SAGA Safety & Technical Bulletin

Safety Bulletin

Using Registered Gas Practitioners and Issuing of Certificates of Conformity (CoC’s) for Natural Gas Installations

Never do gas work on piping, or appliances or equipment yourself, always use a registered Gas Practitioner.

Unregistered gas work is illegal and can be extremely dangerous resulting in serious injury or even death. Registered Gas Practitioners have the necessary experience, competency, equipment and system knowledge to do the necessary work safely.

Insurance companies may not cover fire or public liability claims caused by do-it-yourself or non-registered persons as the gas installations will be deemed illegal.

Using a registered Gas Practitioner

When using a Gas Practitioner you need to ensure:

  • The person is in possession of a licence issued by the registrar being the South African Qualifications and Certification Committee for Gas (SAQCC Gas)
  • The person issues the correct gas Certificate of Conformity to the user on completion of all gas installation work

This applies to all gas work on your property regardless of whether it is a residential, commercial or industrial property.

A Gas Practitioner is responsible for selective or all the work commencing at the gas meter outlet or reticulation main shut off valve and all the piping, safety and pressure accessories including the appliance/equipment downstream thereof.

If you notice something potentially dangerous or any of the following stop what you are doing and call a registered Gas Practitioner or your Gas Distributor immediately:

  • gas appliance/equipment burning incorrectly – e.g. yellow or uneven flames, pungent odours, black carbon soot, appliance going out regularly
  • visible damage to gas pipes
  • If you smell gas and you suspect it’s a gas leak, or are unsure, shut off the main valve of the gas system, phone the Gas Practitioner and or Gas Distributor of the gas to report the matter
  • The main natural gas distributors in South Africa being Sasol (Gauteng, Mpumalanga, KZN), Spring Lights Gas (KZN) and Egoli Gas (Gauteng) are responsible for work on the gas meter and the gas distribution and reticulation system.You can check if your Gas Practitioner is registered to work in South Africa and find a registered Gas Practitioner by searching the register of the South African Qualifications and Certification Committee for Gas (SAQCC Gas) at www.saqccgas.co.za or contact the registrar on 011 285 0038.

Receiving a Gas Certificate of Conformity (CoC)

A gas CoC is an assurance that:

  • the Gas Practitioner is appropriately registered
  • the work completed has been inspected and tested and is proven to be safe
  • the work complies with the requirements of South African legislation such as the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Pressure Equipment Regulations and respective South African National Standards
  • the Gas Practitioner has officially informed you of the safety procedures with your gas installation
  • you have met your legal obligation to own a safe gas installation and have a permanent legal record for the job done

A gas CoC shall be provided to you after commissioning of the gas system but no later than 7 days of completion of the following gas work, but not limited to:

  • installing new gas pipe work
  • extending or repairing existing gas pipe work
  • installing new appliances/equipment – e.g. heaters, hot water units, stove tops, gas trains, burners
  • replacing an appliance/equipment
  • maintenance and or repair to the pipe work, equipment and pressure accessories
  • converting a gas system or appliance/equipment for use on another fuel, e.g. from LPG to natural gas or vice versa

The CoC needs to be signed by both the Gas Practitioner and the User to be valid.

Once your gas installation is in operation, the gas practitioner cannot withhold the CoC until the User has paid for the work done.

If you do not receive a gas CoC this could jeopardise your insurance if a gas-related incident subsequently causes fire or damage to the property or injury to a person.

N.B: If a Gas Practitioner fails to issue the User with a gas CoC, or refuses to do so, contact the SAGA office by calling on 011 4312016.

A good aspect to remember is that…”Safety Isn’t Negotiable“…, hereby ensuring the right things are done right the first time.

Technical Bulletin – 1 OF 2011 – Purchase of Gas Appliances

There is an increase of enquires from consumers and installers regarding the purchase of gas appliances (stoves and water heaters in particular) that are suitable for use with Natural Gas and whether the appliance has an permit.

To date, very few suppliers have recognised the interest for these products and made no effort in testing their products for use with Natural Gas.

It does not necessarily mean that a full retest of the appliance is required, if the appliance has already been tested for use with LPG and for which a permit has been issued.  Further information on the test requirements regarding costs and timing can be obtained from Novida Testing Services.

By means of a Memorandum of Understanding between the LPGSASA and SAPGA, the LPGSASA issues the permits for both LPG & Natural Gas appliances. SAPGA does not issue permits for gas appliances that fall within the scope of SANS 1539.

All gas appliances where the gas consumption is less than 10 kgs per hour fall under the LPGSASA Safe Appliance Scheme. This includes those running on Natural Gas.

SANS 1539 was originally for LPG appliances only but it now also covers Natural Gas appliances.

The permits for Natural Gas appliances are only issued where the test report issued by the test house states that the appliance has been tested for Natural Gas.

All test reports are only valid for the condition in which the appliance was submitted for test and for the gas with which the test was carried out. An appliance that was only tested for LPG may not be used for Natural Gas (or vice versa).

