THE ICE's international ambitions were driven forward with major new initiatives set in motion during a recent presidential visit to the Far East.
President Joe Dwyer and vice president international Douglas Oakervee returned home tired but triumphant after a highly successful two week tour of Bangkok and China, which took in over 50 meetings, site visits, presentations and receptions.
Both were confident that the Institution would continue to consolidate its activities in China after agreeing with local members that representative offices will be established in Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing.
'Growth in the Far East clearly demonstrates that the institution is achieving its goal of becoming an international organisation with its headquarters in London, ' said Dwyer.
Apart from the all important task of meeting overseas members, the main aim of this year's presidential tour was to review proposals by the international affairs policy committee to develop the ICE's operations in China and Thailand.
In China, this follows an agreement signed last October between the ICE and the Chinese Ministry of Construction to establish a system of registration for civil engineers and a plan for CPD.
Several major Chinese contractors, each employing up to 100,000 engineers and technicians, have expressed a keen interest in having a small but select group of senior engineers sit the Institution's professional review.
The moves should help China meet requirements to join the World Trade Organisation.
More dramatic developments on the horizon would see several universities in Shanghai and Chongqing modifying some of their already recognised and accredited courses so they can be taught in English.
Discussions have also taken place to establish training centres promoting life long learning as well as preparing candidates to become members of the Institution.
In Thailand ICE members based in and around Bangkok are forming a local association and are keen to promote the ICE throughout Thailand and Indochina.
The development follows the award of an honorary fellowship to HM King Bhumibol Adulyadejy by past president George Fleming last year.
Dwyer backed an ICE audit of the Asian Institution of Technology's post graduate courses.
The organisation runs joint programmes with European Union counterparts and is looking to have its courses accredited and mutually recognised by the ICE.
In Hong Kong Dwyer discovered that membership continues to grow and that the local association formed last year was expanding, with good support from both the HK Institution of Engineers and the HK Academy of Engineering Sciences.
In each city the presidential party met with senior government figures, the HM Consul General and the British Council.
'Without exception we received enthusiastic support and were urged to expand our presence in the region, ' said Oakervee.
The vast scale and scope of construction work being carried out in China and Hong Kong was impressed on Dwyer with a site visit to the Shanghai outer ring road and the Kowloon & Canton Railway Corporation West Rail project, in Hong Kong.
Dwyer was similarly struck by the construction workload in Chongqing, where planned construction over the next five years is equal to that of the entire UK. Overseas participation, especially from the UK, will be warmly welcomed, claimed Oakervee.
In contrast, the Bangkok skyline is littered with nearly 200 abandoned property development projects, reflecting Thailand's plummeting fortunes since the Asian economy went into freefall in 1998.