John Woodward, FIDE, MaPS, MIConstM – 19 November 2010

When I became a full member of this institute and collected my scroll from Charles Moran in November 2000 I looked around the room in awe that day at the talented demolition engineers present who were both inspirational to and  respected by new members such as myself, and I thought how proud I was to become accepted into the only institute for demolition engineers in the world.

Today as I stand before you as your newly elected President I again look around this room with awe at the talented demolition engineers, and particularly at those who are newly enrolled or working their way through to full membership as those engineers are the future of the industry that we all love, and I am immensely proud to be doing so as President.

It has often been said that I am a “life long demolition man” but that is not true as I moved into demolition from a career in civil engineering, however you could say that demolition runs in the family as my father, who is here today, spent many hours in 1944 blowing down bridges over the Irrawaddy River to prevent the Japanese over running Burma, so perhaps my love of demolition comes from that.

During the two years of my Presidency I intend to make the following a priority for the IDE:-

Actively encouraging enrolled members to sit the exam as soon as they are confident enough to do so and encourage AMIDE grade members to complete their portfolios, attend the professional interview and become full members.

To do everything possible to expand membership internationally to accept as members some of the t demolition engineers in USA, Italy, France, Spain, Brazil and from many other areas of the world, thus increasing both membership numbers and revenue.

This will NOT be done by lowering the standards of the IDE entrance criteria.

The IDE will NEVER be an institute where you can send a cheque and a CV and receive membership by return as that would open the floodgates for site staff from major contractors to become IDE members and try even harder to tell us how to do demolition. Major contractor employees try to tell us our jobs now, just imagine how much worse it would be if we actually allowed them to become members?

Of course to retain membership of our institute we require members to engage in continuing professional development (CPD) so it is my intention to promote at every opportunity the need for CPD as it is by far the best way to demonstrate to any potential employer or client that not only are you a competent engineer, but you maintain that competence by actively engaging in and recording CPD.

Proof of competence via CPD shows that IDE members fully understand legislation and guidance relating to demolition and I intend therefore for IDE to publish guidance on demolition related subjects such as remote demolition of asbestos cement sheet roofs, refurbishment and demolition management for example.

I intend to encourage greater co-operation and involvement with other similar organisations such as NFDC, IOSH, ICE, IOB, etc and to exchange views, opinions and best practice for the education of everyone who is prepared to listen either via IDE publications or IDE seminars and events where we intend to increase the numbers of non IDE members to encourage people to listen to what we have to say and to realise that what we say is from a base of knowledge, competence and supreme skill.

Your Council of Management are committed to the hard work required to continue to move the institute forward, profitably and at all times maintaining our professionalism and I am certain that they will be supportive of my priorities.

All members of the IDE, should be immensely proud of the fact that we are more skilled than any other profession in construction and more adept at developing new technology to improve performance, safety and recycling, by investing vast sums of money in new equipment and training for employees to ensure that demolition remains at the forefront of construction related trades.

We recycle the present to make way for the future.

Anyone can put a building up but it takes a trained, competent, skilled demolition engineer to take that building down safely. Anyone in this room who works in demolition should be really proud that we belong to such a highly skilled profession and you should never allow your skills to be under rated and undermined.

It has often been said that when electing a president you never who you have elected until six months into the presidential term and I am sure that there will be times in my presidency when I will express an opinion that you may not agree with, but let me reassure you that I speak from the heart with the passion that I have for both the industry and this institute.

And finally to borrow a few words from another President:

Ask not what the IDE can do for you, Ask what you can do for the IDE.