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Topic Title: Engineer
Topic Summary: CEng/IEng
Created On: 30 March 2012 12:46 PM
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 30 March 2012 12:46 PM
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Brian Robertson

Posts: 106
Joined: 01 April 2006

Should Engineer be a protected title in UK?

I think there should be a move in this direction and you should have CEng / IEng for document sign off.

What do you think?

Brian
 30 March 2012 01:38 PM
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gkenyon

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Originally posted by: Brian Robertson

Should Engineer be a protected title in UK?
This has been discussed in the IET forums (and I believe in the IET itself, and the IEE before it) many times.

The word "Engineer" can't be protected on its own because of its wide usage in the English Language.


The titles "Chartered Engineer" and "Incorporated Engineer" do, however, have legal status and protection in the UK already.



I think there should be a move in this direction and you should have CEng / IEng for document sign off.
I think that the requirement of a Registered Engineer to sign off docs is a separate issue, that has various merits, but also there are limitations.

In some industries it is a requirement to have relevant registration to sign off certain works; however, for the profession in general, it's a bit of a nonsense unless we can demonstrate the value to each area of the industry in setting those standards in the first place. Many CEng and IEng work with, unregistered colleagues doing the same job, and work for unregistered managers and team leaders.

In fact, it could be considered undesirable for Registered Professionals themselves to simply adopt this approach globally across the profession, without the safeguards in place that would otherwise mean that current Registered Professionals are in a possition where they have to sign off for their colleagues and superiors, taking all the risk, for little or no financial reward.

How do we decide what requires sign-off, and where do we stop? Is it designs for buildings? systems with it? web-sites designed produced by a company that adopts software engineering principles and practices to relevant standards? Or just "safety-related" (and can we define "safety-related)?

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Eur Ing Graham Kenyon CEng MIET TechIOSH
 30 March 2012 01:38 PM
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ectophile

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Realistically, it's never going to be a protected title. The word "engineer" has been in common English use for centuries to refer to a variety of different trades.

Most of the people currently referred to as "engineers" don't have a CEng or IEng and are never likely to get it (or need it).

For what it's worth, I have been a "Senior Engineer" for at least 17 years, but still haven't gotten around to applying for IEng.

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S P Barker BSc PhD MIET
 30 March 2012 03:38 PM
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mbirdi

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Where has the previous threads on this topic gone?

I agree with Graham and S P Baker. It concurs exactly with my thoughts.

The other thing people should be aware of is the IET do endorse engineers who aren't registered with the EC. By that I mean there wouldn't be anyone able to apply through the mature candidate route, because they wouldn't be allowed to take on responsibility at senior level in the first place and hence wouldn't be able to sign off drawings etc to show higher level of responsibility.

Edited: 30 March 2012 at 06:25 PM by mbirdi
 30 March 2012 07:22 PM
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westonpa

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Originally posted by: gkenyon
How do we decide what requires sign-off, and where do we stop? Is it designs for buildings? systems with it? web-sites designed produced by a company that adopts software engineering principles and practices to relevant standards? Or just "safety-related" (and can we define "safety-related)?

If we look at a machine's design then in reality there are a whole range of people involved in the design and manufacture, as we know, and each sign off their own part of the whole process. But near to the end a conformity assessment is done and that signs off its safety conformity and the CE mark is applied.....in essence. But at the end of the entire process it is the 'company' which signs the machine off when it puts its name on it and sells it on. In law the company is a person and so it is that person which makes the final sign off and takes the ultimate responsibility. The company can decide if it wants appropriate persons to sign off the parts of its designs and testing etc., and generally it will do this either in compiance with laws or standards to which it subscribes. The law of course sets the legal requirements and those are decided by Parliament whom in turn are voted for by the 'people' and so in the grand scheme of things it is we the people who decide these things.

Regards.
 01 April 2012 09:40 AM
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gkenyon

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Originally posted by: westonpa
The law of course sets the legal requirements and those are decided by Parliament whom in turn are voted for by the 'people' and so in the grand scheme of things it is we the people who decide these things.
So, back to the question I posed then, if we are responsible, HOW do we decide WHAT needs sign-off (I never said "WHO")?

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Eur Ing Graham Kenyon CEng MIET TechIOSH
 01 April 2012 12:05 PM
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Brian Robertson

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Graham

in my humble opinion
Sign off for professional engineering servcies in UK.

It should be a Registered Professional Engineer of UK ( EC ) e.g CEng/IEng.
Would we want a nurse to write a prescription for us?

CEng/IEng Registered Professional Engineers of UK ( EC ) have ticked all the boxes and are seen to be competent by the governing engineering authorities . Other countries do this.

This would also provide protection for registered professional engineers ensuring that only Registered Professional Engineers CEng/IEng of UK ( EC ) can practise in providing professional engineering servcies in UK.

Qualified engineers / engineer managers who are not registered could still provide professional engineering services under the direct supervision or get final sign off by a Registered Professional Engineer of UK CEng/IEng.

This would also increase registration with IET and possibly reduce fees as more would register.

Anyway only my humble opinion.

