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(I) Functions of Regulation and Control Committee
COREN is mandated by Decree 55 of 1970 Section 1 (i)(e) to regulate and control the practice of the engineering profession in all its aspects and ramifications. To do this Council set up a department and a Committee of Council (the Regulation and Control Committee) and endorsed certain programmes (as Engineering Regulation Monitoring (ERM) through which it can fulfill its mandate.
To achieve its objectives of ensuring that the practice of engineering in Nigeria is in accordance with relevant codes of practice, in the interest of public safety, and carried out by qualified engineering personnel, the following are Terms of Reference of the Regulation and Control Committee:
(a) to organize and supervise the ERM programme of COREN.
(b) to determine the qualification for appointment as an ERM inspector.
(c) to approve the list of ERM Inspectors recommended by the Registrar from among Registered Engineers and Registered Engineering Technologists.
(d) to recommend appropriate action to impose appropriate penalty on persons, group of persons, establishments and organizations who are in directed by ERM Inspectors as violators of Council Regulation or provisions of Decrees 55 of 1970 and 27 of 1992.
(e) to recommend to Council on withdrawal of registration due to violation of ERM codes and deletion of names from the Registers due to any other violations.
(f) to execute the Continuing Professional Development Programme.
(g) to carry out preliminary investigations, as may be directed by the Registered Engineering Personnel Investigation Panel, on allegation of professional misconduct brought against any registered engineering personnel or consulting firms as may be referred to it by Council or the President, and advise Council as appropriate.
(ii) Functions of Regulation and Control (R & C) Department
The R & C department provides secretarial services to the R & C Committee.
Other functions are:-
- Correspondences with stakeholders on Regulation and Control matters.
- Provides secretarial services to the investigating panel and Registered Engineers Disciplinary Tribunal.
- Collates ERM reports from zones for processing by R & C Committee to Council.
- Inaugurates ERM zones and conducts Training programmes for ERM Inspectors.
- Investigation of failed infrastructures i.e. building collapse.
- The R & C department conveys Council decisions on reports to concerned organizations.
2.0 ESTABLISHMENT OF THE “ENGINEERING REGULATION MONITORING” (ERM)
To ensure sanity in the practice of engineering in Nigeria, in 1997, COREN established, the Engineering Regulation Monitoring (ERM). Through the machinery of ERM, Council monitors and enforces compliance with the COREN Act. A team of COREN appointed inspectors who are seasoned engineering personnel, move from one establishment to the other, to ensure among other things, that engineering is practised in Nigeria in accordance with the relevant codes and ethics of engineering practice, in the interest of public safety and for the protection of national development and economic investment.
2.1 The Aims and Objectives of the ERM Programme
The ERM is designed with the under listed aims and objectives:
- Monitor the registration of engineering personnel and consulting firms.
- Ensure that engineering is practised in Nigeria in accordance with relevant codes of engineering practice, in the protection of her development and economic investment.
- Enforce maintenance of discipline and strict standards of ethics in the practice of the engineering profession in Nigeria.
- Foster the speedy acquisition of all relevant engineering and technological skills by Nigerians required to accelerate development efforts and effect speedy modernization of Nigeria.
- Minimize and with time, eliminate engineering and technological dependence of Nigeria on other countries.
- Minimize the enormous foreign exchange leakage from Nigeria, resulting from existing domination of engineering activities, particularly in the Petroleum and Construction sectors of the economy by foreigners.
- Facilitate and expedite the positioning of the Nigerian engineering family to join in the global competition for incomes accruable to Nigeria from International Engineering Consultancy and Construction practice.
- Monitor and enforce compliance with the Engineers’ (Registration etc) Act of 2004 by all practitioners of engineering.
2.2 ERM Management System
The ERM Management System consist of all processes, procedures, activities, instruments, agents etc. that are efficiently and effectively related in such a manner, as to bring about a successful ERM programme. The system has been designed to be efficient and robust enough, to withstand the adversarial system of Nigeria. Details are as follows;
Inspection activities are carried out by COREN Inspectors and coordinated by the Regulation and Control Department at COREN Headquarters Abuja. COREN Inspectors are experienced engineers, technologists, technicians and craftsmen, who have been duly selected, trained and certified competent to serve as COREN Inspectors. They are usually issued the COREN Inspectors identity cards.
