| 31 July 2023

A new Practice Standard for Professional Engineers in NSW

The New South Wales (NSW) Government is calling for feedback on a new proposed Practice Standard for Professional Engineers (available at New proposed Practice Standard for Professional Engineers | Have your say NSW).  

What does this mean? 

According to the NSW Government, the proposed Practice Standard has been developed to provide a clear and enforceable standard of what is expected and required of Professional Engineers under the Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020. It would be a condition of registration for all Professional Engineers registered under the Act. 

Key features of the proposed standard include: 

  • introducing a requirement that designs must be fit for purpose  
  • requiring on-site inspections during the construction phase of a project  
  • introducing new requirements regarding independent third-party reviews 
  • reinforcing the importance of the existing Code of Practice for Professional Engineers 
  • providing clarity regarding supervision requirements 
  • introducing specific obligations for certain classes of Professional Engineers and certain professional engineering work

New obligations on NSW professional engineers 

The proposed new Practice Standard for Professional Engineers would be binding on NSW engineers as a condition of registration. 

The proposed standard has been drafted specifically to apply to engineers working on the design of NCC Class 2, 3 and 9c buildings, but as the scope of professional engineer registration expands, these obligations will apply to more areas of engineering work done in NSW.  

Engineers Australia advocates for clear requirements that reflect the practice and responsibilities of individual engineers in regard to their employers and do not impose unrealistic obligations on individual employees. 

We continue to raise our concerns with the NSW Government that its approach to the registration of professional engineers is based too narrowly on building consulting work and does not distinguish between the roles of individual engineers and the businesses that employ them. 

Members should carefully examine how the proposals would apply to their own individual circumstances.

We would welcome input that highlights any inconsistencies/provisions that cannot be sensibly applied to their work, or that prevent members from carrying out their normal professional engineering work - this particularly applies to Section 2 General duties of an engineer.  

Engineers Australia is advocating on behalf of members

Engineers Australia was part of the working group which engaged with drafting of the proposed Practice Standard and is continuing to work with the Department of Customer Service on reforms for the building sector such as Decennial Liability Insurance and Licensing.   

If you have questions or concerns about proposed changes, you can either respond directly to the NSW Government’s consultation, or send your comments to [email protected] by 14 August and Engineers Australia will consider your views in a consolidated response.