ICE president Roger Sainsbury's first public function in the UK local associations was to present the Saltire Awards for civil engineering excellence in Scotland.
Construction, and Design and Construction awards went to Nigg Dock upgrade - one of the world's largest drydocks built in the early 1970s. The dock was remodelled to cater for the new commercial market of floating production systems in the North Sea. A 240m quay wall was built for the rigs to be moored against while work was carried out.
The 171m span Scalpay Bridge built in the outer Hebrides of Scotland scooped the Design award. The design was for a very narrow structure in relation to span, which had to be strong enough to withhold strong winds. Upgrading of the main towers of Forth Road Bridge also received a design award.
Construction award went to Ardveenish fish pier on the island of Barra the Western Isles of Scotland. The composite steel structure went up in seven days using one barge mounted crane. The job had to be completed first time round due to the remoteness of the site and severe wind and rain. Eight other projects received Saltire commendations.
Presenting the awards in Glasgow, Sainsbury said: 'These awards show that civil engineering is a wonderful life. There are constant intellectual and physical challenges. One has the opportunity to work on wonderful projects with a physical end result. There is something in the human spirit that yearns to create something. Civil engineering satisfies that need.'
The formalities over, Sainsbury was then told by Scottish engineers that urgent action was needed to ensure that the ICE maintains its influence on Scottish affairs after the birth of the Scottish parliament in May 1999.
It was revealed that the East and West of Scotland associations are lobbying the ICE Executive for the formation of Scottish based consultative group to provide direct contact with Scotland's new parliament.
A joint statement from the Scottish associations said: 'The ability of the Institution to consult with Parliament and hence influence matters of direct interest to its members will be diminished by Scottish devolution unless there is established a more meaningful and permanent presence than currently exists in Scotland.'
Chairman of the East of Scotland association Douglas McBeth said: 'Currently documents from the Government's Scottish Office go via the ICE in London before reaching us. We are left with as little as two weeks to frame a response, which is very difficult.'
ICE's executive committee has promised to look into the general issue of devolution in the British Isles. But concerns were voiced that the working party may not have enough Scottish representation, and that action was not taken swiftly enough.
'The working party should be based up here in Scotland, with heavy involvement from Scottish members,' said McBeth.
Sainsbury said: 'There is an issue here that we need to give very careful consideration to.' It would be extraordinary if the committee was formed without recognising the association's concerns, he said.