2.2.2 Mandate of ERM Inspectors
The mandate of the COREN Inspectors is spelt out in the COREN documents CP11 as follows:-
1. Locate, document establishments and personnel and reports to the Registrar.
2. Verify and monitor the professional competence of building approval officers.
3. Act as COREN watchdogs on maintenance and upholding engineering codes of practice in public works, and prohibit default, and ensure that all such works are in accordance with Engineering Design prepared by Registered Engineer.
4. Verify that all organizations working in the area of Engineering contracting have a least, an active Registered Engineer on their Board of Directors.
5. Observe and report cases of non-adherence to approved engineering codes of practice in respect of public and private works to the Registrar.
6. Report all defaults and contravention to COREN Decrees to the Registrar.
2.2.3 Guideline for Operating the ERM Programme
Guidelines for operating the ERM programme (Inspection) are as follows;
1. ERM is to be inaugurated in Zones spread across Nigeria and operated by ERM Inspectors appointed in those zones.
2. ONLY registered engineering personnel, in good financial standing with the branches which nominated them and financial members of NSE, NATE, NISET and NAEC (National), are to be appointed Inspectors of the ERM programme by COREN.
3. Chief Inspectors of the programme are to be appointed by COREN from among Zonal Inspectors.
4. Each Chief Inspector in a zone will be responsible for determining the engineering establishments in that zone to be visited and inspected. However such establishments must receive the approval of COREN before a visitation takes place.
5. An ERM visitation is not to be confrontational in nature. Rather it should be approached with a view to correct wrong practices or point out omissions or commissions that violate Engineering Regulations.
6. Preceding all visitations should be an enlightenment programme conducted through Workshops, Seminars or Television and Radio programmes by each zone for not only the Chief Executives of Companies but Zonal Inspectors also.
7. The procedure adopted for each visitation is as follows;
a) The Chief Inspector will forward the list of Companies/Establishments (not more than four at a time) to be visited, together with the names of Inspectors (at least four in number including where possible one Technologists and one Technician) to visit each Company/Establishment to the Registrar of COREN at least, six weeks before the proposed date of visitation.
b) The Registrar will approve/modify the list and inform the Chief Inspector accordingly.
c) The Registrar will then write the Chief Executive of the Company to be visited, and copy the Chief Inspector alerting him about the Impending visit, the exact date of which is to be fixed by the Chief Inspector, and send him the questionnaire to be completed and returned to the Chief Inspector, at least, one week before the visitation date.
d) The Chief Inspector, on receiving approval for the visitation will write to inform the Chief Executive of the Company to be visited of the exact date of visitation and thereafter notify his visitation team and get them in readiness for the visit.
e) Completed questionnaires submitted by the Companies to the Chief Inspectors should be given to the leaders of the visitation teams, at least a day before the visitation so that the visitation team can study the questionnaire before the visitation exercise.
f) The Visitation Team will visit the Company taking along with them the questionnaires and cross-checking information supplied on the questionnaire with oral Interview of company personnel.
g) After visiting the company, the team scores the company using the COREN approved score booklet.
h) The result of the visitation together with, appropriate assessment of the Company and recommendation of the team are submitted to the Chief Inspector who forwards same to the Registrar of COREN.
i) The Registrar considers the reports and reports to Council through the R & C Committee for approval as appropriate.
j) The R & C Department conveys Council decisions to concerned establishments and copies the chief Inspector.
This is the heart and soul of the ERM programme. The outcome of Inspection activities will be received by the Registrar in the form of reports. The efforts of the INSPECTORS would come to nothing, if there is no enforcement by the REGISTRAR. Simply put, enforcement as applied in this paper means to make people obey the provisions of the Engineers (Registration, etc.) Act Cap E11, 2004 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
2.2.3 Compliance Monitoring
Compliance monitoring entails watching and checking the “practice of engineering” over a period of time, in order to see how it develops, so that COREN can make any necessary changes. Compliance monitoring is incorporated in the mandate of COREN inspectors.
After a successful inspection of a company organization, accompanied by an effective enforcement by the Registrar/Council, Inspectors would return to such companies every two years for compliance monitoring using the stipulated Questionnaire and score sheets.
