Monday, June 27, 2016

Obtaining a Licence to Operate an Engineering Consultancy Office in Oman

Sultani Decree 27/2016: The Law Regulating the Work of Engineering Consultancy Offices has been issued, replacing Sultani Decree 120/94. There are two major features of this law: 1) it introduces a new section on penalties, and 2) it differentiates between individuals licenced to operate an office to provide services in one field of engineering (an “Engineering Office”) and those licenced to operate an office to provide consultancy services across multiple fields of engineering (an “Engineering Consultancy Office”).

An individual wishing to obtain an engineering consultancy licence in Oman must satisfy the following criteria: A. the individual must be an Omani national;

B. the individual must be committed to working full-time in the engineering office or the engineering consultancy office;

C. the individual cannot work in a profession or job unrelated to the licence granted to them, and should not have a direct or indirect interest in commercial or construction activities related to their engineering projects;

D. the individual must hold a bachelor degree in one engineering specialty or the equivalent thereto;

E. the individual must be competent and eligible; and

F. the individual must have a sound reputation and not convicted of a crime related to honor or trust, unless rehabilitated.

Article 6 provides an exception for part (B) being, if the individual is a member of a government committee or board/council, an engineering lecturer in an educational institution, or a member of Majlis Oman (Al-Shura or Al-Dawla Councils), Municipality Council or international council, then this would not jeopardize his/her application for the licence.

Engineering Offices
Individuals who have an engineering consultancy licence can apply for an Engineering Office licence if they have at least three years of practical experience in their field of specialty after obtaining a Bachelor degree, or at least one year of practical experience after obtaining a Masters degree or a PhD in their field of specialty.

Engineering Consultancy Offices
Individuals who have engineering consultancy licences can also apply for an Engineering Consultancy Office licence if they satisfy the following criteria: - the individual has an Engineering Office;

- the individual has at least five years of practical experience in their field of specialty after obtaining a Bachelor degree, or at least three years of practical experience after obtaining a Masters degree, or at least two years of practical experience after obtaining a PhD in his/her field of specialty; and

- the office employs engineers from different fields of engineering.

The new law also introduces provisions that further regulate the work of engineers in offices offering engineering consultancy. For example, Article 16 states that engineers cannot work in more than one engineering office and are allowed to only approve the work in which they have participated in. It is noticeable that the new law is more thorough in listing the duties of licence holders and even introduces an environmental responsibility upon them, and instructs them not to approve any design or specifications that will harm the environment, as can be seen in Article 20.

This law penalizes individuals providing engineering consultancy services without having a valid licence, including deceiving others into thinking that they hold a valid licence. The punishment for these acts is imprisonment for a period between three and 48 months, and/or a fine between OMR 1,000 to 20,000.

Gross negligence on the part of the licence holder, partner or authorized person is punishable by imprisonment for a period between three to 36 months and/or a fine between OMR 5,000 to 50,000.

Finally, the new law states that an executive regulation will be issued by the Minister of Commerce and Industry (“MOCI”) within six months, and that those with whom this law is to apply must ensure that they comply with its provisions within one year from the date it came into effect, being 16 May 2016.