Proposed occupational regulatory regime for Engineers

Submissions closed: 25 June 2021, 5pm

The consultation period on proposed changes to the occupational regulation of engineers closed on 25 June 2021.

Engineering covers a range of industries that includes on-site practical construction work as well as office-based design and evaluation work.

While many of New Zealand’s engineers are highly professional, improvements are needed to the engineering regulatory system. In 2021, MBIE consulted on a proposed new regime to ensure engineers are competent, behave ethically and are held to account. The new regime aims to further reduce the possibility of defective engineering work and improve public confidence in the profession.

Based on feedback received on the following three proposals, Cabinet has agreed to develop a new regime that will:

  1. Establish a new registration scheme for all engineers to ensure a base level of professionalism and clarify to consumers who can practice as an engineer. Engineers will be subject to a code of conduct, and continued professional development obligations to keep their skills up-to-date. This includes engineers working in the major disciplines of civil, electrical, chemical and mechanical engineering. There will be provisions to avoid overlap with other regimes that already regulate small groups of engineers.
  2. Establish a new licensing regime to regulate who can carry out or supervise engineering work in specified practice fields that have a high risk of harm to the public.
  3. Set up a new regulator to oversee the registration and licensing process and investigate complaints. An Engineers Registration Board will be established, supported by a Registrar, Complaints Officer and Disciplinary Committee. MBIE will be the default Registrar and Complaints Officer, with the opportunity for other Registrars to be appointed and the Complaints Officer function reassigned.

MBIE received 250 submissions in this consultation, predominately from the engineering profession. 84% of submitters agreed that there were grounds for intervention, and 81% agreed that all engineers should be subject to occupational regulation. MBIE also received strong support for a code of ethical conduct and for engineers to have professional development obligations.

Proposed details of the scheme are being worked through by MBIE and a bill is expected to be introduced later in 2022.

The review of regulation of professional engineers is part of a series of reforms to the building laws to lift the efficiency and quality of building work in New Zealand. The reforms will see a more efficient building system, a lift in the quality of building work, and fairer outcomes if things go wrong.

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Last updated: 31 March 2022