Geological Society Ordinary General Meeting (arranged by the Engineering Group)

12 May 1971

University Teaching of Engineering Geology

Requirements of the Profession

1. Introduction. By R. Glossop.

Mr Glossop was of the opinion that most people, including geologists, knew very little of the structure of the civil engineering industry and thus it might be useful to give a brief description of the way in which the industry works.

The basic pattern of client, consulting engineer and contractor goes back to the very early days of civil engineering as a distinct activity, perhaps to Vauban early in the eighteenth century. Certainly it was established in England, very much in its modern form, by Telford in the early nineteenth century.

The responsibilities, duties and powers of the consulting engineer, which are considerable, were described, and the growth of contracting from the ‘labour masters’ was considered. This emerged during the age of canal construction and the early railway boom and grew to the leading modern firms equipped with enormous resources in plant, with design offices, laboratories and departments devoted to labour relations and to technical training, the whole controlled by a staff of qualified men. This change had been greatly encouraged by the establishment of the Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors in 1918, of which the first President had been Whitman Pearson, later Viscount Cowdray. In addition to its many other activities, the Federation had achieved its two original objectives, both of the greatest importance. These were the creation together with the Trades Unions concerned of the Civil Engineering Construction Conciliation Board for Great Britain, and the agreement together with the Institution of Civil Engineers and Association of Consulting Engineers

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