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.
Before making a complaint, you must understand what BPEQ can and cannot do.
Resolving your complaint direct
- Have you tried to resolve the matter with the RPEQ or a more senior person at the RPEQ’s firm?
- You should consider doing so before you lodge this complaint.
- BPEQ may decline to investigate your complaint if you have not tried to resolve the matter with the RPEQ or a more senior person at their firm.
No rectification, remediation or compensation powers
- BPEQ’s roles with respect to complaints about RPEQ’s conduct in carrying out professional engineering services is a disciplinary role. This means that BPEQ can only impose or seek (by way of civil proceedings) disciplinary sanctions and only where the RPEQ is found (after an investigation) to have engaged in unsatisfactory professional conduct or professional misconduct.
- BPEQ has no power to resolve contractual disputes or other similar grievance.
- BPEQ cannot require the RPEQ who is the subject of your complaint to do anything.
- It is important to understand that neither BPEQ nor the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal can order the RPEQ to undertake rectification, remediation, pay compensation or other legal remedy against the RPEQ. We recommend that you obtain independent legal advice regarding these matters.
Legal advice, safety or other risks
- BPEQ cannot provide legal advice or influence a matter before a court or tribunal.
- BPEQ’s decision whether to investigate your complaint is ordinarily made ‘on the papers’, that is, after considering your written complaint and any written response to your complaint provided by the RPEQ who is the subject of the complaint. This means that BPEQ will not, ordinarily, when assessing a complaint, visit the subject site and/or assess the safety of the engineering services the subject of the complaint.
- Complainants should seek their own professional advice from a RPEQ registered in the appropriate area of engineering if they believe the engineering service that is the subject of their complaint poses a safety risk.
No relationship with other legal processes
- The complaint, investigation and prosecution processes undertaken by BPEQ are independent of and have no relationship with other complaint or dispute resolution process (including civil litigation) in which the parties to the conduct notified of or other persons are involved.
- BPEQ cannot assist you in any dispute resolution process unless required to do so by law.
Time limits on lodging a complaint
- BPEQ may decline to investigate your complaint if the conduct occurred more than five years ago.
- In deciding whether to investigate a complaint that is more than five years old, BPEQ will consider:
- When the conduct/problem first came to your knowledge.
- Your explanation for your delay in making this complaint.
- Whether, and the extent to which, the parties might be prejudiced by the effluxion of time
- The utility in investigating the conduct with reference to the objects of the PE Act.
You must be aggrieved by the RPEQ’s conduct to make this complaint
- To be aggrieved by the RPEQ’s conduct means that you have interests that have been adversely affected by the conduct
- The following is an example of a situation where you would be aggrieved:
- You or your builder engaged an engineer to undertake structural designs for an extension to your house. The supporting beams the engineer specified in the design for the extension were insufficient and the builder/you had to engage another engineer to undertake a design to rectify those beams.
- The following is an example of a situation where you would not be aggrieved:
- You are dissatisfied with an engineer’s design for a seawall that has been built (or is yet to be built). You do not live next to the seawall. There are no other reasons why the seawall will affect you/your interests personally.
- Please note while you cannot lodge a complaint if you are not personally aggrieved by the conduct of a RPEQ, you can still notify BPEQ of any concerns you have by lodging a notification of possible offences against the PE Act.
Making a complaint
If after considering all the previous information and the Complaints against Registered Professional Engineers and Investigation Decisions Policy (2.1 (5.A)) you wish to proceed to make a complaint about a RPEQ:
- Lodge the complaint by way of the below form.
- Provide clear and detailed information about your complaint.
- Attach copies of all relevant/supporting documents.
- You must complete separate complaint forms for each RPEQ you wish to complain about.
- You must complete the declaration at Section C for BPEQ to be able to deal with your complaint.
- If you make a complaint, please be aware that BPEQ will ordinarily send your complaint form and supporting information/documents to the RPEQ the subject of the complaint and invite them to respond to it. Your personal information (address, telephone and email) will be removed from the copy of the complaint sent to the RPEQ if it is not already known to the RPEQ.