12th June was a Red Letter Day in the history of the IDE and one that has the potential to be the single biggest stepping stone in the growth of the reputation of our institute as a professional body.
Terry Quarmby, Vernon Watson and I attended a meeting with the Executive Assistant of the CIC (with whom I had been in contact and discussion for some time) and its Chief Executive, Graham Watts OBE, on 29th May. I think it fair to say that there was considerable mutual enthusiasm about the IDE considering membership of the CIC and the CIC’s executive board fully supported the IDE’s expression of interest at its meeting on 3rd June. At our own Council of Management meeting on 4th June we voted unanimously to confirm our interest in membership to the CIC. The final step in the journey came when the CIC Council met on 12th June and approved our membership.
But, you may ask, what is the CIC and what can it do for the IDE?
The CIC exists to provide cohesion amongst the professional organisations that plan, design, construct, manage and maintain the built environment. The CIC is an umbrella body that brings together over 40 professional (‘not-for-profit’) organisations in the built environment. Most of its work is focused on liaison with government and other national authorities. It also undertakes research and produces reports and reviews, often commissioned by Government.
Its use of ‘construction’, while relevant and properly descriptive at the time it was formed over 25 years ago, today the CIC’s activities cover the whole life of facilities and the managed landscape around them. It has a very strong relationship with the Construction Products Association. It operates the scheme for registration of Approved Inspectors. It represents professional interests in the Construction Leadership Council and the Strategic Forum for Construction and is a partner in ConstructionSkills. These bodies bring the industry together with government and its clients. The CIC has a regular dialogue and meetings with Ministers and officials in many government departments and fully supports the Chief Construction Adviser (who is formally seconded to BIS by the CIC).
The CIC has eleven National and Regional Committees, which are, in effect, mini-CICs: Northern Ireland, South-East & London, South-West, North-East, North West, East, East Midlands, Scotland, West Midland, Wales and Yorkshire & Humber. Members have the opportunity to join and participate in these groups.
Information dissemination is a key function for CIC and it alerts members to issues, particularly in relation to government activity, through an email newsletter and through a series of single page information notes and digests. Many members publish this information to their own membership, either electronically or via their own newsletter/journals.
Full members of the CIC are entitled to two seats on the Council and to attend member-only events during the year and are consulted by CIC on key issues and their views are taken into account wherever possible. Members are eligible to attend CIC conferences and seminars and to be represented on committees, task forces and project groups most closely connected with their principal activity.
An important point to note is that the CIC exists only as a council of its members. The members govern the activities of the CIC.
As for the members, there are associates who are bodies related to construction but which are not professional institutes and there are full members. In all there are 31 full members. Irrespective of their size all full members are equals in the CIC. Full members include all of the major construction institutes such as CIOB, RICS, RIBA, ICE, IStructE and CIBSE. They include also major research bodies such as BRE and BSRIA.
These bodies all have a voice and an influence. The IDE is now voice no. 32, and it is with this in mind that we can answer the question as to what the CIC can do for the IDE.
I think it can be summed up as ‘opportunity’.
By getting a seat at the table we have the opportunity to create a demolition agenda, we have the opportunity to influence at close quarters rather than having no effect at arm’s length, we have the opportunity for our professionalism to be heard.
As the focus of true sustainable construction begins to turn towards design for deconstruction we have the opportunity, as the demolition professionals, to influence the agenda and to bring coherence to a subject that, so far, has been addressed only in a fragmented way.
But impassively relying on the opportunity is not enough and asking what the CIC can do for us is only one side of the coin. To be a successful opportunity we have to fully engage with the work of the CIC. That responsibility will devolve largely upon the Council of Management and our National Secretary but all IDE members should be prepared to play a part.
We will need to engage not just nationally but importantly also regionally and having IDE members who are willing to take part in CIC regional committees and activities will ensure this.
As members you can help us frame the demolition agenda, you can help us deliver the demolition message and you can help us make clear that there is professionalism in the IDE that is equal to that in all other bodies and it is a professionalism that has to be listened to.
Michael R Ulyatt LLB(Hons) DipSurv
MRICS MIDE MCIOB MQSi
The content of this article represents the personal views of the author and nothing is to be taken as representing the views, opinions, policy or position of any other persons or organisations mentioned herein or of The Institute of Demolition Engineers.