Institution of Civil Engineers

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Institution of Civil Engineers
Institution of Civil Engineers.svg
Established 2 January 1818 (1818-01-02)
Type Civil engineering professional association
Professional title
Chartered Civil Engineer
Headquarters One Great George Street, London, England
Region served
  • Professional accreditation
  • Room hire
  • Library
  • Contract mailings
5,250 Fellows
38,834 Members
86,434 all grades
(as of December 2014)[1]
Cost: £186.50 - £370.25 (free for students)
Key people
  • Sir John Armitt (President)
  • Nick Baveystock (Director General)

Founded on 2 January 1818, the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) is an independent professional association, headquartered in central London.

About three quarters of ICE's 86,000 current members are British engineers,[1] but it also has members in more than 150 countries around the world. In November 2015, Sir John Armitt assumed office as the 151st President.[2]


As a professional body, ICE is committed to support and promote professional learning (both to students and existing practitioners), managing professional ethics and safeguarding the status of engineers, and representing the interests of the profession in dealings with government, etc. It sets standards for membership of the body; works with industry and academia to progress engineering standards and advises on education and training curricula.

Students pursuing recognised academic courses in civil engineering can join the ICE as student members - many undergraduate civil, structural and environmental degrees in the UK are "accredited by the ICE". After completing their studies, individuals can become graduate members – a step closer to achieving full Member status (MICE). The pinnacle of professional standing is to then be accepted as a Fellow (FICE).

The ICE also administers 13 Associated Societies created at different times to support special interest groups within the civil engineering industry, some of which are British sections of international and/or European bodies.[3]

The Institution's headquarters at One Great George Street


The Institution of Civil Engineers also publishes technical studies covering research and best practice in civil engineering. Under its commercial arm, Thomas Telford Ltd, it delivers training, recruitment, publishing and contract services, such as the NEC Engineering and Construction Contract. All the profits of Thomas Telford Ltd go back to the Institution to further its stated aim of putting civil engineers at the heart of society. The publishing division has existed since 1836 and is today called ICE Publishing. ICE Publishing produces roughly 30 books a year, including the ICE Manuals series, and 26 civil engineering journals, including the ICE Proceedings in eighteen parts, Géotechnique, and the Magazine of Concrete Research. The ICE Science series is now also published by ICE Publishing. ICE Science currently consists of five journals: Nanomaterials and Energy, Emerging Materials Research, Bioinspired, Biomimetic and Nanobiomaterials, Green Materials and Surface Innovations. ICE members, except for students, also receive the weekly New Civil Engineer magazine. This is not published by ICE Publishing, but by Emap.


The late 18th century and early 19th century saw the founding of many learned societies and professional bodies (for example, the Royal Society and the Law Society). Groups calling themselves civil engineers had been meeting for some years from the late 18th century, notably the Society of Civil Engineers formed in 1771 by John Smeaton (renamed the Smeatonian Society after his death). At that time, formal engineering in Britain was limited to the military engineers of the Corps of Royal Engineers, and in the spirit of self-help prevalent at the time and to provide a focus for the fledgling 'civilian engineers', the Institution of Civil Engineers was founded as the world's first professional engineering body.

The initiative to found the Institution was taken in 1818 by three young engineers, Henry Robinson Palmer (23), James Jones (28) and Joshua Field (32), who organised an inaugural meeting on 2 January 1818, at the Kendal Coffee House in Fleet Street. The institution made little headway until a key step was taken - the appointment of Thomas Telford as the first President of the body. Greatly respected within the profession and blessed with numerous contacts across the industry and in government circles, he was instrumental in drumming up membership and getting a Royal Charter for ICE in 1828. This official recognition helped establish ICE as the pre-eminent organisation for engineers of all disciplines.

The objects of such institution, as recited in the charter, and reported in The Times,[4] were

After Telford’s death in 1834, the organisation moved into premises in Great George Street in the heart of Westminster in 1839, and began to publish learned papers on engineering topics. Its members, notably William Cubitt, were also prominent in the organisation of the Great Exhibition of 1851.

For 29 years ICE provided the forum for engineers practising in all the disciplines recognised today. Mechanical engineer and tool-maker Henry Maudslay was an early member and Joseph Whitworth presented one of the earliest papers – it was not until 1847 that the Institution of Mechanical Engineers was established (with George Stephenson as its first President).[5]

By the end of the 19th century, ICE had introduced examinations for professional engineering qualifications to help ensure and maintain high standards among its members – a role it continues today.

The ICE's Great George Street headquarters, designed by James Miller, was built by John Mowlem & Co and completed in 1911.[6]

ICE Presidents

Many of the profession’s greatest engineers have served as President of the ICE including:

One of Britain's greatest engineers, Isambard Kingdom Brunel died before he could take up the post (he was vice-president from 1850).

