FIDIC NACE Guide - DOC by fionan

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       BP 311, CH-1215 Geneva 15

              March 1998

INTRODUCTION                                            2

     CONSULTING ENGINEERS                               3




     CONSULTING ENGINEERS                              19

6.   STRUCTURING OF SUBSCRIPTIONS                      38

             OF NEW CONSULTING ENGINEERING PRACTICES                                                                                                    41

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FIDIC Guidelines for constitution ofnational association

It is general experience that both the consulting engineering profession and
society in any country benefit by the formation of a National Association of
Consulting Engineers (NACE). FIDIC, the International Federation of Consulting
Engineers, whose members are NACEs, is concerned about the well-being of
the profession and has in its Statutes the objective of encouraging the
formation of more NACEs.

This booklet was originally prepared by a FIDIC Task Committee. The
Guidelines seek to share the experience available from many different countries
about setting up a NACE.

Consulting Engineers play a significant role in developing socio / techno
/economic programmes in any country and so it is of particular importance to
further the growth of the profession world-wide. An important objective of these
guidelines is, therefore, to offer basic advice to those of our colleagues who
may be contemplating the formation of a NACE.

A new NACE need not be large and in many cases will be small. A well
organized and non-bureaucratic association of one or two dozen members can
be operational and effective. All the same, statutes and procedures must be
suitable for expansion. To cater for this, and to give adequate advice also to
countries with an immediate potential for a rather large membership, the
guidelines contain a fairly detailed description of the organization and activities
of a large and well established NACE. Hopefully, this will at the same time
make the booklet useful to existing NACEs, who may be looking for ideas and
some concrete advice as to how the structure of the association can be
modelled to cope with growth.

To facilitate application, if a NACE should aspire to membership of FIDIC, the
recommendations for statutes have been based on FIDIC's requirements in this
respect. However, the main purpose of FIDIC's initiative in sponsoring these
guidelines remains to inspire and to encourage Consulting Engineers in a
country where there is no NACE to form one. They will probably find their
government taking a keen interest in the plans. It is strongly recommended that
they discuss the formation with the public authorities at an early stage. This
may result in invaluable support not only in the birth process but for life.

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In preparing this booklet it has been impossible to cover every detail of the
subject. However, the guidelines have been sub-divided to provide fairly self-
contained descriptions of the different aspects in varying degrees of detail.

The first three sections concerning The Role of a NACE (1), the Advantages of
a NACE to its Members and Society (2) and Relations to FIDIC and other
NACEs (3) have been kept in rather general terms.

The section Preparation of Statutes of a NACE (4) contains recommendations
in somewhat broad terms. It should serve as a cheek list of the most important
items to be dealt with in the Statutes.

The Running of a NACE (5) concerns day-to-day problems and has been given
a relatively elaborate and thorough, treatment. The chapter should be
considered as a transfer of experience from the established to the new NACEs.
The recommendations may, therefore, serve the pioneers of a new NACE
according to their own judgement.

The problems connected with financing have been dealt with separately in
Structuring of Subscriptions (6).

The Guidelines are rounded off with the two sections Support that can be
obtained from FIDIC and Other Sources for the Setting Up of a NACE (7) and
The NACE and the Establishing of New Consulting Engineering Practices (8),
the latter being a brief note on the encouragement a NACE should offer in
relation to the establishing of new practices.

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FIDIC Guidelines for constitution ofnational association

The Role of a NACE is best described by its aims and policies. A NACE should
have its aims put down in a concise statement. In order to avoid frequent
changes they should not be too narrow or detailed.

The NACE must also decide on the policies it will adopt to further the aims. The
statement of policies is the framework for the association's activities, all fields of
which should be mentioned, without being too specific under each item. There
must be room for changes or additions. If the list is too ambitious to cope with
simultaneously, the activities will have to be taken up in order of priority.

The aims and policies must be made as clear and consist as possible.

1.1             AIMS

The aims of a NACE would normally be:

-     to develop the consulting engineering profession to the benefit of Clients
      and the public welfare

-     to protect and to promote the interests of consulting engineers in private
      practice and to further the reputation of the profession

-     -to further the interchange of professional, management and business
      experience and information among the members.

1.2             POLICIES

In furtherance of the stated aims a NACE would be expected to have the
following policies:

1.2.1           To clarify in the minds of the public and clients the functions of an
                independent consulting engineer.

This is an essential task for the NACE. A fairly widespread public knowledge
about the functions of a consulting engineer is fundamental to all its other tasks
and, of course, to the growth of the profession. Even in countries with firmly
established NACEs it is surprising how often one can meet people in important
private or public office who know very little or nothing about the profession, or
worse, who have wrong or misunderstood information. To remedy this situation
a permanent and continuous effort is required.

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1.2.2           To make clients and the public aware of the profession, its values
                and services

This concerns the profession as a whole, the services it can render society, and
the mutual benefits which lie in co-operation between society and a profession
of independent consulting engineers organised in a NACE.

1.2.3           To speak with a common voice to government and other

Consulting Engineering is not a profession of high capital or numerous
employees. Therefore, to be heard, the profession in a country needs all the
cohesion it can get. Unity and co-ordination improve the strength of
representation and thereby assist in this objective.

1.2.4           To promote ethical standards and ensure their observance

This is necessary to maintain the reputation of the profession. It is also
necessary to introduce strict rules and practical means to ensure their

1.2.5           To promote and protect the membership criteria laid down in the

The membership criteria as to education, experience and professional conduct
constitute the backbone of the NACE and shape its profile. The profile must be
sufficiently well defined to be promoted and defended. The NACE should
always maintain clarity and consistency as to its profile.

1.2.6           To strive continuously to ensure and to develop the professional,
                technical, management and business competence of its members

Competence is a fundamental and strong argument for the profession, perhaps
the strongest. It is easier to explain and to demonstrate than other criteria. The
membership criteria should contain the minimum requirements as to pro-
fessional competence. For further development it must be a policy to foster the
interchange of professional, technical, management and business experience
and information. Meetings, seminars, periodicals and publications are an
important means in this respect.

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1.2.7           To establish consulting engineers in a relationship with other
                engineering bodies, institutions, professions, etc.

Having been united in a NACE, the profession must use its strength to play its
role in the structure of the organizations and institutions of the country,
automatically promoting the profession in the process. Organized interchange
with complementary professions is very important. Close relationship with
educational institutions is valuable as it guides the thinking of future clients and

1.2.8           To provide an avenue for international contact by its members

Know-how flows across the borders of all nations. A NACE with its connection
to international bodies like FIDIC, can provide a two-way traffic in developing its
members' own skill. The NACE, as a national body, is likely to develop wider
contacts at the international level than an individual member. International
contacts are necessary for the development of the consultancy profession in
any country, both for the individual member and the NACE.

1.2.9           To identify and represent the local characteristics that may have
                developed in the country among consulting engineers

A NACE should not try to be identical with others at all costs. It is part of and
must fit in with its own society. Not to do so could easily make the start of a
NACE extraordinarily troublesome and maybe kill the initiative. However, if the
NACE is a member of FIDIC, it must be in line with FIDIC's framework of rules
for the profession.

1.2.10 To promote the use of standard procedures and systems where

Standards such as the Client/Consultant Model Services Agreement ("the
White Book"), Tendering Procedures, FIDIC Standard Conditions of Contract
for Construction, ("the Red Book"), and for Plant and Design-Build (“the Yellow
Book”) have been proved to be very useful tools in promoting the profession
and easing the task of individual firms whether they work on a domestic or
international basis or both.

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FIDIC Guidelines for constitution ofnational association

The role of a NACE has already been described. The advantages to its
members and society lie in the role played by the NACE. A certain amount of
repetition is, therefore, to be expected in this section. However, it has been
included to provide "a list of arguments". It may be used to convince colleagues
as well as society of the advantages to be gained by the formation of a NACE.

Many of a NACE's functions are mutually advantageous to its members and
society. In the following sections they are examined separately.



-     promotes the profession as a whole. It disseminates information about the
      functions of the consulting engineer and of the NACE;

-     imposes suitable codes of ethics and practice. By promoting efficient,
      competent and honourable dealings amongst practising engineers the
      reputation of the profession is strengthened;

-     is instrumental in supporting the members with regard to professional
      competence and to the commercial and organizational aspects of practice
      as well;

-     facilitates joint representation (also with other professional organizations) on
      common professional matters to the Government. For example in many
      countries, it has been a general experience that the decisions on matters
      related to the selection of consultants, payment of fees, etc., are decided by
      non-technical civil servants or politicians. The NACE can assist by offering
      competent opinions based on professional knowledge;

-     encourages contacts among individual Members of different engineering
      expertise or people belonging to different professions. Thereby the formation
      of suitable consortia for undertaking consultancy work involving
      multidisciplinary jobs is facilitated;

-     reacts with FIDIC on matters related to transfer of information. FIDIC
      comprises more than 60 member countries having varying experiences. The
      pooled information can assist the members in overcoming their difficulties

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-     can frame and recommend its own terms of engagement and methods of
      remuneration within which the members charge fees. The NACE promotes
      the idea of “Quality Based Selection” so as to avoid price competition
      amongst the members which will inevitably lead to a reduction in the quality
      of services provided.

