Complaints Process

BPEQ is responsible for protecting the public by ensuring professional engineering services are provided by a RPEQ in a professional and competent way, maintaining public confidence in the standard of services provided by RPEQs and upholding the standards of practice of RPEQs.

The PE Act provides a process for persons who are aggrieved by the conduct of a RPEQ to lodge a complaint with BPEQ. If BPEQ forms a reasonable belief that a RPEQ may have behaved in a way that constitutes unsatisfactory professional conduct it can investigate and take disciplinary action (e.g. cautions, reprimands, fines or deregistration). BPEQ can only impose or seek disciplinary action for unsatisfactory professional conduct through the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Each of the following is a ground for disciplining a RPEQ:

  • behaving in a way that constitutes unsatisfactory professional conduct;
  • failing to comply with PE Act;
  • conviction of an offence against the PE Act or any other legislation related to the practice of engineering;
  • contravening an undertaking to BPEQ; or
  • contravening a registration condition.

Unsatisfactory professional conduct, for a RPEQ, includes the following:

  • conduct that is of a lesser standard than that which might reasonably be expected of the RPEQ by the public or the RPEQ’s professional peers;
  • conduct that demonstrates incompetence, or a lack of adequate knowledge, skill, judgement or care, in the practice of engineering;
  • misconduct in a professional respect;
  • fraudulent or dishonest behaviour in the practice of engineering;
  • other improper or unethical conduct.

The Code of Practice for RPEQs provides guidance about appropriate professional conduct and practice.

It is an offence under the PE Act for a person to carry out professional engineering services while unregistered or without the direct supervision of a RPEQ. Possible breaches of the PE Act (i.e. unregistered practice) should be notified to BPEQ and may result in the offender being prosecuted.

BPEQ cannot:

  • resolve contractual disputes or other similar grievance;
  • require the RPEQ the subject of your complaint to do anything (e.g. undertake rectification, remediation, pay compensation or other legal remedy);
  • assess safety risks and ordinarily will not visit a subject site and/or assess the safety standards of an engineering service that is the subject of a complaint;
  • provide legal advice or influence a matter before a court or tribunal;

Complaints about the conduct of a RPEQ or a notification of a breach of the PE Act can be lodged with BPEQ online through the respective webform. The webform must be completed in full and clearly state grounds for the complaint/notification with supporting evidence.

BPEQ’s complaint, investigation and disciplinary processes are independent of any other complaint or dispute resolution process (including litigation) in which the parties, or other persons, to the complaint are involved. BPEQ cannot assist unless required to do so by law.

The Complaints against Registered Professional Engineers and Investigation Decisions policy (2.1 (5A)) and Offences and Investigation Decisions policy (2.2 (5A)) contains more information about BPEQ’s processes.

COMPLAINT PROCESS

Receive complaint

Fact gathering

Request and receipt of submissions

Review by BPEQ and investigation decision

BPEQ may reject the complaint if it reasonably considers that the complaint is:

(a) frivolous – if it is manifestly futile or does not have any serious purpose or value; or

(b) trivial – if it is of little value or importance; or

(c) vexatious – if it causes or tends to cause annoyance, frustration or worry; if it is an action which is brought without sufficient grounds; if it is an action which is brought for a collateral purpose; or, finally, if, irrespective of the motive of the complainant, it is so obviously untenable or manifestly groundless to be utterly hopeless; or

(d) misconceived – if it is clear that the complainant has failed to understand something correctly.

(e) lacking in substance – there is incomplete factual information, lacking quality of importance, validity or significance.

INVESTIGATION PROCESS

1

Investigators
appointed

2

Notice of Investigation

Notice of investigation prepared and given to the subject setting out the grounds for the investigation

3

Notice for Documents

Notice for documents or other relevant material sought by the investigators is given to subject/nominated representative

4

Evidence Gathered

Evidence gathered and witness statements obtained

5

Independent Report

Independent report is prepared by a RPEQ in the area of engineering applicable to the subject under investigation to help determine unsatisfactory professional conduct or whether the service involved PES

6

Interviews

Interview conducted with subject

7

Investigations Report

Investigations report compiled and recommendation made to the Board by Investigator.

8

Sufficient Evidence

The Board determines whether there is sufficient evidence to form a reasonable belief if a RPEQ has breached the Code of Practice and the PE Act or an unregistered person has carried out a PES without direct supervision.

BPEQ ACTIONS

BPEQ can take the following actions if an investigation finds a RPEQ has engaged in unsatisfactory professional conduct or an unregistered person has committed an offence against the PE Act:

(a) start a proceeding to prosecute a person for an offence;

(b) enter into an undertaking agreed with the person about the person’s conduct, including, for example, to apply for registration or to only carry out professional engineering services under the direct supervision of a practising professional engineer; or

(c) caution or reprimand a person.

OTHER USEFUL CONTACTS

BPEQ is not a forum to resolve contractual disputes and has no powers to order restitution or compensation. Agencies that may be able to assist include:

Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC)

Street address: 299 Montague Road West End Qld 4101
Postal address: GPO Box 5099 Brisbane Qld 4001

Phone: 1300 272 272
Fax: (07) 3225 2999

Web: www.qbcc.qld.gov.au

Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT)

Street address: Level 9 259 Queen Street Brisbane
Postal address: GPO Box 1639 Brisbane Qld 4001

Phone: 1300 753 228
Fax: (07) 3221 9156

Web: www.qcat.qld.gov.au

Housing Industry Association (Qld) (HIA)

Street Address: 14 Edmonstone Street South Brisbane Qld 4101
Postal address: PO Box 3573 South Brisbane Qld 4101

Consumer line: 1902 973 555
Phone: (07) 3021 8800
Fax: (07) 3021 8892

Web: www.hia.com.au

Queensland Master Builders Association (QMBA)

Street address: 417 – 419 Wickham terrace Brisbane Qld 4000

General Enquiries: 1300 305 010
Phone: (07) 3225 6444
Fax: (07) 3225 6545

Web: www.masterbuilders.asn.au

Department of Justice and Attorney-General Dispute Resolution Centre

Street address: Level 1 Brisbane Magistrates Court 363 George Street Brisbane Qld 4000
Postal address: GPO Box 149 Brisbane Qld 4001

Phone: (07) 3239 6007
Fax: (07) 3239 0200

Web: www.justice.qld.gov.au/mediation/