Article Business Practice Executive

UK Registration of Ground Engineering Professionals (RoGEP)

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In June 2011, a new initiative for ground engineers was launched in the United Kingdom, after nearly ten years of discussions between the professional institutions and trade organisations within the UK ground engineering industry. Unlike the US and other countries, the UK does not have a professional engineer licensing regime, and the title “engineer” is not protected by legislation. However, professional engineers can achieve “chartered status” through their professional institution and the Engineering Council, which is recognised worldwide.

The key drivers for this initiative were the recognised need from client bodies in the UK to help them to appoint competent engineers, those who are appropriately qualified, skilled and experienced chartered ground engineers. To fulfil these needs, the three most prominent professional bodies, the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE), the Geological Society of London, and the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3)- which incorporate ground engineering and represent this aspect of the profession in the United Kingdom- together with the Ground Forum, have finalised the UK Register of Ground Engineering Professionals (RoGEP). This register will be open to applications from chartered members, with a ground engineering background, of these three professional bodies. The Ground Forum ‘umbrella’ body for the ground engineering sector, and brings together five learned societies and four trade associations that represent construction related ground engineering disciplines.

This Register provides stakeholders, including clients and other professionals, with a means to identify individuals who are suitably qualified and competent in ground engineering be they consultants, contractors, public bodies or academia. The Register also provides a means of demonstrating ground engineering competency. RoGEP requires certain competencies for the roles of Ground Engineering Professional, Ground Engineering Specialists’ and Ground Engineering Adviser. These have been included in the second edition of the Site Investigation Steering Group documents along with other future specifications, codes, standards and guidance documents.

A Ground Engineering Professional, Ground Engineering Specialist and Ground Engineering Adviser may be involved in various disciplines or on various projects that fall within the broad heading of ground engineering and must have an appreciation of other disciplines and interests that extend beyond, but may interface with , ground engineering. They must also be able to demonstrate how ground engineering interacts with other technical professions.

The RoGEP panel has developed a methodology and a set of procedures for assessing capability and experience for ground engineers that enables progression from the initial Professional grade through the intermediate grade of Specialist to the senior Adviser grade. This progression provides a pathway for young chartered engineers to develop in this branch of engineering.

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Article Business Practice Loss Prevention

Management of Risk Associated with Ground Reports

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Michael Joyce, a chartered engineer, chartered geologist and chartered arbitrator, has written to the AGS in connection with some of our observations about the effectiveness of arbitration  in the AGS document Management of Risk Associated with the Preparation of Ground Reports – Guidelines for the Preparation of the Ground Report.

In brief terms, the authors of the document (at paragraph 4.4.9) express a preference for litigation because of the legal expertise of judges, their increasing technical understanding and, most importantly, their willingness to deal swiftly and decisively with unsustainable negligence allegations raised simply as a means of avoiding or delaying payment to a specialist. Mr Joyce points out that most arbitrators nowadays have had some legal training and have the benefit, over judges, of being qualified technically in the subject area of the dispute. In his experience, arbitrators will take a robust and harsh line with those presenting bogus negligence claims as a way of circumventing a specialist’s entitlement to his fee for the work undertaken.

Mr Joyce’s views demonstrate, at the very least, the dramatic differences in the views of some  lawyers and engineers regarding the relative merits of arbitration and litigation. AGS members should therefore be aware that although the authors of the AGSGuidelines for the Preparation of the Ground Report generally prefer litigation to arbitration, many experienced practitioners have the opposite opinion.

Steven Francis
Eversheds LLP Solicitors
AGS Loss Prevention Working Group