To meet the objective of enhancing the general level of engineering know-how
and business competence, the NACE diffuses information to the Members on
these subjects. Publishing technical periodicals and having regular seminars
are common means in this respect. Seminars may be the most effective, but it
is common experience that it is difficult to collect consultants at any given time,
however interesting or important the topic may be. Moreover, the distance
between cities may deter the members from congregating. In such events, the
NACE will put more weight on publication of journals or bulletins to propagate
ideas of professional interest.

The NACE works for an understanding among clients of the importance of a fair
fee level. Any fee scales or regulations of charges must be seen against the
background that the scope and depth of consulting services are as difficult to
define as to measure.

Independent consulting engineers acting on their own may tend to undercut
normal fee levels as a short-term measure. This is a dangerous practice for
society because, as mentioned before, it will eventually bring down standards in
consultancy. Invariably this will be reflected in the standard of work in the
construction sector as a whole. It is a self-destructive practice to the profession
which can snowball into lowering the fees to unworkable and unprofitable limits.

In countries without a NACE there may be little or no controlling influence,
whereas in countries where the profession stands united in an association the
problem can be fought effectively.

The most successful NACEs in this respect seem to be those where
recommended fee scales have been accepted by client organizations and



-     helps to secure the availability of independent, competent techno/economic
      advice to the private and public sectors;

-     speaks for independent practitioners and is a valuable partner in the
      business structure of a nation. By its sheer existence and potential for
      unbiased advice the NACE is important to the business life of any nation;

-     furthers professional etiquette and will inform clients and society about the
      duties and the expected professional conduct of the consultants;

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FIDIC Guidelines for constitution ofnational association
-     can supervise and discipline erring members who may harm both the
      profession and society by malpractice;

-     can give Parliament, Elected Legislature, Government and other public
      bodies, facilities to ascertain the views of consulting engineers as a
      professional body on matters of national interest;

-     becomes an organised body enabling consulting engineers to carry on a
      mutually advantageous dialogue with manufacturers, contractors, and other
      engineering bodies on matters of national interest. A new NACE will soon
      realise that development of consultancy alone is not sufficient. There has to
      be all round development in construction, in manufacturing of connected
      equipment, materials, etc. The NACE can, thus, play a significant role in
      co-operation with other organizations and educational institutions of the
      country and pioneer the development of new technology. This is an
      essential aspect of the socio-economic and cultural evolution;

-     can be an instrument to promote exports of consulting engineering services
      and to channel and ensure that technological transfer takes place. Thus it
      furthers the building up of internationalized expertise within the country.

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FIDIC Guidelines for constitution ofnational association

FIDIC plays much the same role on an international level for the NACEs as the
individual NACE plays for its members on a national level. As to direct
collaboration between NACEs, it is a FIDIC policy to further such relations in
order to have a fruitful exchange of experience related to common problems.

3.1             RELATIONS WITH FIDIC

3.1.1           FIDIC’s Membership Criteria

Articles 3.1 and 3.2 of FIDIC’s Statutes outline the membership criteria for the
NACEs of FIDIC They read as follows:

             1. Full voting membership of the Federation shall comprise the duly
             elected Associations or Federations of Consulting Engineers
             representing the industry in their respective countries, subject to Article
             8.5. Such membership shall be restricted to one Association or
             Federation in each country. Non-voting membership classification are
             listed in Article 3.3. All references to membership or to Member
             Associations in these Statutes and By-Laws are reference to the full
             voting membership described in this Article. The word "Association(s)"
             will be deemed to include the term "Federation(s)" for the purposes of
             these Statutes.

             2. To qualify for membership of the Federation an Association must
             demonstrate that its Statutes, By-Laws and regulations ensure that its
             members comply with the FIDIC Statutes , By-Laws and Code of Ethics.
             The following principles apply:

             (i) Scope of Membership:

             (a)Member Associations may only include among their membership
             suitably qualified individuals or firms whose principal income is derived
             from the provision of consulting services to clients for a fee.

             (b)The scope of such consulting services shall be engineering and
             related disciplines.

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FIDIC Guidelines for constitution ofnational association
             (ii)          Legal Status:

             Member Associations may only include amongst their members
             individuals, partnerships, firms that are properly constituted as separate
             legal entities, or employees of such firms. All members shall practise
             without the benefit of financial subsidies or preference from any outside
             ownership that may exist.

             (iii)        Professional Conduct:

             Member Associations shall ensure that a member firm subscribes to and
             respects the Statutes and Code of Ethics of the Member Association,
             and hence that their members, individuals and firms:

             (a) act solely in the legitimate interest of the client.This principle should
                 not be affected by outside ownership or any connection with another
                 person or oganisation;
             (b) be remunerated for their consulting services solely by their client. No
                 direct or indirect benefit shall be received from any other party
                 without that client's knowledge.

             (iv)         Professional Qualifications:

             FIDIC strives for a high standard of competence and professional perfor-
             mance of its membership. Member Associations in their statutes shall
             define the professional qualifications and experience which are required
             as a prerequisite for membership.

             (v)             Additional Criteria:

             Member Associations may require stricter membership criteria which
             exceed the basic requirements set out by FIDIC.

At present more than sixty countries are represented in FIDIC. Thus, FIDIC is
an important international forum for the exchange of information and
experience between the member associations.

FIDIC supports the NACEs by promoting the profession on an international
level with all the development and financing institutions. FIDIC can also support
the individual NACE in its domestic Public Relations and Marketing programme.

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FIDIC Guidelines for constitution ofnational association
3.1.2           As a member of FIDIC the NACE can:

-     make its opinions known and contribute to the shaping of FIDIC,

-     appoint delegate to the yearly GAM and FORUM. (GAM is the General
      Assembly Meeting and the FORUM is a yearly meeting of members of
      NACES on matters related to the profession, normally held in conjunction
      with the GAM. The GAM and FORUM together are often referred to as the
      Annual Conference.) Under the Statutes of FIDIC, a NACE may be
      represented at the GAM by a delegate of another NACE.

-     encourage members of the NACE to attend the GAM and FORUM in their
      private capacity
-     attend FIDIC regional seminars. These are arranged periodically on
      selected themes in different geographical locations to facilitate attendance
      by members of NACEs in the area

-     obtain and disseminate FIDIC documents, information about meetings,
      seminars, etc.,

-     and the NACE should:

-     participate in supplying FIDIC with general information, data for statistics,
      input to papers, etc., in order to help FIDIC support the member

-     put forward to FIDIC important observations regarding the profession's
      problems and successes, thereby helping FIDIC to keep abreast of new
      ideas and developments.


FIDIC furthers such relations in three ways:

3During the Annual Conference a meeting takes place between Secretaries
and Managing Directors of NACEs. This provides an excellent opportunity of
discussing practical matters and exchanging experience between the persons
in charge of daily operations of the NACEs.

By the FIDIC Secretariat serving as a round-the-year centre for exchange of
information. The secretariat also helps in establishing direct contact between

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3.2.1           By promoting the idea of regional exchanges

The NACEs in a particular geographical area may meet on a regular basis for
discussions of matters of mutual interest. The purpose is to establish a forum
between geographically and culturally linked NACEs. The professions in such
countries may very well share problems to a large extent. Close and rapid lines
of communication can easily be established, both in a formal and informal way.
Exchange of inspiration and experience has proved extremely useful in the
existing informal groupings in dealing with a number of topics of which some
examples are listed below:

-       Organisation of the NACE
-       (Procedural matters, Council meetings, meetings of members, formation of
       committees, etc.),
-       Organisation of the secretariat, staffing, cost, etc.
-       Ideas for new activities
-       Successful campaigns

One NACE may have been particularly successful with an action plan on for
example the following issues:

-       government relations
-       relations with other professions
-       fighting price competition
-       competition from contractors
-       public relations and marketing
-       Specific “standing" problems.

All NACEs are continuously dealing with subjects such as

-       professional liability and insurance
-       subscription, size and model
-       fees, standard scales
-       technical development
-       export
-       joint ventures

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FIDIC Guidelines for constitution ofnational association

National Associations of Consulting Engineers, which are members of FIDIC,
show a wide range of size, scope of activity and historical background. At the
larger end of the scale they may have many thousands of members who might
be individuals or firms and, possibly, local associations from the State or
Provincial level. They will have full time Secretaries and numerous sub-
committees handling different aspects of their multiple activities.

Many NACEs are, however, smaller and possibly newer. Their membership
may only be a few dozen people, a number of whom might not even reside in
the country in question. Such associations tend to keep their Statutes and their
affairs relatively simple, relying solely on the efforts of their committee
members, in their honorary capacity, to carry out the various functions which
they set for themselves.

