*Please note this article was published in October 2022 and comments are now closed. 08/12/22.
In July 2022, the WA Government approved building engineers to be registered under the Building Services Registration (BSR) Act. This decision followed a recommendation from the Australian Building Codes Board Building Confidence report.
It is anticipated the Amending Regulations will be announced before December 2023, with building engineers’ registration to be implemented over four years.
What areas of engineering will the scheme cover?
The proposed registration scheme would cover four classes; civil engineering, mechanical engineering, structural engineering and fire engineering. For the first three classes, the levels of registration include Professional, Technologist and Associate. For fire engineering, the levels of registration would be Fire Safety Professional, Fire Systems Technologist and Fire Systems Associate.
The BSR Act considers practitioners as individuals and contractors as business entities. For example, on a project a contractor would need a nominated supervisor(s) who is a registered practitioner for the appropriate level of work.
Running the registration scheme
To run the registration scheme, Building and Energy WA have proposed a co-regulatory model. Assessment entities, like Engineers Australia, would look at qualifications and experience, and could keep an industry-based code of conduct (this would be optional). Any assessment entity would be approved by the Building Commissioner.
Building and Energy WA’s role would cover the assessment of financial and identification factors, monitoring and auditing of registered engineers, dealing with complaints and undertaking disciplinary action.
For practitioner registration renewal, CPD requirements will apply. Continued membership of an industry organisation such as Engineers Australia will be deemed evidence of meeting CPD requirements.
A code of conduct for registered engineers will be developed by Building and Energy WA, in consultation with industry. It will draw on existing codes of conduct used by industry associations and other Australian jurisdictions.
Instead of mandating a minimum level of Professional Indemnity Insurance, regulations will require each registered engineering contractor to have adequate insurance, which would depend on several factors.
Expected roll out and other potential changes
Once announced by government, the four-year process to implement registration will begin. Structural and fire safety engineers will be first to transition to registration, over a two-year period. Followed by civil and mechanical engineers over another two-year period.
A suite of other recommendations was given to the government in the Building Confidence report. These included mandatory inspections for all new BCA Class 1 to 9 buildings, and development of a process to document and approve variations and independent third-party review of structural and fire safety designs for BCA Class 2 buildings over 25 metres in effective height.
The extent of these reforms is significant, and they have not been accepted by government at this stage. If these recommendations are accepted, they will take years to implement.
How is Engineers Australia engaging with the development of WA’s registration scheme?
In October Engineers Australia held an information session with Building and Energy WA to inform members of the proposed engineering registration scheme and its implementation, containing much of the information above.
Engineers Australia is finalising a submission to the WA Government on its proposed Engineering Registration scheme. We would like to thank those members who provided feedback to inform our submission, which will be published in early November.
If you have any questions about registration, please contact us at [email protected]