06 March 2012 Written by  Tecle Hagos and Mahelet Shewangzaw

Licensing and Registration of Contractors, Architects and Civil Engineering Consults

 

Before contractors, architects and engineers undertake any construction work, they need to be licensed and registered. The requirements for licensing and registration may vary from country to country or from one legal system to the other. In this section, we will look at the requirements for licensing and registration of the above mentioned individuals in the context of The Ethiopian laws.

The present rationale for licensing of contractors in Ethiopia is to ensure that applicants for a project have the necessary capacity and capability. For contracts works in other countries and for multilateral donor projects, this requirement is met through the prequalification process for each tender. This requires information on the current status and past performances of the contractor. The current procedure of registration and issuance of graded licenses rely on ownership of relevant equipment and number of staff. These criteria for licensing and registration relate neither to past performance nor to the contractor’s (architect's, engineer's or consultant's) ability to lease or hire equipment; thus making it difficult for contractors, with sound technical and financial performance in other fields, to enter new markets.

Contractors

All contractors desiring to carry out construction works are required to register with the Ministry of Works and Urban Development (hereinafter referred to as MoWUD) in accordance with the Guidelines for the Registration of Construction Professionals and Contractors (hereinafter referred to as the Guidelines). According to Part 3 of the guidelines, all contractors registering under the guidelines are required to register first with the Ministry of Trade in accordance with the Commercial Code of Ethiopia and related directives of the MoWUD. It is after securing a registration certificate from the Ministry of Trade that an application for registration with the MoWUD can be entertained. Accordingly, every contractor has to submit a photocopy of such a certificate to the MoWUD before being licensed as a contractor.

Every contractor has the option of submitting an application for registration as a contractor in any one of the following categories:

1) General Contractors: These are contractors who are qualified to undertake a variety of construction works such as buildings, roads, railways, bridges, etc.

2) Building Contractors: These are contractors who are qualified to undertake building construction and related works.

3) Road Contractors: These are contractors who are qualified to undertake construction of roads and other related civil engineering works.

4) Specialized Contractors: These are contractors who are qualified to undertake construction activities in specialized trades such as electro mechanical installation works, painting and decorations, sanitary installation works, wood and metal works and landscaping and other related activities.

The criteria for registration of a contractor in any of the categories listed above differ based on the grade to which the contractor is applying. There are 10 grades which are categorized accordingly based on the construction cost of the project That the contractor is seeking to undertake. General Contractors, Building Contractors and Road Contractors can register in the ten grades based on the following criteria.

Grade 1 - Construction cost of Birr above 20,000,000

Grade 2 - Construction Cost of Birr up to 20,000,000

Grade 3 - Construction cost of Birr up to 15,000,000

Grade 4 - Construction cost of Birr up to 10,000,000

Grade 5 - Construction cost of Birr up to 5,000,000

Grade 6 - Construction cost of Birr up to 2,500,000

Grade 7 - Construction cost of Birr up to 1,000,000

Grade 8 - Construction cost of Birr up to 500,000

Grade 9 - Construction cost of Birr up to 250,000

Grade 10 - Construction cost of Birr up to 100,000

As far as Specialized Contractors are concerned, they can register in the ten grades based on the cost of the construction or installation of the specialized trades.

Grade 5 - Construction (Installation) cost of Birr up to 5,000,000

Grade 6 - Construction (Installation) cost of Birr up to 2,500,000

Grade 7 - Construction (Installation) cost of Birr up to 1,000,000

Grade 8 - Construction (Installation) cost of Birr up to 500,000

Grade 9 - Construction (Installation) cost of Birr up to 250,000

Grade 10 - Construction (Installation) cost of Birr up to 100,000

Once a contractor who wishes to register in any of the ten grades fulfills the criteria of the cost required, he/she has to have certain experience and qualification as well as staff requirements that he/she needs to fulfill. While registered a contractor is used, the work permit license under the name of the Technical Manager (the names of both the owner and the Technical Manager will be listed on the identification to be issued). For all categories of contractors, Grades 1 and 2, the general or technical manager should be a registered as Professional Engineer IV; for Grades 3 and 4, the general or technical manager has to be a registered as Associate Engineer IV or a Professional Engineer III; for Grade 5, the general or technical manager has to be a registered as Professional Engineer or Associate Engineer III; for Grade 6, he/she shall be a registered as Associate Engineer or Professional Engineer I; for Grades 7 and 8, he/she shall be a registered Engineering Aid or Construction Superintendent with eighteen years of relevant experience; and for Grades 9 and 10, the applicant can either be a Graduate Engineering Aide with four years of construction experience or a Graduate Associate Engineer with at least two years of construction experience or any person able to read, understand and interpret blue prints with at least seven years of practical experience in construction works.

After fulfilling the experience and qualification requirements, a contractor has to fulfill staff requirement before he/she can be registered as a contractor. The staff requirements vary from grade to grade and sometimes from category to category. The staff requirements for the different categories of contractors of different grades can be seen from the following chart.

