SFPE Discussions

Occupational Regulation of Engineers - Topic 1: Registration

Hi all

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:

MBIE Discussion Document

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.


Daryn Glasgow
NZ Chapter - Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE)

Engineering a Fire Safe World

Dear Daryn,
Hello from the otherside of the world. My point of view on this may be flawed, and for sure needs to be refined to your specific current legal code for the differences since the commonwealth, however from the point of view of dealing with this please assume the following.

That creating a project is a recipe
That the recipe has high level ingredients such as building component each material is produced off set and needs to meet performance requirements. Item within the building recipe is to be defined, the amount, and the properties, all listed to a common server located within the building, and a copy kept at 3rd party, for backup and tamper resistance.
The process of the work, how each thing can be done acceptable, and how they need to verify compliance can all be done digital, and compressed. At a international level a standard intake forum by a standard application which was oversee by NFPA ( as the collector of this information, aka 1 of the 3rd parties, for future research and professional discourse.) This would also allow for a record for post fire lessons learned, and potentially reduce operational maintenance errors, due to poor communication.

So back to the verification process.

If the work is for you personally and is NOT used to serve the public then the standard of care is different. If a 3rd party needs to rely on the equation where public life safety is a threat, aka assembly or other high risk insurance nightmares potentials. ( a house isn’t high risk, a 20 unit apartment building is more high risk, life responsibility is a key thinking point.) ( a place where money is to be generated, or an expectation that money is to be saved)
So from the engineering point of view of what is engineering, it’s everything but if someone is working on a project, that project should have someone whom understands all the elements within that project and can provide an verbal and a written explanation of compliance of the existing allowable solutions, and ideally in the future it will all be digitally passively recorded and broken down to not create too many places for people to be irresponsible with the potential of technology and it’s creative usage.

so if the
foundation is verified by a structurally competent engineer , and the superstructure as well that provides one example of problem solving. A simple list of all the components within an assembly, and all the assembly within the building, and a standardize process for the review and the evaluation of that work, and all the working assumptions within this material and it’s related lifetime expected environment, holistically.
A list of ever sub component within a building, and it’s code solution, and documentation requirements for acceptable solutions, all digitally storage and managed such that the whole process is command and control through transparent information sharing, with regards to systems solutions. ( An I.P nightmare, except when you can look at the supply chain and go…) hmm you want to put exterior cladding on, hmm you want to have a more energy efficient operating solution, oh… foam plastics… hmm okay… can the supplier of the foam plastics provide the documentation which would be standard for each of their products ( sealed by an engineer, as that company is doing engineering to a degree, and life safety elements require the ethical 3rd party oversight to create a system of trust that enables work to work quicker, rather than having the same conversation with the same people because it’s what’s expected and what’s can be billed, rather than it’s a good solution and we provide a service solution, which can be billed, so regardless we are useful as a 3rd party honest nervous for our own arse review or design oversight/ reality interpreter for owners requirements refinement. (Aka codes and standards say… ah… no this is bad… on review it’s called no… this bad, but innovation has a work around, however it has " issues", but life is about being able to manage and juggle those issues.)

Sorry supplier supplied test data is the key issue.
aka if you want to sell your product, it needs to meet this exterior set of tests.
If however, the salesmen of the product had a letter from an engineer stating it’s general performance and then listing and linking in the footage of the burn tests for each of the products such that regulators and designs and others people that have to make life decisions have an added degree of comfort.
All this information can be collected and stored within each building with regards to the building, creating the best potentials for less screw up.

If it deals with more than you, public life safety… you need to have an engineer sign off that’s yeah… it’s legit… it’s real and you can take it to the bank, or you can walk out on it 3.25 m but don’t go 4m and you don’t have issues out on that diving board. They need someone to verify that the “math is correct” and that’s what engineers are needed as they when through the hard work of gaining a fundamental solid background in the understanding how and why things work to the degree that the university staff and system can help, and the degree that the student cares. However this is significantly better then your average high school with a few years of rust on the active memories of doing the work. There is a social duty of care which is expected, and not to die is one of the big ones. Fire is a major risk to this, which with proper management of the risks can be reduced to an acceptable reasonable level, which still can be improved. Some things aren’t left to human choice when it’s can cause the death of 10,000’+ people by stupid mistake. However, promotion of general people to take basic engineering so that they understanding the basic working, but ultimately the engineer responsible is on record. They have a sub-record of the working assumptions and levels of verifications, (requested, required by contract, or by internal review).
I also may believe that a population with 95% of it’s people trained in the background of engineering may be over educated, but… could be down right scary if motivated to work together and mobilized through digital forums such as these.

( So a forum as a project management tool to manage the information around the project is a cheap and easy solution, a standard template for different classes of buildings and occupancy to be designed and verified by an acceptable engineer. Which could have a digital profile of the online course which the user has completed, however if the process is super clear the ability of the person isn’t the issue. The information is there, what is all means is going to depend, depending on the background knowledge of the person reading the information, however it’s a transparent system, that removes information special knowledge as a source of income, except in so much as if you can work, you can work, vs well you do the work, but it’s not “legal, as you didn’t complete the leg work to join the peer hood”, and as such aren’t able to be a granted the ability to do this work, you can go do 99.999%, but someone needs to check it, whom the system has accepted the risk factor on.

Sorry i hope this isn’t too off topic.