The President for 2015 - 2016 is Sir John Armitt. Each year a number of young engineers have been chosen as President's apprentices.[7] The scheme was started in 2005 during the Presidency of Gordon Masterton, who also initiated a President's blog, now the ICE Infrastructure blog.[8] Each incoming President sets out the main theme of his or her year of office in a Presidential Address.

Female civil engineers

The first woman member of ICE was Dorothy Donaldson Buchanan in 1927. The first female Fellows elected were Molly Fergusson (1957), Marie Lindley (1972), Helen Stone (1991) and Joanna Kennedy (1992).[9][10]

The first (and to date only) female President was Jean Venables who became the 144th holder of the office in 2008.

In January 1969 the Council of the Institution set up a working party to consider the role of women in engineering. Among its conclusions were that 'while women have certainly established their competence throughout the professional engineering field, there is clearly a built-in or unconscious prejudice against them'.[11] The WISE Campaign (Women into Science and Engineering) was launched in 1984; by 1992 3% of the total ICE membership of 79,000 was female, and only 0.8% of chartered civil engineers were women.[12] By 2015 women comprised 11% of total membership, almost 7% of chartered civil engineers and just over 2% of Fellows.[1] In June 2015 a Presidential Commission on diversity was announced.[13]


The ICE library at One Great George Street

The Institution makes a series of awards to recognise the work of its members. In addition to awards for technical papers, reports and competition entries it awards a number of medals for different achievements.

Gold Medal

The Gold Medal is awarded to an individual who has made valuable contributions to civil engineering over many years. This may cover contributions in one or more areas, such as, design, research, development, investigation, construction, management (including project management), education and training.

Garth Watson Medal

The Garth Watson Medal is awarded for dedicated and valuable service to ICE by an ICE Member or member of staff.

Brunel Medal

The Brunel Medal is awarded to teams, individuals or organisations operating within the built environment and recognises excellence in civil engineering.

Edmund Hambly Medal

The Edmund Hambly Medal awarded for creative design in an engineering project that makes a substantial contribution to sustainable development. It is awarded to projects, of any scale, which take into account such factors as full life-cycle effects, including de-commissioning, and show an understanding of the implications of infrastructure impact upon the environment. The medal is awarded in honour of past president Edmund Hambly who was a proponent of sustainable engineering.

International Medal

The International Medal is awarded annually to a civil engineer who has made an outstanding contribution to civil engineering outside the United Kingdom or an engineer who resides outside the United Kingdom.

Warren Medal

The Warren Medal is awarded annually to an ICE member in recognition of valuable services to his or her region.

Telford Medal

The Telford Medal is the highest prize that can be awarded by the ICE for a paper.

James Alfred Ewing Medal

This award is made by the Council on the joint nomination of the president and the President of the Royal Society.

James Forrest Medal

The James Forrest Medal was established in honour of James Forrest upon his retirement as secretary in 1896.[14]

Jean Venables Medal

Since 2011, the Institution has awarded a Jean Venables Medal to its best Technician Professional Review candidate.[15] The winners have been:

  • 2011 (2011): Matthew Taylor[15]
  • 2012 (2012): Conor Glover[15]

Associated Societies

The Associated Societies provide continuing professional development and assist in the transfer of knowledge concerning specialist areas of engineering. There are 13 Associated Societies administered by the Institution of Civil Engineers. Several of the societies are British sections of European or international bodies, and many have links to the Institution going back many years.[16]

The Associated Societies are:

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Annual Report and Accounts 2014" (PDF). ICE. Retrieved 26 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. [1] (accessed 13 November 2015)
  3. Associated Societies (accessed: 19 July 2013)
  4. The Times, London, article CS102127326, dated 30 June 1828, retrieved 30 Apr 2004
  5. IMEchE Presidents (accessed 6 September 2013)
  6. "Burt Family". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 5 June 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "ICE President's Apprentices". Retrieved 26 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "ICE Infrastructure Blog". Retrieved 26 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Helen Stone becomes 3rd woman Fellow". CNPlus 22 August 1991. Retrieved 26 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Who says engineers lack culture". Construction Index 17 June 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  12. "For she's a jolly good Fellow". Arup Bulletin. July 1992. |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Hansford, Mark (25 June 2015). "Change bringer". New Civil Engineer: 20. Retrieved 26 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers. II. London: Thomas Telford Publishing. March 2008. ISBN 978-0-7277-3504-1. Retrieved July 19, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 "Jean Venables Medal". Institution of Civil Engineers. Retrieved 20 July 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "About the Societies". ICE. Retrieved 19 July 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Charles Matthew Norrie (1956). Bridging the Years - a short history of British Civil Engineering. Edward Arnold (Publishers) Ltd.
  • Garth Watson (1988). The Civils - The story of the Institution of Civil Engineers. Thomas Telford Ltd

External links