There is no formal system of regulation for engineers throughout Australia. Engineering services are regulated under a variety of Acts in ad hoc areas, many of which relate to engineers in the building and construction industry. There are also many pieces of subordinate legislation, such as regulations, by-laws and orders-in-council that impose various prescriptive standards and incur unnecessary costs to the engineering industry in complying.
Queensland currently is the only state where engineers are required by legislation to be registered (if offering or providing engineering services). In Queensland, persons who are not registered are prohibited from offering or providing professional engineering services. The only exception is for individuals who practise under the direct supervision of registered professional engineers. In other states and territories engineers operate under the self-regulatory system operated by the National Engineering Registration Board (NERB)
Engineers Australia and other stakeholders in the engineering profession are of the view that a mandatory national registration system for engineering practitioners would minimise risks to public safety, and would facilitate national workforce mobility and skills acquisition. A nationally consistent system of registration of engineering practitioners could be enacted by each State and Territory and should be based on a system of registration established by the profession with the full support of the peak professional engineering bodies and active participation by State and Territory governments.
In the absence of a mandatory national registration system for engineering practice, engineers in all jurisdictions other than Queensland operate under the self-regulatory system the National Professional Engineers Register (NPER), operated by the National Engineering Registration Board (NERB).
A guide to state and territory legislation relevant to registration of engineers can be accessed through the following links. Engineers Australia and the National Engineering Registration Board accept no responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information. Weblinks to respective state and territory legislative authorities are provided.
References to engineering professionals registered on the National Professional Engineers Register (NPER) exist in the ACT in regulations for principal building surveyors, structural engineers as licensed construction practitioners and certifiers, and as mechanical and building services engineers involved in building ventilation.
Building Act 2004
Building (General) Regulation 2008
Construction Occupations (Licensing) Act 2004
Construction Occupations (Licensing) Regulation 2004
Construction Occupations (Licensing) (Mandatory Qualifications) Declaration 2007 (No. 1)
Building and construction Industry Training Levy Regulations 2001 No. 41
Public Health Act 1997
Cooling Towers, Evaporative Condensers and Warm Water Storage Systems (Specialised Systems) Code of Practice 2005
Building Professionals Act 2005 (NSW)
Building Professionals Regulation 2007
Public Health (Microbial Control) Regulation 2000
Mine Health and Safety Regulation 2007
Coal Mine Health and Safety Act 2002 No 129
Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW) [EP&A Act]
Strata Schemes (Freehold Development) Act 1973
Strata Schemes (Leasehold Development) Act 1986
The Building Regulations as in force at 7 February 2007 require the registration of building practitioners and certifying structural, hydraulic and mechanical engineers. Registration on the National Professional Engineering Board (NPER) is one of the requirements. Other criteria include Corporate membership of Engineers Australia accompanied by appropriate experience and competence in certain fields.
Building Act 1993 (as amended)
Building Regulations (as in force February 2007)
Queensland is currently the only State in Australia with legislation that regulates the engineering profession. The Professional Engineers Act 2002 (QLD) provides for the registration of professional engineers to practise in Queensland. It prohibits persons who are not registered from offering or providing professional engineering services in Queensland. The only exception is for individuals who practise under the direct supervision of registered professional engineers, in which case the supervising engineer is responsible for the services provided.
Amendments to the Act were proclaimed in April 2008 to establish a co-regulatory approach to registration of engineers in Queensland. As a result a new registration system was introduced from 1 July 2008. Details of the new registration scheme can be obtained from the Board of Professional Engineers Queensland (BPEQ).
From 1 July 2008, a successful assessment of qualifications and competencies is required before an application is lodged with the Board of Professional Engineers of Queensland for registration as a registered professional engineer of Queensland (RPEQ).
The Minister for Public Works, Housing and Information and Communication Technology (Qld) has appointed Engineers Australia and the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM) as Assessment Entities to assess the qualifications and competencies required for registration of professional engineers in Queensland.
Professional Engineers Act 2002
Professional Engineers Regulation 2003
Development Act 1993
Development Regulations 1993
Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Act 1986
Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations 1995
Building Act 2000
Building Regulation 2004
Building Act 1993
Building Regulations 2006
The Western Australian Government is currently carrying out a significant review of the building regulatory environment. Building legislation is being reformed to improve the delivery of standards and services across the State. In addition to developing a new Building Act and associated Certifiers Act, the Western Australian Government has endorsed the consolidation of building standards and practitioner registration into a Building Commission. The Building Commission will be established as an independent agency to deliver building legislation reform and regulate the built environment for the benefit of the community.
The current legislation development timeframe anticipates the Bill to be debated in parliament in mid 2009.