September 2006 ISSUE

Outsourced Work ‘Adequately Reviewed,’
Inquiry Concludes

Are members concerned about the quality of outsourced engineering work that crosses into Alberta? A Practice Review Board inquiry suggests they are.

However, the outsourcing companies themselves are doing the right thing by having Alberta-registered engineers thoroughly review outsourced work, the inquiry also found.

The PRB recommendations include a call for APEGGA guidelines that outline professional responsibilities in reviewing, stamping and signing of outsourced engineering documents. APEGGA also needs to “actively communicate” what member responsibilities in the new guidelines are.

Changes to the EGGP Act are not required, however, and neither is additional legislation, the inquiry concluded.

The inquiry — which is now complete and available online — used an opinion survey of self-selected respondents, who read it in The PEGG or online, or individuals who work for permit holders associated with major projects and were mailed a copy. A follow-up phase involved telephone interviews with 30 representatives of outsourcing companies.

“There should be no cause for concern related to the adequacy of engineering designs for major projects because . . . companies engaged in outsourcing employ Alberta-registered professional engineers to adequately review and control outsourced engineering,” the inquiry concluded.

Outsourcing in the age of high-quality electronic communication often involves using off-shore professionals. This appeals to some companies because time zone differences mean design can take place 24 hours day. It’s also a way of dealing with a workforce shortage in Alberta and a way to save money because of the lower salaries overseas.

To read and comment on the report, visit here.