How to find an engineer

Choosing the right engineer is important if you want the right level of service for your job. The work you have in mind may require an engineer to:

  • Design an element of a new building, structure or system
  • Modify the use of an existing structure or system
  • Review another engineer's design
  • Provide a report that may form input into a design
  • Certify a piece of equipment, such as a fairground ride or a heavy vehicle. 

What do I need to do before I find an engineer?

Check with your local authority to see if the work you’re planning needs a consent or conflicts with local bylaws. 

Which type of engineer do I need?

To help you find the right engineer for your job, we’ve described the main work areas of a selection of engineers.

Structural engineer

  • Provides designs for residential and commercial buildings to make sure they meet the building code, including restricted building works
  • Assesses  the strength of buildings after an event such as an earthquake
  • Assesses the safety of a structure such as a retaining wall.

Geotechnical engineer

  • Assesses ground conditions to determine suitable foundation design
  • Designs foundations for buildings, structures and retaining walls 
  • Assesses the stability of slopes and embankment.

Civil engineer

  • Designs, constructs, operates and maintains structures, such as buildings, bridges, dams and ports 
  • Designs, constructs, operates and maintains elements of infrastructure, such as roads, rail, water and sewerage.

Software engineer

  • Designs applications that let people perform specific tasks on a computer or other device
  • Designs the underlying systems that run the devices or control the network
  • Makes sure software continues to function normally through upgrades.

Mechanical engineer

  • Designs specialised pieces of machinery
  • Certifies, repairs or designs modifications to machinery.

Some engineers, not listed here, are employed directly by companies and work on large contracts.

Read a complete list of all engineering fields 

How do I find an engineer?

You can find an engineer in the following ways:

  • Search by firm, location or type of engineer on the Association of Consulting Engineers (ACENZ) website
  • Search the internet for an engineer in your area using a term like "consulting engineer" and the type of engineering
  • Ask your local council, who may have a list of engineers they’ve worked with before.

Do I need a Chartered Professional Engineer?

Chartered Professional Engineers have demonstrated they are competent in the type of engineering they practise. The best way to check if an engineer or supervising engineer is a Chartered Professional Engineer is to search the Register

If your work is categorised as "Restricted building Work", a Chartered Professional Engineer can undertake designs relating to this work. 

How do I appoint an engineer?

We recommend you prepare a brief for the work you want done.  This will help the engineer provide an accurate estimate of the time and cost for your work. It also makes sure you have the same expectations.

You may want your brief to include:

  • A description of the problem you want solved 
  • The scope of work you want carried out
  • Specific things you don’t want done or included
  • A deadline for completion
  • Items you want produced, such as drawings, reports or calculations
  • Documentation you require for applications to local authorities.

The engineer can help you prepare your brief if you’re not sure what to include. Once you’re both happy with its contents, we recommend you formalise this agreement in a contract.

There are two types of contracts available free of charge from the Engineering New Zealand website

  • Short Form Agreement for Consultancy Engagement - a simple contract that suits many applications
  • Conditions of Contract for Consultancy Services – a more comprehensive contract for more substantial engineering engagement.

Get in touch

If you have any questions or need more information, get in touch