Accordingly, in these guidelines it is not possible to lay down comprehensive
detailed rules for the Statutes of a NACE. The FIDIC Secretariat and the FIDIC
Membership Committee will always be pleased to offer advice in matters
concerning the framing of suitable Statutes. FIDIC will make available on
request relevant examples of Statutes and those considering the drafting of
Statutes for a NACE should avail themselves of existing Statutes approved by
FIDIC. Such "models" can be useful while drafting the statutes in accordance
with the national requirements.

4.1.            TERMINOLOGY

Before approaching the recommendations for the Statutes it is necessary to
define the terminology used in the following section.

A NACE can be incorporated and as any other company be subject to the
national legislation on corporations. Alternatively, the NACE may have the form
of an association which is not incorporated.

A NACE is governed by a Board or Council headed by a Chairman or

Finally, it is important to note that a NACE may consist of members being firms
or members being individuals, or both. In the first case the firms are
represented in the NACE by persons fulfilling the same requirements as
individual members.

The term member is generally used in describing firms or individuals. However,
where differentiation is needed to avoid confusion, the terms of member firms
or individual members are used.

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FIDIC Guidelines for constitution ofnational association

The remainder of this chapter is devoted to a rather broad description of many
of the clauses which the Statutes should include. No attempt has been made to
use the “legal language" of a solicitor drawing up Statutes for a NACE. The
chapter, however, indicates broad guidelines and provides a check list of some
of the aspects which should be considered in the preparation of such Statutes,
regardless of size, members, etc.

For the sake of clarity it is assumed in the following that, unless otherwise
stated, the NACE takes the form of an association not being incorporated.

4.1.1           Legal Status

The lay-out of the Statutes will be affected by whether the NACE is
incorporated or not.

Associations having corporate status may have their Statutes divided as
between a Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association. The word
"limited" is often excluded from the title of an incorporated association.

Other NACEs have only one document, the By-laws or the Statutes of the

4.1.2           Memorandum of Association

The Memorandum of Association is a statement of the objects and purposes of
the NACE. The Memorandum normally states in which town the association is
domiciled. To be near government offices and the business sector in general, it
will normally be of advantage to choose the country's capital. The exact
address of the registered office should be carefully considered. A permanent
address is by far the most preferable, although it is recognised that it may be
necessary to start up in an office of one of the members with the risk of having
to change office to a more permanent place after a rather short period of time.

A clear statement of aims is of great importance since it reflects the role of the
association (see Section 1).

A number of associations have a clause which distinguishes the association
from a Trade Union.

It is normal to stipulate that the income and property of the association may
only be used to further the interests and objectives of the association. Under no
circumstances may they be paid to the members of the association, even in the
event of dissolution. In the latter case they should be donated to another
organization with similar objectives.

All NACEs require that their members should undertake any payments due to
creditors on the possible winding-up of the association, but such liability may be
limited to an amount of money stated in the Statutes.

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The Memorandum normally requires that accounts of the NACE must be kept
and audited, and be open for inspection by members.

4.1.3           Articles of Association

Articles of Association describe the actual operational part of the NACE.

It is normal to define all the appropriate terms. These would include the law
under which the Statutes are established and such internal terms as
"Association", "Council". "Consulting Engineer", "Committees", "Office Bearers",
"Secretary", and so forth.

Of particular importance is the definition of a Consulting Engineer. Some
associations also define a Firm of Consulting Engineers. Such definitions must
be closely cross-related to the qualifications for membership of the association
with particular reference to such matters as non-influence of contracting and
manufacturing organizations, see Section 3.1. Some countries prevent practice
under limited liability, although the trend seems to point away from such

4.1.4           Membership

Frequently those engineers initiating a NACE become the Pioneer Members
and their names are contained in the Statutes. Provision is made for the
admission of further members.

In setting the qualifications for membership a balance has to be struck. On the
one hand extremely high qualifications lead to low membership and over-
exclusivity, while on the other hand low qualifications may not lead to the
establishment of acceptable standards. In general standards should accord with
the minimum requirements of FIDIC wherever these are laid down. For
example, the standard of Professional Conduct must be at least as rigid as that
defined by FIDIC, see Article 3.2(iii) of FIDIC’s Statutes in section 3.1.

It is normal to require that all members shall be practising consulting engineers
whether individually or in a firm and that they shall practise Consulting
Engineering as their primary occupation.

A minimum number of years of professional practice are generally required and
some associations stipulate a minimum age for membership.

Members should have an appropriate class (usually the highest) of membership
of the local National Engineering Institution or its equivalent and/or membership
of recognised learned engineering institutions of other countries.

A member must be prepared to adhere to the Rules for Professional Conduct of
his association, together with any rules or supplementary interpretations of the
Statutes which Council may introduce. In some instances it is required that all
of the Partners or Co-Directors of a member shall likewise adhere to the rules
whether or not they are members themselves. In other instances it is required

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that a member does not "represent” more than a certain number of employees
in his firm. In other words, the association wants a certain density of members
in each firm helping to ensure that the correct principles are followed in all
corners of a firm. Due care should, however, be taken to ensure that large firms
do not get over-represented in gaining voting rights in the NACE.

Many NACEs have a requirement that members shall either be resident in the
country or partners/directors of a resident practice. In some cases there are
nationality requirements and a special category of overseas membership might
be allowed for. In other cases special membership categories exist for honorary
life members, life members, non-practising or retired members.

Some countries which have a federal or provincial structure might have
Associations of Consulting Engineers within each state or province. In this
event the local association's relation to the National Association must be taken
into account.

4.1.5           Admission of Members

It is often laid down that a would-be member should apply, and that Council will
consider the application and publish it to all the members, allowing time for any
objection. Council would then consider the application paying attention to any
objection which might have been received.

In some countries the Council alone considers the applications and publishes
the names of new members after admission.

If the NACE has a logo or emblem it is normal for members to be permitted to
show this on their stationery. It is also normal to grant to members the right to
use letters after their names denoting their membership of the NACE.

Many countries limit membership to partners or directors of engineering firms
together with those in individual practice. Others, in the interest of having a
sufficient number of active members within the country and in the individual
firms according to size, admit senior employees who are representatives of
consulting firms within the country. In this connection it is necessary that
membership be sufficiently tightly controlled to ensure that adequate standards
are enforced and maintained.

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Various circumstances under which membership would cease might be laid
down. These would usually include failure to pay subscriptions, bankruptcy,
mental incapacity and conviction for a serious offence. Normally, the Council
should decide under the first two circumstances, whereas in the last two the
General Assembly should have the final say in the matter. The Council would
normally decide to expel any member who, in their opinion, is guilty of
professional misconduct or has committed a serious breach of the provisions of
the Articles. The Council should, however, give the member ample opportunity
to defend his conduct.

4.1.6           Rules for Professional Conduct

All associations lay down, in some detail, rules governing the conduct of their
members. The Rules for Professional Conduct might be printed in a separate

Some of the rules should relate to the relationship between a member and
Society, and should be designed to protect and serve the public interest.

Other rules should govern the relationship between a member and a Client. For
example the member should act with complete fidelity and confidentiality.
Remuneration for consulting services should be made solely by the Client and
should bear a reasonable relationship to the service provided. A member must
be free of any interests in manufacturing or contracting which might influence
his professional advice. These rules should conform to FIDIC's Code of
Professional Conduct, see section 3.1.

In the interest of both the public and clients, members should only provide
services in their areas of competence. For services incorporating duties outside
their areas of competence, they may associate with other firms or consultants
but should ensure that they are reputable and competent.

Most NACEs lay down a number of rules governing the relationship of a
member with other members or other consulting engineers. Members may not
compete unfairly or attempt to supplant others who have an existing
engagement. A few associations still require that members shall not advertise
and lay down strict and specific rules with regard to soliciting work and to
marketing efforts in general.

The way in which members might compete for work on the basis of fees should
be closely defined. Most NACEs have a Scale of Fees. In some instances these
are mandatory and may not be undercut. This is often the case when a Scale of
Fees has been agreed with government and other client organizations. In other
cases the scales are recommendations only.

In some cases disciplinary procedures for breach of the Rules for Professional
Conduct are laid down.

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4.1.7           Procedural Matters

The description of procedural matters will vary enormously with the size and
scope of the NACE.

A few of the main issues requiring consideration are listed below. A much more
detailed treatment of this subject is contained in Chapter 5.

General Meetings

Rules relating to the General Meetings of the association should be laid down.
These would include such matters as frequency, notice, quorum, chairmanship,
method of voting, voting powers, election of members of Council and their
terms of office, appointment of auditors and the like.


It is normal for a Council to be elected by the members. The size and
composition will vary according to the size and nature of the NACE. The scope
of the Council's jurisdiction should be described. Eligibility for Council
Membership and circumstances of disqualification from the Council should be
stated, together with the powers and duties of the Council. Periods of office,
rotation and eligibility for re-election should be set. Proceedings at Council
meetings, chairmanship, quorum, voting, records and the like should be laid

It may be desirable to form committees of the Council and the procedures for
these should be described.

