‘An un­nec­es­sary bureau­cratic im­po­si­tion’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

THE P RO­POSED n e w Cap e Town City Coun­cil reg­u­la­tion, which could make it oblig­a­tory for home sell­ers to ob­tain clear­ance cer­tifi­cates on all the plumb­ing in­stal­la­tions in their home, is a use­less and ex­pen­sive ad­di­tion to an al­ready heavy list of ap­provals that home­own­ers have to pen, says Tony Clarke, MD of Raw­son Prop­er­ties.

“It could be ar­gued that the cer­tifi­cates re­quired on elec­tri­cal net­works, gas in­stal­la­tions and beetle-proof­ing are nec­es­sary be­cause these mat­ters are oft en not un­der­stood by home­own­ers or buy­ers, who may wel l no t r e c o g ni s e t he prob­lems.

“Plumb­ing prob­lems, how­ever, are usu­ally eas­ily recog­nised.

“If they are in the struc­ture they will prob­a­bly leave damp stains. If they are else­where, t h e wat e r wi l l p r o b a b l y b e de­tected at some point, or the owner will no­tice a spike i n con­sump­tion.”

He says call­ing in a reg­is­tered plumber to gain cer­ti­fi­ca­tion will add a fairly large sum to sell­ers’ ex­penses and this is likely to be added to by “ab­so­lutely es­sen­tial” re­pair work that plumbers will say is needed be­fore they can sign the cer­tifi­cates.

Clarke says any idea that this is what the pub­lic want is al­most cer­tainly false.

“F rom the coun­cil press re­lease it ap­pears that this pro­posal em­anates from only one per­son. I am con­vinced the av­er­age seller or buyer would not see it as nec­es­sary.”

The pro­posed bill forms part of a larger body of leg­is­la­tion aimed at sav­ing wa­ter.

“Long ex­pe­ri­ence in prop­erty and the com­ments that I pick up on the ra­dio and in the press in­di­cate the big wa­ter losses are not in houses, but else­where such as reser­voirs and pipe­lines.

“It is also clear that, whereas the coun­cil’s elec­tric­ity depart­ment has a fine rep­u­ta­tion for re­spond­ing to e merg e n cy c a l l s, t h e wat e r depart­ment all too of­ten ig­nores warn­ings that leaks have been lo­cated.

He says a wa­ter prob­lem far more se­ri­ous than that of house­hold leaks, is that n a t i o n a l wat e r s o u r c e s a r e in­creas­ingly pol­luted.

“No one un­der­es­ti­mates the chal­lenge faced here, and there are huge dif­fi­cul­ties caused by in­for­mal set­tle­ments, and agri­cul­ture, which makes use of phos­phate fer­tilis­ers.

“The en­vi­ron­ment and the pub­lic have to be pro­tected and a more de­ter­mined ef­fort to clean SA’s rivers, reser­voirs and pipe­lines is now nec­es­sary,” says Clarke.

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