SAIChE ICHEME dual membership FAQs

August 2014 saw the signing of a formal collaboration agreement between SAIChE and IChemE creating a dual serving the purpose of enhanced membership, administrative, professional and strategic development links between the two organisations in South Africa. These FAQs provide information on important questions regarding why the two organisations have collaborated and dual membership.

Who are IChemE?
The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) is a global professional engineering institution with over 42,000 members in over 120 countries worldwide, founded in 1922, and awarded a Royal Charter in 1957. Their mission is to build and support a community and network of professionals involved in all facets of the Chemical Engineering discipline.

1. Basis for change

1.1 Why did SAIChE consider collaboration?
SAIChE Council considered there was a clear ‘case for change’. SAIChE recognised that it is limited in scale and realistically can’t expand significantly to the point that we can afford to hire full time staff to better support the membership of some 1000 members and to a point where membership services, relevant to chemical engineering, might be developed. SAIChE was wholly reliant upon volunteer support while we had been successful in supporting the membership we felt this has reached its limit.

We carefully considered various potential options including closer affiliation with similar South African societies. However, it was the view of Council that the best viable option was to engage more deeply with IChemE, clearly recognised as a leading international institution for chemical engineering profession with several offices and branches worldwide. SAIChE considered that the joint membership development programme with IChemE in the form of a merger was the way forward.

1.2 Why did SAIChE propose to merge with IChemE?
IChemE has significant scale and capability to deliver services as you might anticipate from a high quality international professional body, some 35 times larger by membership than SAIChE. The two organisations have a common primary purpose - advancement of chemical engineering to societal benefit and had been working ever more closely together over recent years. Recent examples here have included launch of joint student membership, provision of an ‘Africa’ page in the TCE magazine that all members automatically receive, provision of leading edge process safety training and, on the request of our universities, benchmarking degree provision.

We therefore believed the best way forward for SAIChE was to merge with IChemE with the purpose of growing our profession in South Africa, delivering more and better services to members locally, networking the South African community internationally, supported by inevitable technical advances though online media to offer a more enriched member experience.

We now also take advantage of the IChemE back office capabilities to enhance efficiency and robustness of our administration all under high quality governance.

1.3 Did SAIChE lose its independence and voice as a South African society?
Absolutely not, though we are part of IChemE we will maintain a South African board (currently Council). The board plans and is accountable for SAIChE IChemE budgets and programmes. This ensures continued focus on South African needs and programmes. This arrangement was already successful used by IChemE to conduct of its operations in Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and New Zealand with independent local Boards leading the local activity but under the governance and trusteeship of IChemE Council.

We have also maintained our role as a contributing Voluntary Association within ECSA. The belief is that through SAIChE IChemE’s support of the chemical engineering community in that South African chemical engineers will have a greater voice within the engineering profession. 

1.4 How has the collaboration affected chemical engineers in South Africa?
All chemical engineers in South Africa registered with either or SAIChE now enjoy benefit from joint SAIChE IChemE membership. Members participated in the consultation at the Special General Meeting (SGM) on 23 August 2012, following directly after the AGM to communicate these changes.

2.0 Membership matters

2.1 Benefits: What will be new in terms of membership benefits?
All your existing SAIChE membership benefits will continue. In addition, we will enhance this with full IChemE membership benefits.

Benefits include:

  • The international tce magazine published monthly in hard and soft copy (now including Africa page) and through the downloadable app tce online professional news
  • Free membership of a Special Interest Group of your choice
  • Access to online resources Continuous Professional Development (CPD) opportunities
  • Training courses
  • Publications and journals
  • Process Safety toolkit
  • Local Member Group pages and resources
  • Access to professional qualifications and registrations

Of course, SAIChE IChemE, as your professional body, will also be investing support in South African member events and supporting development of the profession including support to academe and to industry.

2.2 Structure
2.2.1 What are the grades of membership which will be available and what grade would I be eligible for?
The current SAIChE membership grade structure has been modified to align with that of IChemE. The new grade structure has professional qualification at its heart thus strongly encourages professional development and progression. This is to ensure that, moving forward, professional engineers will be the leaders of our profession.

In addition to a core membership focus for chemical engineers from students to professionals SAIChE-IChemE plans to offer, appropriate membership grades for technicians, for non-chemical engineers whose work affiliates them with our profession, and for those senior qualified professionals from other professions whose work lies in the process related field and influences our profession.