Executive Committee

Some associations, especially the larger ones, set up an Executive Committee
to manage affairs between meetings of the Council. In such cases the
proceedings for the election of Officers and Executive Committee Members
should be laid down, together with the scope of their authority, their period of
office and procedures for their meetings.

Officers and Staff

The size and content of staff employed by a NACE will vary greatly from one
case to another. In many cases there are no permanent staff, all functions
being performed by the Council Members. However, it is desirable that the rules
governing the possible appointment of staff should be laid down.

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FIDIC Guidelines for constitution ofnational association

It is necessary to provide that accounts shall be kept of the NACE affairs. The
nature of books to be kept should be stipulated, their whereabouts and
accessibility to members and that statements of account should be made at the
annual general meeting of the members.


This section contains a description of the permanent and non-permanent
bodies in a medium- or large-sized NACE, the facilities required for its operation
and some notes on the cost of it.

Much experience from the daily life of existing associations in both developed
and developing countries is available to those starting up a new one. Obviously,
quite a number of difficulties in running the organization effectively can be
avoided by taking these experiences into account before the actual setting up of

To forestall many such unnecessary troubles it is necessary to highlight critical
decisions from drafting the Statutes with aims, proceedings, etc., down to
formulating manuals and "trivial" matters concerning the secretariat. Care is
needed with details in a number of clauses in the Statutes, concentrating on
those with a strong bearing on making the running of the association as trouble-
free and effective as possible.

The approach in this chapter is to give a description of an association of
medium, or even large size, rather than a small one. This may seem to be
somewhat out of line with the idea of serving as guidelines for the setting up of
a new association which will, in most cases presumably, be of a moderate size.
However, this comprehensive section with its many details will hopefully prove
useful to those of our colleagues who are in the process of establishing a new
and small organization. Essentially the same principles prevail and the same
activities go on in small and large associations. Thus, the purpose has been to
inspire the founders of a new association and to guide them in making ample
provision for growth. In this respect the following can serve as a checklist and
also give ideas as to what activities the Council may want to add to the
programme with time.

Naturally, the apparatus must be cut to fit the size of the association and its
economic resources. Hence, along with the description of a rather full scale
operation, an effort has been made at appropriate places in the text to suggest
also simpler alternatives.

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5.1             COUNCIL

5.1.1           Size and Representative Capacity

The Council is the governing body charged with the responsibility of formulating
the policies and implementing the programmes of the NACE on behalf of the
membership-at-large. It is, therefore, important that it be as representative of
the membership as possible without being unmanageable.

The general practice is to maintain the size of the Council at between seven
and eleven members depending on the size and diversity of the membership. In
new associations the number can initially be smaller and in some countries it
can go as high as twenty. The various regions of a country should be
represented as well as the different sizes of firms and specialities of the
members. In other words, the Council should consist of a representative mix of
consulting engineers. The most senior partners/owners of the members will
often be chosen, but younger, qualified members should also be represented to
bring in the views of "the next generation". Precautions should always be taken
to prevent a particular group of members from exercising undue influence in the

5.1.2           Election of Council

Members of the Council should be duly elected by the members of the NACE if
it is an association of individual members, or by the Voting Representatives of
member firms in case of an association of firms. In the second case, the
number of Voting Representatives a member firm may appoint should be based
on the total size of the firm and be chosen from among the senior personnel
and preferably owners, i.e. individuals who would qualify for membership in an
association of individual members.

The question of nominating members for the Council is, of course, important
and has often given rise to problems. However, a balance has to be struck
between a practical, manageable procedure and as open and democratic a
method as possible. Two different ways are normal.

-     In many instances, and certainly in most of the smaller associations, the
      Council will ask the membership-at-large for proposals for nominations and
      compare the names put forward, if any, with a list of its own. The Council will
      prepare a qualified list, using its experience and take into account, for
      example, particular needs for certain expertise, representative mix, etc. If
      consultations held before the time of the annual general meeting do not
      result in one candidate only for each vacancy, elections by means of secret
      ballot must be held at the annual general meeting.

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-     Other associations may have a Nominating Committee. Every year, at an
      appropriate time, a Nominating Committee often chaired by the immediate
      Past-President, should be appointed by the Council. This Committee, in
      addition to the immediate Past-President, should consist of at least two
      members who are not Council Members. The Nominating Committee should
      consider candidates for election to the Council and nominate one person to
      fill each vacancy. However, the membership-at-large should be given the
      opportunity to nominate other persons; such candidates should be
      nominated in writing by a minimum number of, for example, 3-5 members.
      Should there be more than one candidate nominated for any vacancy, an
      election by means of a secret ballot at the annual meeting would decide .

Rotation in the members of the Council is difficult in small NACEs. However,
rotation is important and it is achieved by limiting the length of the term of office
to say three or four years. Either one third or one quarter, as the case may be,
of the members of the Council are thus replaced each year.

Finally, to foster continuity, some NACEs have the immediate Past-President to
continue to serve as a member Ex-officio of the Council for at least one year.
Others find this unnecessary and satisfy themselves with the continuity laid
down in the rules for rotation of the ordinary Council Members, and rely on the
Past-President being available for advice, if asked for by the President.

5.1.3           Qualifications of Council Members

In principle all members qualify to be considered for nomination to the Council.
However, there are certain qualifications and capabilities further to those
connected with the operations and daily running of a consulting engineering
firm that are desirable for members of the Council (and almost a "must” for the
President), such as:

-     be of a communicative, creative and positive nature

-     be generally recognized by ones peers as a leader in the profession and in
      the community

-     be prepared to serve the NACE without anticipating personal gains in

-     be prepared to participate in and contribute to the activities of the NACE at a
      senior level

and last but not least:

-     be in a position with the firm and the family to allow the necessary time
      to be allocated to the NACE (which is invariably more than anticipated).

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5.1.4           Election of Officers

Two different procedures are common:

-     The President (or Chairman) is elected by the membership-at-large,
      whereas the other Officers - The Vice President(s), the Treasurer and the
      Secretary of the NACE - are elected yearly by the Council from its own rank.
      Some countries do not operate with a Treasurer or a Secretary. These
      duties will then fall under the direct responsibility of the President or the
      Vice-President(s) who are assisted in doing the work by hired professional
      people, either in the secretariat or from outside the NACE.

-     Same as above apart from the election of the President. In this case the
      President is elected by and from the Council's own ranks, like the other

The former approach is probably the more appropriate to the smaller and
younger NACEs, at least in their formative years.

An election of the President by the membership-at-large tends to offer him a
very broad-based authority, free from the label of being "a product of a small
inner circle".

On the other hand, some countries' preference for the other approach stems
from the fact that the Council Members, by working together over the years, get
to know each others' capabilities better than the membership-at-large is able to
do. Gradually, certain individual members of the Council begin to make their
mark and demonstrate above-average leadership qualities. This approach is,
therefore, conducive to an effective and smoothly running Council.

A larger association, possibly also with a relatively large Council, may wish to
elect more than one Vice-President, one of whom may be designated as
President-elect. It is then possible to assign to each Vice-President more spe-
cific responsibilities for certain activities of the NACE. If the association carries
a number of standing and/or task committees a Vice-President can play a co-
ordinating role over a group of committees having similar tasks (e.g.: domestic
business development, business practices and export business development).

However, in small associations the duties of looking after Specific committees
or activities are simply split between the Council members, few as they may be.
Very often it will be the work itself rather than supervisory roles that is split, the
resources setting the limit for the number and volume of activities which can be
handled at a time. In this case, it is recommended that a priority list of activities
be drawn up. Responsibilities for initiating new activities at the appropriate time
can be split under the co-ordination of the President. Reference is made to 5.2:

The Officers of the NACE form the Executive Committee of the Council to
which may also belong the senior staff person of the association (Managing
Director, Executive Secretary, etc.).

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5.1.5           Definitions of Duties of Officers

The Council of the NACE shall have full power and authority to manage and
control the business and affairs of the association, to formulate policies and to
establish programmes within the stated aims of the NACE. A clear majority of
the Council Members shall constitute a quorum for any meeting of the Council
and their decision shall be binding.

The President shall be the Chief Executive Officer. He is often made a Member
Ex-officio of all committees of the Association. He presides at all meetings of
the Council Members and Member Meetings of the Association. He signs all
instruments which require his signature and performs all duties incidental to his
office; he has such other powers and duties as may from time to time be
assigned to him by the Council.

The Vice-President or President-elect, as the case may be, shall be vested with
all powers and shall perform all duties of the President in the absence or
disability of the President. In the event that there is more than one Vice-
President, they shall have such powers and duties as may be delegated to
them by the Council or by the President.

The Secretary issues, or causes to be issued, notices of all meetings of the
Members, Council and Executive Committee; he has charge of the minutes of
the above-stated meetings, of the corporate seal and of all the books and
records of the association. He signs, with the President, or any other signing
officer of the association, such instruments as may require his signature.

