NSW engineer registration

NSW Registration

Opal Tower and Mascot Towers shocked governments into creating reforms to professional standards and the building sector.  The towers highlight the cracks in the entire system.

In June 2019, the NSW Government announced it will require all building practitioners, including engineers, to be registered to ensure they have the appropriate skills and insurance, and can be held accountable for their actions.

The new rules set to go to Parliament this year don’t meet this commitment!

They do not fulfil the recommendation of two government-backed reports into the building sector.  The first recommendation of both the reports is the requirement for engineers to be registered to practice.

Reports:  “Building Confidence” report by Professor Peter Shergold and Ms Bronwyn Weir and The Opal Tower final report

The NSW Government’s plan:

  • only applies registration to an engineer who performs a ‘compliance declaration’ for a Class 2 apartment building and
  • will not improve professional standards in other critical sectors like infrastructure or power generation.

They are not addressing the deeper issues and sweeping them over to other building industry sectors.

This isn’t good enough! How can you take action?

We need a Professional Engineers Registration Act for NSW, and it should apply to anyone providing engineering services without supervision.

The public agrees! When asked if engineers should be registered 88% said ‘yes’. (National poll conducted in July by Engineers Australia)

It’s time for the NSW Government to recognise the value of our profession.

NSW sits oddly in the middle of QLD and Victoria without a statutory mechanism to ensure quality professional standards. QLD has had a registration scheme in place since 1929, and Victoria passed legislation in August this year to do the same.

It is unacceptable that virtually anyone in NSW will still be able to call themselves an engineer even if they have no relevant education or experience, and no commitment to maintain competency. This contrasts with other professionals like architects, doctors and lawyers, who all have to be registered before legally providing services.

It’s time for the NSW Government to recognise the value of our profession.

Engineers Australia’s focus is to ensure a registration scheme is introduced to provide meaningful improvements to profession-wide standards that work seamlessly across borders. 

Most importantly for business owners, with each new state or territory that introduces registration, the Mutual Recognition Act 1992 kicks in to ensure recognition of registered status across borders.

What’s next?

At the national level, the discussion always starts with the building sector and the Building Ministers Forum (BMF), which is a collective of the relevant Minister from the Commonwealth Government and each state and territory Government.

The BMF members have committed to implement recommendation 1 of the now-famous ‘Building Confidence’ report by Peter Shergold and Bronwyn Weir, which is to require engineers (amongst others) to be registered to practice in the building sector. 

The BMF has in turn tasked the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) to coordinate implementation of all 24 recommendations of the Building Confidence report. Expect to hear more from the ABCB soon on timeframes for this work.

Engineers Australia is active across a wide range of issues

It’s important to remember that registration of engineers is not a silver bullet - it is the essential first step.

Looking to the broader set of issues in the building sector, Engineers Australia and its members are very active across the full suite of building sector reform processes.

Learn more about this – 6 ways engineering profession lead building industry reforms

Bottom line—what does Engineers Australia want?

To regain public confidence in the building sector by implementing a government-run register of engineer that is modelled on what is operation in QLD and has recently been introduced for Victoria.

We need a national system/we don't want red tape from a different scheme in every state. We agree that new registration schemes should operate nationally and align with what is already in place in QLD and Victoria. A professional body should be appointed to conduct assessments on individuals’ qualifications and experience to further avoid red tape. With each new state or territory that introduces registration, the Mutual Recognition Act 1992 kicks in to ensure recognition of registered status across borders.

Related News:

FAQs

Engineers Australia is aware of several issues, through member consultation and commentary on social media, that lots of people want addressed including:

To regain public confidence in the building sector by implementing a government-run register of engineer that is modelled on what is operation in QLD and has recently been introduced for Victoria.

Engineers Australia does not promote registration as a ‘silver bullet’ but it is a first step to creating a system to recognise competence and exclude those found not suitable to work as an engineer.

The role of the regulator belongs to Government.  They have the resources and legal power to conduct the comprehensive investigations and apply sanctions. Engineers Australia is of the view that our National Engineering Register (NER) provides a good model for governments to adopt.

As is already the case in QLD, Engineers Australia could operate as an assessor of an engineers’ qualifications and experience.

 

We believe registration is the first step of many, and endorse all recommendations outlined in the Building Ministers Forum (BMF) report, Building Confidence.

To learn about other ways in which Engineers Australia is helping to reform the sector, see 6 ways engineering profession lead building industry reforms.

 

Feedback was sought from all NSW-based members in July 2019. Of those who responded, 91.5% expressed specific support for a registration scheme, just 3.4% expressed opposition. A new round of member consultation is being developed for mid-October, so stay tuned for alerts in the coming weeks. 

We agree that new registration schemes should operate nationally and align with what is already in place in QLD and Victoria. A professional body should be appointed to conduct assessments on individuals’ qualifications and experience to further avoid red tape. With each new state or territory that introduces registration, the Mutual Recognition Act 1992 kicks in to ensure recognition of registered status across borders.

The focus all governments have on resolving the issues that have led to a crisis in the insurance market for the building sector is endorsed by Engineers Australia. We recommend the government make PI insurance a condition of registration for engineers. That will ensure that those who are qualified to practice are also appropriately covered to practice.