Since the Canterbury Earthquake Royal Commission recommended changes to the way that engineers are regulated, there’s been much discussion about how these changes should be made.

In the mean time, we’ve been working on raising the bar for our members, including developing a new Code of Ethical Conduct, overhauling the complaints process and reshaping the membership pathway. More recently, we’ve been speaking with Building and Construction Minister Jenny Salesa and MBIE on how the system of regulation could be improved.

What are we working towards?

We are advocating for a system of licensing for safety-critical work. The goal is a system that both better protects the public and works better for engineers. CPEng, in its current form, doesn’t provide enough assurance that an engineer can do specific, safety critical tasks. Conversely, it doesn’t stop engineers operating outside their areas of competence, which was the concern of Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission. 

Over time, we would want to see any licensing regime extend to cover all safety-critical areas. While building-related seismic, structural and fire engineering areas have been identified as a starting point, other safety critical areas of engineering include, for example, water, food processing, and specialised areas of mechanical engineering, including heavy vehicles, cranes, pressure equipment and amusement devices. 

Interim Steps

Our new Membership Pathway is designed to complement and support any new occupational licensing regime for safety-critical engineering work. Our new Chartered Member class provides recognition of engineering competence in all fields of engineering to an equivalent internationally benchmarked level. This would complement licensing that provided recognition of New Zealand-specific technical competence in key areas. 

We are introducing Bodies of Knowledge and Skills (BOKS) for certain safety critical areas, beginning with structural and geotechnical engineering. We want to assess engineers against these BOKS to provide more specific assurance of competence. To us, BOKS are a stepping stone to a better system of regulation.

When will regulation change?

This process is taking longer than we expected. We’ll keep you updated.

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