpful reply, AlecK.

I had a look at the ESRs you referenced, and it appears that Person C didn't follow the instruction in ESR 77(2)(ca): "give the name of any person who, acting under the supervision of the person in paragraph (c), performed any of the prescribed electrical work referred to in the certificate".

I'm assuming that Person B is considered to be supervised by Person C, even though Person C wasn't present.

However, it appears that ESR 92(1)(a) hasn't been observed, which says that "a person under supervision may not ... connect or disconnect a supply of electricity to works or an installation or appliance".

(I'm assuming that Person B isn't registered, as his name doesn't appear in the EWR search.)

How much does this matter? Is it my responsibility in any way?

I will ask for the ESC to be done.

Jan 14 2020 14:19

This stuff is complicated enough for those of us who have to work in the industry. Even worse trying to explain to an end-user.
However, noting that this site is intended for helping electrical workers rather than end-users of our services, I'll explain a bit more. It might help someone else avoid what could be an expensive error.

I suspect you meant ESR 67(1(2(ca).

My understanding & interpretation of this "required item" on CoCs is that it refers only to a "person under supervision" as per Section 76 of the Electricity Act; which that allows non-authorised people to do a limited range of electrical work. It has nothing to do with the general supervision of an employee by the employer / foreman.

Nor is it related to supervision of a trainee by the trainee's supervisor (another Exemption from the general requirement [Section 74] for those doing electrical work to be authorised, this time under Section 77). Though that "supervision" data IS relevant for purposes of issuing an ESC [ESR 74A, 3(f)&(g)].

The Electrical Workers Registration Board, who have statutory responsibility for licencing issues and setting limits of work for each class of licence; have published 2 different supervision guidelines; one for 'persons under supervision", and one for trainees.

Same word, but three different meanings, 2 of them rather specialised; and so the meaning of "supervision" depends on the context.

Accordingly, assuming Person B (who actually did the work) was either licenced to do it, or a trainee, then that particular "required" item does not apply, and it's OK for that space to be left blank (or even to be left off altogether).

Note the difference between the two regs; as well as the similarities. A trainee can make connections, and when they do so they must issue an ESC. But a trainee does not have a registration / licence number, so can't provide it; nor can they be held liable for what they do under the supervision of their supervisor. Accordingly their supervisor, who does have a registration number, has to countersign.
Whereas in ESRs 66 / 67, only one name / signature / licence # combo is required. There may have been "persons-under-supervision", but while their names must be given they don't have sign. After all, they can't be held responsible in any way.

Due to an almost complete lack of case law, alternative interpretations of these ESRs may be just as correct, or more so, than mine. So anyone wanting to cover their bum would assume worst case and provide the maximum info. You can't get into trouble for providing info that's not required.

While ESRs require all prescribed electrical work to be certified, they do not limit who can issue the CoC; other than that the person issuing must themselves be authorised to do, and to certify, that sort of work.
In theory any licenced electrician could certify work by any other licenced electrician. However because issuing the CoC amounts to accepting responsibility for safety and compliance, most of us will not certify work we have not been part of. That said, nothing wrong with eg an employer certifying work by their (licenced0 employees.

WRT your statement that Person B may not be licenced; there can be two compliant possibilities.

Firstly, Person B may be a trainee. In that case, while the persons-under-supervision part of the Coc can (my interpretation) validly be left blank; both Person b and their supervisor (may or may not be same as the employer) must BOTH sign & date the ESC.

Here we strike another anomaly; in the abbreviation ESC, "C stands for 'certificate". However issuing an ESC is not "certification of electrical work. If it were, only a licenced person could do it, not a trainees.

Told you it was complicated & confusing! Small wonder many in the industry get things wrong sometimes.

Secondly, Person B may be a "person-under-supervision" as per S. 76. In that case their name should be listed on the CoC. But also in that case it's illegal for them to do any work on any fittings that are connected to a supply. So at least some of the work would be outside what s 76 allows, at very least they would NOT be allowed to do the mandatory testing, nor to make the connection to supply, nor to issue ESC. Not only would making the connection be an offence, their employer allowing / asking them to do it would also be an offence. And if they were supposedly under supervision, I doubt the EWRB would accept never having set foot on site as adequate supervision.

