Degeneration of SABS Test facilities
The SABS technical staff complement has declined to around 20% of that before re-structuring and funding for maintenance and upgrading of test equipment and the sustainability of accreditation of testing services are under serious threat.
The ban on partial testing which SABS introduced attempting to increase test income has impacted on local manufacturers, because partial testing is a critical component in product development. This partial test ban had the opposite effect and resulted in a significant reduction in the SABS’s client base.
Manufacturer’s Test facilities
Although several private accredited laboratories (3rd party) have been established, manufacturer’s own 1st party test expansion and development creates the opportunity towards the gradual implementation of Self-Compliance formally known as Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity (SDOC) model (SANS 17050) which is widely used in other countries and is the model on which the European CE mark is based.
The formation of the SAFEhouse Association was aimed at counteracting the proliferation of non-compliant electrotechnical products in the South African market by introducing a Code of Conduct for its members that commit to the supply of products complying with the applicable national or international standards and/or compulsory specifications.
The SAFEhouse Association recognizes the need for an effective regulatory system and has shown its commitment in engaging with the regulatory authorities to raise industry concerns on specification development and MVE matters. Due to limited progress in these engagements, the need of electrical contractors and the public in general to enable the selection of compliant product has been recognized, which can only be resolved by a focus shift to Self-Compliance.
SAFEhouse members are strongly advised to implement appropriate procedures such as: – product selection based on manufacturer supplied data, incoming goods inspections, verification/routine testing, handling of complaints, and corrective action procedures, etc.
Verification testing initiated by SAFEhouse is conducted by independent accredited local test laboratories that are prepared to conduct partial testing.
While many products used in fixed electrical installations are “regulated’ through the requirements of SANS 10142, the Self-Compliance model could be very effective and will enhance consumer confidence.
It is envisaged that more companies will follow the Self-Compliance Approach through their industry associations, and thereby re-establish a “fair-trading” environment, where the consumer can rely on product compliance supplied by those identifiable industry association members.
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