Guys, It is 23:27 here in New Zealand, I have been working flat-out since I finished at 1800(real work), to finish this un-ending screed of useless paper-work. This useless-ness was shown to me yesterday, when a person that had a Hot Water Cylinder feed replaced by myself(about 1 year ago), called upon me to give her a Certificate of Compliance, I simply said that I had already given the said C.O.C and that she must have misplaced it. Well, I wish that I had never said that, because, after I had hung up from the call(which I thought no more about) I recieved a call from the Police. I was told that I should I not furnish the required paper-work, I could be liable for any damage that is caused by the wiring that I have installed, I told the Officer on the end of the phone of the fact that I had already furnished the required C.O.C and of the fact that the customer must have mis-placed it. This when it all started, I was told that, making a False statement to a Police Officer, was a Criminal Offence and punishable by a sentence of up to 6 months in Prison. (Just as a note guys, you cannot hold Electrical Registration,in NZ, after having served a prison term) I asked for the Officer's QID No, which he gladly gave and I quoted this when I rang him back, quoting the C.O.C number that I had given my ex-customer,(I have the other 2 copies you know!!) and yes, she did find the thing, it was under the couch!. . But, the point of all this, is this: In this age of Self-Certification, just how much paper-work should you have to fill out and what should really happen if the client destroys the thing and expects you to jump to the next time that they ring you?. One thing I'd like to say, is that, if people are just going to screw these bits of paper up and throw them in the fire, what's the point of me wasting my time filling them out?. What are your thoughts, on this??.
Whoa! This sounds like the start of something interesting
I can't imagine why on earth the police would have gotten involved with this. Over here it seems that they're not the slightest bit interested in anything they regard as "a civil matter."
I was told that I should I not furnish the required paper-work, I could be liable for any damage that is caused by the wiring that I have installed,
But surely you would be liable for any faulty wiring you installed anyway, even when you do furnish a certificate? I don't get why they would say that.
This when it all started, I was told that, making a False statement to a Police Officer, was a Criminal Offence and punishable by a sentence of up to 6 months in Prison.
Ah.... You have the audacity to question someone in authority, therefore they talk to you as if you've already committed some offense. The majority of officials here are pretty reasonable sort of people most of the time, but you run into an odd one like this occasionally.
Paul, This whole thing was one big mis-understanding. The Police were involved, because my client had rang them and with Police Office staffers over here, they like to jump to conclusions!. Having said that, my client could have rung the EWRB and made my life REALLY difficult, as not furnishing a CoC, is the same thing as transposing the Mains with them, it's all or nothing and I know of the odd Sparky who has been clobbered by this machine. Regarding liability, either way I am responsible for any work that I do, regardless of the fact of wether or not I furnish a CoC for it. I have always made a point of filling out a CoC for ALL the prescribed work that I do, that's just part of being a Registered person. And I am also consequentally Auditted every year, by the EWRB, as to the Safety of my work practices. BTTT, What actually happened Paul, was that my client wanted to claim Insurance on the HW cylinder cable repair (1 year later!) and the Ins. Company would not do anything until they saw the CoC, from me. My client could not find it and rang me for a copy of it, but instead of actually saying that she had lost the original, she made accusations, of me never having having supplied her with one in the first place!. This REALLY hurt, and with the Police wasting thier time on it, sickens me even more. Paul, I must agree, the majority of Police Officers that I have met and worked with at Motor Vehicle Accidents and so forth, are just ordinary people, like you and I and would probably baulk at this story if I told them. Just as a note Paul, at the bottom of a CoC, it reads: IMPORTANT DOCUMENT- PLEASE KEEP THIS IN A SAFE PLACE If under the couch works for you, that's fine, but make sure you can find the darned thing, in future!!.
It sounds as though your client is very disorganized. Waiting a year to put in an insurance claim seems rather slack, and I wonder whether the insurance company would question why she took so long anyway (not that they are really in a moral position to complain, the length of time they take to settle anything!).
If somebody called me and said "I'm sorry but I seem to have lost your certificate - Could you supply me with a copy please?" then I'd be happy to oblige. We all make mistakes and misplace paperwork sometimes, especially with the mountains of the stuff we have top deal with these days.
But to get on one's high horse like this client appears to have done and go running off to the police seems ridiculous.
Paul, You have hit the proverbial Nail Bang on the head, mate!. But, what I originally meant to say was the fact that us Electrical Contractors that work under a system of Self-Certification, are wide open to this sort of ABUSE, this is not the first time that I have been levelled with this kind of thing!!. I have also been dragged through the EWRB system, through no fault of my own. Customers have the right to complain to the EWRB here in NZ, that's OK by me, but when they complain about stupid little things like, a guy left the man-hole cover out!.
