Guideline on Construction Supervision
This statement is addressed to the construction industry and to
the general public for the information. Its purposes are to ensure,
in the interests of public safety and proper construction:
1. that those with responsibilities relating to project
construction appreciate the nature of the engineering
role in construction supervision;
2. that construction proceed in accordance with the
engineering design and the engineering judgements
required to be made during the course of construction are
made by qualified professional engineers.
In the construction of projects, systems and works, the application
of engineering does not end with the delivery of project design
drawings to the owner or developer. The production of a
competent engineering design does not assure the owner of the
public that the project will be safely constructed in accordance
with the sound engineering principles and practice.
Design of projects, systems and works, is an initial phase of
engineering; supervision of construction is another, equally
Engineering supervision of construction is required to ensure, among
other things, correct interpretation and application of the design, and of
the engineering principles which are expressed in it. In addition all
engineering details cannot be totally addressed in the design phase—
even in the most comprehensive drawings and specifications.
Accordingly, it is necessary for engineering judgements to be made
during the course of construction.
In recognition of the public interest in having construction
supervised by professional engineers, the Legislature has
expressly included supervision of construction in the definition
of engineering contained in the Engineering Profession Act.
Section2(g) of that Act defines “engineering” as:
“…the science and art of designing, investigating,
supervising the construction, maintenance of operation
of, making specifications, inventories or appraisals of,
and consultations or reports on: machinery, structures,
works, plants, mines, mineral deposits, processes,
transportation systems, transmission systems and
communication systems or any other part thereof.”
In its judgement of April 7, 1987, the Appeal Division of the Nova
Scotia Supreme Court affirmed, based on this definition, that the
Legislature did intend construction supervision to be carried out
by professional engineers. In that regard, reference is made to the
following excerpts from the judgement of the Court of Appeal.
"The definition in the Engineering Profession Act
includes designing and supervising the construction of
machinery, structures, works and transmission systems.
The definition must be read having regard to the objects of
the Act and in particular that engineering means the
science and art of designing and supervising construction
by persons who through education and training are skilled
in the principles of engineering. The Legislature intended
that it was necessary in the public interest to have
those works designed and constructed under the
supervision of professional engineers."
"The statue prohibits contractors from designing and
supervising the construction of the works included in the
In summary, as a matter of law, it is clear that supervision of
construction shall be performed only by professional engineers
appropriately registered or licensed by this Association in
accordance with the Engineering Profession Act.
Professional Engineers shall be used for Construction Supervision
in accordance with the Nova Scotia Engineering Profession Act.