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Guideline on Construction Supervision

This statement is addressed to the construction industry and to the general public for the information. Its purposes are to ensure, in the interests of public safety and proper construction: 1. that those with responsibilities relating to project construction appreciate the nature of the engineering role in construction supervision; that construction proceed in accordance with the engineering design and the engineering judgements required to be made during the course of construction are made by qualified professional engineers.


In the construction of projects, systems and works, the application of engineering does not end with the delivery of project design drawings to the owner or developer. The production of a competent engineering design does not assure the owner of the public that the project will be safely constructed in accordance with the sound engineering principles and practice. Design of projects, systems and works, is an initial phase of engineering; supervision of construction is another, equally important phase.

Engineering supervision of construction is required to ensure, among other things, correct interpretation and application of the design, and of the engineering principles which are expressed in it. In addition all engineering details cannot be totally addressed in the design phase even in the most comprehensive drawings and specifications. Accordingly, it is necessary for engineering judgements to be made during the course of construction.

In recognition of the public interest in having construction supervised by professional engineers, the Legislature has expressly included supervision of construction in the definition of engineering contained in the Engineering Profession Act. Section2(g) of that Act defines engineering as:

(continued) the science and art of designing, investigating, supervising the construction, maintenance of operation of, making specifications, inventories or appraisals of, and consultations or reports on: machinery, structures, works, plants, mines, mineral deposits, processes, transportation systems, transmission systems and communication systems or any other part thereof.

In its judgement of April 7, 1987, the Appeal Division of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court affirmed, based on this definition, that the Legislature did intend construction supervision to be carried out by professional engineers. In that regard, reference is made to the following excerpts from the judgement of the Court of Appeal.
"The definition in the Engineering Profession Act includes designing and supervising the construction of machinery, structures, works and transmission systems. The definition must be read having regard to the objects of the Act and in particular that engineering means the science and art of designing and supervising construction by persons who through education and training are skilled in the principles of engineering. The Legislature intended that it was necessary in the public interest to have those works designed and constructed under the supervision of professional engineers." "The statue prohibits contractors from designing and supervising the construction of the works included in the statute."

In summary, as a matter of law, it is clear that supervision of construction shall be performed only by professional engineers appropriately registered or licensed by this Association in accordance with the Engineering Profession Act.

Professional Engineers shall be used for Construction Supervision in accordance with the Nova Scotia Engineering Profession Act.