The Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ) chief executive Andrew Cleland released an opinion piece calling for a law change to allow non-registered engineers to be investigated by the professional body.
As it stands IPENZ is the registration authority for a chartered professional engineer statutory regime which allows only those registered to use the title of chartered professional engineer. However, membership of the organisation is voluntary and members can resign at any time. Mr Cleland explains that this leaves the body with no ability to monitor the performance of non-registered engineers or restrict those who can perform safety-critical work.
This comes in the wake of a decision by the IPENZ to discontinue the investigation into civil engineer Alan Reay, whose company designed the CCTV building in Christchurch. The decision to discontinue was a result of legal advice taken by the organisation that concluded it could no longer investigate professional work undertaken by Mr Reay after he had resigned from IPENZ on 28 February this year.
Mr Cleland says that he would like to see a regulatory system where public safety-critical work would be restricted to those who had registered as a chartered professional engineer. Then if the registration was removed as the result of an investigative and disciplinary process the right to practise (except under direct supervision) would be lost.
While a regulatory system restricting public safety-critical work has benefits, there would need to be significant work on the scope of any such scheme and whether it should extend to other services as well, such as architectural services. We will keep you informed about any progress in this area.