Brian

Edited: 01 April 2012 at 12:18 PM by Brian Robertson
 01 April 2012 01:37 PM
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westonpa

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Originally posted by: gkenyon
So, back to the question I posed then, if we are responsible, HOW do we decide WHAT needs sign-off (I never said "WHO")?


So back to the answer then:

The government decide where, for example, there are significant risks involved. The decide after taking advice from relevant 'experts'.

Companies decide how they will meet legislative requirements and/or standards they subscribe to unless the government has specifically set out how they must do it.

An example.....government sets out the requirement for a doctor to prescribe certain types of medicines and what 'forms' must be signed. Decision by government after taking advice from relevant experts. Government decides, experts advise.

Experts advise using a risk assessment methodology or otherwise they set out what the economic benefits would be. If they are 'experts' in their respective areas then they should not need to be told how.

The government quite clearly does not see any requirement for any additional sign offs and when it does it will take the neccessary advice and make its decisions. Most of the issues I see today are associated with people who break the current laws/rules so maybe we need to find ways to improve the application and/or enforcement of those before we start trying to introduce more.

Regards.
 02 April 2012 12:20 AM
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gkenyon

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Originally posted by: westonpa
The government quite clearly does not see any requirement for any additional sign offs and when it does it will take the neccessary advice and make its decisions. Most of the issues I see today are associated with people who break the current laws/rules so maybe we need to find ways to improve the application and/or enforcement of those before we start trying to introduce more.
So, I think we are in general agreement here?

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Eur Ing Graham Kenyon CEng MIET TechIOSH
 02 April 2012 12:28 AM
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gkenyon

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Originally posted by: Brian Robertson

Graham



in my humble opinion

Sign off for professional engineering servcies in UK.



It should be a Registered Professional Engineer of UK ( EC ) e.g CEng/IEng.

Would we want a nurse to write a prescription for us?
They do already. "Nurse Practitioner".

Futrher, how do you equate that to:
- Design of an electrical installation?
- Design of a Hi-Fi system?
- Design of a guitar pedal?
- Repair of a washing machine?
- Design of fixed services in a building?

The way things stand today, any and all of the above could be carried out by anyone deemed "competent".

CEng/IEng Registered Professional Engineers of UK ( EC ) have ticked all the boxes and are seen to be competent by the governing engineering authorities . Other countries do this.
This is not the case.

"CEng MIET" <> "Competent to design an electrical installation of a building", hence the dropping by IEE (before the Merger) of the automatic title of "Chartered Electrical Engineer".

In addition, a "CEng" (purely by their Chartered Status) is not eligible to sign-off railway signalling, for example !



This would also provide protection for registered professional engineers ensuring that only Registered Professional Engineers CEng/IEng of UK ( EC ) can practise in providing professional engineering servcies in UK.

Qualified engineers / engineer managers who are not registered could still provide professional engineering services under the direct supervision or get final sign off by a Registered Professional Engineer of UK CEng/IEng.
So, the unregistered people CEng's work for, would just roll over and accept that they are no longer eligible to manage their teams?



This would also increase registration with IET and possibly reduce fees as more would register.
Do we have the evidence for this?



Anyway only my humble opinion.
All are welcome. This response is only mine at the end of the day.

-------------------------
Eur Ing Graham Kenyon CEng MIET TechIOSH
 02 April 2012 07:44 PM
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mbirdi

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The registration of CEng, IEng and EngTech are a personal choice and not a mandatory requirement on anyone. Further, the specifics of meeting the requirements for registration (i.e ECUK-Spec) are unique to the EC.

If the title of Engineer is to be made protected under UK law, then measures have to be put in place to ensure that the majority of engineering practitioners are able to meet the requirements for registration.

The present system of assessment is too complex and cumbersome and geared towards engineers with management skills. This would leave out majority of technically competent engineers out of the loop and cause resentment towards those registered.

This in turn would lead to re-designing or replacement of the present system of assessment with a more simple system, possibly involving employers in assessment roles.

Or to put it another way, it's a waste of time trying to get engineer protected. Better to use the titles provided by the EC and make best of it.
 03 April 2012 08:23 AM
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gkenyon

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MBirdi,

On "Engineer without management skills": interesting point, but, even ignoring taking responsibility for a project or service, it could also be seen that if you are not have certain skills that a manager has, you can't really be accountable, in its entirety, for a design, because a design has to be feasible, and part of that feasbility study would include a project-management type assessment of, for example, construction or manufacturing phases? (Similarly with Service, if you ignore planned/reactive maintenance management and planning, being accountable for an upgrade or change needs an understanding of the business impacts of the upgrade/change, and hence we'd need those skills for someone "signing off" upgrades/changes?)

So, if we want "Certified Engineers" to sign stuff off, they will need some management skills, and definitely communication skills to satisfy industry ("I'm not signing that rubbish" is not really a suitable and workable model for business: working towards a conformant design over a period of time is much better)?

-------------------------
Eur Ing Graham Kenyon CEng MIET TechIOSH
 03 April 2012 09:15 AM
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westonpa

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Originally posted by: mbirdi
If the title of Engineer is to be made protected under UK law, then measures have to be put in place to ensure that the majority of engineering practitioners are able to meet the requirements for registration.

