Board v Z

Board v Z

This was a disciplinary proceeding brought by the Board of Professional Engineers of Queensland (Board) against a Registered Professional Engineer of Queensland (RPEQ) (de-identified as Z) in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (Tribunal).

Disciplinary Ground

The Board alleged that Z had behaved in a way that constituted unsatisfactory processional conduct in the design and certification of a kit home.

Engineer’s Background

Z was a RPEQ of some standing.

Conduct of Engineer

In 2009, a homeowner organised for the design and construction of a three-bedroom house located within an area designated as ‘Region C Cyclonic’ in Australian Standard 1170.

Prior to construction of the house, design documentation was stamped and signed by Z and Z completed a Form 15 Compliance Certificate for Building Design or Specification (Form 15) in relation to those designs.

Some aspects of the design were not suitable for the design wind loading at the site. Specifically, the building site was in Region C Cyclonic, whereas the structure was designed to comply with the requirements of Region B. In particular:

  • the Form 15 noted loading conditions that did not match the loading conditions provided on the design documentation; and
  • a significant proportion of the ‘as-designed’ components of the building were unsuitable for their intended application; and
  • there were a number of “as-designed” building inadequacies.

What the Tribunal Said

The Tribunal found that Z’s conduct demonstrated a fundamental lack of understanding of, or regard for, the proper engineering practices and principles required to safely design the house because it was:

  • conduct that was of a lesser standard than that which might reasonably be expected of a RPEQ by the public or Z’s professional peers; and
  • conduct that demonstrated a lack of adequate judgment or care in the practice of engineering; and
  • misconduct in a professional respect, because it was conduct that violated or fell short of, to a substantial degree, the standard of professional conduct observed or approved by members of the profession of good repute and competency.

Consequences for Engineer

The Tribunal ordered that Z be reprimanded and imposed a monetary penalty.