Professional Engineers elects Council members

The Institute of Professional Engineers Samoa (I.P.E.S.) has elected its Executive Committee and Council members for the next two years. 

The appointments were made during their Annual General Meeting (A.G.M.) held at Millenia Hotel.

Five members of the Council: Vui Sebastian Mariner, Lei’ataua Tom Tinai, Fonoti Perelini Perelini, Fui Tupa’i Mau Simanu, Tuia’opo Andrew Ah Liki, together with four executive members: Matamu James Moeono (President), Seimale’ula Sinapati Ulberg (Vice President),  Vagana Stephanie Vagana-Lomitusi (Registrar/Secretary), and Meresaini Siaosi-Laulua (Treasurer) were unanimously voted into these key positions.

They are to carry out responsibilities and functions of the Board in accordance with the Institute of Professional Engineers (Registration) Act 1998 (I.P.E.S. Act 1998).

Following its first meeting on Tuesday 22 June 2017, the Board acknowledged the hard work by the outgoing Executive and Council members to date. 

This year, the Board confirmed four I.P.E.S. subcommittees who will be carrying this work further which consists of: (1) Disciplinary/Regulations; (2) Events/Fundraising; (3) Scholarships/Awareness and South Pacific Engineering Association (S.P.E.A.).

The key objective of the newly elected Board is the protection and safety of the people in Samoa and the region. To achieve their objective the Board will be focusing on effective public awareness/education of the public about the role of engineers, and the stringent monitoring and control of its members and non members. This follows the passage of the newly endorsed Professional Engineers (Registrations) Regulations 2017 (Regulations 2017). 

The Board noticed a dramatic increase in construction works in Samoa, especially in the construction of residential homes and the rise in the demand for more comfortable and complex designed houses. Interesting is the number of unregistered/unqualified people contracted to sign off and oversee these complex projects.

Employment of unregistered/unqualified people is a continuing concern for the I.P.E.S. as the protection, safety and well-being of the community is compromised.

Like other professional groups such as the legal and medical professions, professional engineering services are specifically reserved for qualified engineers. 

Section 23 of the I.P.E.S. Act 1998 is very clear that the design, management and supervision of complex projects must be carried out by registered engineers.

It states that “any person, company, statutory body, Government body or organization that undertakes professional engineering works (including design work, investigations and other works carried out offshore relating to projects within Samoa), where the estimated value of works is in excess of that specified in the Regulations, shall employ registered engineers for the engineering management, design and implementation of these works”. 

Sections 24 - 26 of the I.P.E.S. Act 1998 is also clear that it is an offence for anyone to employ  unregistered/unqualified people to carry out professional engineering services. It is also an offence for an unregistered person to sign engineering documents. 

The new Board will focus on proper enforcement and effective public awareness/education to ensure that professional engineering services is reserved for registered engineers. 

Through Regulation 2017, the Board will manage its member registration to ensure that its members are   appropriately classed in their own field of expertise. 

As there are several disciplines in the engineering profession, maintaining  an updated and accurate registration of I.P.E.S. members will eliminate members and non members involvement in designs and implementation of engineering projects specifically reserved to qualified and registered engineers. 

The I.P.E.S. President maintains that the engineering disciplinary committee will be more active this year in ensuring that the correct members sign off on works pertaining to their own areas of expertise; and unregistered/unqualified people carrying out engineering work will be dealt with accordingly. 

There is a common misconception among the public that engineers fees are too high. Short cutting by avoiding engineering services in the development of any infrastructure asset can be more costly in its long-term management and maintenance as an asset.  

All constructed infrastructures such as high rise buildings, residential dwellings,  roads, seawalls,  drainages, airports,  seaport, water dams and power stations requires people with  the relevant engineering knowledge to design and construct these infrastructures to fit the environment and to withstand certain  forces of nature within their  designed lifetime. As a result, the return on investment will be achieved. “You do it right the first time is always going to be easier and cheaper than having to go back to  fix it several times”. 

An updated list of registered engineers and contact details of IPES Executive members for any queries can be found in the IPES website: www.  

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