FIDIC committee chairs discussed current trends and challenges in the consulting engineering industry in a busy Sunday morning seminar at the FIDIC International Infrastructure Conference today, reports Rob O'Connor from Mexico City.
Introduced by FIDIC CEO Nelson Ogunshakin, and moderated by John Gamble, president and CEO of ACEC Canada, panellists and speakers included Andrew Read (New Zealand), Steve Jenkins (New Zealand), Jorge Díaz Padilla (Mexico), Zoltán Záhonyi (Hungary), Peter Boswell, Moncef Ziani (Morocco), Aisha Nadar (Sweden), Angel Ferrigno (Argentina), Irawan Koesoemo (Indonesia), James Mwangi (Kenya), Kevin Rudden (Ireland), and Michele Kruger (South Africa).
The wide-ranging and thought provoking discussion outlined how FIDIC tools and services can respond to the needs of members around the world and covered three main themes:
- Market challenges in the consulting engineering industry;
- How FIDIC should be positioned to address technological and political challenges;
- Thinking globally to deliver locally.
Delegates discussed and exchanged ideas with the panellists who, between them, have specialised expertise and remits including dealing with FIDIC contracts, best practices, integrity and corruption matters, risk and liability of companies and sustainability management within the industry.
The seminar also saw hugely encouraging initial survey results from FIDIC’s new diversity and inclusion task force, set up to actively support representation and inclusion from more diverse groups so they can become leaders and influencers in the consulting engineering sector.
The task force began its work in December last year with a completely fresh agenda and its initial survey results, unveiled at the conference, found that:
- 40% of respondents were chief executives or managing directors;
- More than 90% of respondents agreed that diversity was welcome at all levels of business;
- 82% of respondents find intrinsic value in diversity;
- 58% of respondents feel diversity increased the level of new ideas and creativity.
Michele Kruger, chair of the FIDIC diversity and inclusion task force and associate director at CSVwater Consulting Engineers in South Africa, said: “One of the biggest delights was the huge percentage of top management who replied very positively to the survey.”
And, said Kruger, conference delegates in Mexico will be able play an important and active role in the survey’s ongoing research, with its eventual results playing a major role in FIDIC’s future policy initiatives to address areas needing attention.
“We’ll be continuing to ask people what have they done that was successful and what have they done that didn’t work. That research will continue, and the expanded survey results will then be unveiled at next year’s conference in Geneva,” said Kruger.
John Gamble, president and CEO of ACEC (Canada), was encouraged by the positive theme of the seminar. “I think it really reinforced that FIDIC’s core business is with its members and that the real advantage that FIDIC has is the more successful its members are the more successful that society becomes.
“We heard a lot about the contribution of consulting engineers and how they increase standards of living and help with sustainability. FIDIC exists to facilitate information sharing and best practices and the committee structure is being much more effective and ambitious in terms of its guidance to members, the value they provide to members and how we are adapting to change.”