ICE European Directive Route

This blog post is written by Mike Rogers CEng FICE, ICE specialist for The Civil Engineering Exam.


Mike Rogers headshot

In his previous role as Professional Development Manager at the ICE, Mike acted as the Membership Development Officer for hundreds of graduates around the world, and also reviewed many European Directive Route applicants.

The Law of the Land

Directive 2005/36/EC of the Parliament and Council of Europe governs the recognition of professional qualifications across entire jurisdiction of the European Economic Area (the 28 EU member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway).

As set out in Article 3(2):

A profession practised by the members of an association or organisation listed in Annex I shall be treated as a regulated profession.

Inspecting Annex I, under the list for United Kingdom, the Institution of Civil Engineers features as item number 24. This is also confirmed in the European Commission's Regulated Profession Database by searching for “Chartered Engineer“.

Bear in mind that if you become a Chartered Member of the ICE via this route, you will not be a “Chartered Civil Engineer” which is protected by the Royal Charter's declaration number 8:

… Those … who have satisfied the requirements of the Institution’s Chartered Professional Review … (but no others) may describe themselves as Chartered Civil Engineers.

In practice there are so few instances that specifically require a Chartered Civil Engineer as opposed to a Chartered Member of the ICE, that you do not need to worry about this point. Though if you have any colleagues who became Chartered through the European Directive calling themselves Chartered Civil Engineers, please show them the Royal Charter or this blog post!


Whilst Brexit may change the application of the European Directive, the ICE has not yet withdrawn this Route to Membership and will wait to see the results of the UK/EU negotiations before deciding on the future of this route.

Brexit or not, there is still a severe shortage of skilled engineers in the UK. As reported in The Telegraph just this morning this is expected to get even worse. If you are seeking to become an ICE member via this route, now may be the time to strike whilst the opportunity is still there. None of us can predict whether this route will exist in two years time, but at least it can provide a little more certainty towards your future in the UK.

How we can help

The European Directive Route is similar to a Career Appraisal whereby you submit the Attributes Achievement Form, but one key difference is that if your original submission does not convince the ICE of your ability against the nine attributes, you may be summoned for an ‘Aptitude Test' and/or ‘Adaption Period' which carries its own fees of approximately £300 and £340 respectively. Combined with the application fee, this could add to over £900. It is therefore critical that your submission is done properly from the outset. 

There are common pitfalls in regards to the demonstration of the necessary competencies, the adequacy of the information supplied and the manner in which the candidates may elect to demonstrate their evidence. CPD can also be a significant stumbling block but this can be addressed with some planning.

Getting the right advice at the start of the process can mitigate the pitfalls and ensure that your application meets the standards expected and allows you to demonstrate how your experience meets the required competencies through the Attributes. We offer a service to scrutinise your draft submission, providing written feedback and oral feedback via Skype for you to submit to us a second draft version for us to give feedback. You are welcome to contact us for more details of this service.

Common Questions

Some questions that come up with regards to the route are answered below:

Can a UK citizen use European Directive route if he/she gained the professional qualification abroad first then returned to the UK?

You will be eligible to use the European Directive Route provided that you have not gained experience or a qualification in the UK before gaining the relevant Professional Qualification in the other member state.

What happens if I already hold protected engineering title upon graduation in another EEA country (e.g. The Netherlands and Germany) but cannot satisfactorily demonstrate the Attributes?

There is a requirement to demonstrate all the nine attributes to be successful with the European Directive Route. Should you not have the experience there are a few choices: wait until you have gained sufficient practical experience to demonstrate the attributes; or you can undertake an Adaption Period where you can gain the necessary knowledge or experience through a period of supervised working in the UK.

Since engineering is not a regulated profession in the UK, can I become Chartered in the UK first then move to another EEA country?

In theory the EEA Member States have an obligation to operate the Directive and have developed local variations. There may be challenges in gaining this and each country has its own set of rules. The most effective approach will be to consult the professional body.

While the term ‘engineer' is not protected in the UK, you should see our comment above on the Regulated Profession Database, in particular the entry for “Chartered Civil Engineer“. The same goes for “Incorporated Engineer” and “Engineering Technician”.

Further details can be found on the ICE website. TCEE would be pleased to assist you should you wish to have the support of a mentor with regards to completing your Attribute Achievement Form or your CPD.