The following Johannesburg Centre SAIRAC presentation was delivered by Michael Young on 15 February 2024, and from that, compiled by Eamonn Ryan.


Michael Young is a trainer, coach and a pre-sales engineer in the HVAC industry. He graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand in the field of Mechanical Engineering (B.Sc Mech Eng) in 2008 and qualified as a Professional Engineer (Pr.Eng) in 2013. Michael is passionate about promoting knowledge and helping other young engineers grow within the industry through his training workshops and coaching sessions.

The design of certain HVAC systems needs to be checked and verified by an Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) accredited professional before a system can be installed and commissioned. So, what is involved to become ECSA registered and what benefit does it hold for those who wish to excel within this industry?

The presentation covered:

  1. What are the benefits of ECSA registration and is it really for you?
  2. What are the requirements to become ECSA registered and why are they important after you qualify as a professional?
  3. Why are the 11 ECSA outcomes so important and how does accomplishing these outcomes help you become a better engineer / technologist / technician within the HVAC industry?
  4. What actions can you immediately start doing so that you can take the first step to becoming ECSA registered?

As you embark on your journey towards registration, remember to focus on understanding and demonstrating competency across all 11 outcomes. Senivpetro on Freepik

ECSA registration should be the next logical step in your journey towards success. In my career, I developed a new skill set during the ECSA registration process, granting me the opportunity to apply and be considered as a candidate within this company. Things began to transition from working solely domestically to now traveling internationally, receiving training in countries like Italy. I noticed that all the skill sets that I honed as I was becoming a Pr. Eng started to open up new opportunities.

One thing that ECSA requires from you is competence. Many of us believe competence is solely about showing proficiency in design work or specific tasks related to our field. However, ECSA’s expectations go beyond that to a wide range of skills and knowledge across all 11 outcomes outlined in the ECSA documentation. So, it’s not just about ticking off one or two boxes; it’s about demonstrating proficiency in each area, showing that you are capable of managing and executing tasks across the board.

Comprehensive documented evidence is a crucial part of the process. ECSA also looks for professional endorsement, training records and a comprehensive report. These documents serve as evidence of your experience, competence and commitment to your profession.

Lastly, ECSA seeks evidence of ongoing professional development – this means demonstrating that you’re committed to staying current in your field, continually improving your skills  and keeping up with industry advancements. This could include attending training courses, workshops, conferences or even pursuing further education. It’s about showing that you’re not just resting on your laurels but actively striving to enhance your knowledge and expertise


The ABC method creates understanding of how to align your work experience with the ECSA outcomes.

  • A stands for aligning work experience with ECSA outcomes. This step involves mapping your work experience to the specific outcomes outlined by ECSA. It’s about identifying which projects or tasks you’ve undertaken relate to each outcome. For example, if you’ve been involved in a project that required you to demonstrate effective communication with clients and stakeholders, that aligns with ECSA outcome number one (see below).
  • B stands for strategically building reports that demonstrate competence. This step involves crafting your reports in a way that clearly showcases your competence across all 11 outcomes. It’s not just about listing your tasks or responsibilities; it’s about demonstrating how you’ve applied your skills and knowledge to achieve successful outcomes. Each report should provide concrete examples and evidence of your competence in various areas.
  • C stands for completing the application process. This step involves ensuring that you meet all the requirements outlined by ECSA, including word count limits, professional endorsements, and any other documentation they may require. It’s about presenting a comprehensive and well organised application that effectively communicates your expertise and suitability for registration.


There are 11 outcomes that ECSA expects candidates to demonstrate proficiency in. These outcomes cover a wide range of skills and knowledge areas, including technical competence, problem-solving abilities and professional ethics.

