JIS News

The Professional Engineers Registration Board (PERB), the body with responsibility for regulating the engineering profession, will be taking action against persons who offer engineering services to the public without proper registration.
Leo Lawson, a member of PERB and Chairman of the National Contracts Commission, while participating in a Engineers Week lecture recently at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston, announced that PERB would be seeking to bring about “substantial increases in fines” for persons practising the profession without being registered to do so, and was working to develop guidelines for the practice of engineering and to implement a code of conduct.
The code will, among other things, forbid engineers to form business alliances with persons who “falsely purport to be engineers in contravention of the Professional Engineers Registration Act”. According to Mr. Lawson, “It is a breach of the Act for (persons) to work knowingly with an unregistered engineer or firm”.
He noted that already, the Board has written to all companies listed as ‘Engineers’ in the Yellow Pages, but were not registered to practice. This action has led to the registration of approximately 25 per cent of those so advised, while another 25 per cent had indicated their intention to relinquish the use of the term ‘engineer’ in their names. He said the other 50 per cent were either unresponsive or had gone out of business.
He pointed out that an agreement was reached with Cable and Wireless to refuse to list firms, not registered with PERB, under ‘Engineers’ in the Yellow Pages.
PERB also targeted the more than 600 firms listed in the White Pages that use the words ‘engineer’ or ‘engineering’ as part of the name for their firms. Again, PERB has written to such persons, but according to Mr. Lawson, “the responses have been minimal”.
He informed that PERB has also approached the Office of the Registrar of Companies (ORC) and has requested that they do not register firms that bear the name ‘engineers’ or ‘engineering company’ unless they are registered with the Board to practice. “While we were successful in obtaining their acquiescence in this regard for firms seeking registration (at the ORC), they were unable to apply such strictures to those who were already registered with them”, Mr. Lawson pointed out.
Mr. Lawson said the Board has asked the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to make queries with PERB regarding the registration status of foreign engineers, before giving them work permits. Mr. Lawson noted that in most instances, such persons were registered in their own country, but they still needed to be registered in Jamaica.
In addition to these measures, Mr. Lawson said that PERB would be pushing to have approval agencies insist that drawings and important documents submitted by persons carrying out engineering work for clients bear the professional engineer’s seal.
He noted that the consequences of using persons to carry out engineering services, who are not registered to do so, include poor design, cost overrun on project and structural defects.PERB has on record 449 registered engineers, 92 registered authorised engineering organisations and 13 foreign registered engineers.

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