As to how much of al this is your responsibility, almost none of it. Unless of course you had reason to known / suspect that work was done by an unlicenced person.

So by all means ask for the ESC; it's not only your legal right but their legal responsibility to provide it. And if it's not forthcoming, complain to EWRB.

The combination of CoC & ESC for installation / alteration work, or ESC alone for repairs, is your guarantee that things have been done by the book. Without them you might find that, in the event of a fire; your insurers decide that the work was deficient, and you might not be paid out.


Jan 14 2020 18:27

With regard to the ESC part at the bottom of the COC form:

If in doubt, fill it out.

Jan 14 2020 19:39

AlecK, thanks again for your extensive and informative reply. It is indeed somewhat complicated!

Yes, I meant ESR 67(2)(ca).

Thanks for the explanations.

Jan 15 2020 06:26

Without wishing to start a witch hunt...

I would encourage the original poster to obtain written clarification from the company who undertook and certified the work and presumably invoiced for the services provided.

If it were my home or business and I was at all unsure of matters I believe that it would be a perfectly reasonable request for me to have the name and registration number of those conducting prescribed electrical work on my installation.

People should be encouraged to use the EWRB website to confirm an electrical workers status.

For sure it might not always always be right but it's a very good starting point.


Jan 15 2020 09:15

Fully agree.

It occurs to me that the introduction of ESCs (the "certificate" for which issuing it is not "certification of PEW") in 2013 added an extra layer of complication to what was already a fairly complex system of CoCs & RoIs.

Complication generally leads to confusion.
But I think the aspect that has generated the most confusion goes even further back; to the way the new system was presented (1993 Regs) as being "self-certification", when it's actually nothing of the sort.

The basics were simple enough:
1 Installation / alteration work needs to be certified;
2 high risk work also needs to be inspected by a third party;

But no-one was ever made responsible for ensuring that this happened. (If it had truly been "self-certification"; it would have been whoever did the work.

Now with ESCs added to the mix, all connections to supply, including re-connections after / as part of repair / replacement, need an ESC.
Finally, after 20 odd years, someone was responsible for ensuring that installation work has been certified (and, if required, inspected); but that responsibility was placed on the person making the connection, and not on the person who did the work.

Then add in the variation in who that may be in any particular instance (electrical worker, trainee, co-worker, meter installer, linesperson, etc); depending on who does what, and in what order; and the whole thing can be very difficult to get right.

The complication / confusion isn't in the basic principles; it's all in the details.

The point of the entire system is to be able to hold someone - an individual licenced person, rather than a company that may not exist next week - responsible for safety & compliance of work done.

So the key info is name & licence number (who); description of work (what was done -including, either by omission or by direct statement, what wasn't done); and date (when it was done; partly in order to know what the requirements were).
All the rest is just extra detail; yet we can be given substantial fines for minor omissions / errors in this detail.

The system is far from perfect, but it's the system we have to work under; and - despite the complexity and the lack of clarity in some parts - on the whole I think it's better than the old "permit" system governed by Supply Authorities. Also better than being controlled by Councils under the building consent process.

Jan 17 2020 12:15

Although I've been a homeowner for 35 years, it wasn't until I had this heat pump installed that I became aware that there is an ESC separate from the COC.

I probably assumed that if work had been certified as compliant with the relevant standards then it would also be safe! :-)

Jan 17 2020 12:35

When half the trade can't get their heads around the complexity; and those who try find conflicting requirements lack of clarity; owners of installations have little chance.

Mist of us just muddle through, doing what we think is right and hoping it's enough to cover our bums. Which is only necessary when / if something goes horribly wrong.

We don't have all that many of those; but we do have lots where a complaint is laid that's entirely or largely commercial rather than a safety / compliance issue; and when that's investigated, minor faults in paperwork are used to penalise people who actually did a perfectly good job.

Cowboys need to be held to account; but the main thing should be the safety of what was done, rather than the paper trail.


