Setting a New Industry Benchmark: New Practice Standard for Professional Engineers

OpEd –  Feris Chehade (Founder and Manager, Xavier Knight)

In July 2023, the NSW Government published a draft Engineering Practice Standard (EPS), designed to accompany the Design Building Practitioners Act. The proposed Practice Standard provides a clear and enforceable standard of what is expected and required of Professional Engineers under the DBPA.

As a member of the EPS group, I would like to share key changes that the comprehensive framework introduces, such as ‘fit-for-purpose’ designs and third-party reviews. This approach ensures a balance between stakeholders’ expectations, professional responsibilities and legal complexities.

The significance of ‘fit-for-purpose’ designs cannot be overstated. Designs that don’t meet this criterion pose substantial risks to build integrity and often lead to poor outcomes. Surveys have consistently ranked ‘fit-for-purpose’ as the most crucial attribute impacting design quality. For years, engineers, architects and insurers have been reluctant about contractual clauses related to ‘fit-for-purpose’.

The EPS proposes an expanded obligation for Professional Engineers, focusing on “addressing the suitability of a design and not the suitability of the built product”. Defining ‘Fit for Purpose’ and incorporating a Statement of Purpose in contracts appears both logical and reasonable.

Independent third-party reviews play a crucial role in enhancing quality assurance. The EPS mandates that reviewers, who must be registered Professional Engineers, follow a defined framework for their work. It also reinforces the certifier’s authority to request reviews as deemed appropriate, however I believe a framework should be in place to specify when third party reviews should be mandatory.

In this evolving landscape, the new Proposed Practice Standard guides us toward strategic interventions that embody excellence and accountability. By embracing these changes, engineers position themselves to elevate the practice of engineering, combining creativity, safety, and legal compliance in every project we undertake.

Feris Chehade
Founder and Managing Director
Xavier Knight

Do you have a project, media release or a property you would like to feature in the Australian National Construction Review, e-newsletter or on our social media?

Get in touch with our team at or 02 4322 1200, to find out more.

Explore more articles…