NSW legislates to register engineers

NSW legislates to register engineers

New South Wales will become the third state to require engineers to be registered to practice after the passage of the Design and Building Practitioners Bill 2020.

The Bill is the part of the NSW Government’s response to the Shergold-Weir Report and aims to improve the quality and oversight of buildings in NSW. Being critical to the building process, engineers in civil, electrical, fire safety, mechanical and structural disciplines will need to be registered if they are carrying out ‘professional engineering work’. Engineers in other disciplines will be added by regulation so that the registration scheme is comprehensive.

Parts of the Bill relating to the registration of engineers follow Queensland’s PE Act:

    • A professional engineer means a person who carries out professional engineering work in a prescribed area of engineering.

    • Professional engineering work means engineering work that requires, or is based on, the application of engineering principles and data to—
      1. a design, or
      2. a construction, production, operation or maintenance activity, relating to engineering.
    • Professional engineering work can only be carried out by a person who is a registered professional engineer and the person’s registration authorises the person to carry out the professional engineering work.

Like the PE Act, the Bill makes exceptions for services that are deemed prescriptive standards or carried out under the direct supervision of someone who is registered.

A major difference between Queensland and NSW is that registered professional engineers in NSW must be indemnified and prove so to be registered:

    • A registered professional engineer must not—
      1. carry out professional engineering work, or
      2. hold out that the engineer is adequately insured with respect to the work, unless the engineer is adequately insured with respect to the work.

The commencement date for the NSW registration scheme is slated for 1 July 2021. The Registration process and eligibility requirements are yet to be determined.

To read the Bill in full visit www.parliament.nsw.gov.au.