Senior engineers working in the building and construction sector will not only have to be registered under a proposed ACT Government scheme, but meet extra requirements as part of moves to restore confidence in an industry marred by shoddy practices.
The proposed scheme is a product of the Building Confidence Report, which recommended the registration of certain categories of building practitioners.
The national report was in response to an unacceptable number and type of building defects, particularly in the apartment sector.
Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction Rebecca Vassarotti said a registration scheme would give the public and businesses confidence that the engineers they engaged had the necessary qualifications and experience to do their job properly.
“It is vital Canberrans know their projects are being scoped, designed, and delivered safely, to budget, and on time, by qualified professionals,” Ms Vassarotti said.
She said professional engineers’ associations supported the proposed scheme, which would bring the ACT into line with other Australian states and territories.
The scheme, which will also enable action to be taken against unsatisfactory engineers, will initially apply to five engineering disciplines – civil, structural, mechanical, electrical and fire safety engineering – but may later be expanded.
Mandatory registration will only apply to senior professional engineers overseeing the development of engineering designs.
Those working in building and construction must show demonstrated knowledge and practical application of the operation and use of the National Construction Code (NCC), understand the ACT Building Regulatory system and have three years’ experience in the industry.
Registration will last three years. Renewal could depend on evidence the engineer has adhered to professional development requirements and new information about the applicant being fit to practise.
Registered engineers will need to comply with a Code of Practice issued by the minister. The scheme will be administered by a Professional Engineering Registrar appointed by the Director-General of the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate.
The registrar is likely to sit within Access Canberra, and have powers to suspend or cancel a registration and apply to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal for an occupational discipline order to disqualify a registered or formerly registered engineer and impose fines.
Following community and stakeholder consultation on the proposed scheme, it will be finalised with legislation prepared and presented to the Legislative Assembly in late 2022.
The scheme is expected to start no earlier than 1 July, 2023, with a phased introduction proposed for registration of different categories of engineers.
“We want to hear from the community and individual engineers on elements of the scheme, such as eligibility criteria and implementation, so we can make sure the scheme achieves its objectives,” Ms Vassarotti said.
Comments can be made through the ACT Government’s YourSay website until 20 September.