The President of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Sir John Armitt spoke at his inaugural Presidential Address of the changing role of civil engineers and the need for better stakeholder engagement and communication on major infrastructure projects.

Sir John, also a Commissioner on theNational Infrastructure Commission, said communicating in plain language and being prepared to consider alternative solutions is absolutely vital for gaining sufficient political and popular support, without which major projects cannot proceed.

“ICE – and each of us as individual engineers – has an important role here. We must all do more to communicate the long-term benefits of investing in our nation’s infrastructure, and we must do it in a way that avoids technical and complicated language that people outside our industry do not understand or associate with,” he said.

“It’s time for us to get more ‘tuned in’ to how we engage with the public. It’s time for us to shake off our image as the ‘technical calculators’ and get better at communicating who we are, what we are trying to do and importantly, why we are doing it. I look forward to driving this ethos forward during my term as ICE President.”

Sir John said the awe-inspiring capabilities of civil engineering were showcased with projects such as Crossrail, with its giant 1,000 tonne machines carving miles of twin tunnels under London.

CJ Associates is proud to have provided specialist stakeholder engagement and consultation expertise on major infrastructure projects including Crossrail, High Speed 2, Heathrow Airtrack, the Lower Thames Crossing and the East London Line Extension.

For more information see the Projects and Services sections of our website.

Watch the full recording of Sir John’s lecture