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Thread: Who is supposed to sign the Certificate

  1. #1
    Platinum Member Marq's Avatar
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    Who is supposed to sign the Certificate

    I had some electrical work done by a supposedly reputable electrical company.

    I thought the workmanship was rather dubious so agreed to pay the company once a certificate was issued for the work done. This has taken over a year to be produced and eventually I get a certificate, not really for the stuff that I wanted it for - but the issue for me is that it is signed off by the dubious electrician himself and his own new company's name appears. The company's name that I thought I had employed to do the work and who is now threatening for non payment, is nowhere to be seen on the certificate. This electrician has since left (been fired more likely) from the Company I employed. (Well I didnt really but thats another story).

    What do you guys think? Should I not get a certificate that reflects the companies details that were ultimately responsible for the work done or is this a norm in the electrical industry where the individual employee/electrician takes the heat for a bum job and the company carries on recklessly threatening everyone they come across.

    On questioning the Company - they told me this is the norm (for them I assume) that they have cleared this with the ecb and that if I wanted their name to appear on the certificate, they would have to come out and redo the tests for my account.

    Should I pay the electrician instead and tell this dubious company to recover their money from the electrician - or should I take this up further with someone who represents the industry and not the consumer or should I just ignore them and take their flak every month like I have done over the past year?

  2. #2
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Responsibility for the Certificate of Compliance is placed at a personal level. The individual takes responsibility. I think you can see the potential for confusion this can create at times when excercising your rights against the company in terms of contract law.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member Marq's Avatar
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    Thumbs down

    Wow Dave - Is this a huge loophole in the electrical certification process?

    Like you say contractually this must be a huge headache for the consumer should there be any problems.

    Taking this into consideration along with the argument I had with them in terms of how long it is valid for, (it seems as long as the ink is wet - prove that there have been no alterations or additions since 'that' certificate was issued) it would appear that this system is not worth the paper it is written on.

    Is the certification process a system put into operation to generate more income for the industry or is it a genuine attempt at standardising and getting proper sign off on installations, adjustments and additions?

    My experience over the past 10 years show that this is just an ineffectual arse covering exercise for arses that don't appear to be at risk in the first place.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Statutory responsibility being placed at an individual level is not unusual at all.

    I don't think the situation takes away from the client's rights under contract. It can make achieving redress a little more complicated than expected and stressful for the consumer, though.

    The consumer has the idea that they can easily obtain repair for shortcomings by approaching the regulatory authority. Most often this is not true. The regulatory authority can in most instances fine or delicence, but can't order compensation be made to the client. So instead they use blackmail - repair or you lose your licence. That kinda works, but regular transgressors remain in the industry.

    Murdock has raised an interesting point about fines in the electrical contracting industry. As far as I know, he's right. The only control is to delicence, and that is not a step to be taken lightly as you are denying a person's livelihood. A system of fines would allow for appropriate graduated responses to differing levels of consequence.

    One of the problems in the pest control industry is that the fines are no longer appropriate to the commerical scale of the contravention. Effectively, they are no longer a deterrent.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  5. #5
    Platinum Member Marq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    Statutory responsibility being placed at an individual level is not unusual at all.
    Interesting business scenario on accountability and responsibility.

    Is this not usually after a designated authorised individual signs on behalf of a company or group? - then all can be severally and jointly liable or the individual can be tackled such as in the case of signing a company cheque.

    I do not know of any other profession that makes its individual employees 'sign off the job' as personally responsible for that job, directly with the client, while the company slips total responsibility by not being present in any form. An accountant/auditor signs on behalf of his firm, same for an attorney....mmmm.....

    If the electrical company says up front that they are just a third party, project management type concern who will bear no consequence of the 'independent contractor' that they may send out to your site, then fine - the terms are up front and I know where I stand. But they don't - I call the electrical company - 'they' arrive, in company vehicle, take orders from a controller at the company and then bill me on a company document.

    That someone can be held responsible is great - but I saw an individual, under total control of his company, working under company induced stress while not seeming to know what he was doing, who probably got paid a small percentage of the income (if I should pay it) who must now take the full rap if anything should go wrong in the future. Doesn't seem fair on the individual or the consumer.

    I cannot think of any other industry/profession where this applies.

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    i wrote a long thread about this again but decided to delete it because i get angry and say things i shouldnt...

    the bottom line is until there is heavy penalties or jail time nothing can or will be done about these crimminals.

    something to remember just because the workmanship is shody and untidy doesnt mean the installation is not up to standard...there is no law against cr*p workmanship...you get what you pay for...dont expect a porsche if you are paying kia prices...( i am gona get sued for this statememt )

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marq View Post
    I do not know of any other profession that makes its individual employees 'sign off the job' as personally responsible for that job, directly with the client, while the company slips total responsibility by not being present in any form. An accountant/auditor signs on behalf of his firm, same for an attorney....mmmm.....
    My understanding is that in the professions, the professional is personally accountable - possibly to an extent even greater than in regulated trades. If we look at the conveyancers touting case here in KZN at the moment - it is the partners who are on the carpet, not the trading entity.

    I am far more familiar with the subtleties of all this with regard to the pest control industry. However, the regulatory framework is very similar to the electrical contracting industry.

    Maybe we're missing each other though. Your ability to claim against the company under contract law is not affected. My understanding is that the company remains accountable for defective workmanship claims that may arise against it from its clients (based on contract law). As you point out, the employee is "just" an employee with all the extended consequences of that. However, the statutory bodies, in this case Department of Labour in conjunction with the Electrical Contractors Board, licences and controls the individual.

    The problems start when the client is trying to get defective workmanship fixed by using the regulatory authority. If the regulatory body finds the individual has not met the regulatory requirements, they may fine or delicence/deregister the individual. This in turn would make your civil claim against the contractor much easier.

    Stepping into the employers shoes for a moment, I'll point out that we employ a licenced electrician with expectations that he/she can perform that function and have to remunerate them accordingly. What happens when the qualified employee does not deliver to that entirely reasonable expectation?

    I know that as the company owner, I take the hit and fix the clients problem, but what redress do I have against my employee for my losses due to their negligence/oversight/failure?
    Last edited by Dave A; 23-Jun-08 at 02:40 PM.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by murdock View Post
    you get what you pay for...dont expect a porsche if you are paying kia prices...( i am gona get sued for this statememt )
    If you ever get sued for saying that, Murdock, we'll pass the hat. I'm sure we'll have your legal fees covered in no time.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Gold Member Sparks's Avatar
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    It is a fine mess indeed, however, the problem has not been adressed. I would suggest that anyone with this type of situation approach their local Electrical Industry Onbudsman. The ECA will only step in if the transgressor is a member and in my experience only to cover their member's tracks. That is why I am not a member. The Onbudsman is however independant, at least here he is. He also does have teeth. He has the legal power to de-licence as well as impose fines, even imprisonment in conjunction with a magistrate. The list of local Onbudsmen for the different industries should be available at the local DOL(for what that is worth), the local police station and the ECB. I have had dealings with the local one whilst in the employ of a certain pest control company and found him to be most proffesional,knowledgable and also very helpful.

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