As you may be aware from a notice we sent out last week, I am taking point on the SFPE NZ submission on the current MBIE consultation on Occupational Regulation of Engineers. This consultation is of particular interest to fire engineering since much of what we do is likely to be referred to as ‘high risk work’ within this framework. This has implications on who will be permitted to carry out this kind of engineering. EngNZ are working with all Technical Groups in one forum (which I attend) but also have a smaller more focused group consisting of ourselves, SESOC, NZSEE, and NZGS - being the technical groups/societies particularly interested in or captured by ‘high risk’ work.
The MBIE discussion document can be found here:
As well as our notice requesting input from the membership - which can be sent directly to me via email - I would also like to start a few discussions on this forum which might (hopefully) provide you with a mechanism for providing feedback in an easier format.
The first topic of discussion I would like to cover is Registration.
The MBIE Discussion document has taken on board a lot of what was submitted previously, and are now looking quite seriously at a much more streamlined approach. This essentially involves ‘Registration’ of all those who might be defined as doing ‘engineering work’ which in a way protects the term ‘engineer’ (like ‘architect’ and ‘Doctor’) and subjects all engineers to regulation (Code of Ethics, CPD, disciplinary and complaints process etc) . Then for those doing higher risk work, an engineer would be required to hold a License to do so (more on Licensing in a future discussion topic).
I appreciate I haven’t covered every aspect of what is proposed in the above (very brief) overview statement. It is just offered to get the conversation started. I suggest you review the discussion document in more detail to capture all of what is proposed or being consulted on.
MBIE has suggested that Registration of those carrying out engineering work should be universal and compulsory. The initial Engineering NZ view is registration of engineers should be widespread but not necessarily universal. They understand MBIE’s motivation for seeking to include all engineers in an occupational regulation scheme, but don’t consider this measure, and the possible compliance costs involved, are proportionate to the risk.
SESOC, NZSEE, NZGS, and SFPE’s view (at the moment) is slightly different, indicating we support universal Registration of ALL engineers in our fields. However, we feel this universal Regulation should be based on ‘professional competence’ as opposed to ‘technical competence’. What this means is professional competence for Registration will be demonstrated by having an appropriate tertiary qualification (such as a Washington Accord degree and subsequent post graduate qualification in fire engineering, or demonstrated equivalent qualification or experience) and a short period of professional experience (say 12 months of experience post graduation with associated CPD activity and work history records). An assessment of technical competence (like what we currently do for CPEng) is not required for this Registration - but will be required for Licensing - which is a future topic for discussion on this forum.
I would appreciate your thoughts and comments. If you would like to discuss any other topic related to this Occupational Regulation consultation (like licensing, assessment and BoK, EngNZ’s possible role in all this etc) then feel free to start a new thread.
NZ Chapter - Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE)
Engineering a Fire Safe World