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No easy option

The IEE has recently received approval from the Privy Council to amend its charter and bye-laws in order to introduce two sub-divisions to the class of member, one Chartered and one non-Chartered.

This will not, as suggested (News, 13 May), give corporate status to associate members. Candidates for the non-chartered subdivision will have to hold an Honours degree or equivalent as approved by Council and will have to satisfy the same initial professional development requirements and the same professional review criteria, including interview, as those for the chartered division. This is not a route to corporate membership for those candidates who satisfy IEng requirements.

John C Williams,The Institution of Electrical Engineers, Savoy Place, London WC2R 0BL

I am sure you are correct in the assumption in your editorial (NCE 13 May) that - 'the ICE will in effect be arguing . . .that AMICE is not necessarily a lesser grade, just a different one. . . as well as highlighting those associate members who have successful careers.'

However, much as first or second class honours at university may affect an early placement or starting salary, this status will soon be superseded by employment success and the building of a good curriculum vitae.

Only once in my career did I face the ignominy of being turned down for one job because I was not a Member of the ICE. But overall my chosen career has not been unduly affected by my status within the Institution.

In a hierarchical organisation there are always bound to be subordinate grades but this should never override the ability of the individual to progress on their own merit.

C V Hill (T), 16 Carnarvon Close, Bingham, Nottingham NG13 8RR

A blow to upwardly mobile Incas

Anna Moorhead's interesting piece about the Incas (NCE 27 May) highlighted their skill as masons. The view she puts forward that the rounded shapes of the granite blocks were intended to render them less prone to erosion is, I believe, unnecessarily complicated.

Living in such a mountainous terrain the Incas would undoubtedly be accomplished climbers and it seems to me that a more likely explanation for the rounded edges was to deny attackers the luxury of an easy means of scaling the walls.

In more recent times, before the advent of indoor climbing walls, generations of Scottish rock-climbers trained on the walls of rough-hewn masonry thoughtfully provided by the Victorian railway engineers. The sharp edges of the stones in their viaducts and other structures nicely simulate the handholds and footholds of a natural crag. (Perhaps there is scope for such multiple use to be designed into future structures!)

John Peden (M),

In the detail

In the article 'Backwards and Forwards' (NCE 20 May) the statement 'the suggestion to set up the computer modelling for the arbitration came from Gardiner & Theobald Fairway,' needs correction.

The contractor had used Primavera P3 software to justify its claim for extension of time to the engineer before the arbitration. It was Linacre Associates, a form of construction planning and management consultants now based in Sheffield, that developed the method, based on the contractor's network, to determine the split of liability for literally hundreds of concurrent employer, contractor and subcontractor delays. Fairway opposed this use of computer modelling throughout the arbitration.

Jeremy B Winter, Baker & McKenzie Solicitors, 100 New Bridge Street, London EC4.

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