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Structural Engineering in New Zealand

Structural Engineering in New Zealand

Structural Engineering in New Zealand

Is there anyone familiar with the process of becoming CPEng in New Zealand. We have done many jobs there and have always stamped it with a California SE stamp (and by stamped it, I mean completed the PS1+ forms), but have recently heard that they may start requiring an actual New Zealand certification.This website gives some requirements, I am just wondering if anyone has any first hand experience with this. Also is there an SE equivalent?


RE: Structural Engineering in New Zealand

Question is - who are "they"

Producer statements have no formal place in the NZ building act, instead are used as tools by consent authorities to achieve some sort of assurance that the proposed work will comply with the building act. consent authorities are free to accept or reject producer statements as they see fit. the local councils keep a list of persons they see as appropriate to issue PS1s. Most persons on the list are registered CPEngs, though not all. Some foreign registered engineers get on the list without becoming a CPEng. Auckland council publishes this list. wellington denies one exists, though there definitely is an informal one.



if your PS1's are being rejected, you should enquire as to who is rejecting them. you may be able to sway the opinion of the council consent officer by providing them a CV, history of work in NZ, portfolio, etc.

Another shortcut would be to get on the auckland council producer statement author list. Many councils will accept that if you have been vetted in auckland, you are acceptable to work anywhere in NZ (mainly due to a lack of administrative power, that they are happy to leave to auckland)

Getting your CPEng in NZ is a long, difficult, administratively burdensome process from what I have heard, much more difficult than getting a PE or PEng.

RE: Structural Engineering in New Zealand

NorthCivil, thanks so much for the great info. I will look more into getting on these lists.

Most of our work is in Christchurch.

RE: Structural Engineering in New Zealand

I believe you need to have specific NZ seismic experience to get CPEng, additionally you need a washington accord or equivalent degree.

They used to cross credit certain things, most notably from Australia you could just walk in the door and do nothing, but the seismic experience from these candidates was non existent in most cases. They have locked it down a lot more these days, everyone irrespective of prior experience needs to undergoe the same assessment.

Compared to US PE or something it doesn't even compare, i'd say it's a hell of a lot easier. It's not really a technical assessment of technical capability like I believe PE exams are. You put your best project portfolio forward for review. They have a 90% pass rate, so it's a bit of a joke as if there is a problem they just reduce the practice area description (the stuff you are capable of designing) until your set of skills meet the standard. Then this practice area is basically not made public and all CPEng are treated as being equal...

I'm really surprised you got away with your California stamp and just filling out forms. Certainly in the last say 5 years bigger councils have clamped down a bit. You used to be able to have anyone sign off PS1/PS2 without even having CPEng. Place I used to work had several people on the register at Auckland Council that were removed, leaving us with just one person in the office capable of doing it (only had 1 CPEng qualified person at the time in each office). Other councils are I gather much more lax than Auckland though, especially out of the main centers.

While Auckland can be a pain to deal with at times, I'm glad they do it having quite a bit of experience in peer reviews it's really needed, as the average state of structural design and internal verification processes is pretty poor.

I don't know if Christchurch still do it but they used to have what they termed 'performance' consenting, this as I understand it meant someone reviewed your first design, and if that went well others were not checked at all or had more minimal checks. Very dangerous ground in my opinion and no lessons seem to have been taken in from the recent Earthquakes and the lack of effective peer reviews possibly contributing the poor design of the structures that collapsed. Everyone makes mistakes, and you need processes to capture those mistakes on all work, not just one convenient job or project.

I'd get hold of engineering NZ and have a frank discussion with them. They'll give you whatever options are available to you. Also discuss options with the councils you deal with so there are no surprises. Failing that you could always partener up with a local firm.

Edit - there is no higher qualification (equivalent of SE), but there was some talk a few years back about creating what was termed a RSE (recognised structural engineer) that would require a exam on technical competency maybe similar to PE or IStructE exams. But this seems to have gone to ground.

RE: Structural Engineering in New Zealand

Thanks for the information. It is interesting that NorthCivil said that getting CPEng is much more difficult than PE, but you, Agent666, said you think it would be a lot easier. Just peaks my curiosity as to what its really like.

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