Engineers Australia lays into proposed reforms for the NSW building sector

Engineers Australia has expressed deep disappointment at the detail of the NSW Government’s proposed reform for the state’s building sector.

The industry body indicated that it expected that the government would make good on commitments to implement the first recommendations in both the Shergold-Weir report and the Opal Tower report that there must be compulsory registration of engineers in NSW. The new rules, set to go to Parliament this year, do not meet these commitments and will not deliver the comprehensive registration scheme that the engineering profession was expecting.

National Manager, Public Affairs at Engineers Australia, Jonathan Russell said, “The Government has a myopic view of the problem. The proposed reforms would suggest that residential apartments are the only problem. Unfortunately, recent history throws up plenty of high-profile examples where statutory controls of professional engineering practices would have prevented loss of life, injury and cost.”

He categorically stated the that the process has been rushed, the plan does not address the deeper issues and will result in the current problems being passed on to other parts of the building industry.

“There is also the risk there will be limited benefits for community safety and consumer protection, despite the major problems at sites such as Mascot Towers and Opal Tower,” Russell explained.

He deemed it unacceptable that virtually anyone in NSW will still be able to call themselves an engineer even if they have no relevant education or experience, and no commitment to maintain competency. “Without regulation of professional engineers, public confidence will remain broken, leaving innocent people and the economy as victims,” Russell concluded.