Jan 27 2020 19:39

I requested an ESC.

A new COC was supplied, signed by Person C, but person B is now listed as a supervised person, with their EW number. However, an EWRB website search for either Person B's name or their EW number doesn't come up with any results.

The ESC is signed by Person C. (They come up fine on an EWRB search.) But I think that according to 74A(3)(f), Person B should also have signed it because they did the work. Is that correct?


Jan 27 2020 20:11

Did you uncheck the "currently licensed" box when you did the search?

If someone missed their renewal, they won't show as licensed, which is why they may have been added as "supervised" - which you normally wouldn't do for a licensed worker.

Jan 27 2020 20:21

Yes, I did uncheck the "currently licensed" box when I did the search.

Is there a difference between an EW number and a registration number?

Jan 27 2020 20:23

Yes, they are different numbers. Easiest usually just to search by the name. You can use wildcards, like "Wi* Smith", but you need 2 letters.

Jan 27 2020 21:24

Yes, I searched for just the last name, and it brought up all the people with that last name. But Person B wasn't one of them.

Jan 28 2020 08:51

Is it possible for someone to have an EW number but not be registered in a particular capacity?

Jan 28 2020 18:50

EW numbers are issued by the EWRB, to all electrical workers they become aware of through an application process, mostly being registered persons which will have various license classes, but some are none registered persons i.e. trainees / apprentices. basically if they have an EW number (and its a real EW number) then the person will appear on the EWRB public database.
If they dont then you need to be contacting the EWRB to discuss this number (there will be numbers that have been scrubbed from the public database for various reasons - but you will find that EWRB will want to be aware of those scrubbed numbers if they are being used).

Jan 28 2020 22:10

Thanks dlink.

Jan 29 2020 09:15

Trainees will have have an EW number (because the Board keeps track of them) but are not on the Register because they're not (yet) registered. So trainees don't have registration numbers. Instead they are given a "Trainee Limited certificate" (with yet another number).

EWRB has multiple statutory powers over registered persons (whether their licence is current or not); but few over anyone else, including trainees. For example, the Board can't take disciplinary action against a trainee.

TLCs were introduced late in process of the 2006 Amendment of the Act; and the sole purpose of them, as expressed in the Act, is so the Board can restrict the limits of work for any particular trainee. As far as I know, they have never done so; but they were given this mechanism so they would have some small amount of control over trainees; where previously & historically they had none at all.

Interestingly ESR 74A, that requires the sign-off of ESC by trainees, doesn't require the TLC number to be recorded. (The only possible meaning of "person ... acting under supervision" in the ESR is a trainee; because a "person under supervision" under Section 76 is absolutely prohibited from making a connection to supply)

Since then another govt department (Worksafe) has chosen to believe that a trainee isn't a trainee unless & until the Board has issued a TLC - an interpretation that is absolutely contrary to the words in Section 77, but has never been put to the test in court.

When even govt departments get confused (deliberately or otherwise) over this stuff; what chance has an ordinary electrical worker? You've got a CoC and an ESC, so you can have reasonable confidence the work is safe & compliant - and if it turns out not to be, you know who to complain about. And you are unlikely to have any insurance problems if something does go wrong. The electrical workers concerned have been reminded of their responsibilities WRET certification. And as a by-product you - and i hope some other readers - have had some education on this rather complicated area of law. I'd suggest it's time to put it to bed; rather than continue to fret over what appear to be minor deficiencies in the paperwork.

Jan 29 2020 11:33

Except if person C is falsifying the documents for person B

IMO, the fact that the EW number doesn't come up, or in fact just that it was used anyway (I don't even remember mine).

Additionally, person C never went to the job, so how could they be supervising person B and signing off their work?

Jan 29 2020 14:45

Nothing in the supervision guideline for trainees sets an absolute requirement for the supervisor to attend on site. The level of supervision required varies according to a number of factors, including the competence of the trainee.

We can discount the other sort of supervision, as those won't have an EW number and aren't allowed to connect anything to supply anyway.

So far there's nothing to suggest any fraud.