A serious concern is that there is conversion of appliances taking place by dealers and installers.

The conversion of an LPG appliance to use Natural Gas constitutes an unauthorised modification of the appliance unless the conversion kit is supplied by the manufacturer and the supplier has been issued with the required LPGSASA Safe Appliance permit covering both LPG and Natural Gas.

The unauthorised modification of an appliance by a dealer or installer invalidates the Safe Appliance Permit and also makes invalid the CoC that an installer issues for an appliance involving such a modified appliance.

It effectively becomes illegal to supply, sell, install or use such modified appliances.

There will be no guarantees when a problem occurs with a modified appliance and insurance companies will refuse to settle any claims. The installer will be held responsible for damages or injuries and will be at risk of losing his or her license.

Technical Bulletin 1 of 2013

Unauthorised representation as a SAPGA official 

It has come to our attention that there are supposedly persons unofficially posing as SAPGA representatives. This in itself creates   unnecessary confusion to users and could lead to improper practices, advice or deemed to gain additional work through misrepresentation.

All Stakeholders are hereby formally informed that to date no person has been officially appointed by our offices to represent SAPGA in whatever role, responsibility or advisory position. This type of malpractice will be deemed unethical behaviour and SAPGA cannot be held responsible for such deed or action by any unauthorised persons or companies.

Should SAPGA appoint a person or company to represent SAPGA on its behalf, this person or company will be officially and formally appointed and likewise be in possession of a valid appointment letter describing intended task to be fulfilled and duly signed by the Chairman of the Board.

Industry needs to take heed of this bulletin and duly report persons or companies supposedly ‘acting on behalf of and representing SAPGA’.

Please convey this message far and wide to all concerned within the natural gas industry

Technical Bulletin 3 OF 2013 – Duties of a Gas Practitioner

Definitions/acronyms as per PER:

  • “Authorised person”        means a person who is registered as competent gas practitioner  within the scope of work, in the Gas Industry, to be                                                                  known as Gas Practitioner
  • “CoC”                                     Certificate of Conformity (CoC)
  • “AIA”                                      Approved Inspection Authority
  • “PER”                                    Pressure Equipment Regulations, No.:734 dated 15 July 2009

Is registered as an authorised person and can operate within the scope of registration as issued by the SAQCC Gas

All pressure equipment obtained from an importer and or supplier for end use in South Africa will comply with the requirements of the PER and as such;

  • Pressure equipment has a permit, issued by the designer, manufacturer, importer, supplier, designer, modifier or repairer including a verification signature by an AIA, if required, which certifies that the pressure equipment has been designed and manufactured in accordance with the relevant health and safety standard incorporated into these Regulations under section 44 of the Act; 
  • A SAPGA Safe Gas Equipment Scheme (SGES) permit has been issued for equipment verified against the PER and relevant OHS standards
  • Ensure the pressure equipment is installed and operated within its design and operating parameters on commissioning and that all prescribed information pertaining to the equipment and installation is provided to the User.
  • After installation, repair or maintenance and before commissioning of a gas system the gas practitioner will ensure that a SAPGA Pressure Test Certificate.
  • A gas practitioner shall only issue a Certificate of Conformity (CoC) to the User for
  • Pressure equipment or gas reticulation systems with a pressure below 200kPa and SEP and Category 1 as per SANS347, or
  • Category 2 and higher equipment once verified and counter signed by an AIA on the CoC issued by the gas practitioner and/or provide a separate CoC            according to SANS 347 where applicable. Also, ensure the pressure equipment has a certificate issued by an AIA before commissioning

Compiling a Certificate of Conformity

Purpose        To compile a Natural Gas and Equipment Handover Certificate for the following installations:  domestic, commercial & industrial

Objective      To complete all relevant fields pertaining to the specific job at hand.

References  Pressure Equipment Regulations No:. R735 dated 15 July 2009

Definitions:

  • End User – An individual or business that requested the assistance of a registered gas practitioner for a gas installation. End User = Customer
  • Gas Practitioner – A person who is registered as competent within his scope of work
  • SGES – Safe Gas Equipment Scheme
  • Instruction handbook – Deal with a control philosophy of the system, start-up, operation, normal shutdown and emergency shutdown of the system
  • Pressure Test Certificate – issued after the completion of a gas installation, modification, alteration or change of user or owner
  • AIA – Approved Inspector Authority
  • CoC  –  Certificate of Conformance

 Responsibilities

  • Request for gas installation                                                  End User
  • Installation done as per End user requirement              Gas Practitioner
  • Pressure Test Certificate                                                       Gas Practitioner
  • Handover documents and other reports                           Gas Practitioner
  • Issue of CoC                                                                             Gas Practitioner
  • Customer Acceptance                                                            End User

