THE NIGERIAN SOCIETY OF ENGINEERS

PORT HARCOURT BRANCH

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Nigerian Society of Engineers/COREN

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF ENGINEERS REGISTRATION & ENGINEERING REGULATIONS COMPLIANCE

 

RELETIONSHIP BETWEEN COREN AND NIGERIAN SOCIETY OF ENGNEERS

 

The two are separate and different bodies so that they cannot be referred to interchangeably. The Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) is a voluntary association established by the practitioners of the profession while the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) is a statutory organ of Federal Government, established by decree and concerned with certificate of persons for the purpose of practicing the engineering profession in Nigeria.

 

COREN being the regulatory body for the engineering family in Nigeria, it is therefore necessary to have relevant portions of relevant COREN publications reproduced to serve for both emphasis and as information to all.

 

WHAT COREN IS

COREN is a statutory organ of the Federal Government established by Decree No.55 of 1970, as amended by Decree 27 of 1992, which empowers it to control and regulate the practice of the engineering profession in all aspects and ramifications in Nigeria. In this respect, amongst other duties,

COREN

 

i)                    Caters for about 65 engineering disciplines, many of which have their practitioners greater in number than those of most professional regulatory

 

 

ii)                   Registers FIVE cadres of engineering personnel, Engineers, Engineering Technologists, Engineering Technicians, Engineering Craftsmen, and Engineering Consulting Firms with each having its own Association, i.e.:

a)                  Nigerian Society of Engineers

b)                  Nigerian Association of Engineering Technologists

c)                  Nigerian Institute of Engineering Technicians

d)                  Nigerian Association of Engineering Craftsmen, and

e)                  Association of Consulting Engineers of Nigeria (ACEN)

iii)                 Accredits engineering courses in the universities, polytechnics / college of technology, technical colleges both within and outside Nigeria

iv)                 Organizes and supervises the post-graduate practical training of newly graduated engineering personnel.

 

THE EVOLUTION AND KEY PLAYERS OF ERM

 

The Nigerian Society of Engineers was established in 1958 with the primary objective of providing a rallying forum for Nigerian Engineers to address the problem of colonial marginalisation for an increased participation in the policy formulation and physical development of our fatherland. Since then, the Nigerian engineer has recorded tremendous achievements in the areas of science, engineering, and technology. Unfortunately, the Nigerian engineer has had a cope with a very hostile environment occasioned by the invasion of the engineering profession by quacks and impostors of sorts. This has resulted in very poor standard job, numerous abandoned projects everywhere, structural failures, fires and outright collapses. The unfortunate consequences have been the colossal waste of human and material resources and the terribly battered image and morale of the Nigerian engineer. The devastating effect of this state of affairs is slowing down the progress of a young country in a hurry to develop quickly attracted the attention of Government. Thus, the Engineers (Registration, etc) Decree 55 (1970) was promulgated. Unfortunately, the registration of engineers alone could not stop the continuing bastardization of the engineering profession by quacks and attendant consequences. Thus, through further hard work and representations of the Nigerian Society of Engineers the amended Decree 27 (1992) was promulgated by which the Council for Registration of Engineers in Nigeria (COREN) was now renamed the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria with full powers of register control, and monitor and enforce compliance.

 

The Engineering Regulations Monitoring (ERM) is a statutory function of COREN. However, its execution includes and involves the whole engineering personnel otherwise known as the Engineering family. The engineering family comprises the engineers, technologists, technicians, and craftsmen. Several attempts to address the ERM has been embarked upon by COREN in the past. The most remarkable of these efforts include the various COREN Assemblies for sensitizing members of the engineering family on the relevance and objectives of ERM and the various problems militating against its implementation. Of particular importance were the Abuja COREN Assembly / ERM Seminar of 17th October 1996 and ERM workshop of 9th November 1996.

 

In recognition of the urgent need for ERM as a corrective tool and tool for professional protectionism, as well as the current funding inadquancies in the environment, the Nigerian Society of Engineers Council approved to give maximum assistance to COREN in order to kick-start the programme by latest 1997. This was followed by the nomination and training of inspectors in 1996. Two COREN /NSE Workshops were also held in the current year at which the objectives, modalities and procedures for the ERM were fine-tuned and approved. The kick-off date for the ERM nationwide was thus set for 23rd June 1997. The final stages in setting the scene included the production and testing of Inspection Questionnaires at special training workshops held for Branch Chairman / resource persons and inspectors nationwide on 17th June 1997 and 19th June 1997 respectively.

