Engineering New Zealand manages a process for resolving concerns and complaints that covers our members and Chartered Professional Engineers (CPEng). Our process is designed to help engineers and the industry improve, censure where appropriate, and give the public confidence and trust in the industry. We don't take sides - we stay objective and make fair decisions.

For the public

You can contact us if you have concerns about one of our members or a Chartered Professional Engineer. We only deal with concerns about individual engineers, not about firms or organisations.

How to raise a concern

If you’ve got a concern about an engineer, we advise that you let them know and try to resolve it directly with them first by:

  • Writing to the engineer, being clear about your concerns and asking for a response. Tell the engineer what outcome you want.
  • Requesting a meeting with the engineer to talk through your concerns. You could take a support person with you, and you could request that an independent person facilitate the meeting.
  • Raising your concerns with the engineer’s manager.

If you can’t resolve the concern directly with the engineer, it's time to let us know, so we can help.

You’ll need to provide us with your perspective on what happened, and all relevant evidence. This could include reports, email conversations you've had with the engineer, or statements from other people involved. It is better to give us everything you have at the beginning of the process.

Submit your concern

We can help resolve concerns about:

  • the quality of the engineer’s work, or
  • the engineer’s conduct and behaviour.

We can’t resolve concerns about:

  • commercial or contractual matters
  • fees and payment, or
  • employment.

Our process is focused on resolution, quality improvement, learning and appropriate accountability. We can’t help you achieve compensation or reparation, and we can’t order an engineer to undertake specific action in relation to project.

Once we’ve assessed your concerns, we’ll talk with the engineer and ask for a response. We may need to get information from other people involved too. Then we consider how best to resolve your concerns. Different options include:

  • Asking if you are open to an alternative disputes resolution process.
  • Asking if you are open to any other early resolution options, such as using your concerns as an educational opportunity for the engineer.
  • Commencing a formal investigation and disciplinary process.

Using our early resolution process for concerns helps things be resolved quickly - in 2-4 months. More complex concerns of a technical nature, or concerns that proceed down a more formal route, may take longer. A full disciplinary process could take up to a year and sometimes longer.

For engineers

Most concerns can be resolved if they are dealt with openly and quickly.

If someone raises a concern directly with you, work with them to try to resolve it yourself. People don’t raise concerns lightly. Even if you think their concerns are without grounds, try to understand their perspective, and provide a clear response.

We encourage engineers going through the process to seek support and guidance from their mentors and colleagues that they trust. If you do not have access to that support, let us know and we will connect you with a senior member for support and guidance. If you can’t resolve the concern yourself, contact us for help.

Check out our toolkit for dealing with concerns

The resolution process

We start the resolution process by helping the person resolve their concerns directly with you.

Gathering evidence

It’s important that we hear both sides of the story. Once the person has told us their concerns, we’ll ask you for a response. Your response needs to be as clear and detailed as possible, and should include all relevant information such as:

  • exactly what happened (including dates and timeline)
  • documentation (including contracts and reports)
  • correspondence (including emails and text messages)
  • steps you have taken to resolve the concerns
  • names of people who might be able to provide further information.

We usually send a copy of your response to the person to see if it resolves their concerns.

Potential outcomes

Once we know all perspectives, we assess the concern and consider how best to resolve the situation. Different options include:

  • Asking if you are open to an alternative disputes resolution process.
  • Using the situation as an educational opportunity and a reminder of your professional obligations.
  • Reviewing your competence.
  • Commencing a formal investigation and disciplinary process.

Where appropriate, we will look to resolve the concerns using our early resolution process. Under this process, the focus is on resolution, quality improvement and learning. However, if the concerns raise serious issues of competence, health, or safety, we may need to take formal action.

Using our early resolution process for concerns helps things be resolved quickly - in 2-4 months. More complex concerns of a technical nature, or concerns that proceed down a more formal route, may take longer. A full disciplinary process could take up to a year and sometimes longer.

Alternative dispute resolution

Alternative Dispute Resolution refers to a range of processes to help parties reach resolution in a way that ensures everyone is heard and understood. Disputes often arise from miscommunication, and this is a way to resolve them.

It’s an efficient, confidential, and flexible process that allows the engineer to learn directly from the person concerned. It also allows the person concerned to work with the engineer to agree on solutions.
If we think Alternative Dispute Resolution is right for you, we will talk to you and seek your consent. If you agree, we may facilitate a conversation between the parties, or we may ask an independent mediator to run a formal process.