Tuesday, 28 March 2017

High rising professionalism with IStructE – inspired by Andy Kenyon

https://jmsengineers.co.uk/Andy Kenyon (right) leads the East Midlands team of JMS and was Chairman of IStructE East Midlands until handing over to Steve Swindale (left) of Swindale Associates at the Chairman’s Installation Dinner on 10th February this year.

In its own words, “the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) is the world’s largest organisation dedicated to the art of science and structural engineering”.

With 27,000 members in 105 countries it is internationally recognised as a source of expertise and information concerning all issues involving structural engineering and public safety. 

It supports and protects professionalism within the industry, upholding professional standards and acting as the global voice for the qualities of structural engineers.

The IStructE President, Ian Firth (above centre), was guest of honour. During the formal part of the evening’s procedures he thanked Andy for his year in office and handed over the ceremonial chain of office to Steve.


Part of the institution’s remit is to nurture and support students from the earlier years of merely considering structural engineering as a career possibility, through the studious and vocational years that build their professional commitment.

Andy and his team chose this as their focus for his year in office, extending the institution’s dedication to professional standards, competence and recognition. Qualification is not just a ‘cash-for-letters’ exchange (that’s just membership!).

Qualification is a lengthy process first to build a portfolio of representative structural engineering projects, then to pass a 7 hour exam (which has a mere 30% pass rate). Both require hard work and guidance.

Mentoring student aspiration is no small task. We know, because it is a major part of the national JMS ethos conceived by Daniel Staines and thankfully shared by the whole JMS team.

Part of a regional chair’s role is to sit on the Council that forms the central body of IStructE. 

Here, Andy was able to represent issues arising from the regional technical meetings and professional review meetings, both of which form the essence of regional office activity.

Young Members Group (Midlands) in action
In his outgoing speech, Andy thanked his committee members for their support, in particular Chris Leese (also of JMS) for his work with young members. This focussed on the development of the regional Young Members Group, which Chris leads. Efforts here delivered a 30% increase in student membership in the year and an 11% increase in membership overall. 

Chris is also on the committee for Young Members in London, showing the efforts IStructE is making to encourage, develop and welcome fresh blood and professional insight into the world of Structural Engineering. 

The future?

Every town and city in every country across the globe is growing and will continue to do so. If we're not building towards to skies, we're sub-structuring towards Professor Lidenbrock's very core (Jules Verne). 

From Lidenbrock's discovery of giant mushrooms, to global desire for giant structures, materials are constantly changing as technology demands more. 

The physical laws and empirical knowledge, which are key to structural engineering theory, must move in time with changing material performances and geometries.  

IStructE ?  High rising professionalism - indeed.  

Many thanks to Andy Kenyon for his valuable contribution to this blog.  
For JMS Midlands, please call 02476 350 505.

We add value to every project we have been,
are, and will be equally proud to support.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Could Philip Hammond’s Spring Budget hail an Autumn fall for the construction industry?

Could Philip Hammond’s red box have contained yet another inappropriate gesture to further slow the required housing and commercial growth and infrastructure in this country?

As a result of his April Budget speech, he has been accused of plotting a tax raid on the self-employed with news that the Treasury will raise an extra £145m by 2022 through a series of (NI) national insurance rises.

The Chancellor said that to make the system ‘fairer’, NI contributions will rise for the self-employed by 9% to 10% from April next year. It will rise to 11% in 2019 – directly penalising those preferring or needing self-employment status.

Brian Berry, the chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said: “Increasing tax on the self-employed is not helpful. If we want to establish a resilient, Brexit-proof economy, we must encourage and support our current and future entrepreneurs in the construction industry and beyond.”

The flexible advantages of self-employment for technically capable young Civil and Structural Engineers may now be outweighed by these new financial penalties. The independence of self-management and self-ownership now has detrimental tax implications to add to others, such as the current surge in business rates and other onerous fiscal reporting responsibilities.

Many have seen this as their first step in developing their own consultancy, their own business, their first step on the entrepreneurial ladder to fame, fortune (and a decent motor car). First self-employment, then contracted relations, perhaps an LLP and eventual directorship of your own company or partnership. It’s the young entrepreneurial dream.

NI rises and the loss of tax relief on dividend payments now leaves the self-employed and ‘off-payroll’ contractor with much to think about.

But. Need you lose independence, flexibility, self-drive, proprietorial rewards (without proprietorial penalties) by stepping back into the fold of a forward thinking consultancy.

Daniel Staines, Group Managing Director, JMS Consulting Group Limited has been down this route and now has teams in offices in Manchester, the Midlands, London, Chelmsford and East Anglia. But these are teams with a difference. They have independent goals / budgets and the flexibility to grow each office as a self-driven business.

This doesn’t mean they don’t have guidance and it doesn’t mean they don’t have technical experience and skills in depth.

Structure is delivered through motivation, mentoring, systems and procedural regulation.
Technical skills sit behind the independent face of each office and the teams within them, in the form of an intranet of ‘cleverness’.

If there’s a big project in East Anglia - such as the redevelopment of multi-storey residential and commercial buildings along Ipswich’s Orwell waterfront - the project leaders can immediately double their resources by using specialist skills in London or Chelmsford for technical support
It is the self-motivation of would be self-employed individuals with entrepreneurial flair that keep the fuse wire of business development alight across JMS.

The friendly competition of business success between regions and within teams is balanced by the group hug of corporate ethos and reward.

If you are sitting in a lonely office wondering how to deal with your pay cut and increased overheads, be brave, step back into the fold but please – keep your sense of proprietorial self-drive.  

If you are interested in joining our progressive team, click on the logo below and select 'careers' on the JMS website - we're looking forward to hearing from you.

This blog was inspired by Daniel Staines and Philip Hammond 
- many thanks to both

We add value to every project we have been,
are, and will be equally proud to support.