Good point, and as we know from previous discussions many could not. I would also want to see at minimum a double method of assessment, of engineers, by two bodies, e.g., IET assessment of the candidates and a university assessment of the candidate. The latter assessment would be met by holding the relevant qualifications.

However if we look to the recent BBC Panorama program on the assessment of apprentices, and believe what was reported, then again it is quite clear that some 'signing off' practices are dubious and the governement is also not making the proper checks.

Even with medical doctors they have to perform extremely badly before they get sanctioned and so I see the whole idea of engineers signing stuff off, other that where there are already requirements in place, as an exercise which would be near impossible to properly manage and which would likely become a money making exercise.

Regards.
 03 April 2012 09:51 AM
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gkenyon

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Originally posted by: westonpa

... and so I see the whole idea of engineers signing stuff off, other that where there are already requirements in place, as an exercise which would be near impossible to properly manage and which would likely become a money making exercise.
I agree - and, no doubt, an excuse for the Education Industry to get a piece of the action, developing more new or re-badged qualifications we don't really need and have little real-terms benefits for businesses.

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Eur Ing Graham Kenyon CEng MIET TechIOSH
 15 April 2012 12:16 PM
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Brian Robertson

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Countries like Canada, Australia and many more have their professional engineers sign documents and drawings to confirm compliance.

They have been doing it for years, no big issue there, signed of by a registered professional engineer.

They have a license or registry system for professionals engineers, seems to work well.

In some countries you can even look up a engineer register on line to confirm authenticity, it just confirms name, number and company.

CEng/IEng Registered Professional Engineers of UK ( EC ) have worked very hard to get these titles and are competent engineers of the highest standard.


Can we learn from other countries?
Do their models enhance registered engineer status?



Brian

Edited: 15 April 2012 at 01:44 PM by Brian Robertson
 15 April 2012 01:32 PM
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westonpa

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Originally posted by: Brian Robertson
Anyone can call themself an engineer in the UK.
Would you like any Tom, Dick or Harry signing your project off if you were a developer?
Brian

Do you have any evidence to suggest that there are, or have been, less issues with projects/jobs signed off by registered engineers as opposed to those signed off by those not registered?

Regards.
 15 April 2012 10:55 PM
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ectophile

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Originally posted by: Brian Robertson

Countries like Canada, Australia and many more have their professional engineers sign documents and drawings to confirm compliance.



They have been doing it for years, no big issue there, signed of by a registered professional engineer.



They have a license or registry system for professionals engineers, seems to work well.



In some countries you can even look up a engineer register on line to confirm authenticity, it just confirms name, number and company.



CEng/IEng Registered Professional Engineers of UK ( EC ) have worked very hard to get these titles and are competent engineers of the highest standard.





Can we learn from other countries?

Do their models enhance registered engineer status?







Brian


Does this actually improve things, or is it just a job creation scheme for the benefit of registered engineers?

I can imagine a lot of opposition from small companies it they are told that they are not allowed to start manufacturing anything until their designs have been signed off by an engineer.

-------------------------
S P Barker BSc PhD MIET
 16 April 2012 11:18 AM
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kasese

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Off the subject a bit - what ever happened to the Equal but different statement for CEng/IEng.
Apparently we had the chance around the beginning of the 1900's (When the Dr became protected) to protect the "Engineer" title but did not take up the offer


Tim Guy
 16 April 2012 05:51 PM
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roybowdler

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I have heard the phrase "equal but different" used frequently but it is a slogan, not a line of argument. All professional registrants should be entitled to equal respect for the important roles that they perform as well as their willingness to undergo assessment and maintain professional standards.

Objectively in the case of IEng & CEng the main differences lie in the competency descriptors for competences A&B and the knowledge that underpins them. Competence areas C to E are very similar and in practice the management responsibility held by the two types of registrant overlap.

An overwhelming majority of opinion also exists, which holds CEng in greater esteem than IEng. There are many reasons for this, of which the exemplifying academic qualification benchmarks associated with each type of engineer are the most obvious.

Most cultures value "learnedness" (academic) above "practicality" (vocational) in terms of esteem. To illustrate this I would use the example that an A level is considered "equal" to having completed an apprenticeship to NVQ level 3 (or 4-5 years historically).

In some cases this has resulted in undeserved negativity towards IEng which doesn't have any objective justification. Most practicing engineers respect their colleagues for what they achieve and their character. Unfortunately a minority of ill-informed commentators or (often fringe) members of every community will always disparage others.

For the record I respect my Chartered Engineer colleagues for their greater depth (and sometimes also breadth) of technical expertise. I didn't pursue my technical development beyond IEng and chose to take other opportunities that arose. I also welcome any "banter" (google it if required) within the profession as we don't need to take each other too seriously. But if in the eyes of the wider world we are divided and obsessed by relative "status" the effect is to diminish the profession.

-------------------------
Roy Bowdler IEng FIET FCIPD
IET Registration & Standards
 16 April 2012 06:17 PM
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kasese

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Roy,
It was used by the Engineering Council at one time

Tim
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