The Treasurer shall have the care and custody of all the funds and securities of
the NACE. He shall deposit them in the name of the association in such bank or
such depository as the Council may direct. He signs all cheques, drafts, notes
or orders for the payment of money under the direction of the Council. He shall,
at all reasonable times, exhibit his books and accounts to any Council Member.

As mentioned earlier, in some associations the duties of the Secretary and the
Treasurer fall under the President or the Vice-President(s) with the practical aid
of staff or hired professional assistance. The Council may delegate to the
Executive Committee certain of its responsibilities within established guidelines
in order to expedite the implementation of policies and/or programmes.
Furthermore, the Executive Committee may be authorized to make decisions
and take action on matters requiring urgent attention between regular meetings
of the Council.

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5.2             COMMITTEES

5.2.1           Formation and Number of Committees

In addition to the Executive Committee, it is not only desirable but eventually
necessary for the Council of a NACE to establish a number of standing and
task or ad hoc committees. It is in these committees that much of the work of
the association is accomplished. These committees also serve to increase the
members' participation in and contribution to the activities of the NACE. It
should be noted, however, that all committees should operate within the
policies approved and guidelines adopted by the Council. Past experience
shows that close links between committees and Council prevent a lot of
abortive work and frustration!

The constitution of standing and task or ad hoc committees should generally
follow the guidelines for constitution of the Council. Geographical distribution,
sizes of firms and fields of specialization of the committee members must be
considered. Generally speaking, standing committees are those charged with
the responsibility of implementing, on a continuing basis, the policies and
programmes derived from the stated aims of the NACE. Such standing
committees and their sub-committees may include the following:

-       Domestic Business Development Standing Committee (to promoted the use
        of indigenous consulting engineers in the domestic market).

-       Examples of items for possible sub-committees:

        -       Energy Affairs

        -       Transportation Affairs

        -       Environmental Affairs

        -       Research and Development

        -       Joint Ventures with foreign consultants, etc.

    -   Export Business Development Standing Committee
        (to promote the use of consulting engineers in the export market).

        Possible sub-committees:

        -       Export Market Identification

        -       Export Financing

        -       Export Groupings

Each of the above sub-committees may, furthermore, be assigned the duty of
establishing and maintaining liaison with the appropriate national government

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FIDIC Guidelines for constitution ofnational association
departments and agencies and with other organizations within the business

Other standing committees may be established to deal with specific topics on a
national basis, such as:

        -       Professional, Business and Management Skills Development

        -       Consulting Fees

        -       General Conditions, Agreements and Contract Forms

        -       Professional Liability and Risk Management

        -       Taxation

        -       Engineering Law

Finally, standing committees may become necessary for certain internal
functions of the NACE such as:

        -       Membership

        -       Communications and Public Relations

        -       Finance and Operations

        -       Nominations

        -       FIDIC Liaison

        -       Awards Programme

        -       Statutes or By-laws

        -       Discipline

-     Task or ad hoc committees are established on a need basis for a limited
      period of time by the Council or the Executive Committee to deal with
      specific problems or to carry out specific tasks. They are disbanded as soon
      as their work has been accomplished.

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FIDIC Guidelines for constitution ofnational association
5.2.2           Appointment of Chairman/Members of Committees

It is the responsibility of the Council to appoint Committee Chairmen. The most
important committees should preferably be chaired or monitored by Council
Members. In this way it is possible to have every member of Council directly
and deeply involved in the work of the association and it secures adequate
communication between the Committee and the Council. Furthermore, it gives
every member of the Council an opportunity to perform. It should, however, be
recognized that the presence of a Council Member on a committee in an ex-
officio capacity is solely to provide co-ordination and not to usurp the authority
of the Committee's Chairman.

Committee Chairmen should be given full authority to recruit members for their
committees in a number adequate to ensure that the work of the committee is
carried out most efficiently. No person should serve as a member of the same
committee for more than four years except to hold office as Chairman, which
position should not be held for more than two years by the same person. Each
year, a member of each committee should be appointed to act as secretary for
the purpose of recording minutes or notes of meetings. The NACE office
should, on the other hand, be the secretariat of all committees with the
responsibility for issuing notices and agenda of meetings, making arrangements
for meetings, editing, printing and distributing the minutes or notes of meetings.
In some NACEs it is the custom to appoint a staff member of the Secretariat as
a non-voting member of a Committee in which case he takes down the minutes
and serves as a specially assigned liaison officer to the Committee.

At a meeting each year, generally prior to the Annual Meeting of the NACE, the
Executive Committee should review the overall structure of the association's
committees, and their chairmanship, with a view to submitting to the Council for
approval at its meeting held at the time of the Annual Meeting, a list of standing
and task committees for the following year and their respective chairmen. When
approval from the Council of the final roster of committees and their Chairmen
has been received, each Chairman should be so notified requesting him to
name his Committee's members.

Finally, all Committee Chairmen should present to the Council either directly or
through the ex-officio.Members, their Annual Report together with their
recommendations for changes in their respective committee's constitutions,
including Terms of Reference.

It is important to keep committees inspired and alive, to remind committees
near the end of their task to finish it, to reconsider committees that have run out
of steam or to close down committees that have somehow become

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5.2.3           Terms of Reference

It is of the utmost importance for the Council, when establishing a Standing or
Task Committee, to define clearly its mandate or Terms of Reference. These
should, however, be written in such a way as to leave enough leeway for the
Chairman to use his and his Committee Members' imagination and experience
as to how the mandate should be implemented and the objectives achieved.
Terms of Reference should be objective rather than means-orientated. Finally,
in order to ensure proper co-ordination, all reports, submissions, briefs, etc.,
should be submitted to the Council for approval through the proper channel
before being released and made public.

5.2.4           Annual Action Plans

Once a committee has been established and its Terms of Reference defined by
the Council, it is the responsibility of its Chairman to prepare in consultation
with the Committee members a realistic Plan of Action for the immediate term,
usually set at one year. This Action Plan should detail each step or stage to be
taken with a precise time frame, towards the objectives of the Committee.
Progress Reports to the Council are also recommended as well as an Annual
Report to the membership-at-large. It makes for sound financial administration
that committees should not be authorised to commit the association's funds
without prior approval from the Council.

5.2.5            Procedures for Meetings

To complete this section about committees, some disciplinary remarks
concerning the routines for meetings are included in the following. They may
sound trivial, but they are regrettably often disregarded, all the same!

Meetings, whether of the Council, Executive Committee, the Standing or Task
Committees, or the General Assembly Meeting should always be called by
issuance of written notices well in advance to ensure maximum attendance.

No meeting can be conducted without an agenda listing the topics to be
discussed and clearly identifying those requiring a decision. Again, the agenda
should be distributed ahead of time, appending any background information,
papers, reports, etc., to ensure that the members will come to meetings well
prepared and briefed. The first item on any agenda should be "Adoption of
Agenda" to allow the members to add any last minute items that they may wish
to have discussed or decided upon.

Minutes or notes should be prepared as soon as possible after the meeting,
recording the major points raised by the members and, most important, any
decision reached either through formal motions or through consensus. These
minutes or notes should be kept in file for future reference. It is the
responsibility of the Secretary of the Council to ensure that this process is
respected at all times.

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With continuous rotation of Committee Members, such recording of minutes or
notes may prevent duplication of effort or simply the need to “re-invent the
wheel” year after year.

5.3             HEADQUARTERS

A small or young NACE must decide whether to house their headquarters at a
fixed address or to locate the official address at any one of the officers' - usually
the President's - place of work or residence. For the sake of short term
economy, they may often opt for the latter solution until such time as permanent
staff has been hired. However, since the officers normally serve only a few
years in that capacity, this practice may result in a great deal of confusion on
the part of the members of the association, their clients and the people outside
the association with whom they deal frequently. Therefore, in spite of small
resources, it is suggested that founders of a new NACE carefully consider every
possibility of locating its official address at premises of its own.

5.3.1           Permanent Staff

Early on, the NACE will rely on the willingness of members to perform its work.
However, members' time is a serious constraint, and it may soon be realised
that the initial enthusiasm of the elected officials to volunteer to administer on a
day-to-day basis the affairs of the NACE, can only be maintained for a relatively
short period.

A decision has then to be made whether to retain the services of one or more
persons to assume the duties of running the association on a day-to-day basis.
Certainly none of the existing NACEs started with a large permanent staff. In
many cases, a retired consulting engineer with an extensive knowledge of the
industry was first retained either on a full-time or part-time basis.

