New advice to help cut the risk of infrastructure failure

The final In Plain Sight report, commissioned after the Grenfell Tower fire, calls on ICE and the wider industry to play a bigger part in empowering engineers to improve the safety of infrastructure.

From L-R: Professor Tim Broyd, Professor Peter Hansford, Dame Judith Hackitt, Kyle Clough
From L-R: Professor Tim Broyd, Professor Peter Hansford, Dame Judith Hackitt, Kyle Clough
  • Updated: 15 October, 2018
  • Author: Emma Beer

A new report calls on the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) to play a bigger role in empowering engineers to come forward with concerns about infrastructure safety.  

The In Plain Sight report was launched at an evening event at ICE’s London headquarters. It makes recommendations which, when enacted, will help to mitigate the risk of infrastructure failure across the built environment.  

The report was commissioned last year following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in London. Tim Broyd, then-ICE President, asked Professor Peter Hansford to chair a panel tasked with considering the state of current infrastructure and advise on whether any significant risks are ‘hiding in plain sight’.  

The government also commissioned an independent review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety in the aftermath of Grenfell from Dame Judith Hackitt, who spoke at the report launch event. 

An interim report was published last November. The final report challenges ICE, as a key industry institution, to lead on efforts to look at the industry's risk of infrastructure failure.   


It makes 11 recommendations, aimed at ICE and the wider industry, across the areas of lesson-sharing, competence and governance.  

For example, one of the recommendations is to "establish an electronic system that captures ICE members’ Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activities, increasing tenfold the CPD returns audited annually; and work with the Engineering Council to explore introducing periodic mid-career peer reviews." 

Professor Peter Hansford, panel chair, said he was looking forward to seeing the whole construction sector take forward the recommendations.  

“As professional engineers, we already know many of the factors that can contribute to the risk of infrastructure failure and we must remain diligent and critical to ensure they don’t stay hidden. 

"This report is about empowering us to have a voice throughout the whole life of the infrastructure we design, construct and operate.” 

ICE leading the way

Kyle Clough, ICE Vice President, said that safety will always be the number one priority for all engineers, and through the implementation of these recommendations ICE will continue to lead efforts to keep our society safe.   

“It is essential that professional engineers feel able to speak up about any concerns they might have, and are provided a clear, confidential way of doing so.

"Further, it is only by sharing the knowledge about these concerns, accidents or near-misses that the industry can learn and take the necessary steps to stop them happening again.”  

The report will be presented to the ICE Council in December, where a decision to endorse the recommendations will be made.    

Download this report