RECOGNITION of the importance placed on membership in the Far East, Council voted to award the Hong Kong local association full and permanent representation on Council with its own territorial member.
This was one of two strategies to expand membership of the institution which was top of the agenda at April's Council meeting. There was unanimous approval of both moves to increase the breadth and depth of membership.
Creation of a place on Council for the Hong Kong association recognises the sheer demand for membership on the island.
The association already has 3,600 members, comparable with any UK local association.
Up to ú4,000 ($5,700) was earmarked to cover travel expenses to Council meetings.
The proposal got an eager response from Council and this prompted vice president Brian Crossley to pledge further international expansion immediately for Council membership.
'Hong Kong was the test case.
Given the positive reaction from Council we will now rapidly pursue other routes, ' promised Crossley.
Council also approved the re-introduction of the system that will see members of 10 other professional engineering bodies welcomed as either chartered or incorporated engineers. This mechanism had lapsed in 1999.
The institution expects to draw from a vast pool of potential new members, including members of the Institution of Structural Engineers, the Institution of Highway Incorporated Engineers and the Chartered Institute of Water & Environmental Management.
Council backed the move after president Joe Dwyer assuaged fears from the Graduates & Students that the system would constitute 'entry through the back door'.
'It is open to a limited number of institutions and the career appraisal panel will review all applicants, ' Dwyer explained.