But, What I was originally willing to submit, before I got side-tracked, was this: I do a certain amount of paper-work, granted, it goes with an Industry that requires documentation. But, as well as CoC's, we have Notification messages to the Power Board, with respect to the Increase in loading. If it's to do with a Water Pump, we have to notify the Local Council,as to the size of the darned thing. Guys, This all takes time and we do not get paid at work to do this, why?, because this is classed as "organising a job" not doing it. This is my one Pet Peeve!!!!.
Well, there's the completion certificates that we've already mentioned, plus associated paperwork such as results of insulation, loop impedance tests, etc. That's not required by any rules and regulations, but all part of the technical side.
As far as the PoCo is concerned, there are the forms for a new service or change of service. I don't do much in the way of brand-new installs around here, so it's not often that I have to get involved with that. Last one was well over 6 months ago when we had to apply to change the meter position in a High Street shop due to building work. (I do have to call the PoCo quite regularly to report corroded connections on their side of the meter, however, but there's no paperwork involved, thank goodness!).
Obviously there's invoicing, accounting, and orders from suppliers as in almost any business.
Then there's all the usual government paperwork associated with being self-employed. The main departments we have to deal with are:
1. Inland Revenue (equivalent to the American IRS, although people are perhaps not quite so scared of them! ). They deal mainly with income tax, of course, and the forms can be complicated, but not too bad so long as your accounts are fairly well organized. I've never been audited or had any major problems, and although the overall system can be rather slow and laborious, I've found that the local officials are mostly quite reasonable people and ready to help as far as their position allows them to.
2. Customs & Excise. These are the people who deal with VAT (Value Added Tax). Every 3 months we send in a form which summarizes how much VAT is due and how much is being reclaimed, along with other totals of sales and purchases. The VAT system and rules are horrendously complex, not to mention being full of inconsistencies and some things which just seem downright unfair, but once you've worked out what's needed in your own line of work it usually runs pretty smoothly. On occasions when C&E owe me money, I've found that it usually appears in my account fairly promptly after I've sent in the quarterly return.
3. Dept. of Social Security, as it was. It's been recently renamed the DWP - Dept. of Work & Pensions. We pay "National Insurance Contributions" into the social security system (a tax by any other name). The Inland Revenue Dept. is actually charged with collecting the contributions along with income tax, but everything else is handled by one of many branches of the DSS/DWP.
In my experience, the whole lot of them are hopeless. They will send you endless forms which ask the same questions in different ways over and over. Or in many cases, they will not send you the forms, then write a nasty letter eight weeks later asking why you've not returned their stupid forms!
They seem to conveniently "lose" paperwork on a regular basis. Trying to get any sort of straight answer to a question is next to impossible. If you do get an answer, don't rely on it, because the next person you speak to will probably tell you something completely different and deny that anyone in the system could have told you what you had already been told!
And should you dare to get sick for a week and decide to claim some of the benefits for which you've been paying for years, expect another large batch of paperwork, pointless questions, and several trips to their office to sort it all out.
Paul, I'd imagine that you would be hit rather hard by the Authorities, being a Self-Employed Electronics Tech/Electrician. Having spelt out the list of paperwork like you have above, it seems like enough to scare the hardiest of people away from owning a business. It shouldn't be like this, how is anyone supposed to earn a dollar (or Pound!), if your time is spent negotiating a sea of seemingly useless forms and other such things. Just an aside Paul, you mentioned that your Department of Social Welfare, has just changed its name. Well, in 1990, our department of Social Welfare changed it's name and since then, it has been changed so often, that no-one here even knows what it's called now!.
The electronics side of my work really doesn't have any rules and regulations that affect me, other than the usual self-employment red-tape as outlined above.
The Social Security mob seem to have a habit of changing things for the sake of change. I take it that you have offices in NZ (and elsewhere) where thos looking for work can go to register, look at vacancies, claim benefit, and so on?
Over here, these places used to be called a "Labour Exchange." In recent times they've changed their name so often so I've lost track of it all. "JobCentre" is the current term, I think. But every time they change it costs a fortune to put up new fancy signs, change all their letterheads, etc. To be precise, it costs all of us a fortune, as it comes out of taxes!
But I understand that some people consider our bureaucracy to be quite reasonable by comparison to other countries. I've heard stories that the Italian red-tape is quite horrendous.