IAStructE is organizing the online courses and webinars for the betterment of their members and other stakeholders. In the recent past IAStructE organized the Online Refresher Course on Design & Construction of Steel Bridges, during July-August 2021 and another online Refresher course on Seismic Rehabilitation and Retrofitting of Buildings, during September – October 2021. It also organized many webinars on the diverse topics related to structural engineering profession.
AB. Please tell us when you joined IAstructE and what motivated you to join this association? Please share with us about your work and achievements as an engineer or researcher?
Manoj Kumar Mittal. I joined IAstructE in 2003. I am practicing as Civil & Structural Engineering consultant since 1992 after graduating from BITS-Pilani in 1985.Our organization engages in the structural engineering related services for buildings. Since then, we have designed more than one thousand structures of various magnitude and complexities. We also specialize in structural audit & retrofitting of buildings.
During the last three decades we have been able to contribute meaningfully to the profession. Our interest areas also include construction management & sustainability related aspects of the project. I joined IAstructE in 2003 since it was the only professional body in India dedicated to the structural engineering domain. All other professional bodies lacked the desired focus.
AB. Specifically, what was the motivation behind the conception and organizational formation of the Indian Association of Structural Engineers? Please recount its brief history and major milestones reached in fulfilling its plans.
Manoj Kumar Mittal. The Indian Association of Structural Engineers, identified as IAStructE, was conceptualized and constituted in the year 2002 by a group of senior professional Structural Engineers from all regions of the country. IAStructE is a national body of structural engineers established with the objective to cater to the overall professional needs of structural engineers in India. IAStructE is purely a professional learned society with the prime objective of supporting and protecting the profession of structural engineering by upholding professional standards and acting as a mouthpiece for structural engineers in India.
The aim of the Association is to exchange knowledge and to advance the practice of structural engineering worldwide in the service of the profession and society. Now we have presence all over India. We have four regional centers. WE all encourage students to join as student members. We also try to establish student chapters in various engineering institutions. Members are selected after going through well laid down process of scrutiny of qualification & experience. With time It is growing in reach and impact.
AB. How does IASE do its utmost to conduct the mission for the betterment of its members? How does IAStructE contribute to the overall professional needs of structural engineers?
Manoj Kumar Mittal. IAStructE deals with all aspects of structural engineering: the science and art of planning, design, construction, operation, monitoring and inspection, maintenance, rehabilitation and preservation, demolition and dismantling of structures, taking into consideration technical, economic, environmental, aesthetic, and social aspects. The prime areas of the association are conducting in-service training programs for newcomers entering structural engineering, updating senior structural engineering professionals / consultants by initial professional development (IPD), and continuing professional Development (CPD) programs to practicing civil & structural engineering professionals. The purpose of Association is to associate together and contribute to a common goal for upliftment of Structural Engineers fraternity in India at large. This further helps in advancement of strengthening of civil Structures of public utility and ensuring safety of Indian Citizens.
IAStructE has signed MoU with Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) UK, Japan Society of Seismic Isolation (JSSI), The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) UK, Structural Engineers Association of Northern California (SEAONC), Structural Engineers Association of Nepal (SEANep) for exchange of information and promotion of Structural Engineering profession.
The Association provides opportunity for all the members to develop skills in Structural Engineering and helps members to be at the forefront of Structural Engineering practice. Towards achievement of its aims and objectives, IAStructE is engaged in organizing the following:
- Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Courses for Professionals
- Refresher Courses for young & Practicing Engineers
- Seminars/Workshops/Conferences-in person, online & Hybrid mode
- Technical Lectures related to the latest technological advancements and Technical Discussions
- Publishing of Structural Engineering Digest (SED) Technical Journal of IAStructE
- Publication of code commentaries. Handbooks and guidelines
Members have full access to these documents & resources. Members also get significant discount in association’s activities. Further affiliation with IAStructE significantly enhances the prestige & credibility of the members. Members also gets the opportunity to interact and network with well known renowned structural engineers.
AB. With the advancement of Science – What are the majors strides Civil and Structural Engineering has taken in its own niche domain? Furthermore, we would like to know how “Structural Engineering helps us to fulfill our need for nature’s bounty in the most efficient way possible.”
Manoj Kumar Mittal. Emergence of new high performing construction materials / chemicals, analytical tools, vibration control devices & use of AI and data analytics has led to significant development and improvements in Structural Audit, Repair & Retrofitting, Structural Health monitoring of the structures. It has also led to complete automation and seamless integration of entire design and construction process. Increased focus on sustainability is propelling structural engineering to stretch beyond its traditional frontiers. Structural Engineering is an art and science of creating safe, innovative, and durable structures to fulfill the human needs by optimum and judicious use of natural resources for sustainable development. It is crucial for the development and sustenance of human race. All aspects of human life are touched by structural engineering. It is also key driver of any economy.
AB. Can you highlight any recent activities or events that IASE has hosted considering the current challenges posed by the Pandemic and how have these activities/events helped the fraternity at large?
Manoj Kumar Mittal. In view of the pandemic due to the outbreak of COVID-19, IAStructE is organizing the online courses and webinars for the betterment of their members and other stakeholders. In the recent past IAStructE organized the Online Refresher Course on Design & Construction of Steel Bridges, during July-August 2021 and another online Refresher course on Seismic Rehabilitation and Retrofitting of Buildings, during September – October 2021. It also organized many webinars on the diverse topics related to structural engineering profession. The main objective of these Refresher Courses was to build capacity by throwing light on the current scenario, giving background information about the works done so far, new developments and to apprise the future strategies in the field. This format enabled engineers’ members from all parts of India and abroad to attend the events. Even we were able to invite speakers from other countries as well. It improved the participation; quality of the events and large numbers of engineers were able o take benefit.
AB. How badly has COVID-19 affected this industry? What has the epidemic taught us about the current state of your industry?
Manoj Kumar Mittal. COVID-19 has affected constriction industry very badly like many other sectors of the economy. It slowed down the customer’s demand. Unavailability of resources and workforce during lockdown period was problem across all sectors of economy. Following COVID protocols and getting prepared for it also took some time. Apart from lifestyle changes in one’s life at personal level lot of changes have happened the way we use to work. Now many of operations and most of our meetings are remotely managed. Automation, online & working from home have become quite common. Pandemic has caused lot of agony to most of us but also taught many lessons for time to come.
AB. What are the top three major challenges surrounding the industry? What in your view are the current opportunities in this sector?
Manoj Kumar Mittal. In my view non-availability of skilled & trained workforce, absence of regulatory mechanism of engineering profession & lack of ethical professional practice are three major challenges. These issues need urgent attention of government. Solution of these involves combined coordinated efforts by government, academic institutions & professional bodies apart from other stakeholders. Affordable mass housing & infrastructure projects will be the areas in focus in time to come.
AB. If you had to develop an even more radical vision for the association, what would it be?
Manoj Kumar Mittal. Merger/amalgamation of all associations in the domain of structural engineering, mandatory enrollment of all structural engineers based on written assessment test, periodical review after 5 years, complete automation of all processes of the associations and quality technical events in hybrid mode, termination of membership on disciplinary & non ethical practices and publication of quality journal of international standards would be my dream list.
AB. Also, we would like to know what keeps you busy when you are away from work?
Manoj Kumar Mittal. Listening music & podcast, going for long walks, reading books are my hobbies. Apart from I have started my podcast SamVad which is a deep and extended conversation with a guest on a particular topic. Till now I have done episodes on ethics and education. It is available on all podcast platforms like anchor, Spotify, apple & google etc.