The data bank obtained from the questionnaires and score sheets over time, will enable COREN to establish whether any company or organization in question, is improving or degenerating over time, vis-à-vis, the “practice of engineering”.
3.0 Instruments for Regulation and Control
COREN currently has a number of instruments in place for regulation and control of the “practice of engineering”. More instruments will be created or put in place as the need arises and in accordance with the provision of the Engineers Act CAP E11 (2004). The instruments currently in use are the Board Membership Form (BMF), the Project Control Form (PCF)/Project Responsibility form, the Questionnaire (CP11) and score sheet (CP12).
3.1 Board Membership Form (BMF)
The aims and objectives of the BMF are:-
(i) The elimination of false declaration of engineers on Board of Directors of Companies/Institutions involved in the “practice of engineering” in Nigeria.
(ii) To emphasize the appointment of qualified engineers to positions of appropriate engineering responsibility.
(iii) To assure the compliance with the provisions of the Engineers Act. CAP E11 (2004) by Companies/Institutions involved in the “Practice of engineering”.
The “BMF” forms are administered as follows:
(i) To be completed only by active Registered engineers on Board of Companies/Institutions involved in the “Practice of engineering”.
(ii) COREN-ERM Inspectors are to demand for verification, copies of completed “BMF” form, of active registered engineers on the Board of Directors of Companies/Institutions, during visitation.
(iii) Any default, offences or irregularities observed with regards to the use of the BMF are to be reported to the Registrar for necessary action/enforcement.
3.2 Project Control Forms (A&B) /Project Responsibility Form
These forms are designed to ensure that only engineering personnel, qualified and registered, in accordance with the Engineers Act, CAP E11 (2004) are used for the execution of engineering projects, in the interest of public safety. The existing forms are currently undergoing some review by COREN. Meanwhile, the existing forms remain valid, and will continue to be in use until they are replaced by COREN.
3.3 Questionnaire (CP11 and Score Sheet CP12)
These instruments are used by the inspectors in the ERM programme. They are to also provide useful information/data bank, for assessment of the compliance status or progress of companies/institutions.
3.4 The Investigative Panel
In response to some of the abuses in the practice of the Profession, Council inaugurated the COREN Investigating Panel in March, 2006. The Panel has had more than seven sittings since its inauguration and has handled some cases ranging from the collapsed buildings across the country and non- compliance with the Laws of the Land by oil multinationals, forgeries of COREN professional stamps, stamp seals, and other misconduct.
The situation report at present is that a number of persons are being investigated and interrogated while others will soon be charged to court. The cases involving registered engineering personnel are referred to the Disciplinary Tribunal.
3.5 The COREN Disciplinary Tribunal
It is not the duty of inspectors appointed by COREN to impose any penalty on any professional/company for the contravention of the provisions of the COREN Laws as this is the prerogative of the Law Courts after due legal proceedings. The COREN Act made provision for the establishment of a Registered Engineers tribunal which is constituted by the Chief Justice of the Federation to try engineering personnel who are involved in professional misconduct.
The COREN Tribunal was inaugurated on 20th October, 2007.
This is to ensure that the standard of engineering practice is desirable and quacks are excluded from practicing the profession and to discipline in an appropriate manner, any engineering personnel found guilty of professional misconduct. Some engineers had been tried by the tribunal and sanctioned.
4.0 ERM THE JOURNEY SO FAR
Having been introduced in 1997, the ERM clocked 14 years this year. In these 14 years, the journey has been somewhat challenging. However some remarkable progress has been made, especially in the area of awareness. This is true because most Nigerians, who know COREN today, got the knowledge through the activities of ERM.
Engineering Regulation Monitoring has been inaugurated in over thirty six (36) branches of Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) spread across the country. These include – Calabar, Uyo, Port-Harcourt, Benin City, Aba, Warri, Umuahia, Makurdi, Eket, Lagos, Ilorin, Osogbo, Ibadan, Owerri, Onitsha, Abeokuta, Kaduna, Ajaokuta, Ado-Ekiti, Yenagoa, Kano, Maiduguri, Ekpoma, Asaba, Ikot-Abasi, Yenagoa, Nsukka, Abakaliki, Zaria, Bauchi, Yola, Damaturu, Lafia and New-Bussa. Other NSE branches are yet to inaugurate the COREN ERM programmes in their areas of jurisdiction.