However, a new association may soon find it necessary to hire an experienced
association manager as its full-time Managing Director or Executive Secretary.
In many cases an engineer has been preferred for the job, but solicitors or
people of other academic background have also been chosen. Furthermore,
this senior staff person should ideally be several years younger than retirement
age. To assist him, a competent secretary may also be needed, perhaps part-

As the NACE grows, recruiting more and more members and thus acquiring
adequate financial resources, additional staff may be added on a demonstrated
need basis: one or more clerks to carry out such functions as accounting,
membership files maintenance, stocking and sales of documents, etc. The
need may even be found one day for a professional communications or public
relations director to prepare, publish and issue information bulletins, press
releases, etc., and to take charge of the organising and running of seminars or
workshops. With further growth it might also be desirable to hire specialists
such as an economist, a market analyst, a chartered accountant, etc. Many
associations, however, retain on a contract basis for a limited period of time,
such specialists as the need may dictate.

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The senior staff person should report directly to the Council and should be a
non-voting member of the Executive Committee. All other permanent staff
should report to him. He should have full authority subject to the authority of the
Council and under the general supervision of the President, to manage and
direct the business and affairs of the association, except such matters and
duties as by the Statutes or by the law-of-the-land must be transacted or
performed by the Council or by the members in a General Assembly Meeting.
He shall, at all reasonable times, give to the Council Members all information
they may require regarding the affairs of the association. He should have the
power to employ and discharge agents and employees of the association. In
some cases, as mentioned earlier, it might be practical to have him assume the
functions and duties of the Secretary of the association.

5.3.2            Membership Subscriptions

It is the role of the Council to determine each year the amount of membership
dues to be collected in total from the membership-at-large and the apportioning
of these between members, whether individuals or member firms. This
apportioning is usually done by means of a formula to be approved at the
General Assembly Meeting together with the annual operating budget, (see
chapter 6).

At a fixed date every year, coinciding with the beginning of the fiscal year or
year of operation of the NACE, the members should be invoiced for their
membership dues and given a limited period of time - say 30 days - to pay.
Delinquent members should be re-invoiced every month until full payment of
their dues is received. The Council may resolve to set an absolute deadline for
payment of dues, after which delinquent members should be removed from the
membership roster, unless extenuating circumstances are judged valid. Early
collection of membership dues is important in order to guarantee sufficient cash
flow for the association to operate. A kind but firm hand in these affairs from the
start can prevent many unwanted and time consuming incidents later.

It makes for good administrative procedures to request the members to declare
at the time that they remit their dues, the total number of personnel in their
respective firms, preferably by classification e.g. engineers, other professionals,
technicians and other support staff, indicating how many are partners or
owners. Thereby a basis for useful statistics is created for computing fees and
for other purposes.

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5.3.3           Financial Management

Once the legal aspects of setting-up a new NACE have been finalised, an
interim Council must be appointed and officers elected from among its
members. The first task to be tackled by the interim Council is that of
establishing a financial management system.

It is presumed that at this stage, the Statutes of the association will have been
finalised, including a clear definition of membership requirements. It is
recommended that, even at this early stage, a well thought out accounting
system should be developed by the Treasurer, possibly assisted by an
accountant either employed by a consulting engineering firm or retained on
contract for that purpose. Depending on whether the NACE will be subject to
corporation tax or not, a decision should be made right at the onset as to which
system of accounting should be used, namely on an accrual or cash basis.
Since most associations are of the non-profit corporation type, the cash basis
system is preferred as being the simplest and the easiest one to monitor. The
accounting system used should above all be amenable to easy auditing in the
sense that all financial transactions, in and out, must be recorded and
documented. It should be remembered that financial matters are likely to give
rise to more questions than other topics normally do at the General Assembly
Meeting. This is easy to understand because the Council has been entrusted
with the sound use and administration of the members' dues.

It is the general practice adopted by most associations to open at least two
separate bank accounts. One would be a savings account into which are
deposited all receipts (dues, sales of documents, meeting fees, etc.). The other
would be a current account to which sufficient funds for the operations of the
association during the coming month are transferred. All disbursements should
be only through that account. Transfer should be by signature of two duly
authorised signing officers.

It might also be wise to open a second current account or petty cash account
with a pre-established ceiling for day-to-day small disbursements. This account
should be entrusted to the senior staff person.

A simple proven accounting system (cash basis) is described hereunder:

Most NACEs provide a number of special services to their members and carry
out these activities on a cash recovery basis; these may include the General
Assembly Meeting (if the expenses in this connection are not covered by the
yearly subscription), seminars and workshops for which a registration fee is
charged, sales of publications, etc. Such publications might be, for example,
membership directory, general conditions and contract forms and brochures,
whether produced by the NACE or purchased from an outside source (FIDIC),
which may also be handled on a cost recovery basis including handling and
mailing charges. These so-called "self-financing activities" should produce a net
income over direct costs or a financial contribution to the overhead of the

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In some cases, this contribution could represent a substantial (10-20%)
proportion of the total income, keeping the yearly subscription down
accordingly. In other cases, it is found simpler to raise the subscription
sufficiently to cover some of these services, e.g. memberships' directory, other
NACE-publications and the General Assembly Meeting.

The first task in establishing an annual budget is to estimate as accurately as
possible the expenditure to be incurred under each item of the pre-established
accounting system. Obviously, the first budget ever will involve a substantial
number of “guestimates”. However, this exercise will be easier the second time
and become more so in the following years as experience is gained.

Once a first draft of the operating budget (disbursement) is completed, the
Treasurer will then be able to determine the amount of cash required to operate
during the coming year. His next task will be to determine how to raise these
required funds through membership dues and other services or net
contributions from meetings, sales of documents, etc.

This budgetary plan is then submitted to the Executive Committee and/or
Council for discussion. Probably adjustments up or down will be made at this
stage. The budget will then be ready for submission to the membership for
approval together with the formula to be used for calculating membership dues.
It might be wise to provide for a small surplus every year in order to build a
reserve fund to be tapped when absolutely necessary to cover deficits in "bad
years" or to finance special major projects.

After a few years of operation the Treasurer, assisted by the Managing Director,
should be able to develop every year a cash flow forecast for a few years
ahead - three to five years. This practice makes for sound financial
administration and helps to prevent disagreeable surprises. In carrying out this
exercise, the projected growth of the membership, future needs of the
secretariat, inflation, etc., are guesses, of course, but should be estimated as
closely as possible. By repeating this exercise on a roll-over basis every year,
the Council will be able to develop a long term or strategic plan to be used by
future Councils, thus ensuring as much continuity from year-to-year as is

After the annual budget has been approved, individual items of income and
expenditure should be apportioned for each month of the year. Monthly
financial statements can thus be prepared by the secretariat comparing actual
and budget figures for the past month and year-to-date, showing the year-to-
date variance. Such monthly statements are of great help to the Treasurer, the
Executive Committee and the Council in maintaining close control over the
financial affairs. Adjustments can then be made at an early enough stage to
avoid potential disasters. In small associations the system could be based on
quarterly reports but the routine should be introduced from the start of the

A typical budget pro-forma is shown at the end of this section. Each item of
disbursement given in the table may be broken down further into sub-items

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according to the need to achieve greater control on individual expenditures. For
example, Advertising and Promotion can be broken down further as follows:

-       News bulletins
-       Press releases
-       Advertisements
-       Photographic services
-       Awards

At the end of each fiscal year, or year of operation, an audit of the books should
be carried out by qualified persons not connected with the day-to-day financial
operations of the NACE. This is best carried out by a public accountant, but the
Council may instead wish to appoint an Auditing Committee comprised of
knowledgeable members who are not Council Members. Some NACEs elect
such an Auditing Committee (sometimes a single person) to audit the books
with special regard to certain items, e.g., will a further break-down of certain
expenses give a more fair presentation of the accounts to the members?
Further to the scrutiny by such an appointed colleague, the books will always be
audited by a public accountant.

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Typical Budget:

                                                          CURRENT                   CURRENT                    YEAR    YEAR
Acct.                             ANNUAL                  MONTH                     MONTH                      TO DATE TO DATE
No.                               BUDGET                  BUDGET                    ACTUAL                     ACTUAL VARIANCE

Membership Dues
Interests (savings accounts)
General Assembly Meeting (net)
Sales of Publications (net)
Sundry Income


DISBURSEMENTS (operation expenses)
Advertising & Promotion
Bank Service Charges
Committee Meetings
Membership Dues (FIDIC and others)
Employee Benefits
Insurance (fire, theft, public liability)
Miscellaneous Office Supplies
Printing/Photocopying & Stationery
Professional Services (accounting, auditing, legal, etc.)
Rent: Premises
Rent: Office Equipment
Telephone, Fax
Travel (Committee Members)
Travel (Staff)


DISBURSEMENTS (capital expenses)
Office Equipment


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FIDIC Guidelines for constitution ofnational association
5.3.4           Office Facilities, Furniture/Equipment

As recommended earlier, a new NACE soon after its formation should try to
house its secretariat in permanent headquarters. These should preferably be
located in the capital of the country within close range of most government
offices with which the association will have business to transact and close to
the business sector. This is highly desirable because such a location would be
conducive to the President and other Officers together with the Managing
Director maintaining regular personal contacts with government and business

Preferably the secretariat should be housed in premises not only adequate for
its current needs but with facility for future expansion. Such premises should
include an adequate working area, a meeting room and storage facilities.

