Homeowners need to be aware of Electric fence regulations, as set out in the Electrical Machinery Regulations published on 25 March 2011 under the Occupational Health and Safety Act that came into effect on 1 December 2012.
Owners of properties with an electric fence are required to obtain a Certificate of Compliance (COC) issued by a registered installer.
Homeowners are expected to use registered or qualified installers to erect electric fences at any type of property in order to comply with the regulations. Non-compliant electric fencing is illegal and any homeowners can be held liable for injuries to another person due to faulty or non-compliant fencing. Non-compliance could also lead to severe statutory penalties such as fines or imprisonment. Any related liability insurance claim will be excluded from the insurance policy and not be paid out. Should the property owner lease the premises, the owner does not only run the risk of huge legal liability suites, but they also risk being criminally prosecuted.
Where a fence need maintenance repairs resulting from damage, and further investigation establishes that the electric fence was installed by an unregistered party, the insurance claim will be rejected on the grounds of defective workmanship.
It is important that homeowners also adhere to additional requirements, as set out by the regulations, which includes erecting warning signs that are visible from the pavement and driveway, to caution visitors. Fences may not hang over into neighbouring properties and walls are also required to be a minimum height.
In the event of change in ownership of property, the regulation specifically addresses a user and lessor. It stipulates that the COC must be obtained by the “user or lessor” when a change in ownership takes place after implementation date of the regulation (1 December 2012). It is advised to stipulate the responsibility in the offer to purchase in an effort to avoid issues during the time of transfer.