Commerce Minister media statement – Cook Government to roll out landmark registration scheme for building engineers
Media statement from Commerce Minister Sue Ellery
- Landmark registration of more than 1,000 engineers in the building sector
- The registration will deliver safer buildings and greater accountability
- Two-year transition periods for civil, structural, mechanical, and fire safety engineers
- Part of a wide-ranging improvement plan for building regulation in Western Australia
The Cook Government is set to roll out a landmark registration scheme for building engineers to strengthen public safety, industry accountability, and professional recognition.
Engineers perform an important role in the design and construction of buildings, often preparing critical design aspects such as framing, structural beams and loads, as well as important systems, such as fire safety, and mechanical ventilation.
Following extensive consultation, amendment regulations were gazetted to register engineers working in the building industry. It will mean workers must be registered by the Building Services Board to carry out prescribed engineering work on buildings and incidental structures in Western Australia.
The register aims to strengthen building compliance, reduce rectification costs, and increase public confidence in the industry. It will also provide a formal recourse process for substandard engineering work.
More than 860 engineering practitioners and 260 contractors are expected to become registered.
Engineers will also benefit from greater professional recognition and consistency in their work, through a code of conduct and continuing professional development requirements.
Two-year transition periods begin on 1 July 2024 for structural and fire safety engineers, and on 1 July 2025 for civil and mechanical building engineers.
Registration becomes mandatory for structural and fire safety engineers on 1 July 2026, and for civil and mechanical engineers on 1 July 2027.
Any person performing building engineering work after these dates without the required registration, will commit an offence and could be liable for a fine of up to $25,000.
The scheme is part of a reform package aimed at modernising and improving WA's building regulatory framework in response to recommendations from the national Building Confidence Report. The engineer registration scheme addresses the report's first three recommendations.
Changes to the approval processes for residential and commercial buildings, and registration of builders and other related occupations are also being considered.
Funding has been allocated to the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety to administer, enforce and communicate the requirements. More information is available at the Building and Energy website: https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/building-and-energy/building-engineers-registration.
Comments attributed to Commerce Minister Sue Ellery:
"This is the first ever registration scheme for engineers in Western Australia. It aligns the State with other jurisdictions, and provides further peace of mind that our buildings are safe and constructed to the required standards.
"The registration scheme is expected to increase building compliance, reduce rectification costs, increase public confidence in the building industry, and provide a formal recourse process for substandard engineering work.
"The public must have confidence that people performing this role are registered, have the right qualifications and skills and can be held accountable for any defective design or work."
- The four areas prescribed for registration are - civil, structural, mechanical, and fire safety engineers;
- Within each area, building engineers will be registered at one of three levels – professional, technologist or associate - and as a practitioner and/or contractor; and
- The areas and levels are based on the qualifications and experience of the person carrying out, or supervising the building engineering work.
Areas of registered building engineering work:
- Structural building engineers will generally perform work on a building's foundations, footings, structural beams, slabs, materials and other structural systems. A person may hold dual registration due to the substantial crossover between structural engineering and civil engineering;
- Fire engineering comprises both fire safety engineering and fire system engineering:
- Fire safety engineering generally involves preparing holistic and complex fire safety strategies along with an integrated fire safety design, for all the separate systems required in a building (e.g. smoke alarms, fire brigade alarms, passive and active fire safety systems and stairwell pressurisation). This area of building engineering can only be done at the professional level; and
- Fire system engineering is the technical design of a building's specific fire safety systems, such as hydrants, hose reels, water-based sprinkler systems, fire detection and alarms systems, and smoke control systems.
- Mechanical engineering involves the design and commissioning of a building's key systems for heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC-R), smoke control, vertical transport (i.e. lifts), thermal and environmental systems, and disability access systems; and
- Civil engineering covers a broad range of building work, including geotechnical work (i.e. site groundworks and protection structures), hydraulic engineering (water flow) and waste systems. It may also cross-over into the building's structural systems.
Original statement on State Government website: https://www.wa.gov.au/government/media-statements/Cook%20Labor%20Government/Cook-Government-to-roll-out-landmark-registration-scheme-for-building-engineers-20230904