Chartered Professional Engineer (Geotechnical) Body of Knowledge and Skills Update

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Published 30 June 2017
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Chartered Professional Engineer (Geotechnical) Body of Knowledge and Skills Update

The draft Chartered Professional Engineer (Geotechnical) Body of Knowledge and Skills was distributed to our NZGS members and also to the IPENZ membership over the last six months. The BOKS is intended to define the minimum technical capabilities that a CPEng (Geotechnical) is expected to have in order to competently investigate, design and supervise the construction of geotechnical works in New Zealand. The BOKS is intended to complement and inform the Chartered Professional Engineer assessment process and has been developed to address concerns about the consistency and quality of geotechnical engineering in New Zealand. BOKS are also being developed for structural engineering and engineering geology.

The NZGS website link has seen over 400 hits. We are very encouraged that there has been such interest in the draft BOKS. Comments were received from nine members. We are taking careful consideration of these comments, as well as recent discussions with IPENZ and MBIE regarding professional membership and occupational regulation. As many of you will be aware, the government is considering options for potential changes to the way our professional engineering industry is regulated following recommendations of the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission. 1 mentioned our draft BOKS and highlighted it as one of the improvements to safety critical engineering.

Feedback on the draft BOKS included recommendations to further discuss how the BOKS fits in with the wider competency assessment process, including areas such as ethics and working within competency. Concerns have been raised regarding the challenge in having opportunities to work on the complex geotechnical engineering examples listed. Concerns were also raised regarding engineers working outside their competency in complex geotechnical engineering. There is a need for balance between these conflicting views and also to maintain a high standard for specialist geotechnical engineering. There were also diverging views on insufficient definition and the need for further specialism versus the difficulty in defining any geotechnical specialism or complex engineering.

The need for education and training was raised. This is discussed at every NZGS management committee meeting and there is considerable ongoing effort in enabling and providing opportunities for professional development. We are leading the effort in training following the publication of our earthquake geotechnical engineering guidelines and looking forward to an another excellent symposium later this year. There are many further developments in progress as well as the ongoing organisation to bring leading international speakers to New Zealand.

The NZGS management committee and BOKS working groups would like to thank everyone who has contributed and for the interest in this important document. We will be consulting with IPENZ before finalising the first issue of the BOKS. We will keep you informed throughout this process.

 

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Issue 93
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ISSN 0111-6851