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Re: European Engineering Standards

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On Mon, 13 Apr 1998 13:12:07 EDT, BVeit <BVeit(--nospam--at)aol.com> wrote:

>Graham Fitch CEng: 
>Sorry no can do on the sections.  But I'm curious about your title:
>Chartered Civil and Structural Engineer
>
>How does the process of becoming "legit" work in England?  

Badly!  You can almost hear me squeal as you stand on my corns! ;-)
In the UK anyone can prepare design work and submit calculations for Approval.
Furthermore, anyone can use the title "Engineer".  The "Chartered" bit of the title *is*
protected and is now awarded by the Engineering Council on the basis that one is a
corporate member of one of the Chartered Engineering Institutions.  I'm a member of both
The Institution of Civil Engineers and The Institution of Structural Engineers, hence the
double title.  About the only honour it confers is the privilege of paying two lots of
fees.

Qualification for either Institution requires a University Degree - BSc at Honours level -
although this will soon change to a Masters Degree to bring us into line with the rest of
Europe.  Following graduation (now I'm going from memory here as things have been
regularly changing over the 20 years since I had to worry about it) a minimum of 4 years
working under a training agreement - more if there is no agreement - followed by a stiff 8
hour examination for the Structs or a full day of interviews and essay writing for the
Civils.  If you want to look at this in any more depth then take a look at the Civil's
website http://www.ice.org.uk/

Checking of calculations is done by Local Authorities (Municipalities) and there is every
chance that the checking "engineer" is equally unqualified.  There was an attempt by the
Structs a number of years ago to bring in a system of self-certification and certification
by Chartered Engineers but, as I understand it, the legal and insurance ramifications were
horrendous and it fell through.

>After the EU really
>kicks in, can you practice in all EU countries?

Hmmmm.... this is where the corns really get it!  I've worked recently in both Holland and
Germany.  The systems are very different to the UK.  In both countries the University
confers the title of Engineer on the graduate - who has studied to at least Masters Degree
level.  I've not worked in France, but they plough a different furrow with their Ecole
system.  The learned societies in these countries are just that and confer no further
"professional qualification" on membership.

What is universal across Europe is that the British BSc together with CEng is *not*
recognised despite attempts at harmonisation.  One of the most amusing of these is an
organisation called FEANI which awards the title Eur Ing.  Around 85% of FEANI members are
UK engineers who thought they were getting their qualifications recognised in the rest of
the EU.   Those that have tried to work in Germany must have been *extremely*
disappointed!

As far as living and working in any of the European countries is concerned, that is no
problem and one has been able to do this for many years (my first job in Germany was in
1979).  However, if one wishes to be a Principle in a firm of Consulting Engineers, rather
than just the paid help, then there are still plenty of local hurdles to jump.  That said,
the mandatory MSc will remove most of those for the Brits.  

There are still major differences in each country with Approval procedures and who is
allowed to check work and sign drawings and calculations but that's another story.....

Regards
Graham Fitch CEng
Chartered Civil and Structural Engineer