Tim Procter MIEAust CPEng NER, is one of Australia’s leading risk and due diligence engineers. With wide-ranging industry experience, Tim shares his knowledge and expertise through postgraduate lecturing, books, academic papers, and with some of Australia’s biggest organisations. He regularly presents on the advantages of adopting the precaution based approach to risk instead of the hazard based process, which has been dominant in Australia in recent times. Tim is a Partner at R2A Due Diligence Engineers. Below, Tim shares his perspective on the importance of due diligence.
Engineers play an integral role in bringing society’s wishes to fruition. They engineer ideas into reality.
However, with this comes responsibility. Engineers not only have to consider the risks and benefits of an idea, they also need to ensure they meet society's expectations and address any legal duties.
As an egalitarian society, our judicial and political systems are predicted on the basis of equality for all before the law. This gives rise to interesting ideals. For instance, recognised good practice is a standard to which all engineers are held, in safety matters and otherwise. This reliance can mean that an engineering project manager who fails to implement recognised good practice can put a project at risk of going over budget and time, as well as potentially exposing the organisation to civil liabilities.
Engineering good practice can be demonstrated in many ways. These include standards and guidelines for design, operation, regulation, asset management and so on. Where engineering good practice has been demonstrated, the government may mandate it. The National Construction Code is an example of this.
The simplest, cheapest and most effective way for engineers to address good practice and other legal requirements is to adopt systems and processes that demonstrate due diligence. Put simply, to ensure that all reasonable measures have been taken. This approach ensures engineering activities and engineering decisions are conducted in a manner consistent with legal requirements.
By engineering new ideas into reality, engineers must also engineer the new reality created into ideas.
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