First, it is important to understand that in Canada, engineers are licensed professionals registered under the engineering professional body of each province. Just like a medical doctor needs a license to practice medicine, an engineer needs a license to practice engineering. For example, in Alberta the professional body is the Association of Professional Engineering Geoscientists in Alberta (APEGA), in Saskatchewan it is (APEGS) and in British Columbia it is (APEGB). A licensed engineer should be able to provide you proof of their affiliation with their provincial association.
Our favorite definition of engineering comes from the Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act:
“....reporting on, advising on, evaluating, designing, preparing plans and specifications for or directing the construction, technical inspection, maintenance or operation of any structure, work or process.”
You should look to a professional engineer for expertise with:
- Designing safely and complying with various the necessary codes.
- Implementing cost-effective solutions.
- Coordinating with any stakeholders involved with the project.
- Communicating effectively to stakeholders.
If your City or any regulatory body requires information from an engineer, you will require one for your project.
If at any point in your project you are unsure if something is safe, it is recommended to request the advice and guidance of an engineer.
You should also consider speaking with an engineer for recommendations on the cost effectiveness of your project from both an initial investment and operations point of view. They have the expertise and a unique perspective which can make a big impact.
If you’re unsure if your project requires an engineer, you can contact a licensed engineer or engineering firm to confirm if you require their assistance and at what stages of your project.
Is quite common for some engineering disciplines to work on their own (structural, mechanical, electrical, etc.). However, if your project needs coordination with different disciplines it is usually more efficient and cost effective to get the work executed by one organization that is able to handle the entire workload.