History of SEWC

History of Structural Engineers World Congress Inc. (SEWC Inc.)

Here are a few important points taken from the paper on “Structural Engineers World Congress Idea to Reality" by Roland L. Sharpe. Founding President SEWC Inc.
Informal discussions in the mid-1980s between U.S. and Japanese structural Engineers and researchers raised questions about the role of the structural engineer, required capabilities, and how the SE public image could be improved. Further informal meetings and mail correspondence over several years examined in some detail how this interaction could best be accomplished. These interactions led to small meetings at American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Congresses in the U.S. which culminated in 1994 when six professional organizations agreed to form a coalition to sponsor and organize the first Structural Engineers World Congress (July 18 to 23,1998) in San Francisco.
Recognition of the need for a worldwide SE Congress, need for interaction between SEs worldwide, scope and impact of SE services and effects on society, the need to improve the image and credibility of the SE grew over the next few years.

Range of SE Activities

Although several international organizations exist that serve structural engineers needs in specific areas such as bridges and buildings (IABCE), tall buildings, and earthquake engineering, they do not serve many aspects of SE concerns. A consensus developed in the Task Committee that the WSC should include the full range of SE issues - technical, professional, ethics, education, legal, construction, products, and other related issues. There should be exhibits along with sessions on these topics. It also became apparent that the WSC should be "people” oriented with the theme of getting to know each other better. It was estimated that there are about 50,000 structural engineers in the U.S. and perhaps 200,000 or more in the world.

The question of who is a structural engineer was examined. As noted previously, in Japan civil engineers design bridges and other structures associated with infrastructure and mostly work for the government. This appears to be true for some other countries. It was recommended that all engineers designing and constructing structures are considered structural engineers and should be included in WSC. The Committee felt strongly that the WSC should not become a membership organization and should not compete with existing international SE organizations.

In the 1998 congress in San Francisco, there were about 1800 participants from 49 different countries, A large number of exhibitors presented their products. Subsequently in 2002, it was held in Yokohama, Japan and in 2007 in Bangalore, India. Each of the congresses in Japan and India attracted more than 1300 delegates.

The Structural Engineers World Congress (SEWC) is dedicated to the Art, Science and Practice of Structural Engineering. SEWC Congress brings all the structural engineers on a common platform at-least once in 4 years.

SEWC presents excellent opportunities for Structural Engineering professionals to interact with each other and to learn more about what is happening in the World of Structural Engineering now and about the trends for the future.



I. SEWC, Inc. was chartered and incorporated in 1994 as a continuing organization to facilitate the planning and organizing of a Structural Engineering World Congress about every four years. [Now every two years instead of 4 years] SEWC, Inc. organized, planned and presented the first SEWC which was held in San Francisco from July 19-23, 1998.

II. Further SEWC 2002 was organized, planned and presented by the Japan Structural Consultants Association. SEWC 2002 was held in Yokohama, Japan from 10-12, 2002 followed by other SEWC Congress in different countries on a regular basis.

III. SEWC, Inc. Board Policy on Relationship between SEWC, Inc. and Future Sponsoring Organizations.
A. Each Congress is to be planned, organized, financed, and arranged by the local country sponsoring structural engineering organization.

B. The local Structural Engineering World Congress organization shall operate under the general auspices of SEWC, Inc., but shall be an entirely independent organization with its own Board of Directors and officers.

C. Proposals for each future SEWC shall be submitted both to SEWC, Inc. and to the then current SEWC organizing group for review, selection and approval. The Board of Directors of SEWC, Inc. and the current SEWC organizing group shall coordinate their reviews of the proposals and agree upon the selected location for the next SEWC.

D. The theme of each Congress shall focus on the needs of the structural engineering profession worldwide, the profession’s interaction with and impact on society in general and improvement of the public image and credibility of structural engineers.

IV. The main role of SEWC, Inc. should be as an overall coordinator with a part time secretariat providing a clearing center for information on SEWC, storage of pertinent records from each SEWC such as address lists and CDs of papers and proceedings, maintain a list of all structural engineering organizations worldwide together with names and addresses of current contacts in each country and organization, and possibly issue a yearly newsletter listing significant SE events during the past year. This action has been discussed by the BoD, but a final decision has not been made.