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  • You are here:ICE

New definition for civil engineering

One Great George Street

ICE Council members this week voted to agree a new definition for the ICE’s vision and core purpose as part of a plan to become more outward looking.

They also voted to amend the definition of civil engineering to more accurately reflect the activities of the modern profession.

Incoming ICE president David Orr presented the proposals to Council this week and described the changes as a necessary next step after the ICE’s recent five year revitalisation programme.

“Over the last five years of revitalisation we have been looking at the ICE’s engine with a view to giving us more power and more reliability,” he said, likening the ICE’s workings to that of a car.

“Now we need to turn our attention to looking outwards and making sure that we are on the right path – to look at the external outputs for this institution and for society.”

But he made clear that the changes built on the successes of the past rather than being prompted by any failings in the five year business plan. The strategy remained solid but the difference, he said, was the need to switch emphasis from internal change to external output.

“If you have a strategy that’s working you don’t really want to change,” he said.

“We are suggesting maintaining the current strategy plus adding two clauses to increase the focus on ICE outputs and to invest in all our people.”

The revamped definition of civil engineering is the second reworking of the original 1828 Tredgold version in four years. The change in wording accepted by Council is still subject to confirmation. Legal advice is being sought to ensure its use does not clash with the wording of the Royal Charter.

ICE’S Revised Strategy, Core purpose, Vision and Definition

ICE’s strategy as amended by Council:

To better serve society and achieve positive outcomes around the world, the ICE will pursue the following strategy:
To be a leader in shaping the engineering profession, and doing this by:-
- being broad and inclusive of all those engaged in civil engineering
- maintaining high professional standards for qualification and membership.
- providing an international source of knowledge and skills for tomorrow’s engineers.
- using our knowledge and skills to deliver products an services that are attractive, relevant and valued by members and employers globally.
- promoting the economic role of civil engineering and raising the profile of civil engineering.
- influencing governments, industry and other stakeholders to value civil engineering.
- partnering with relevant bodies
- increasing the focus on ICE outputs. (NEW)
- investing in our people (NEW)
ICE’s new core purpose - as agreed by Council:
- To develop and qualify professionals engaged in civil engineering
- To exchange knowledge and best practice for the creation of a sustainable natural and built environment
- To promote our contribution to society worldwide.

ICE’s new global vision as approved by Council:
Civil engineers at the heart of society, delivering sustainable development through knowledge, skills and professional expertise.

Knowledge strategy
- External (policy) - external influence including dissemination of policy
- Reseach and Innovation - obtaining information and creating innovative solutions
- Best Practice - encouraging the adoption of successful innovative solutions
- Capacity Building - facilitating the required number of people with the right skill sets.
- Networks and Events - organisation and delivery of all events


New definition of civil engineering as approved by Council
(subject to confirmation):

“Civil engineering is a vital art, working with the great sources of power in nature for the wealth and well-being of the whole of society. Its essential feature is the exercise of imagination to engineer the products and processes, and develop the people needed to create and maintain a sustainable natural and built environment. It requires a broad understanding of scientific principles, a knowledge of materials and the art of analysis and synthesis. It also requires research, team working, leadership and business skills. A civil engineer is one who practices all or part of this art.”

ICE values - no change:
Trust and honesty, ethical behaviour and integrity, high standards, quality and professionalism.

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