At this juncture, it is necessary to state that the engineer cannot be opposed to non-engineer businessmen doing engineering business: in fact this is encouraged internationally, However, given the ugly consequences of engineering failures, there is very justification to insist that the entire technical functions from the topmost technical management (technical director) to the artisan should be headed and run by registered engineering personnel who are responsible and liable for the maintenance of standards, code and ethics of the engineering profession. In addition, it is necessary that at least one member of the Board of Directors is a registered engineer in other to ensure a competent technical direction of the board.

 

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF ERM

 

The aims and objectives of ERM cuts through the objects of the Nigerian Society of Engineers and COREN Decree and can be summarized as follows:-

 

  1. To ensure that engineering is practiced in Nigeria in accordance with the codes of Engineering practice, in the interest of public safety, and for the protection of her development and economic investments.

 

  1. To enforce the maintenance of discipline and strict standards of ethics in the practice of the engineering profession in Nigeria.

 

  1. To foster the speedy acquisition of all relevant engineering and technological skills by Nigerians required accelerating development efforts and effecting a speedy modernization of Nigeria.

 

  1. To minimize and, with time, eliminate engineering and technological dependence of Nigeria on other countries.

 

  1. To minimize the enormous foreign exchange leakage from Nigeria, resulting from existing domination of engineering activities, particularly in the petroleum and construction sectors of the economy, by foreigners.

 

  1. To facilitate and expedite the positioning of the Nigerian Engineering family to join in the global competition for incomes accruable from international Engineering Consultancy and Construction practice.

 

  1. To monitor and enforce compliance with Decree 55 of 1970 as amended by Decree 27 of 1992, by all practitioners of Engineering in Nigeria.

 

REGULATIONS REQUIRING MONITORING

 

In addition to a higher order of insistence on acceptable international standards in accreditation of Engineering programmes and courses, Engineering Regulations requiring monitoring in the public and national interest include:

 

  • Monitoring of private sector companies and institutions offering engineering training, or capable of offering engineering training or education.

 

  • Monitoring of Consulting and Construction Engineering Firms activities.

 

  • Monitoring of Engineering National Youth Corps members and Supervised Industrial Training Scheme in Engineering (SITSIE) trainee deployment and training.

 

  • Monitoring of registration and engineering practice and Identification and exclusion of quacks from engineering practice and extirpation or use of COREN engineering titles by quacks.

 

  • Monitoring of the Public sector in the Federation of Nigeria to ensure adherence to the regulations and ensuring that all members of the engineering family deployed therein are registered by COREN to practice in Nigeria.

 

MANDATE / ACTIVITY OF MONITORING UNITS

 

The monitoring Units shall:

 

  1. Locate, document establishment and personnel and report to the Registrar.

 

  1. Verify and monitor the professional competence of building approval officers.

 

  1. Act as COREN watchdogs on maintenance and upholding engineering codes of practice in public works, prohibit default, and ensure that all such are in accordance with Engineering Design prepared by a Registered Engineer.

 

  1. Verify that organizations working in the area of Engineering Contracting have at least, an active Registered Engineer on their Board of Directors.

 

  1. Observe and report cases of non-adherence to approved engineering code of practice in respect of public and private works to the Registrar.

 

  1. Report all defaults and contravention of COREN Decrees to the Registrar.

 

  1. When so required, to collect fees (application, registration, interview / assessment, practicing fees, etc.) in Bank Certificate Cheques / Bank Draft Only In Favour Of Council For The Regulation Of Engineering In Nigeria  (to be written in full) on behalf of COREN.

 

PROCURE FOR ERM INSPECTION

 

The COREN Inspectors shall visit engineering establishments and those allied to engineering in both private and public sectors to collect relevant data with the aid of the questionnaire booklets designed for this purpose and other means that may be considered appropriate in order to:

 

i)          To obtain data on companies active in engineering practice in Nigeria

 

ii)         To ascertain their compliance with Nigerian Laws pertaining to Engineering practice in the country

 

iii)         To establish adherence to Codes of Ethics and Practice of Engineering in Nigeria, in the public and national interest

 

iv)        To obtain manpower and technological data for economic and Social Engineering Planning

 

v)         To establish the basis for imposition of sanctions against defaulters in compliance with Engineering Laws and Regulations in Nigeria.

