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IStructE's new President urges engineers to take collective action

Region: CROSS-UK Published: 14 March 2024


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Tanya de Hoog CEng FIStructE, President of the IStructE, invites structural engineers to participate in a collective call to action

The below is an excerpt from Tanya de Hoog's editorial piece for CROSS-UK Newsletter 72.  CROSS newsletters contain fire and structural safety reports, insight from our Expert Panels, and other safety information. You can follow this link to read Newsletter 72 in full.


In my inaugural address as 2024 IStructE President, I celebrated the vital role of engineers in upholding public safety, driving climate action, and positively impacting people. My address initiated a campaign, Engineering with purpose: aligning our values for global impact which centre on three key themes: 

1)   technical expertise
2)   collaboration; and 
3)   aligned action.

These will, I’m sure, chime with the CROSS community. First, the importance of technical expertise, and how essential it is for engineers to continuously learn and improve their skills and competencies. 

I feel strongly about sharing knowledge for community wide benefits - a feeling I know is not just shared by everyone involved with CROSS, but indeed is the very purpose of the scheme. CROSS shares Reporter’s experiences as widely as possible within the built environment, so everyone can learn from each other’s experiences and knowledge. 

Second, collaboration. It is vitally important that we work together with other professionals, both within the field of structural engineering and in other disciplines including fire safety, to achieve the best possible outcomes. By collaborating with others, we can pool our knowledge and expertise, and come up with innovative solutions to complex problems.

And finally, aligned action. I urge all those working in the development of the built environment to come together and take collective action to address the pressing issues facing our world, such as climate change and public safety. We can foster a culture of continuous improvement and collective responsibility, crucial for advancing the field and protecting the public and the environment. 

I shared in my speech, and I share with you now, three actions for the benefit of people and three actions for the benefit of planet, that you can commit to in 2024 to contribute to accelerated positive change.  

Many of these actions can be aligned with reading and contributing to CROSS Safety Reports.   

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I ask you to sign up to this call for action and commit to a specific personal or collaborative goal in 2024. 

One action, for example, could be submitting your own report to CROSS about a near miss, concern, or incident you have seen. Submitting a report is simple and, crucially, completely confidential. Content is anonymised and deidentified so learnings and advice can be shared within a no-blame culture. As well as publishing individual Reports, CROSS analyses trends in the matters being reported, so there is no issue too small to share. Collectively, small individual actions can make a big difference.

Again, this sentiment aligns with the ethos of my inaugural address. I believe that engineers can shape a world focused on both humanity and the environment and accelerate our impact by taking small individual, intentional actions together.   

We must align the technical rigour of engineering with our ethical and societal responsibilities. By focusing on safety, sustainability, and collaboration, engineers can create impactful solutions that go beyond mere construction, contributing to environmental conservation, human wellbeing, and global progress. This holistic approach ensures that the engineering profession remains relevant and respected, driving positive change, both within our own profession and in the wider world.

By working together, we can make a real difference.

Tanya de Hoog
CEng, FIStructE
2024 President of the Institution of Structural Engineers

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