Engineers' quitting loophole set to go

Last updated 05:00 05/09/2014

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Negligent engineers will not be able to avoid scrutiny and punishment by resigning from their professional body, under proposed law changes.

Building and Construction Minister Nick Smith yesterday announced the proposed changes in response to the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes and the collapse of the Canterbury Television (CTV) building that killed 115 people. The changes would strengthen the disciplinary process for negligent engineers.

Engineer Alan Reay was being investigated by the Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ) in relation to the CTV collapse. The investigation was dropped earlier this year on legal advice because Reay had resigned from the organisation.

Smith said that could not happen under the proposed changes to the Building Act and Chartered Professional Engineers of New Zealand Act.

The process for dealing with serious misconduct would be referred to an independent body at arm's length from IPENZ, the range of sanctions and penalties would be broadened and maximum professional fines increased from $5000 to $20,000.

The changes also include improving competency standards for engineers, significant engineering structures like multi-storey buildings will legally have to be designed by experienced engineers and engineers will have to notify authorities of building code breaches.

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- The Press

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