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Structures work done by 'unqualified engineers', says IStructE chief

CIVIL ENGINEERS are carrying out work for which they are not qualified, according to the incoming President of the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE).

Bob McKittrick, who assumed the chains of office on Tuesday, told NCE that many civil engineers were carrying out structural engineering work but had not passed the IStructE's membership exam.

'People would not want doctors who are general practitioners doing heart operations.

Nor should general civil engineers be doing major structural engineering work.

'Yet there are a huge number of engineers who are not members of the IStructE but who are doing specialist structural engineering work, and who should prove themselves by passing the Part 3 examination, ' said McKittrick.

McKittrick, who is chief executive of consultant Scott Wilson's European division, said he was not doubting the competence of many of the engineers who were not IStructE qualified, but said there was a need to maintain specialist professional standards. Otherwise lapses could occur, with engineers working outside their field exposing the public to risk.

He said that reluctance to do the exam could stem from a belief that it is tough.

'The Part 3 exam is a hard, difficult exam, but if you are doing hard, difficult work every day then there is no reason why you should not be able to pass it, ' he said.

McKittrick said lack of involvement in the engineering institutions was particularly acute at company level and left the door open for the profession to lose control of its own direction. With weak institutions, government bodies would make decisions the profession should take for itself, he argued.

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