2.2.2 Will I have to re-apply for membership?
No. There is a unique transition plan for all members. Each member will receive emails from IChemE. The major structural changes affects Senior Members and Fellows who are not professionally registered, though who, as practising chemical engineers, would most likely have little difficulty in becoming such. It is our desired position that the profession be led by qualified professionals of the discipline. We recognise that the transition process will take some time for some as a peer review process will necessarily be involved.

Consideration has been made as to how current Fellow members will effectively be ‘grandfathered’ under a joint Associate Fellow membership grade and this is to be implemented.

3. Professional qualification

3.1 I am currently Pr.Eng. registered - will this still be maintained?
Yes. Your professional registration through ECSA as your local governing body will remain the same. We encourage you to register with ECSA, and maintain your CPD with ECSA. Your ECSA subscription will remain independent from your SAIChE-IChemE registration.

3.2 I am currently Pr.Eng. registered - will I automatically become a Chartered Chemical Engineer?
Yes. The standards which chemical engineers must meet to attain PrEng registration meet the requirements for Chartered member (MIChemE) status. However, to attain CEng additional assessments may be required. Contact for more details.

3.3 I am not currently Pr.Eng. registered – how do I become a Chartered Chemical Engineer?
Apply once you believe you are competent and have the requisite background and skills to be a professional practitioner. You can apply to be Pr.Eng. registered via ECSA, or through IChemE directly.  SAIChE members with Pr.Eng  automatically qualify for Chartered Chemical Engineer status through IChemE. Should you wish to hold CEng accrdition through Engineering Council UK then an interview would be required.

3.4 I currently hold a non-South African professional registration. What is the implication of this proposal - am I required to register here in South Africa?
No. Many engineers will hold registrations from other jurisdictions, many of which are recognised under international agreements. Examples include eg CEng with Engineering Council UK, Pr.Eng., etc. It is simply an individual decision, most likely based on your career path and personal circumstances that will determine your decision whether you wish to take up registration here in South Africa (although it is strongly recommended). We would be pleased to help you with this. Of course, you will need to satisfy SAIChE IChemE’s criteria to be eligible for our membership as a Chartered Chemical Engineer, whatever registration you hold.

3.5 I am not professionally registered – how will I become so, in South Africa and globally?
SAIChE IChemE will certainly promote and encourage professional qualification as an important priority. Members who meet IChemE’s criteria for entry as IChemE Chartered Chemical Engineer will be welcomed into the SAIChE IChemE Chartered Member or Fellow grades based upon their role of responsibility. Members meeting this standard should register and may register, at their discretion, as Pr.Eng. with ECSA and/or register as C.Eng. with the Engineering Council (UK). 

4.0 Membership subscriptions

4.1 What are the new subscription rates for SAIChE IChemE Membership?
Please click here for your 2015 subscription rates which should be paid to the SAIChE office.
This subscription covers you for your joint membership. The financial year has changed to match the calendar year so you will receive requests via email and post for your annual subscription in January every year.

5.0 Constitutional updates

5.1 Will there be a need for Constitution change?
Yes. There were some necessary changes. These changes were largely to align terminology of structures and roles. Proposed changes were contained in a memorandum of understanding (MoU) which was, after being confirmed by a membership vote, signed into effect by the presidents of SAIChE and IChemE in July 2014. This was preceded by an overwhelming positive response from SAIChE members.

5.2 What is the process for Constitution Change?
Constitutional changes were proposed at a special general meeting (SGM), which firstly aimed to modernise SAIChE's decision-making systems (for example to allow voting by email instead of postal mail), and secondly to provide the SAIChE constitution with a mechanism for effecting a merger with another institution.

Also at the SGM, members were consulted on the proposed merger, and asked to indicate support to proceed with the development of the MoU. The membership voted to approve the merger and the terms of the MoU were incorporated in the SAIChE constitution and presented to the SAIChE membership for approval at following AGM. The votes were received by at the SAIChE office ( by 12:00 pm 23 August 2012. 

5.3 When did the collaboration come into effect?
The proposed merger was widely supported by our members via email, at the SGM in 2011, as well as at the second SGM, which coincided with the SAIChE2012 conference (16-19th September 2012). As per the SAIChE constitution, voting by proxy was available to members not able to attend the SGM by sending their vote to the Honorable Secretary via the SAIChE office ( before the meeting. The support was overwhelming!


My IChemE

IChemE is a registered charity in England & Wales (214379), and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 039661).