As a professional engineer, you are responsible for understanding your legal obligations under the Professional Engineers Registration Act 2019 (the Act).
If you are an endorsed building engineer, you are also responsible for understanding your legal obligations under the Building Act 1993 (the Building Act).
Code of Conduct for Professional Engineers
Your legal obligations under the Act include the obligations under the Code of Conduct for Professional Engineers.
The Code is made by the Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria under the Act.
A breach of the Code is a breach of the Act, which is a ground for disciplinary action against a professional engineer under both the Act and the Building Act.
The Code comprises 14 obligations that set the standard of conduct expected of professional engineers in their day-to-day dealings with clients. The obligations in the Code also apply to endorsed building engineers.
In summary, the Code requires you to:
- know and comply with the relevant laws in particular the Act and its regulations, and if you are an endorsed building engineer, the Building Act and its regulations
- act with honesty, fairness and integrity
- exercise skill and diligence and provide professional engineering service with reasonable care and within a reasonable time
- seek peer review unless impractical
- inform a client or your employer of your professional concerns about a particular action or project and the likely consequences for affected parties
- act in the best interests of a client unless it would be unlawful, unreasonable, or improper to do so
- only act within your area of competence
- only directly supervise within that area of competence
- seek or recommend that expert advice be sought as required
- be responsible and have sufficient control to ensure that the work undertaken by a person you supervise is carried out to the appropriate standard
- disclose any actual, perceived or potential conflict of interest before providing professional engineering services and also when providing those services as soon as practical after discovering the conflict
- disclose any commercial or business relationship you have with a third party you recommend
- disclose if you receive or will receive a payment, gift or other advantage from recommending or endorsing a product or service that will be used in the provision of professional engineering services for a client
- disclose if you pay a fee or reward to a third party who referred a client to you
- communicate with a client and, in certain circumstances a prospective client, in an effective and timely manner
- take reasonable steps to adequately protect, secure and store a client's paper and electronic records relating to professional engineering services
- make every effort to minimise and resolve complaints and disputes with a client about the provision of professional engineering services, and
- inform a client of the resolution process when a complaint is made or dispute arises.
You must not:
- misinform, mislead or deceive any parties or allow yourself to be misrepresented with respect to any work, document, presentation or publication
- engage in conduct that is detrimental to the profession or contrary to the public interest
- misrepresent your professional competence
- permit a person you directly supervise to act outside their area of competence
- use or disclose a client’s or employer’s confidential information unless authorised by the client or employer or required by law, and
- give or accept an inducement that would improperly influence a matter.