Following an independent assessment of problems in the building and construction industry, the Building Ministers’ Forum (BMF) has developed a roadmap for reform. And one of the key changes it has signalled is the need for a nationally harmonised registration scheme for building practitioners, including engineers.
The implementation plan is a product of the Building Confidence report (aka the Shergold-Weir report) commissioned by the BMF in 2017 and published in 2018. The stated aim of the plan is to “restore community confidence in Australia’s building and construction industry”.
The BMF has prioritised six recommendations from the Building Confidence report that it believes would benefit from a consistent national approach. Number one is that each jurisdiction requires the registration of building practitioners involved in the design, construction and maintenance of buildings. This includes builders, engineers and designers.
The BMF has set a target of three years for this and the other reforms to be implemented.
Many in the industry have welcomed the plan to introduce professional registration, noting that the reforms are long overdue.
“It is a considerable anomaly that engineering is one of the few professions not to have a mandatory licensing scheme,” says Tony Gleeson, M.AIRAH, CEO of the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH).
“Despite the fundamental role played by engineers in the economy, the complex and important work they perform, and their pivotal part in ensuring public safety, most are not required to hold any kind of formal registration.
“This stands in stark contrast to other leading professions such as law, medicine, nursing and teaching, as well as many trades.”