Civil engineers want to modernise the Institution of Civil Engineers’ (ICE) charter to reflect the environmental challenges facing the profession.
In a letter to New Civil Engineer, 13 former ICE presidents or council members have called for the longstanding definition of civil engineering, coined by Thomas Tredgold and adopted by the institute in 1828, to be updated to encompass the profession’s modern challenges.
Tredgold defined the profession as “the art of directing the great sources of power in nature for the use and convenience of man”.
In January, ICE patron Prince Andrew quoted Tredgold when he wrote to members to mark the institute’s 200th anniversary.
The industry heavyweights, including former ICE presidents Paul Jowitt and Quentin Leiper, want to change the famous line to: “the art of working with the great sources of power in nature for the use and benefit of society”.
“Tredgold’s words were evocative, expressive and eloquent. They also claimed dominion of man over nature and a narrow definition of the beneficiaries,” wrote the engineers.
“As the ICE celebrates its first 200 hundred years and looks forward to the next 200, and with the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a key driver, perhaps now is the time to make a subtle but telling change to the definition of civil engineering in the ICE’s Charter.”
The ICE was founded in 1818. This year it is planning a series of events to mark its bicentenary.
Calling for change:
Professor Paul Jowitt, ICE President 2009-10
Quentin Leiper, ICE President 2006-07
Professor Peter Guthrie, former ICE Vice President
Keith Clarke, former ICE Vice President
Karen Britton, Member, ICE Council
David Caiden, Member, ICE Council
Kate Cairns, Member, ICE Council
Teresa Frost, Member, ICE Council
Davide Stronati, Chair, ICE Sustainability Leadership Team
Judith Sykes, Editor, Editor ICE Engineering Sustainability Journal
Nigel Sagar, former Member of the ICE Sustainability Guidance Panel
Josh Macabuag, President’s Apprentice 2009-10
Tom Wilcock, President’s Apprentice 2009-10