 

 

THE ERM QUESTIONNAIRE AND SCORE SHEET

 

For the purpose of effective monitoring of the above provisions the Questionnaire

Booklet is divided into four (4) major areas. The general requirements of these areas and

their weightings are listed in the following table.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Areas

Requirement

Required Compliance

Score

A

Corporate Information

      Corporate registration of firm

      Board appointment of Engineers

      Proper appointment / Promotion engineering personnel

160

B

Health Safety and Environment

      Quality Assurance and Quality Control Procedures

      Health Assurance and Insurance Scheme

      Environmental Protection

80

C

Current Activities

      Standards, Codes and Ethics of Practice

      Appointment of Heads of Engineering, Project Engineers and Site Agents

      Personnel approving designs

      Professional conduct

      Deans, Heads of Departments

      Accreditation of Programmes

40

D

Professional Development, Promotion on Engineering & Technology Adherence to Codes of Ethics

      Continuing Professional Development programme for engineering personnel (attendance of courses, seminars, conferences, professional bodies; activities, etc.)

      Staff Performance Awards

      Awards won by Company

      Membership of Engineering Bodies /Institutions

      Technology Acquisition Programme

      Computerization and Information Technology

120

 

 

TOTAL SCORE

400

 

ERM QUESTIONNAIRE TEST AND ANALYSIS

 

The questionnaire test concluded recently reveals that the following disturbing trend:

 

  1. That many unregistrable and unregistered engineers have been appointed or promoted beyond the rank of senior in their appropriate cadres in contravention to COREN Decree 55 (1970) as amended 27 (1992)

 

  1. That many Engineering Departments in Universities, Polytechnics and Technical colleges are operating below the minimum requirements for training engineering personnel in Nigeria.

 

  1. That the approval of construction design in the City and Local Government Councils and firms are being carried out by unregistrable or unregistered persons

 

  1. That unregistered or unregistrable persons are being appointed by construction firms as project managers and site agents.

 

  1. That most engineering firms are not embarking on Continuing Professional Development of their engineering personnel

 

  1. That most engineering firms do not show active participation and support for professional development, promotion of engineering and technology as well as commitment to engineering codes and ethics

 

  1. That several consulting firms are not registered or are not current on the Register

 

  1. That many practicing engineers have not paid their practicing fees and therefore their names are withdrawn from the Register.

 

THE WAY FORWARD

 

The conclusion from the above questionnaire test shows that a great number of firms may not meet the threshold score to be clear standing against sanctions. In order to reduce the risks of sanctions due to one or several deficiencies, the Port Harcourt Branch of the Nigerian Society of Engineers its putting forward a line-up of actions for the general good of interested firms.

 

The general directions of these actions are to:

 

  1. Provide opportunities for accelerated registration of senior qualified persons in order to regularize an obvious deficiency

 

  1. Provide materials and officers in the Secretariat for reference and counseling on issues of ERM

 

  1. Provide opportunities for firms and personnel to meet the demands of Safety through workshops.

 

  1. Provide seminars, courses and workshops to avail members and firms of avenues for improving their CPUs and corporate standing in relation to item D of the above table

Finally, it is necessary to stress that the Engineering Regulations Compliance Monitoring Exercise is mandatory for all engineering practitioners. Thus any attempts to avoid it may be constructed as a deliberate action against the success of the programme.

 

The Nigerian Society of Engineers is therefore of the opinion that it is better for a practitioner to be in the process of ensuring compliance than never.

 

THE BENEFITS OF REGISTRATION

 

To The Public

 

i.          Registration protects the public from quacks, charlatans and unworthy persons;

 

ii.          It provides a strict yardstick against which the engineering professional may be judged on her ability to undertake specific responsibilities;

 

iii.         It assures that an independent body has examined the registered person and found him/her competent to be registered.

 

To The Employer

 

Registration assures a skill base to cope with new technologies and market changes;

 

i)          It shows investors, analysis and customers of good quality of staff;

 

ii)         Registration assures customers of professional standards to meet legal requirements;

 

iii)         It demonstrates that the aspirations of new employees can be satisfied.

 

To The Individual

 

i)                    Registration provides proof of standard of education, training and experience;

ii)                   It provides international recognition

iii)                 It increases mobility across wide range of employment

iv)                 It keeps the person abreast with latest developments

v)                  It stimulates career development

vi)                 Registration creates opportunities for satisfying work.

 

 

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Copyright 2002 Nigeria Society of Engineers Port Harcourt Branch
Last modified: 09/24/02