On 18 July 2022, the WA government announced that it had approved the preparation of new regulations to register building engineers as part of a reform package to improve regulation of Western Australia's building industry.
This would be WA’s first ever engineer registration scheme and is expected to involve around 900 building engineers.
In January this year, the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (Building and Energy Division) produced a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) regarding the registration of building engineers in WA. The RIS recommended that the Building Services (Registration) Regulations 2011 (WA) be amended to require engineers to be registered to carry out the following categories of building engineering work:
Engineering is one of the few professions to remain unregulated in WA. According to the RIS, regulation by government is not undertaken lightly and is designed to either control the use of scarce resources or to protect consumers from unqualified or inexperienced participants in a particular industry. Given the integral role that engineers play in ensuring that buildings meet the relevant NCC requirements, engineers may be the only qualified person to assess the compliance of the building elements which they are responsible for designing.
It is expected that the engineer registration scheme will improve building compliance, reduce rectification costs, increase public confidence in the building industry and provide a formal recourse process for substandard engineering work.
The RIS are the first part of the Government’s suite of reforms aimed at modernising and improving WA’s building regulatory framework in response to recommendations from the national Building Confidence Report. It will be interesting to see the nature of the regulations once these come into effect (which at this stage is uncertain) and the impact this will have on complaints that are made to SAT under the Building Services (Complaint Resolution and Administration) Act 2011 for defective building work.