Engineers Australia recently consulted members on the guiding documentation relating to the Professional Engineers Registration Act 2019 that was released by the Victorian Government for public consultation in August. The Act requires engineers who provide professional services in (and for) Victoria to be registered and the following guiding documents to support the scheme were released for comment:
- the proposed Professional Engineers Registration (General, Exemption and Assessment Scheme Fees) Regulations 2019
- guidance material on key terms in the Act, such as the meaning of professional engineering service, prescriptive standards, direct supervision and the five areas of engineering
- the proposed Code of Conduct for Professional Engineers
- options for setting fees for the registration and endorsement of professional engineers.
More than 400 engineers participated in the consultation process which commenced with an information session with representatives from Consumer Affairs Victoria and Department of Justice and Community Safety and Engineers Australia’s Chief Engineer, Jane MacMaster. Further feedback was taken via eight interactive, online discussion sessions as well as via email and phone.
Feedback was varied and informed Engineers Australia final position in relation to the documentation. The high level of engagement from members and willingness to openly share concerns and suggestions was greatly appreciated.
Feedback to the Department
Overall the documentation is well thought out and presents a robust scheme. We have been impressed by the consultation undertaken to develop the documentation including the support that was offered by the Office of Projects Victoria. However some areas do require further work and clarification. Key requests in our submission include:
- clarity relating to the application of the Act through FAQs, case studies and further guidance materials;
- clarification on sub-disciplines of engineers that fall under the initial five disciplines;
- that the Code of Conduct consider the importance of engineers to act in the public interest.
The full submission is available here.
Engineers Australia will continue to work closely with Consumer Affairs Victoria to finalise the scheme in the best interests of the profession.
A second round of public consultation will be held early 2021. It will consult on the proposed regulations that establish fees for registration and the supporting regulatory impact statement. Engineers Australia will seek further member feedback during this consultation phase.
About the Professional Engineers Registration Scheme
The Professional Engineers Registration scheme will commence on 1 July 2021 and will require engineers who provide professional engineering services in or for Victoria in the areas of structural, civil, electrical, mechanical and fire safety engineering to be registered unless they work under direct supervision or only in accordance with a prescriptive standard. The Act aims to ensure services are provided by professional engineers who have a minimum level of qualification, experience, and professional development. The proposed regulations set a schedule for phasing in registration across the five initial disciplines: civil, structural, fire safety, electrical and mechanical.