Professional Engineers Registration Bill 2019
Recent cases of residential high-rise apartments with defects have exposed the problems within our building and construction industry. These incidents have serious consequences for owners who are left to foot the bill for costly repairs, with few options for redress.
The Professional Engineers Registration Bill, introduced by the Shadow Minister for Building Reform and Property, Yasmin Catley MP, aimed to address one part of the problem by requiring engineers to be registered in New South Wales. The Bill was referred to our committee in the context of broader reforms proposed by the Government to the regulation of the building industry.
In the time since our inquiry’s hearings, the Government’s wider reforms to the building and construction sector have passed Parliament. The Design and Building Practitioner Act 2020 (DBP Act) contained welcome and long overdue reforms that should improve residential construction standards. Importantly, it also provided for the registration of engineers. Under the reforms, only registered engineers will be able to work as a civil, structural, electrical, mechanical or fire safety engineer. To be registered, engineers will have to show that they are qualified and competent to work as a professional engineer.
They will also have to undertake continuing professional development to keep their skills current. While we welcome these changes, we think that the registration model will need to be looked at in detail when the reforms are reviewed. The registration model proposed in the Professional Engineers Registration Bill was based on Queensland’s system.
The model adopted through the DBP Act is different in that the Secretary of the Department of Customer Service will manage the registration process, instead of a Board of Professional Engineers. We think that the board-run model should be looked at as we found that it was a cost-effective and efficient way to register engineers.