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I realise that I’m treading on thin ice with this subject-matter - engineers and other building professionals are often either ‘pro’ or ‘anti’ the use of computers and CAD with a fervour verging on the religious. But information technology, in all its diverse forms, is with us for good and, far from going away, it will penetrate our professional and domestic lives ever deeper as time goes by. What does concern me is that nowadays we engineers have tremendous analytical computing power at our disposal but I feel we are in danger of losing the ability (and maybe the responsibility) to design because of fragmentation and deskilling of the design function. There is also a growing tendency to turn the engineering design function into little more than a production line process because of the empowerment of computing tools available. Economic considerations, with reducing fees, falling workload, etc., are driving the profession ever more quickly toward this way of working. The end is not inevitable but, unless we promote the benefits of good engineering design to clients and other construction disciplines, I feel that it could be. It is not computers per se that are the problem, it is the way we are using them. D.J. Atherton
The South-Eastern Counties Branch was established in 1985, along with three other branches, to cover the area previously served direct from Institution headquarters. It has, therefore, the double distinction of being both the youngest branch and the branch with the largest membership. P.P. Brambley
From the beginning of time, stone has formed part of the culture and needs of man. As a material, it dates back nearly 400M years. Man’s recorded history is a mere 6000 years old. M. Wilson