The outright purchase of office furniture, desks, working tables, chairs, filing
cabinets, etc., should be envisaged if the premises are not rented furnished.
However, office equipment should preferably be rented where possible.
Typewriters, photocopying/ collating machines and telephones are costly to
small associations and so are word processors/ computers, postage meter,
mailing machine, etc. to larger ones. In most cases this equipment is subject to
rapid obsolescence.

5.3.5           Communication System(s)

Beside an adequate telephone service, the association may also wish to
provide its secretariat with fax and e-mail services, either on its own or on a
shared basis.

A most important system which must be installed at an early stage is that
enabling the secretariat to produce efficiently mailing labels or to address
envelopes for mass and selective mailing to its members. Various automatic
systems are usually available at minimal costs.

5.3.6           Newsletter, Information Bulletins, etc.

A NACE has several “publics”: its membership, its members' clients, public and
private sector policy-makers and the public-at-large. All of these “publics” are
equally important to consulting engineers and have to be kept informed of the
activities, views, policies, etc. of the NACE. Each separate public may call for a
different means of communication.

Even small/new NACEs must pay serious attention to this fundamental activity
of making Clients and Society aware of the functions of the consulting engineer
and his profession. Steps should be taken to meet this demand even under the
conditions of very limited economic resources.

A regular newsletter, perhaps by fax or e-mail, is by far the best means to keep
the membership informed of what is being done on its behalf, of government

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FIDIC Guidelines for constitution ofnational association
legislation and regulations impacting on it, of potential new markets for
consulting engineering services, of coming events, etc. Such internal
newsletters need not be very elaborate; what is important is what they convey.
The real trouble and expense lie in collecting the information and in formulating

The prospective client public needs to know of the services offered by
members, how to select and remunerate them, etc. This may be achieved
through the publication of specialised, more or less elaborate brochures,
pamphlets, etc., which can be very costly. In preparing these, care should be
taken to ensure that they do not become obsolete too quickly.

Public and private sector policy-makers may call upon the NACE for the
submission of its views and recommendations concerning legislation or
regulations being considered. This may require preparation of fairly involved
briefs, submissions or reports. A good image will be preserved if great care is
taken in the overall appearance, format and presentation of such documents.
However, the quality of the content itself remains the most important aspect.
Documents with valid and well-qualified views can be produced by small
organizations. The Council should be prepared to make special efforts to meet
such requests when they are made. It is certain to further good relations
between government and other authorities.

The public-at-large is the more difficult "public" to reach for the new and small
NACE. It is usually effected through the information media: general press,
magazines, radio and, on occasion, television. Carefully prepared press
releases or communiqués are the usual means used by organizations such as
a NACE. Since their preparation requires great writing skills, the NACE may
wish to retain the services of a specialist in public relations for this purpose.

5.3.7           Filing System, Library, etc.

It has been observed that most new associations neglect to devise right at the
beginning of their operations an adequate filing system with the result that in
the ensuing months and years it becomes impossible to locate correspondence,
reports, etc. The filing system need not be complicated to be effective. It is,
therefore, recommended that a filing system based on subject matter be
devised as early as possible. Cross indexing may be necessary when
documents deal with more than one subject matter. The task of filing away
documents should be one person’s responsibility in order to avoid chaos.

The NACE should consider as clearly as possible the need to establish a library
containing reference material such as books, reports, manuals, etc., relating to
the association's work and its members' interest. Such a library need not be
very large if there is accessibility to other libraries, public or private. Here again
a simple classification system should be devised, preferably based on subject
matter. Provisions should also be made for storing magazines and newspapers
for a period of time. Many associations, however, prefer to keep newspaper and
magazine clippings in an appropriate corner of the library.

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FIDIC Guidelines for constitution ofnational association
5.3.8           Activity Record Maintenance

Minutes or notes of meetings must always be kept on file. A simple method of
having these handy for quick reference is to keep them in ring binders, one for
each committee, photocopying these in whole or part for filing under subject
matter in the main files. It is also recommended practice to write brief, concise
notes to files reporting on important discussions, held either face-to-face or over
the telephone. These will serve to record what was said and, in some cases,
decided; relying purely on memory has generally proved to be unsatisfactory.

5.3.9           Mail Handling, Correspondence

An effective and professional handling of mail and correspondence is highly
conducive to a good image of the NACE. All associations struggle with this

Incoming mail, faxes and e-mails should be reviewed every day as soon as
received and sorted out according to priority: mail that requires immediate
attention; mail that requires further study or inquiry before action is taken; items
of information only, not requiring any special follow-up action except perhaps
re-distribution to Committees and/or the membership.

It is suggested that all incoming correspondence, with the exception of
magazines, newsletters, publicity material and the like, be stamped with the
date it is received and marked with the appropriate file number. If for one
reason or another (absence of the addressee) a letter cannot be answered
within a few days after having been received, it should be acknowledged
indicating that it will be answered as soon as feasible.

Letters should, of course, be clear and concise, addressing the subject matter
directly without verbiage. If reference is made to previous correspondence or
events, file numbers, dates, names of sender(s) and addressee(s) should be
given. If an answer or action is required on the part of the addressee, it must be
clearly stated and, if desirable, a deadline given. It is good practice to indicate
the names of the persons who are to receive copies.

A file copy of all outgoing correspondence should be kept and attached to all
other relevant documents for future reference. Correspondence issued directly
from offices of the President or other Officers as well as from Chairmen or
Committee members should always be copied to the Secretariat.

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FIDIC Guidelines for constitution ofnational association
Experience has shown that unless good office practices are adopted and
followed at all times concerning mail handling and correspondence, complete
confusion soon results and everyone involved in the NACE starts working at
cross purposes.

5.3.10           Preparation and Handling of Briefs, Submissions or Reports

Every NACE is regularly called upon to prepare and submit
briefs/submissions/reports to government bodies, business organizations
and/or other sister associations. It has already been mentioned that it is, of
course, very important that such documents are well-researched and accurate.
If opinions are given, these should be substantiated. It is a common practice to
delegate to a specific committee or a special task force the responsibility of
drafting such documents. The preparation of the final text should, however, be
assigned to a single person in order to ensure unity of style and presentation.
Too often this step is not taken with the result that the final document is
disjointed, ill-formed and repetitive. Remembering that the time of senior
government or private sector officials is usually quite limited, an executive
summary of the document should be preparedly succinctly stating the points
raised and the recommendations made. Furthermore, if the brief, submission or
report is fairly long, a table of contents should also be included. As far as
possible, support data is best included as appendices, with proper reference to
them being made in the body of the document.

Finally, it is highly recommended that the NACE adopts a standard presentation
and format for all of its briefs/submissions/reports such as a distinctive cover,
standard size, binding, etc.

5.3.11           Directory/Roster of Members

The secretariat should establish right at the beginning of the operation of the
NACE a membership roster complete with full mailing addresses, telephone
numbers, etc., fields of specialization, details of individual members, number of
personnel in each firm and the membership dues paid each year. The need for
such a system cannot be over-emphasized to avoid embarrassing situations
such as double invoicing and difficulties in contacting members at short notice.
This system would also allow for rapid verification of the membership status of
individual firms. In the case of an association of firms, the names and
addresses of appointed Voting Representatives should also be recorded vis-à-
vis each Member Firm's registration.

5.3.12             Stocking and Sales of Documents. Brochures, etc.

One of the main services that a NACE will be called upon to render to its
membership is to act as a distribution centre for all kinds of documents relevant
to the engineering industry. Among these are the NACE's own contractual
documents, manual of practice and brochures of all kinds, FIDIC's numerous
publications including international model forms of agreement and a host of
other national and international publications. Before building up an inventory of

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FIDIC Guidelines for constitution ofnational association
any of these publications, a demand and supply survey should be conducted
with the membership and outside potential clients. Only a minimum stock
should be maintained at all times, enough to guarantee quick delivery. It should
be remembered that there is always a danger of locking in working capital in
slow moving items.

At regular intervals, the NACE should prepare and distribute an up-to-date list
of publications for sale, including unit costs and quantity discounts.

5.3.13            Annual Meetings of Members, Seminars or Workshops

In small NACEs the annual General Assembly Meeting normally presents no
big problems as to the practical details. However, it is important that the
meeting be planned carefully as it will often be the one occasion in the year
where a large number of members meet. The programme must be sufficiently
interesting to make even distant members participate. In most countries a
General Assembly Meeting once a year and within a specific date is required by
law and the Statutes demand a standard agenda for the meeting. This agenda
should be supplemented by topics of particular interest at the time which can be
presented and discussed. Constructive debates about fees, price competition,
professional liability, insurance, etc., are important and they can only be
positive and of lasting value if they have been thoroughly prepared. The
General Assembly Meeting should be directed by a Chairman who may be
elected specifically for the meeting. The Chairman need not be a Council
Member but could, for example, be one of the Past-Presidents of the NACE.

