ICE president Sir John Armitt has urged members to grasp the opportunity to widen their knowledge and collaborate with a wider range of built environment professionals by voting to broaden the Associate Member (AMICE) grade.
The ICE proposes making membership more accessible to related professionals by merging the Associate and Affiliate grades of membership to create a new knowledge grade. The title Associate Member (AMICE) would be retained for the new grade and successful applicants would be entitled to use the letters AMICE after their name.
Those joining the new knowledge grade would be required to demonstrate a genuine interest in civil engineering and to confirm their commitment to ICE’s professional standards, including continuing professional development.
The letters MICE will then continue to denote a professionally qualified civil engineer while AMICE would denote other built environment professionals who wish to be part of the Institution’s knowledge community.
New AMICE members would not be required to sit a professional review but would have to commit to the ICE Code of Professional Conduct.
ICE Council approved the necessary changes to the ICE’s Royal Charter, by-laws and admission regulations in December. But the move needs the support of members and also of the Privy Council. ICE members can vote on the proposal from today and Armitt is eager to secure a positive result.
“It has long been my belief that opening our doors to a broader membership will deepen our expertise on a range of infrastructure challenges,” he said, adding that the move, in his opinion, would add to value to ICE membership and not devalue it.
“At the heart of the ICE’s mission is to qualify and support civil engineers and technicians. I know just how valuable membership of the Institution is and how much it means to engineers,” he said. “But there are many other professionals who spend their whole careers contributing to the creation of infrastructure - who may never seek to qualify as engineers - but who nevertheless would value and benefit from a closer relationship with the ICE.
“This, of course, would be of mutual benefit to the Institution and its members. We all want to extend our professional networks and seek access to the very widest knowledge pool so we can be the best at what we do,” he said.
Armitt pointed to projects such as Crossrail, Tideway and the Queensferry Crossing which rely not only on the expertise and ingenuity of civil engineers and technicians, but also from other professionals including lawyers, planners, architects and project managers.
“By opening our membership, we can increase cross discipline collaboration,” he said. “We will further deepen our collective pool of knowledge; and in turn we will be more relevant to society and more influential.”
The AMICE grade has attracted only a handful of allied professionals since it was redefined in 2006. The change now being voted on is a more fundamental reform but Armitt said ICE members should not fear the move. Crucially, control and governance of the Institution would remain with professionally qualified members and fellows, in line with the current Royal Charter.
“We must not step away from this because it is too hard or too controversial,” said Armitt. “If we do, we risk being marginalised by economists, financiers, planners and think tanks.
“We will then only be asked to do the technical calculations, whilst others are succeeding in being relevant,” he added.
Members eligible to participate have been sent information on how to vote in the ballot which takes place for six weeks from 1 June. A two thirds majority vote in favour is needed to secure the change.
Read Armitt’s plea in full here.