Evolution of the CPEng(Geotechnical) Body of Knowledge and Skills

Published 01 December 2016
Evolution of the CPEng(Geotechnical) Body of Knowledge and Skills

The rationale behind the Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng) Body of Knowledge and Skills (BOKS) was to define the core knowledge and skills that a recently qualified CPEng working as geotechnical engineer should be able to do in order to investigate, design and supervise the construction of geotechnical works in New Zealand. What has become clear over the past few years is that the geotechnical engineering profession in New Zealand (and other related construction professions) has had a poorly defined body of learning. It therefore falls upon the profession to ensure that the education and post-graduation professional training is matched to the knowledge and skills required in the profession. Concerns have also been raised about the quality standard of the CPEng qualification, particularly with regard to specialist fields of engineering like geotechnics. It was in this context that the Quake Centre and NZGS, supported by IPENZ and MBIE, set about to create a better foundation on which to discuss the experience and ongoing formal training needs of the geotechnical engineering profession. BOKS for engineering geology and structural engineering are also being developed.

From this an indicative set of tasks was loosely defined. The BOKS was then built up from the knowledge and skills that would be required to undertake these tasks. It is important to note that the tasks were not intended to define what an engineer must have done but rather they provide a reference for a likely range of experiences that would cover the required skills and knowledge. It must also be stated that the BOKS does not define competency. It is an essential part of the profession that an engineer seeking CPEng is assessed through the Registration Authority process, where the engineer must demonstrate competence in their Practice Area. It is envisaged that the BOKS will become a key reference document for this assessment.

It is hoped that the BOKS will provide a valuable document for the improvement of quality of the profession in the way that meets the expectations of clients, Building Consent Authorities, government, the wider engineering industry and the general public.


Greg Preston
Manager, Quake Centre





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Issue 92
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ISSN 0111-6851