Key Controls          

  1. All customer details to be completed
  2. Customer acceptance or approval signature to be on CoC
  3. Work performed to be clearly noted
  4. Instruction Handbook/Manual and Pressure Test Certificate handed over to customer
  5. Permits relating to installed equipment/appliance to be recorded on CoC and or attached
  6. The Gas Practitioners signature and company details to be on CoC and Gas Practitioner are not permitted to sign on behalf of the end user.
  7. Incomplete CoC will be deemed invalid and could be taken as improper workmanship, un safe practices which could lead to disciplinary action and or further civil prosecution

Process Capabilities

  • People  –  Gas Practitioner competent and skilled in the knowledge of applicable standard(s)
  • Practices  –  Applicable safety and technical standards / Conforms to PER especially Reg 17(2) and 17(3) / SAPGA: Technical Regulation 1 of 2006 – Practitioner Registration / SAQCC Code of Good Practice for Gas Practitioner

Technical Bulletin 1 OF 2015 – LP Gas Industrial vs. LP Gas Thermo Processing Equipment Installations

A LP Gas Industrial gas practitioner (installer) is ONLY licensed to carry out installations as per SANS10087 part 3.

This part specifies requirements for the installation of liquefied petroleum gas equipment, and of storage vessels and associated vaporizers, pipework and fittings up to the outlet of the first pressure reduction stage in the line.   Any installation downstream of the outlet needs to comply with SANS 329 and is a separate qualification, competency and registration criteria with the Southern African Gas Association only.

SANS329, is the thermorocessing standard applicable to the safety requirements for combustion and fuel handling systems used in Industrial Thermoprocessing Installations.  It also applies to the handling of fuel immediately adjacent to the equipment but downstream of, and including, the main plant fuel shut-off valve.

Schematic design SANS 10087-3 vs. SANS 329

Industrial Thermoprocessing Gas Practitioner Category Registration . . .as per SANS 329

  • Design of a Combustion System Design, layout and planning of the combustion system inclusive of the gas and electrical systems.
  • Build reticulation pipelines <2 Bar Building of pipelines or the modification of pipelines which operates at a pressure smaller than 2 Bar gauge pressure.
  • Build reticulation pipelines <15 Bar Building of pipelines or the modification of pipelines which operates at a pressure between 2 and 15 Bar gauge pressure and is normally in the distribution environment
  • Installation of Combustion Equipment Installation and/or modification of combustion equipment which operates in industrial areas. Example thermoprocessing equipment.
  • Maintenance of Combustion Equipment Maintaining all thermoprocessing equipment. When any maintenance is performed on a gas system such as the cleaning of an inline filter, removal of a valve and the replacement of any thermoprocessing equipment.
  • Commissioning of gas systems and equipment – Commissioning of the total thermoprocessing system from the ball valve to the respective burners of installed equipment after being pressure tested and providing a Certificate of Conformance confirming the gas system and equipment is safe and fit for purpose. When a newly built / installed system is to be put into operation the commissioning of such a system will include the entire thermo-processing system, and will require the verification of the all the safety devices and controls on such a system. Commissioning can only be conducted by a competent commissioning gas practitioner.
  • Re-Commissioning of gas systems and equipment – When equipment is replaced and the system restarted after maintenance or modifications has been done the system needs to be recommissioned by a competent gas practitioner duly appointed by management after being pressure tested and providing a Certificate of Conformance confirming the gas system and equipment is safe and fit for purpose.

Technical Bulletin 4 OF 2015 – Registration of Natural and Liquefied Petroleum Gas Equipment within the Safe Gas Equipment Scheme as per the Pressure Equipment Regulations

  1. The Pressure Equipment Regulations (PER) intrinsically, under various regulations contained within, makes reference to the safe use, application, installation of pressure equipment and permits.
  2. The Department of Labour has mandated the Southern African Gas Association (SAGA) as the Verification Body to register on its behalf all Industrial Equipment that operate above 0,5GJ/h for Natural Gas and above 10kg/h for Liquefied Petroleum Gas as per SANS 329 and 347.
  3. Pressure equipment as per the scope of the Safe Gas Equipment Scheme (SGES) requires a permit to be issued by the Southern African Gas Association NPC before such equipment is placed in the market by the Importer, Supplier or Manufacturer. Rules Governing the scheme is available on request.
  4. Failing to register equipment with the scheme will be regarded as being in non-compliance to the PER and the Department of Labour, Department of Trade and Industry including SARS Customs duly informed.
  5. Importers, Suppliers, Manufacturers and Users need to take cognizance of their duties as stipulated in the PER, especially as to acquiring a permit for pressure equipment.
  6. Gas Practitioners are guided by Codes of Good Practice as to the issuing of Certificates of Conformity (CoC) for gas installations and are prohibited from making any form of reference within the CoC to the SGES such as ‘pending, waiting approval’, ‘in process of registration’, or any similar or adverse reasons.
  7. The Labour Inspectors are well aware of the PER and SGES requirements and as such will observe compliance to both.