One of the main functions of the Board of Engineers (BEM) as mandated in the Registration of Engineers Act (REA) is to register engineering consultancy firms. There are two sections: Section 7A which registers Single Disciplinary Practice (SDP) and Section 7B which registers Multi- Disciplinary Practice (MDP). Section 7A of the REA covers three types of firms, sole proprietorship, partnership and body corporate under SDP. Section 7B covers engineering firms also providing architectural and/or quantity surveying services. All firms registered under the Board are known as Engineering Consultancy Practice (ECP).
The 2015 amendments to Section 7A and 7B are in the composition of the Board of Directors and equity in a body corporate. These major amendments are a result of Government's policies on liberalisation. Section 7A (3) is amended to:
The Board shall register a sole proprietorship, partnership or body corporate as an Engineering consultancy practice, subject to such conditions and restrictions as it may deem fit to impose, if -
a. in the case of the sole proprietorship, the sole proprietor is a Professional Engineer with Practising Certificate:
b. in the case of the partnership. all the partners are Professional Engineers with Practising Certificates: or
c. in the case of the body corporate,
i. it has a board of directors who shall be subject to such conditions and qualifications as may be prescribed by the Board;
ii. its shareholdings shall be as may be prescribed by the Board:
iii. it has a minimum paid-up capital which shall be of an amount to be prescribed by the Board; and
iv. the day-to-day affairs of the body corporate shall be under the control and management of a person who -
I. is a Professional Engineer with Practising Certificate; and
II. is authorized under a resolution of the board of directors of the body corporate to make all final engineering decisions on behalf of the body corporate in respect of the requirements under this Act or any other law relating to the supply of professional engineering services by the body corporate."
It should be noted that the composition of the Board of Directors, shareholdings and minimum paid-up capital are to be prescribed by the Board in the Regulations under 34A and 34B of the REA. Section 7A(3)(iv) also requires all body corporate to name a person who is in charge of the firm as the composition of the Board of Directors may also include non-engineers. This ensures that the management of the firm is still under control of the Professional Engineer. The registration of firms is illustrated in Figure 1.