The Victorian Business Licensing Authority has approved the AIRAH Professional Engineer Register (APER) program under the Professional Engineers Registration Act 2019. This follows the approval for the APER in Queensland in 2021, and represents the next step of AIRAH’s plan to provide a professional registration scheme for HVAC&R building services engineers across the country.
AIRAH Chief Executive Tony Gleeson, M.AIRAH, says the latest approval is an important milestone.
“When the Building Confidence report was released in 2018, it set out a plan for sweeping reforms for the building and construction sector,” says Gleeson. “We were not surprised to see professional registration of engineers at the top of the to-do list. It was a considerable anomaly that engineering did not have a mandatory licensing scheme – in contrast to other leading professions such as law, medicine, nursing, architecture and teaching, as well as many trades such as electrical and plumbing.
“But these changes don’t happen overnight. Although the Queensland scheme has been operating since 2002, other states had to establish new regulations and processes. It is pleasing to see this work coming to fruition.
“We have been accompanying the Victorian government on every step of the journey: providing feedback, creating an assessment scheme in line with the Act, and – ultimately – obtaining approval for the APER scheme.”
Gleeson notes that the APER is also significant because it is tailored to the needs of HVAC&R building services engineers.
“APER is the only professional registration scheme that specifically caters for engineers working in HVAC&R building services,” says Gleeson. “Being on the APER demonstrates to the public and the industry that an individual has been found qualified, competent and ethical by experts in the field. This is crucial in our branch of engineering, which incorporates specialist knowledge and diverse engineering disciplines.”
As well as obtaining approval for the APER scheme in Queensland and Victoria, AIRAH has signalled plans to apply to become a recognised professional engineering body in New South Wales when the government opens applications. Holders of RPEQ status are eligible to apply for professional registration in New South Wales under mutual recognition laws. AIRAH is also providing input about HVAC&R and building services engineering to the Western Australia government as it seeks to establish a professional registration scheme.
“The roll-out of professional registration across the country will require collaboration between government and industry,” says Gleeson. “AIRAH is fully committed to playing our part. We look forward to working with regulators to ensure the schemes are as effective as possible.
“For the engineers in our sector, we are thrilled to be able to offer a pathway to registration that recognises their unique skills and needs – not just for assessment and accreditation, but also for continuing professional development. Through the APER program, we are helping to create an Australian HVAC&R building services industry that is highly skilled and professional, safe, sustainable, and environmentally effective.”
For more information, visit airah.org.au/APER
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