The Queensland Government has passed amending legislation which clarifies the application of the Professional Engineers Act 2002 (Qld) (the Act) to engineers performing engineering services outside Queensland.

The amending legislation[1], which was passed on 15 October 2014, confirms that the Act will apply to engineers outside Queensland who provide engineering services in relation to Queensland-based projects.

The amendment Act received assent on 27 October 2014 and will commence on a date to be proclaimed.

The requirement to be registered

Under the Act[2], a person who is not a registered professional engineer must not carry out professional engineering services, unless that person carries out the professional engineering services under the direct supervision of a registered professional engineer.

The Act does not currently have extraterritorial application. 

As such, it is unclear whether the requirements of the Act extend to engineers performing professional engineering services outside Queensland in relation to projects carried out (or to be carried out) in Queensland.

The amended position

The amendment Act will clarify this position by inserting a new section[3] which provides that the Act applies both within and outside Queensland.

According to the Explanatory Notes, this amendment is specifically intended to clarify that engineers who provide professional engineering services outside Queensland for the purposes of Queensland-based projects must be registered under the Act (or be appropriately supervised).

Consequences for engineers

Under the Act, an individual engineer performing professional engineering services bears the risk of ensuring he or she is appropriately registered or supervised.

Consequences for contractors

All engineers within Australia will now need to ensure they are registered in accordance with the Act, or are supervised by an appropriately registered person, before providing professional engineering services in relation to Queensland-based projects.

A failure to do so may result in an engineer being unable to recover payment for the performance of those services.[4]

Further, if a contract for a project in Queensland contains (as most do) a clause requiring the contractor to ‘comply with all applicable laws’, that contractor will need to ensure that all engineering work performed pursuant to the contract is performed by an engineer registered (or supervised) in accordance with the requirements of the Act.