Engineering Profession (Amendment) Act, 2021 – Bill No. 205

Further to the press release of 13th March 2021, the Chamber of Engineers (CoE) is now sharing the Bill No. 205 entitled the Engineering Profession (Amendment) Act, 2021 which was published as a supplement to the Government Gazette issued 30th March 2021.

The bill is published here with the quoted objects and reasons being “to address a number of EU provisions subject to infringement proceedings relating to the Services Directive and the Mutual Recognition Directive”.

These proposed amendments were achievable thanks to the valued contributions of members and through the Chamber as the voice and representative of engineers. The required improvements were identified and proposed together with members of the Chamber and these were then entrenched in the proposed act. The result is a bill which safeguards the engineering profession, further emphasising the role and status of the ‘Inġinier’, while aligning to the above objects and reasons.

In summary, the below are the main changes driven from the above consultation process:

  • The definition of “Inginier” [“Inġinier” means any person who has obtained a warrant in terms of article 4 of the Act;”; and the words “engineer” and “engineers” shall be substituted by the words “inġinier” and “inġiniera” accordingly, wherever they occur in the principal Act;] will be replacing the current definition of ‘engineer’ [“Engineer” means a person who has obtained a degree in engineering from the University of Malta or from a foreign institution recognised as equivalent;] 
  • “Engineering Services” will be defined by means of a direct transposition of the current legal notice (L.N 354 of 2012) i.e. “engineering services” means activities of design, specification, development, installation, commissioning, operation, maintenance and decommissioning of any mechanical, electrical, chemical process, information and related systems and such activities shall be carried out by or under the authorization and guidance of an engineer who is a warrant holder, competent in the field as recognized by the Board;  
  • The title of Cap 321 is proposed to change from Engineering Profession Act to ‘Inġiniera Act’ (‘Att dwar l-Inġiniera’) in line with point 1.
  • In addition, the CoE and the Engineering Profession Board had unanimously agreed that, as part of the “reserved activities”  [i.e. the certification of any engineering service of a mechanical or electrical nature, which may solely and exclusively be carried out by an inġinier, having a direct and specific link with the professional qualifications, such as the definition of the profession, the scope of activities covered by a profession or reserved to it, the use of titles and professional due diligence which is directly and specifically linked to consumer protection and safety, and such activities shall be carried out by, or under the authorisation and guidance of an inġinier who is a warrant holder, or a legal person competent in the field as recognised by the Board;] stipulated in the bill, surrounding legislation must ensure that professionals are now engaged to certify installations or systems.

Furthermore, the Chamber of Engineers is satisfied to note that the fines (‘multi’) associated with offences against the Engineering Profession Act (Article 19), including but not limited to the misuse of the professional title ‘Inġinier’ or its abbreviation ‘Inġ.’, are proposed to increase. The Chamber has been consistently calling for such increases in fines to prescribe clearer deterrents against offences which the profession may suffer and therefore considers this amendment a step in the right direction.

Following the Chamber’s correspondence with the Clerk of the House, the organization confirms that the first legislative steps were carried out through a motion presented to Parliament and first reading after 3 days of presentation per parliamentary procedure. The CoE had immediately expressed the intention to be involved in the adjunct committee for consideration of bills when the appropriate time comes.

The Chamber of Engineers will continue being vigilant and resolute and shall continue communicating the facts and explanations about this pertinent issue for the Engineering Profession in Malta.

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