A UK register for ground engineering professionals is set to become a reality next year, despite protests voiced from within the geotechnical industry.
After nearly a decade of planning the register has finally been given the go-ahead and will be in operation as early as March.
Under the new rules, anyone registering as a ground engineering professional must be chartered, which may impose limitations on engineers who have not chosen that route. However, an industry backlash is already under way.
Arup director Tim Chapman said: “I am not opposed to registration per se, but I’m yet to see evidence of how the scheme will operate effectively,” he said. “Some of our most eminent geotechnical engineers have not been chartered. This could potentially affect their livelihood.”
The register aims to help clients appreciate the value of ground engineering and assist them with identifying competent professionals.
Atkins geotechnical network chair Dr David French is in support of the scheme. “The register will encourage and formally recognise the continuing professional development of geotechnical engineers and engineering geologists beyond the current professional qualification of chartership,” he said.
However, some experts are concerned the scheme may be abused by clients who will forego the need to use respected geotechnical engineers, but instead chose the cheapest professional on the register.
The scheme has been pioneered by the British Geotechnical Association, Ground Forum, Institution of Civil Engineers, Geological Society and Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining.
Three tiers will exist under the new scheme: professional, specialist and adviser. This mirrors the definitions given in the Site Investigation in Construction documents brought in by the Site Investigation Steering Group in 1993.
Candidates will be assessed by a panel consisting of at least one specialist from the same discipline as themselves. Decisions will be based on the candidate demonstrating competences in that area as well as a supporting sponsor statement. Registration is set to be launched in March.
“It feels as though the final stages have been rushed through and the people it directly affects have not been able to give their opinion,” said Chapman.
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