The RPEQ System
Engineers occupy positions of trust and responsibility within the community, industry and across government. Registration as a RPEQ is formal recognition of the qualification and competency of an engineer.
It is a requirement of the PE Act that professional engineering services in Queensland or for a Queensland based project are carried out by a RPEQ. The only exceptions are for persons who carry out professional engineering services under the direct supervision of a RPEQ, who takes full professional responsibility for the service, or the service is carried out only in accordance with a prescriptive standard.
A professional engineering service is defined as:
an engineering service that requires or is based on the application of engineering principles and data to a design or to a construction, production, operation, or maintenance activity relating to engineering (see page 113 of the PE Act).
A prescriptive standard is defined as:
a document that states procedures or criteria for carrying out the service, the application of which does not require advanced scientifically based calculations (see pages 112-113 of the PE Act).
Becoming a RPEQ is a four-stage process:
1. Qualification - graduating from a recognised tertiary institute with a four-year undergraduate degree in engineering (or equivalent)
2. Competency - gained through experience working as an engineer and carrying out professional engineering services; between 3-5 years
3. Assessment - qualification and competency assessed through an approved assessment scheme
4. Application - made to BPEQ along with letter of assessment and fitness to practice declaration
RPEQs are registered in an area(s) of engineering corresponding to their qualification and competency. There are currently 26 areas of engineering recognised by BPEQ. The recognised areas of engineering include major disciplines such as Civil, Electrical and Mining engineering and specialist areas such as In-service Inspection of Amusement Rides and Devices and Petroleum engineering.
The PE Act has limited extraterritorial application, meaning professional engineering services undertaken outside of Queensland for any building, plant, machinery or product for specific use in Queensland must be undertaken by a RPEQ, or a RPEQ must provide direct supervision. For instance, the design of a high-rise structure or the manufacture of a bespoke piece of machinery to be used at a Queensland mine site would require the involvement of a RPEQ. A generic engineered product (e.g. a motor vehicle) with no specific connection to Queensland would not be captured by the PE Act.