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ICE Council update October 2023

19 October 2023

At its October meeting, the council heard updates on the Benevolent Fund, the CPD consultation and engagement with external organisations.

ICE Council update October 2023
ICE President Keith Howells.

October’s meeting was kindly chaired on my behalf by Steven Robertson, deputy chair of the ICE Council.

Benevolent Fund

The ICE Council was pleased to hear from chief executive Kris Barnett who offered an overview of the valuable work the fund does.

Whereas the ICE looks after members professionally, the Benevolent Fund looks after members and their families personally.

The charity, which is closely aligned to the ICE, offers enabling services such as support back into work, cash grants, and financial advice.

They also offer an online resource library as well as a 24-hour wellbeing helpline in addition to offering webinars and partnerships with experts.

It’s reassuring to know that Kris and her team are doing an excellent job at providing support for our members and their dependents so do let your colleagues know about the services on offer.

How the ICE works with other organisations

Dr Piers Clarke, executive chairman of Isle Utilities, a specialist water consultancy business, offered council members some insight into the Water Action Platform, a forum for the sharing of learning and best practice across the water sector.

It’s an excellent example of collaboration involving over 1,900 people from over 1,200 organisations across 110 countries and its work has been greatly supported by our relevant Community Advisory Board (CAB).

He also talked about a groundbreaking ‘trial reservoir’ which provides a new source of funding to accelerate the adoption of technologies which can help the water sector achieve carbon neutrality.

The council also heard from Kari Sprostranova, health, safety and wellbeing director at Mace Construct on the Stamp It Out campaign.

The campaign aims, among other things, to reduce incursions into traffic management and increase the profile of roadworker abuse.

It was shocking to hear of the abuse that many roadworkers are subjected to in the course of their work and pleasing to hear that the campaign is working effectively to look at ways that this can be eradicated.

Finally, Melissa Ayres from Sheffield University presented the work of the Translational Energy Research Centre (TERC) and the Sustainable Aviation Fuels Innovation Centre (SAF-IC).

Both centres were established within the last three years and offer pilot scale demonstration facilities, working with industry to test and develop green energy solutions for a decarbonised future.

SAF-IC is the UK’s first R&D facility that can develop, test, validate and help certify new aviation fuels all in one location.

It’s hugely exciting to see the role that the ICE is playing in supporting sectors that are at the very centre of public discourse as they strive to meet the climate change challenge.

CPD consultation

As many members will know, the institution is consulting on what CPD should be required of professionally qualified members and how they should demonstrate their compliance.

It was launched at the request of the ICE’s trustees and is the next stage of an ongoing process which follows the publication of the In Plain Sight report, and the UK government’s Building a Safer Future report which looked at the duty of professionals and institutions to ensure that the public is kept safe.

The reports called for the ICE and its fellow PEIs to pay greater attention to ensuring a culture of continuous learning, and developing a more structured approach to CPD.

The council was pleased to hear from the director of membership, Séan Harris, that good progress is being made with the consultation, with a full set of member workshops booked and almost 1,000 responses to the recent survey.

CPD is a topic that ignites interest in many members and a range of views were heard. The council urged the ICE to consult as wide a range of members as possible to get a broad range of views.

If you haven’t done so already, I urge you to have your say on the future of CPD.

The results of the consultation will be presented to ICE’s Trustee Board who will make a decision on the outcomes of the process. Members will also be able to see the results when they are published on the ICE website.

Progress on decarbonisation

Director of engineering knowledge, Mark Hansford, took the council through some the projects that the ICE has been working on as part of its decarbonisation strategy.

As a partner with BSI on its launch, the ICE continues to create opportunities to promote adoption of PAS 2080, and its State of the Nation report early next year will look at this and a number of ways that the industry can progress the UNSDGs.

The Built Environment Carbon Database is another promising piece of work that the ICE is collaborating on.

It’s envisioned to become the main source of carbon estimating and benchmarking for the UK construction sector to develop a calculator that could be used to generate carbon and cost values. It’s a promising piece work that could offer significant help for industry.

The ICE is also looking at its own carbon management plan so that members can be assured that it’s mindful of the impact it has on the world and looks to reduce carbon across its estate.

It’s also working with Thomas Telford on the X29 clause in NEC which looks at how projects can promote good practice around carbon by introducing the option to mandate carbon reduction initiatives

It was clear from the latest ICE Survey that ICE members need help to understand how they can apply decarbonisation principles to their work.

The ICE continues to develop learning resources to support carbon literacy and is working on embedding decarbonisation into members’ CPD requirements.

Design champions

Following an engaging discussion at the April council meeting, at which several useful suggestions from council members were heard, Mark Hansford also presented an update on the requirement from the government that all projects should include a design champion.

Postholders would facilitate delivery of the NIC’s design principles, which seek to ensure that projects are designed with respect for people and places while addressing climate and delivering value – both core ICE Plan themes.

The ICE has made good progress in examining the scope of what skills a design champion should have and a steering group is now examining the guidance it offers to the NIC’s Design Group and wider industry.

Council chair

This was my last ICE Council day as president.

I’m hugely grateful to council members who have participated so energetically in the institution’s business.

I have very much enjoyed my time as chair and will remain on council as immediate past president in the coming year.

I look forward to continuing to participate in many more conversations about how the ICE and wider industry can tackle the challenges we face as a society.

I’m also grateful to those council members for whom this was their last meeting.

  • Keith Howells, president 2022/23 at Institution of Civil Engineers