Your questions about direct supervision answered

Your questions about direct supervision answered

Under the Professional Engineers Act 2002, registration is required for anyone carrying out a professional engineering service in Queensland or for Queensland. It is an offence for unregistered persons to undertake professional engineering services. However, there is an exception that allows unregistered persons to carry out professional engineering services only if they are directly supervised by someone who is a RPEQ.

Obligations are placed both on the unregistered person who is being directly supervised and the RPEQ who is providing the direct supervision. Direct supervision requirements are intentionally onerous.

To establish direct supervision, the following elements must be shown to exist and supported by evidence that meets each requirement:

The supervising RPEQ must actively direct the unregistered person in carrying out the professional engineering services. A passive or observational role is not sufficient.

The supervising RPEQ must be involved from the beginning and throughout all the professional engineering services provided in each project/contract.

The supervising RPEQ must evaluate the professional engineering services and ensure they are being carried out to the standard expected of a RPEQ as if the RPEQ was undertaking the professional engineering services personally.

The requirement is that all professional engineering services are carried out to the standard expected of a RPEQ and that the supervising RPEQ takes overt professional responsibility for them.

Direct supervision was the topic presented by BPEQ for a recent Engineers Australia hosted webinar. Here’s a few of the questions asked during the webinar about direct supervision:

Yes. Direct supervision requirements contained in the Act do not apply to RPEQs. Direct supervision is only applicable to unregistered persons.

As RPEQs are bound by the Code of Practice and are obligated to provide services competently and professionally within their area of registration. This is no different to providing the same service through the unregistered person.

As discussed this is but one aspect but wouldn’t be enough itself. A collective of evidence is required by the RPEQ and supervised person, not just one item.

It is advisable to show direct supervision for evidence of these conversations and instructions. For example, minutes of meetings emailed contemporaneous to each meeting or follow up emails confirming the discussions had and instructions given.

This would depend on the project and the extent to which professional engineering services are being provided. If the project manager is carrying out professional engineering services, applying engineering knowledge and judgement, then they would need to be a RPEQ themselves or directly supervised.