When I gave my inaugural address, I set out a clear theme and ambition for engineering a digital future.
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I am happy to say that headway has clearly been made.
The State of the Nation Digital Transformation report published in March discussed the practical steps to take to keep up with the pace of digital change and fully embrace the benefits.
It set clear and ambitious recommendations to ensure that infrastructure makes the most of new digital technologies.
However, the pace of technological change is fast and the possibility that artificial intelligence could herald a new industrial revolution has become a reality.
To fully understand the potential impact this may have on civil engineering, the ICE hosted thought-leadership workshops with the National Infrastructure Commission.
We also held our “Shaping a Digital World” conference in October, the programme for which mapped out a path forward for industry. The 50 speakers shared their insights with the sector and students who will be the workforce of the future.
Digital transformation is also embedded as a work strand for Project 13, which means it is at the very heart of our efforts to develop a more a collaborative and enterprising business model for infrastructure delivery.
Project 13 is a concerted effort by the industry to move towards a long-term, value driven approach to major infrastructure projects and programmes.
Organisations from all levels of the supply chain agree that the current operating model is broken – with projects too often being delivered over budget, past deadline and below par. The Project 13 model aims to overcome disparate relationships between owners and suppliers and in so doing increase productivity and performance.
When the Project 13 community was launched this year we had an overwhelming response, with more than 200 organisations signing up to be a part of this exciting opportunity for change.
During my time as President, the ICE has helped to shape the agenda, but there are times when outside events have taken centre stage.
The horrific tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire shocked the entire nation. In light of that it is only proper that professional organisations across the built environment sector should examine the actions that need to be taken to deliver safer and more effective whole-life stewardship of assets.
I asked past-President Peter Hansford to
lead a review to consider whether we fully understand the potential vulnerabilities in our economic infrastructure. We have recently published the interim report and work will continue into next year (see p26).
Reflecting on my time in office, I have seen the impact that civil engineers have on people’s lives. I have been lucky enough to meet members across the country as I visited the UK regions, as well as those around the world as I travelled to see the work the ICE has been doing internationally.
I am optimistic that the future is in safe hands, having worked with my eight wonderful President’s Apprentices, who will perhaps one day go on to become presidents themselves.
- Tim Broyd is the ICE’s immediate past President