History of the Board
BOARD OF ENGINEERING OF TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
1.0 INTRODUCTION – THE LEGISLATION
After many years of lobbying, presentation, negotiations and compromises that featured the Association of Professional Engineers of Trinidad and Tobago as well as other engineering stake-holding organizations, individual members of the engineering fraternity, the Ministry of Works and Transport and the Ministry of Legal Affairs, the
Engineering Profession Act, No. 34 of 1985 was assented to by the Fourth Session, Second Parliament, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on December 12, 1985, and the Board inaugurated on October 14, 1986.
Act No. 34 of 1985 is “an Act respecting the registration of engineers and otherwise regulating the practice of engineering” and includes the Engineering Profession (Registration) Regulations, 1994 made by the Minster of Works and Transport on March 31, 1994 and laid before the House of Representatives on April 08, 1994 and the Senate on April 12, 1994.
2.0 STRUCTURE AND FUNCTIONING
The Board is essentially a licensing authority for engineers to accepted and generally recognized professional standards and regulates the practice of engineering by a legislated Code of Ethics that is included as a Schedule to the Act.
The Board of Engineering is established as a corporate body appointed by the Minister to whom responsibility for public works has been assigned and consists of –
(a) four registered engineers nominated by and holding membership in the Association of Professional Engineers of Trinidad and Tobago;
(b) a public officer who is registered or is eligible to be registered as a registered engineer;
(c) two persons appointed to represent the public interest.
and appoints its Chairman from among its members. These appointees are required to be citizens of or persons ordinarily resident in Trinidad and Tobago and have been engaged in the practice of engineering for at least eight years.
The functions of the Board are emphasized as –
(a) to assess the qualifications and experience of persons applying for registration as registered engineers;
(b) to conduct examinations of persons applying for registration as registered engineers;
(c) to register engineers and issue certificates of registration;
(d) to monitor adherence to and investigate breaches of the Code of Ethics;
(e) to exercise disciplinary control over registered engineers;
(f) to keep published for public scrutiny in a format to be decided by the Board and notified in the Gazette a list of qualifications and institutions recognized by the Board in respect of the engineering training required by this Act;
(g) to advise the Minister on such amendments to this Act as it considers desirable; and
(h) generally to regulate the practice of engineering in accordance with this Act.
The Board also appoints a registered engineer as its Registrar/Secretary to –
(a) maintain the Register of Registered Engineers and to keep the Register open for public scrutiny at such fee as may be prescribed;
(b) endorse in the Register such particulars of a registered engineer as may be prescribed;
(c) collect all fees;
(d) publish at least once in every year in the Gazette, the Register and a list of those persons whose Certificates of Registration have been suspended or cancelled; and
(e) perform such other functions as the Board may prescribe.
In addition, an Office Manager is employed to handle its day to day business.
The Act provides, inter alia, ‘that no person not being a registered engineer shall –
(a) use any title or description that leads to the belief that he is registered as a registered engineer;
(b) advertise himself as a registered engineer;
(c) act in a manner so as to create or induce the belief that he is a registered engineer; or
(d) sign or stamp any plans, drawings, designs or specifications purporting to be acting in the capacity of such registered engineer.
The first Board of Engineering of Trinidad and Tobago was inaugurated on October 14, 1986 and was constituted as –
- Engineers Fenrick R. De Four (Chairman)
- Aldwyn L. Lequay
- Prof. Harry O. Phelps
- Dr. Baldeo G. Singh
- Frank Look Kin
- Mr. Horace Edwards
- Eng. Derek M. Comissiong (Registrar/Secretary)
Mrs. Jameela Bynoe was employed as an Administrative Assistant (later to become Office Manager), a position she still holds, to administer the day to day functioning of the office.
On the completion of the statutory determined maximum three terms each in office, Eng. Derek Comissiong resigned as Registrar/Secretary and Eng. Fenrick R. De Four (past Chairman) assumed the position as the first non Board Member to be appointed Registrar/Secretary. Eng. Hollis Charles was appointed the Board’s second Chairman. This situation obtained until Eng. De Four’s death in April 2004 when Eng. Comissiong returned to the Board as a non member Registrar/Secretary.
With the exception that in the first one year of the commencement of the Act when a person with ten years experience in the practice of engineering and being a fit and proper person to be registered as a registered engineer was entitled to registration, a person is qualified to be registered if –
(a) he has been awarded a degree, diploma or other qualification in engineering grated by a University or School of Engineering that, in the opinion of the Board, is evidence of satisfactory training in engineering; and
(b) he has had not less than four years experience in the practice of engineering and has acquired such standard of proficiency as may be approved by the Board.
From inception and throughout successive administrations, the Board has strived to establish and maintain that a Registered Engineer of Trinidad and Tobago is qualified and experienced to acceptable internationally accredited academic levels to function as a professional engineer.
In this regard, the Board is guided by such institutions as the Engineering Council of the United Kingdom, the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology of the USA and/or equivalent authorities for accreditation, in assessing academic qualifications for registration. The Board’s legislated Accreditation Committee is its advisor in the matter.
The “not less than four years experience in the practice of engineering” is assessed by the Board’s legislated Assessment Committee and is intended to ensure that the registered engineer is capable of performing engineering functions, providing engineering solutions, reaching conclusions competently and adequately discharging his engineering responsibilities.
The Board’s first Registrant was Eng. Rupert Archibald on August 24, 1987. Since then, over 1000 engineers have been registered and presently there are over 800 registered engineers in ‘good standing’.
3.0 ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO ENGINEERING
While striving to achieve its designated mandate, responsibilities and terms of reference in accordance with the authority vested in it by the Engineering Profession Act No. 34 of 1985, the Board has additionally co-ordinated with and assisted other authorities and interest groups in the discharge of various engineering functions involved in improving the profession, advancing the best interest of the practitioner and the development, maintenance and welfare of the National Infrastructure. In this respect and since inception, the Board has co-operated by nominating and/or appointing registered engineers ‘in good standing’ to serve on several committees including –
- Electrical Code
- Structures Code
- Plumbing Code
- Drainage Code
- Water/Wastewater Code
- Small Building Code
- Fire Systems Code
- Continuing Professional Development
- Standard for Cellular Tower Emissions
Standard for ‘General Conditions of Contract for Building Works’
Conditions of Contract for Construction (FIDIC)
Physical Planning Standards
Amendments to Engineering Profession Act No. 34 of 1985
Engineers Carnival Working Group
Modern Apprenticeship Advisory
Energy Industry Training Organization
Welding/Fabricating/Machining Specific Advisory
Electrical Installation & Engineering Craft Specific Advisory
Advisory on Marine Engineering
Promotion of Registration
Approval Process – Regional Corporations
Industry Liaison Committee
The Board further, in the year 2002, established a Bursary Fund to assist Trinidad and Tobago nationals studying engineering at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus. Funding is solicited voluntarily from Registered Engineers, engineering concerns and the wider engineering fraternity in general. To date, $116,000.00 has been spent in providing assistance to nineteen students since the establishment of the Fund.
The Board has also been pursuing and advising the Honourable Minister of Works and Transport on amendments and revisions to the Engineering Profession Act. The major of these are considered to be the making of registration mandatory for the practice of engineering in Trinidad and Tobago and the introduction of a system of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for maintaining registered engineer status. Draft legislation has been prepared and is being considered by the Ministry of Works and Transport.