Thinley Namgay 

Beginning November 17, engineers, urban planners and architects in the country will have to register with the Engineering Council of Bhutan (ECoB) which was formally launched yesterday in Thimphu.

While the country has many engineers at various levels there was no agency to monitor them.

Ministry of Works and Human Settlement (MoWHS) officials said that there were many issues with engineers in absence of such an agency. The lack of data on engineers and accountability, questions on the authenticity of the engineers’ qualification, no common code of conduct, and allegations and complaint against engineers, among others.

Department of Engineering Services (DES) official, Tshering Pelden said that engineers in the private sector have fewer opportunities for their professional development.

The council, launched by the MoWHS minister Dorji Tshering yesterday, will certify and ensure the competence of individuals through registration, regulate their conduct and maintain continuous assessment for their professional development.

It will set and maintain the recognised standards of professional competence and ethics that provides a benchmark, governs the award and retention of titles.

DES officials said that the reform would help build trust and confidence of the public, government and overseas employers in the knowledge, experience, trust and commitment of the professionals.

Registration can be done in three categories: associate, graduate and professional.  To register in the professional category, one must have three years of work experience whereas those in other two categories don’t need experience.

Following the Cabinet order in January 2018, DES formulated the framework for the council and developed the guidelines on registration and certification, professional development and code of ethics and conduct.

Tshering Pelden also said that engineers in the United Kingdom, Canada, Nepal, Singapore, and Pakistan among others have certain things in common such as competency-based registration, professional ethics, engineering education, and continuous learning.

Lyonpo said that the ECoB was timely and it would bring all the engineers to a common platform.  “Engineers also have a responsibility to produce local construction materials and creating job opportunities for the youth,” he said.

The council will function under the MoWHS secretariat until its office is established.