Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Oman’s Law of Engineering Consultancies – Part I

With Oman’s rapid pace of economic expansion and multitude of large-scale construction projects, engineering consultancies play a key role in the Sultanate’s development plans. This article provides an overview of what engineering consultants do and the Omani legal framework that regulates their profession. In forthcoming posts, we shall discuss key aspects of Oman’s Law of Engineering Consultancies which apply in particular to foreign engineering consultancies.

Engineering Consultants: Technical Experts and Project Managers

The work of engineering consultants broadly encompasses the planning, designing, managing, and supervising of engineering projects. As project managers, the engineering consultants are responsible for ensuring that a project is completed on time and within the specified budget.

The tasks assigned to engineering consultancies typically include:
• undertaking technical and feasibility studies and site investigations, including assessing the potential risks of the project;
• developing detailed designs, and resolving design and development issues;
• supervising the tendering process for selecting a contracting engineer, and coordinating amongst the contractors, the subcontractors and the client;
• managing and scheduling the purchase and delivery of project resources, as well as any variations to the project contract;
• reviewing and approving project reports and drawings; and
• ensuring health, safety and environment (HSE) regulatory compliance.

Oman’s Engineering Consultancy Law

Clearly, the technical complexity and high level of responsibility associated with engineering consultancy work calls for rigorous standards to ensure the quality of firms and individuals working in the field. In Oman, the Law Regulating the Work of Engineering Consultancies issued by Royal Decree 120/94, as amended (the “Engineering Consultancy Law”), provides such a regulatory framework.

The Engineering Consultancy Law sets forth general requirements for all engineering consultants, such as a ten-year liability on the engineering consultant and the contracting engineer for defects in construction. However, some of the most interesting aspects of the Engineering Consultancy Law relate to the requirements for foreign engineering consultants.