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Concrete In Australia : December 2014
FROM THE PRESIDENT 2 Concrete in Australia Vol 40 No 4 As you read these words, consider the process by which they were brought to you. The production and transport of paper, development and transmission of content, and printing and delivery of the final product require a vast range of different forms of engineering infrastructure that we take so much for granted that generally we do not give it a moment’s thought. Transport infrastructure, energy and water delivery systems, and the buildings that house the warehouses, printing presses and the offices involved in the production of a magazine, all require a wide range of engineering input, but concrete is a key component of the structures involved in all these areas. I have just attended the NSW Branch mini-conference, on the theme of ‘Pushing the Boundaries in Concrete Technology’, where the keynote speaker, James Aldred, reminded us that half of everything that is made, is made of concrete. For a material and technology that is so widespread, the engineers working in this field receive little recognition. The architects responsible for high profile projects are likely to receive individual recognition in the media, but not so those working on the engineering side, where the individuals and even the companies are likely to remain anonymous, outside engineering journals. It is not just in the general news media that lack of recognition is a problem though. In large engineering organisations of all types, the drive to reduce short term costs has seen a reduction in engineering expertise at all levels. The presentations at the ‘Pushing the Boundaries’ conference made it clear that big changes are to be expected in the world of concrete, with new materials, new methods of construction, and continuing advances in computer techniques. To take full advantage of the opportunities arising from those changes, the trend to reduce the status of engineers and engineering needs to be reversed. Those of us in a position to influence management policy need to emphasise the potential for high quality engineering to add real value and to reduce risks. We should all seek to change the image of an engineering degree from that of a path to a position in management to a rewarding career in its own right. From the Concrete Institute perspective, I want to draw attention to two of our activities that provide opportunities for increased recognition of engineers and engineering. Our long standing Awards for Excellence provides a formal path for the recognition of engineers and their work. The awards are now held at a state level, with the state winners going on to the national awards at the Biennial Conference, next to be held in Melbourne, in conjunction with international participants at the RILEM Week Conference. The success of the awards and the associated ceremonies depends on the receipt of high quality submissions in each of the categories (Projects, International, Technology, and the Sustainable Use of Concrete). This requires individuals from organisations with suitable projects to champion their work, and ensure a high quality submission. The second is the production of high quality technical documents and the dissemination of this information through nationwide seminars. The current focus of work is on the Institute’s durability documents. The original recommended practice document was published in 1990, and work on review and update of this document has been continuing since 2008. Work in this area is being led by Frank Papworth, with seven committees, each responsible for one of the seven documents that will make up the new series. The first two of the new documents will be issued to attendees at this year’s final national seminar series, who will also receive final drafts of four of the remaining five documents. These documents and the associated seminars are the voluntary work of a large group of some of the leading experts in their fields. Please take advantage of their work, both through study and use of the new documents, and attendance at the national seminars. Douglas Jenkins President, Concrete Institute of Australia firstname.lastname@example.org .au Championing engineering heroes National and NSW Branch Phone: 02 9955 1744 National: email@example.com NSW: firstname.lastname@example.org Queensland Branch Phone: 07 3892 6668 Email: email@example.com Victoria Branch Phone: 03 9804 7834 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org South Australia Branch Phone: 08 8362 1822 Email: email@example.com Western Australia Branch Phone: 08 9389 4447 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tasmania Branch Phone: 0414 957 638 Email: email@example.com Office contact details Douglas Jenkins 02 - President.indd 2 02 - President.indd 2 21/10/14 11:47 AM 21/10/14 11:47 AM