From October 1, civil and structural engineers delivering professional services in Victoria will need to be registered under the state’s professional engineering registration scheme.

With the process taking up to five months, applicants are being urged to prepare now.

Established under the Professional Engineers Registration Act 2019, the scheme mandates registration across five types of engineering work across Victoria: fire safety, civil, structural, mechanical and electrical engineering.

Anyone wanting to perform professional engineering work in these disciplines will need to be registered on or before the starting date for registration in the relevant area.

Those who are not registered will either need to work under the direct supervision of a registered engineer or only work in accordance with a prescriptive standard.

Jane MacMaster, FIEAust CPEng, Chief Engineer at Engineers Australia, says compulsory registration of professional engineers will enable significant enhancement of public safety and consumer confidence.

“Registration helps to ensure that only those with suitable qualifications, enough relevant experience, and a proven commitment to ongoing training and professional development can provide engineering services,” MacMaster said.

Under section 67 and 68 of the Act, it will be an offence to either provide professional engineering services without registration or to hold out to be registered or endorsed without registration; with those breaching the rules risking fines of up to $90,870 per offence.

To become registered, applicants must first be assessed by an approved entity. Engineers Australia is one such entity. Registration can then be obtained through the Business Licencing Authority (BLA).

The assessment process involves two components:

  • an ‘Entry to Practice’ assessment to determine the adequacy or otherwise of your training and qualifications; and
  • an ‘independent practice’ assessment to determine the acceptability or otherwise of your experience and competency.

To ensure that they are able to obtain their registration prior to the due date, Engineers Australia recommends that engineers commence the registration process at least five months prior to the date by which they are required to be registered.

This allows six to eight weeks to gain an assessment from Engineers Australia and three months for BLA to process the application (as recommended by BLA).

With civil and structural engineers needing to gain registration by 1 October 2022, they need to begin this process now. The competency assessment should be applied for no later than June 30.

Alesha Printz, FIEAust CPEng, General Manager of Engineers Australia in Victoria, says the benefits of being assessed by Engineers Australia are significant.

“EA is the only one stop shop, able to provide outcome reports for all five Areas of Engineering, and statements of eligibility for building industry endorsement in all five Areas of Engineering,” Printz said.

“EA is also able to undertake assessments for engineers who do not hold a Washington Accord degree and is the only Australian assessment entity who can do so.”

Applicants do not need to be a member of Engineers Australia to be assessed by EA.

Those who are a Chartered member of Engineers Australia or who have membership with Engineers Australia and are registered on the National Engineering Register are eligible for registration without the need for further assessment of qualifications, experience and competency. Members who qualify can download a Victorian Registration Outcome report from MyPortal – accessed via the Engineers Australia website. The only exception is where you require registration in an area of engineering for which you are not Chartered or registered on the NER.

While fire safety engineers have needed to be registered since last December, the scheme will extend to civil and structural engineers on October 1 this year. Mandatory registration for electrical and mechanical engineers will begin in June and December next year.

Victoria’s scheme underscores growing momentum for mandatory registration of professional engineers around Australia.

In Queensland, registration has been necessary for all engineers for the past ninety years. New South Wales introduced a scheme for mandatory registration of some engineers last year,

legislation in Western Australia is before the Minister for consideration, and the ACT is looking to implement registration following a commitment made in the 2020 election.

To support civil and structural engineers understand who needs to be registered and what they need to do, Engineers Australia is running free information sessions specifically on Victorian registration during May and June. Attendees will learn about registration requirements and what you need for your competency assessment. Attendees will also be able to ask and clarify any questions with our team of experts.

The sessions are in addition Engineers Australia’s existing sessions on registration information.