A mother-of-three has been recognised for her efforts to change the safety culture of the construction industry and integrating sustainability into civil-engineering projects.
Kate Cairns, from Newton-by-the-Sea, has been awarded the status of Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), the highest grade of ICE membership, which is considered the benchmark for those practising at the top level in the profession.
Kate, 43, played a pivotal role in the promotion and adoption of the national Construction Logistics and Cyclists Safety standard, which seeks to improve standards of construction vehicles and operations relating to civil engineering and infrastructure works. She was compelled to do so following the death of her sister Eilidh, who was run down and killed by a tipper lorry in 2009.
She has influenced change to European legislation on lorry design, and campaigned for stricter vehicle standards across London with the Mayor’s Safer Lorries Scheme being introduced in the capital last September.
Kate, who runs her own consultancy firm, was presented with the Fellowship certificate by ICE vice-president Professor Tim Broyd at a special ceremony at ICE’s headquarters in Westminster.
She said: “I’m delighted to have been made a Fellow of the ICE. It is always encouraging to have your work acknowledged by peers; in my case much of this has been in integrating sustainability into civil engineering projects and influencing change in the safety culture of the construction industry; and contributing to the creation of new industry standards for both. Having set up my own business a decade ago to manage the balance of professional and personal life and to be able to choose to work in emerging issues, this professional endorsement of my skills and experience is very valuable.
“I hope it inspires others to believe they can overcome obstacles and make change, whatever their ambitions.”
Professor Broyd described Kate as a role model. He said: “Kate has made a significant contribution to the ICE’s thinking on the long-term sustainability of infrastructure projects and has been a strong advocate in the important area of improving the safety of construction vehicles on public roads.”
Kate is Northumberland County Councillor for Longhoughton.