General Contractors, Grades 1 and 2 – two Professional Engineers IV or above

One Associate Engineer IV or above

One Associate Engineer III or above

One Engineering Aide III or above

Two Engineering Aides II or above

General Contractors, Grades 3 and 4 - One Professional Engineer III or above

One Associate Engineer III or above

One Associate Engineer II or above

One Engineering Aide II or above

One Engineering Aides I or above

General Contractors, Grade 5 - One Professional Engineer II or above

One Associate Engineer II or above

One Associate Engineer I or above

Two Engineering Aides I or above

Building and Road Contractors, Grades 1 and 2 - One Professional Engineer IV or above

Two Associate Engineers IV or above

Three  Engineering Aides II or above

Building and Road Contractors, Grades 3 and 4 - One Professional Engineer III or above

One Associate Engineer III or above

One Engineering Aide II or above

One Engineering Aide I or above

Building and Road Contractors, Grade 5 - One Associate Engineer II or above

One Engineering Aide I or above

General, Building and Road Contractors, Grade 6 - One Associate Engineer II or above

One Graduate Engineering Aide or above

General, Building and Road Contractors, Grade 7 - One Engineering Aide I or above

One Graduate Engineering Aide or above

General, Building and Road Contractors, Grade 8 - One Engineering Aide I or above

Once a contractor fulfills the above mentioned requirements and pays the registration fee set by the Guidelines, he/she is expected to submit a record of past performances and an audited statement of accounts along with the number, type and capacity of the equipments he/she intends to use. There are various equipment requirements set by the Guidelines for the registration of different categories of contractors in different grades. Categories and grades to which a contractor is registered may be varied, upon the application of the contractor, by decision of the Registration Committee after having examined the financial, experience and staff and other resources or quality of performance of the contractor. This decision of the Committee, however, is subject to the approval of the Minister of Works and Urban Development. Contractors may apply for grade and category change only once in a fiscal year provided that they are able to meet fully all the requirements set by the Guidelines.

Once a contractor is registered as such, the registration shall be valid for a period of one calendar year beginning form the year of such registration. At the end of the one year’s period, each contractor is expected to be renewed every calendar year thereafter. The renewal of registration is only be effected only after the person seeking the renewal complies with the requirement of registration set forth by the Guidelines. If the renewal year has lapsed, the contractor has the option of having the registration renewed within three years of the expiry date upon payment of the arrears plus a fifty percent of the renewal fee for the period within which the registration has not been renewed. Any registration that is not renewed within three years of its expiry date shall be deemed to be cancelled automatically.

Architects and Engineers

Architects and engineers may be registered as professional architects and engineers, graduate architects and associate engineers, engineering aides and associate engineering aides after having fulfilled the registration requirements set forth in Part II of the Guidelines. Moreover, the applicants must also fulfill registration fees specified under the Guidelines.

For registration as professional architects and engineers, applicants must hold at least a B.Sc degree or the equivalent in architecture or engineering from a recognized university or a similar institution. The applicant must also submit satisfactory evidence of at least four years of relevant and progressive design and supervision experience acquired after graduation. Moreover, the applicant may be engaged in the preparation of design documents and in the supervision of construction works for projects sponsored by his/her employer. For registration as graduate architects and engineers, the applicants must hold at least a B.Sc degree or the equivalent in architecture or engineering from a recognized University or a similar institution. The applicant must also have up to four years of relevant experience in the field for which he/she is applying. Moreover, the applicant may be engaged in the preparation of design documents and in the supervision of construction works for projects sponsored by his/her employer.

For registration as associate engineers, the applicants must hold a diploma or the equivalent in an approved course in construction from a recognized university, or a similar institution. The applicant must also submit satisfactory evidence of at least six years of relevant experience acquired after graduation in construction or supervision works of projects. Moreover, the applicant may be engaged in construction superintendence or supervision for projects sponsored by his/her employer. Similarly, for registration as Graduate Associate Engineers, the applicants must hold a diploma in building engineering or the equivalent in an approved course in construction from a recognized university, or a similar institution. The applicant must also submit satisfactory evidence of at least six years of relevant experience in the fields of construction or supervision works of all projects. Moreover, the applicant may be engaged, either on part-time bases or full time, in construction or project supervision.

For registration as engineering aide, an applicant must hold a technical school certificate or the equivalent from a recognized university, or a similar institution. The applicant must also submit satisfactory evidence of at least six year’s of relevant experience in the fields of construction acquired after obtaining such certificate or the equivalent qualification. Moreover, the applicant may be engaged in drafting and in surveying works. Similarly, for registration as associate engineering aide, the applicants must hold a technical school certificate or the equivalent in an approved course in construction from a recognized university or a similar institution. The applicant may also be engaged, either part time or full time bases, in drafting and surveying works of projects.

Consulting Offices

Applicants may also submit applications for registering as consulting offices under consulting architects and engineers, consulting architects, general consulting engineers, or specialized consulting engineers. Consultants registering in office for consulting architects and engineers may participate in the preparation of total design documents for building and civil projects befitting their categories. Those consultants registered in the Office for Consulting Architects may participate in the preparation and design of building projects befitting their categories. Those consultants registered in the Office for General Consulting Engineers may participate in the preparation of all engineering design works befitting their category. On the other hand, applications for registration in the Office of Specialized Consulting Engineers may be submitted in the specific fields of engineering like structural, road, sanitary and mechanical, foundational, electrical, quantity surveying, and surveying. Consultants registered in any of the above specialized fields may participate in the preparation of design projects befitting their categories.

All applicants wishing to register in any of the consulting offices have to submit satisfactory evidence that the owner or manager at the consulting office being applied for is a registered practicing architect or engineer along with satisfactory evidence that the firm or organization has the finance, equipment, and office and office facilities required for the consulting office applied for. Moreover, the applying offices are required to submit satisfactory evidence showing that the firm or organization has the minimum number of registered staff set out by the Guidelines as well as a certificate of registration from the Ministry of Domestic Trade in accordance with the Commercial Code of Ethiopia.

Last modified on Wednesday, 02 May 2012 13:05