COUNCILS OF the ICE and Institution of Mechanical Engineers were due to meet last month to learn the outcome of 12 months' work to assess the extent to which the two Institutions are compatible.
The joint meeting of ICE Council and the IMechE Council and trustees was set to hear the two presidents set out the perceived value added bene ts of a 'convergence'.
It was also due to hear of progress on two joint technical projects (see box).
Speaking to NCEI ahead of the meeting, IMechE president Alec Osborn said progress so far was extremely encouraging.
'We [the IMechE] have already learnt a lot of lessons, ' he said, referring to the IMechE's involvement and subsequent withdrawal from attempts to create a 'super institution' with the Institution of Electrical Engineers and Institution of Incorporated Engineers.
'There, we were trying to create a new institution and assessing compatibility was not seen as relevant, ' said Osborn.
'Overall, there is a real willingness to address any issues we identify. That is a very positive statement.' 'There are no showstoppers, ' added ICE president Gordon Masterton.
'Generally the cultures and values and philosophies are very closely aligned. Given that, any matters of detail which don't currently align are capable of being resolved.' Osborn cited this summer's joint presidential visit to the US and Canada and the recent joint ICE/IMechE energy debates as examples of the compatibility between institutions.
'The joint visits overseas were very formative and made a great impact on me, ' he said.
'At the energy debate it didn't feel at all as if there were two separate institutions in the room, just a collection of engineers that operate across boundaries.' Both presidents stressed that no decisions would be taken at the 25 September meeting.
'The meeting is simply to give Council members a flavour of the approach and strategies of the two institutions and to let them see how they compare, ' said Masterton.
'There will be a six-to-eight week period of debate in each institution following the meeting, ' said Osborn. 'The meeting is just a preamble to what will follow.' But both stressed that they were hoping for a change in pace following the meeting.
'The six-to-eight week period from mid September to December is pretty important.
I would expect a steep change in pace by the end of my presidential year [in April], ' said Osborn.
Joint technical projects The ICE and IMechE have been collaborating on two joint projects: Coastal Flooding ? industry risk and resilience; and Waste as a Resource.
Discussions have been held with the relevant government departments to identify clear project scopes so that they meet government needs.