Our History: The IPWEA WA Timeline

The Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) is a professional organisation providing member services and advocacy to those involved in and delivering public works and engineering services to communities throughout Australasia.

Established in 1929 as The Institute of Local Government & Highway Engineers, it changed its name to Local Government Engineers’ Association of WA (LGEA-WA) in 1970.  Twenty years on, in 1993, it came to be called The Institute of Municipal Engineering Australia (IMEA- WA Division).  In 2000, with significant changes in the way its members worked, IMEA reinvented itself as The Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia.

More recently, in 2013, with INGENIUM from New Zealand joining us, IPWEA decided to go regional and became The Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia.

Our History: The IPWEA WA Timeline

Since its inception more than 84 years ago, IPWEA has also grown from its traditional local government engineering-base – which covers a much wider spectrum of public works and infrastructure services – embracing people and practices from a different levels of government and private enterprise.

Increasingly, engineers and other technically-qualified professionals are working as members of multi-disciplinary teams involved in integrated system approaches rather than the confines of traditional engineering departments. While some public works engineering services are provided by professionals employed directly by government, more and more such services are also being provided by consultants, contractors, suppliers of goods and services and machinery – working as consortiums.  The tendency is to go for one main contractor who can consolidate and integrate projects – rather than open tenders for multiple suppliers of goods and services which only makes projects more expensive and less easy to monitor in terms of cost, quality and timelines. 

Membership criteria for IPWEA is also changing from an emphasis on engineering qualifications and employment position within Local Government, to one that’s based on what people actually do in their jobs.  As such, our members now come from a wider range of professions, technical knowledge and expertise – people not only working in the public works and services sector – but also engineers, technicians, works directors, contractors, consultants, managers, and strategic planners. Membership grades also reflect their achievements within the Institute.

The Institute’s evolvement maintains the traditional expertise of local government engineering but broadens the base and level of experiences, constantly adding new dimensions to public works professionalism all over Australia.

* INGENIUM is the national professional institute for public works engineering in New Zealand.