Last Updated on Friday, 21 August, 2020 at 9:08 am by Andre Camilleri
The Chamber of Engineers (CoE) is satisfied to report that its proposals made to the Engineering Profession Board, regarding changes in the Engineering Profession Act, have been unanimously accepted and adopted into the proposed amendments. This milestone follows a series of talks held by the two entities after consultation with members.
On the 5th of November of 2019, the CoE received a draft of the proposed amendments to the Engineering Profession Act (Cap. 321), driven by the European Commission as a result of breaches to EU directives related to regulated professions in member states, such as the engineering profession in Malta. During consultation meetings with members of the profession, the Chamber felt that certain amendments could be of severe detriment to the Engineering Profession and could possibly lead to health and safety concerns to the general public and subsequent negative implications to the country. This concern of the profession was echoed in public media where concerns were made clear and eventually were tangibly heard.
The amendments to the Act were driven by impending deadlines of the concerned infringement. Following a request for deadline extensions which was declined, as agreed with members, the Chamber forwarded a list of changes intended to address the deficiencies that were originally presented in the draft amendments. The major concerns included:
(i) The removal of the definition of the term ‘Engineer’ from the currently effective Act.
(ii) the introduction of the definition of “Engineering Services” which was considered to open doors to potentially severe abuse.
All of the requested changes have been accepted by the Engineering Profession Board as a result of extensive discussions held specifically to ensure that any revision in the Act safeguards the profession in a tight manner while aligning with EU directives. The provisional changes achieved which safeguard the profession are the following:
- The definition of “Inġinier” will be replacing the definition of ‘engineer’; which not only protects the current definition but elevates it to the deserving esteem to the professional title. Subsequently, the Act is proposed to change to ‘Inġiniera Act’.
- “Engineering Services” will be defined by means of a direct transposition of the current legal notice (L.N 354 of 2012) entitled “Practice of Engineering”; which eliminates the previously controversial definition and further underlines the already established definition in the legal notice
- In addition, the CoE and the Engineering Profession Board have unanimously agreed that, as part of the “reserved activities” stipulated in the revised act, surrounding legislation is harmonized to ensure that professionals are now engaged to certify installations or systems.
The CoE is confident that the talks it engaged in as mandated, have led to fruition, firstly by protecting the engineering profession at law and secondly by ensuring alignment with EU directives. The Engineering Profession Board is now forwarding the consolidated version of the Engineering Profession Act (Cap. 321) to the European Commission representatives involved in the review of this Act for further evaluation.
The President of the CoE, Dr Inġ. Daniel Micallef has highlighted that “this is a step in the right direction and the Board has shown the right will and the only reasonable approach, to protect Malta’s and engineers’ interest first and foremost, in light of the European Commission’s hefty demands”.
The CoE is confident that the carefully updated proposed amendments are positioned to be positively received by the European Commission.
The CoE will continue to monitor the process rigorously, without hesitation to ensure that the rights and future of engineers in Malta are protected in their entirety.