ICE PLANS to develop a single institution to represent all engineers (NCEI last month) have slowed after it agreed to concentrate first on uniting built environment engineers.
After discussions with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), the Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE) and the Institution of Incorporated Engineers (IiE), the ICE agreed that, to avoid delaying their already challenging timetable, it will instead work in parallel to develop a built environment engineering cluster.
In June ICE Council voted unanimously to work with the IMechE, IEE and IiE to develop a new 'Institution of Engineers'.
A budget of ú260,000 has been earmarked to work up proposals - an initiative called Project Nova - and a tight programme set that could see Council make a final decision as early as October.
A full vote by the membership would then follow within two months. If given the go-ahead, the institution could be in place by 2005 - although no name has yet been agreed.
Doug Oakervee, ICE vice president and chairman of the Project Nova steering group said he had spoken to the other three institutions and reported the ICE Council's resounding support for the creation of a new engineering institution.
But he pointed out that he had also made clear the need to 'embrace all disciplines involved with both construction and the engineering of our environment' throughout the process.
'As a result it has been agreed with the other three institutions that initially our efforts should be concentrated in this key area, ' he said. 'It is therefore our intention to explore this avenue with other important and involved institutions.' If this cluster was formed it would eventually sit alongside any new IMechE/IEE/IiE group.
The ICE will, however, still join with the IMechE/IEE/IiE on their joint steering group so that the two groups are compatible should plans to form a single body develop in the future.
'We will remain closely engaged with IMechE, lEE and liE to ensure that our goals continue to converge, ' said Oakervee.
'To maintain momentum on all fronts with all the necessary checks and balances in place, the collective efforts of the two groups will be focused on creating two clusters covering all sectors of engineering, which could be integrated at an appropriate time in the future, ' he added.