Many NACEs divide the meeting into two parts, the first dealing with the
standard agenda and the second concentrating on a special topic of particular
interest. Guests from outside the MACE are often invited for the latter as part of
the Public Relations Programme of the association.

Every item on the agenda should be prepared carefully. The better the
preparation of, for example, the yearly report including accounts and budget,
the easier it will be to avoid waste of time in discussing details which may be
insignificant compared with the mountain of real problems the profession
normally faces.

The planning, organization and running of such meetings require the input of
several dedicated persons in close co-operation with the secretariat.

All meetings should be well publicized ahead of time and ample time given to
the members to plan travel arrangements, hotel reservations, etc. Pre-
registration should be encouraged, if not made mandatory.

Finally, after a meeting a post-mortem should be held to assess the results
obtained and to identify any shortcomings which will require particular attention
in the future.

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FIDIC Guidelines for constitution ofnational association

It is impossible to present any accurate figures, even if the number of members,
the size and staff of the secretariat, etc., are defined in an example. Too many
variables remain to establish a budget of any real value, since prices and
salaries vary enormously from country to country.

However, in the following an attempt is made to give at least some information
and very rough guidelines to NACEs-to-be in their struggle to establish a first

The expense can be divided into two parts:

-       "Domestic" expenses, which can be budgeted and controlled by the NACE


-       Membership Dues to FIDIC, which are approved collectively by the FIDIC
        Member Associations.

5.4.1           “Domestic Expense”

Being under the full control of the NACE these expenses can, in theory, be set
as low as may be wanted or needed. However, to be an active NACE, which is
able to play its role in a reasonable way, so that its existence is, in fact, justified
and a positive impact is achieved, a budget of some substance must be

In many industrialized countries a subscription budget for "domestic" purposes
in the NACE will be in the order of US$ 50-60 per employee in the consulting
engineering firms associated to the NACE. The cost borne by the NACE will
depend very much on the extent to which officials or members are prepared to
absorb any expenses which they might incur in connection with the business of
the NACE. An opening budget figure of less than US$ 2,500 for domestic
expenses in running the NACE would not seem to be realistic, even though it
would be based on free member work almost exclusively

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FIDIC Guidelines for constitution ofnational association
5.4.2           FIDIC

All figures mentioned below relate to 1998. The calculation of the fee for a
NACE is based on a unit charge per member of the NACE and a unit charge
per employee working in all the NACE-associated consulting engineering firms
taken together. No NACE can pay more than CHF (SwissFrancs) 110,000 and
no NACE can pay less than CHF 750 (which includes the maximum discount of
50 percent for low GNP/Capita countries). The unit charge per year per
member is CHF 16.00 and per employee CHF 2.40.

5.4.3           Estimated Minimum Cash Expenditure (Price Level 1998)

                          Domestic                                        US $ 2,500
                          FIDIC                                           US $ 1,000 (say)

                          Total                                           US $3,500

If a NACE comprises say a total of two hundred employees in its associated
firms, the budget figure corresponds to a fee per employee of some US $ 17
per year. Several models can be made up for the distribution of fees on
members and associated firms as described in Section 6.

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FIDIC Guidelines for constitution ofnational association

It is essential that the NACE be fully self-financing. It should base its financing
solely on member subscriptions and its own activities such as sales of
publications, arrangement of seminars, etc.

Self-financing may be difficult sometimes but impartial advice is the soul of the
profession and naturally this must be observed by the NACE in keeping its
financing free of external influences. There are exceptions to all rules. In some
countries the NACE accepts financial support from certain government budgets
for ad hoc aid to, for example, business development in the form of partial
financing of brochures, export assistance, etc. Such support is without any
strings attached whatsoever. It is small and normally quite insignificant in
relation to the overall budget of the NACE.

Consequently, the subscription of members, is more or less equal to the
NACE's expenditure. It may be wise though, as mentioned in section 5, to
incorporate a small "overcharge" in the subscription rates so as to build up
funds to meet "a bad year".


The aim must be to arrive at a model which is fair in distribution. It should not
prevent owners of new and/or small firms from joining the NACE. It should not
put an unreasonable burden on the larger firms either. This could lead to an
unwanted power of these firms in the NACE or to unwanted weakening of the
NACE, if the large firm(s) left the membership.

Some NACEs struggle with the problem that some of their members draw more
heavily on their services than others. Sometimes the problem concentrates on
certain activities which, together with the users, can be identified, e.g., support
for export promotion. In such cases special charges may be introduced.
However, this has to be done with extreme caution as such action tends to
weaken the solidarity among the members of the NACE. A balance must be
struck. This is made easier by keeping the overall running costs down.
However, to give general guidance on what is a reasonable budget is


The principles of the model remain the same whether the members of the
NACE are individuals or firms, although the terminology varies. If the NACE
consists of firms the distribution model will operate with the number of Voting
Representatives and employees of the actual firm. The following description of
a subscription model for a NACE with individual members may, therefore, easily
be transformed to a NACE of firms.

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FIDIC Guidelines for constitution ofnational association
One way of arriving at the subscription rate would be to divide the total budget
by the number of members. Clearly this does not offer a distribution which
recognises the size of the firms (number of employees) represented by the
individual members.

At the other extreme proportionate distribution based on the number of
employees is arrived at by establishing an index expense per employee. The
budget is divided by the a total number of employees in all the firms together.
The product of this index and the number of employees supported by each
member makes up the individual member fees.

However, this model is rather inflexible and not practical if the NACE consists of
firms ranging in size from very small to very large.

6.2.1           A mix of the two models seems to be the most common.

Basically, such a model operates with a charge per member and a charge per
employee supported by him.

-     The charges per member would normally add up to approximately half of the
      total budget.

-     The charges per employee would be computed to cover the second half.
      Normally there would be a sliding scale for the charge per employee,
      decreasing with a growing number of staff.

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FIDIC Guidelines for constitution ofnational association

The idea of setting up a NACE will normally be a result of discussions among a
number of consulting engineers. In many countries this may well be a new
association and the first of its kind. In other cases, an existing association may
consider applying for membership of FIDIC. An early contact with FIDIC will,
under all circumstances, be advisable. FIDIC offers assistance to such
initiatives in several ways.

7.1             FIDIC SUPPORT

FIDIC has published a great number of books, reports, guidelines and other
publications which can be made available to the pioneers. FIDIC’s requirements
towards the NACEs are clearly described. Some of the publications will be
particularly useful in the "campaign" among the potential members in the
country. They explain in detail what FIDIC does and how FIDIC supports the
profession and the consulting engineer in his work.

Other information is extremely useful in promoting the idea to the country's
government, institutions and organizations.

A list of relevant FIDIC publications is supplied with these guidelines (or can be
received from FIDIC, or viewed on www.fidic org)

FIDIC’s secretariat offers assistance in the form of consultations. Experience
over many years is readily available for initiative aiming at new NACEs.

FIDIC's Executive Committee includes a Membership Committee dealing with
matters related to applications for membership of FIDIC, both in the cases of
new and existing NACEs. This Committee offers consultative support.

7.2             OTHER SUPPORT

The advice of an experienced lawyer will be necessary from a certain stage in
the formation process.

Furthermore, it will be natural for the pioneers to seek support from the NACEs
in neighbouring or nearby countries. Such contact will most probably be fruitful
and give valuable guidance in how to go about the formation of the association.
Such contact may also serve as the start of a future collaboration with other
NACEs as described in section 3.

Collaboration with associations of other professions and other organizations in
the country is one of the primary objectives of the NACE. Good relations
should, therefore, be established from the start and advice about the starting up
of the NACE can probably be obtained via such relations.

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FIDIC Guidelines for constitution ofnational association

The growth and well-being of the profession is very much dependent on both
the professional and commercial development of the consulting engineering
firms. The establishing of and support to new individual practices or firms is an
important part of such development and should therefore be furthered and
stimulated by the NACE of any country.

The new NACEs would be expected to be especially concerned about this
subject. They should be instrumental in supporting new practices as described
in sections 1 and 2.

The secretariat of the NACE should be prepared to respond constructively to
requests from professional engineers for assistance in the setting up of new

Advice can be given verbally and may be supported by the NACE's Statutes,
pamphlets, brochures and various other literature. Some NACEs have prepared
special publications dealing with the most relevant subjects for consulting
engineering practices-to-be. The advice should cover such items as:

- Education
- Experience

Codes of Practice
- Ethical standards
- Scale of fees

Process of Establishing
- Legal advice
- Incorporation or not
- Statutes

Management and Operation
- Financing
- Organisation
- Business administration, accounts, etc.
- Promotion
- Collaboration with colleagues

Relations to the NACE
- Role
- Benefits
- Subscription rates

The role of the NACE in this connection corresponds very much to that of FIDIC
in relation to the setting up of new NACEs.

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FIDIC Guidelines for constitution ofnational association

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