  • Application of engineering knowledge: This outcome assesses your ability to apply engineering principles and concepts to real-world problems and projects.
  • Independent learning and continuous professional development: This outcome evaluates your commitment to ongoing learning and professional development, including self-directed study and participation in training programmes.
  • Problem-solving abilities: This outcome measures your capacity to analyse complex problems, develop innovative solutions, and effectively implement them in a practical context.
  • Communication skills: This outcome assesses your proficiency in communicating technical information effectively to various stakeholders, including clients, colleagues and regulatory bodies.
  • Ethical and professional conduct: This outcome evaluates your adherence to ethical standards and professional conduct within the engineering profession, including integrity, honesty and accountability. Outcomes one to five all revolve around core engineering principles and practices. These outcomes reflect the essence of what it means to be an engineer in the real world. From defining and investigating complex problems to developing innovative solutions, applying advanced engineering knowledge, managing projects effectively, and communicating with clarity and precision, these skills are fundamental to engineering success.
  • Engineering management: This outcome examines your ability to effectively manage engineering projects, resources and teams to achieve successful outcomes. Outcome 6 focuses on the negative impacts on the environment, culture and society, and how you mitigate them in your engineering projects. It’s crucial to consider these aspects to ensure responsible and sustainable engineering practices.
  • Teamwork and collaboration: This outcome assesses your capacity to work collaboratively with colleagues, clients and other stakeholders to achieve common goals and objectives. Outcome 7 emphasises compliance with standards, whether they’re local or international. Demonstrating your ability to identify and address violations of these standards is essential for maintaining ethical engineering practices.
  • Safety, health and environmental considerations: This outcome evaluates your understanding of safety, health and environmental regulations and your ability to integrate them into engineering projects and designs. Outcome 8 delves into ethical considerations, requiring you to demonstrate your ability to navigate ethical dilemmas and uphold professional integrity in your work.
  • Professional practice: This outcome measures your understanding of professional practice within the engineering profession, including legal and regulatory requirements, codes of conduct, and standards of practice. Outcome 9 – judgment – is particularly challenging to demonstrate but involves showcasing your ability to make informed decisions and exercise sound judgment in complex engineering scenarios.
  • Sustainable development: This outcome assesses your awareness of the environmental, social and economic impacts of engineering projects and your ability to incorporate principles of sustainability into your work. 6 RACA Journal I April 2024 Associations
  • Interdisciplinary integration: This outcome evaluates your capacity to integrate knowledge and skills from various disciplines and fields of study to address complex engineering challenges.

It’s not about jumping straight into designing a system or proposing a solution. It’s about thoroughly defining and investigating the problem at hand. Whether you’re dealing with an industrial refrigeration process or troubleshooting a recurring issue with HVAC units tripping on high pressure, the key is to delve deep into the problem statement.

Think about the mathematics and physics involved. Consider the heat transfer principles, fluid dynamics, and thermodynamics that come into play. For instance, when designing a refrigeration system for freezing chicken, you need to calculate the amount of heat that needs to be removed, determine the freezing temperature of the chicken, and establish the necessary conditions for maintaining the desired temperature.

Similarly, if you’re troubleshooting HVAC units, you need to analyse factors like heat transfer efficiency, piping configurations, ambient temperature effects, and control setpoints. By thoroughly investigating the problem, you can identify the underlying issues and propose effective solutions.

So, when documenting your work experience for ECSA registration, focus on showcasing your ability to define and investigate complex engineering problems. Provide detailed explanations of the problem-solving methodologies you employed, the mathematical models you used, and the technical analyses you conducted.

One myth is that passing the exam means you’ll automatically become registered. The examination is just one part of the process, and even if you pass the exam, you still need to demonstrate your competency through your work experience, your reports and your ability to align with ECSA’s outcomes.

There’s a misconception that the registration process is straightforward and easy. In reality, it requires careful planning, attention to detail, and a deep understanding of what ECSA expects from you as a professional engineer.

As you embark on your journey towards registration, remember to focus on understanding and demonstrating competency across all 11 outcomes, structuring your reports effectively, and ensuring that you meet all the requirements outlined by ECSA. It may be challenging, but with dedication and perseverance, you can achieve your goal of becoming a registered professional engineer.

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