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In-Person BESA Conference and Awards Returns After 3 Years

In-Person BESA Conference and Awards Returns After 3 Years
25 October 2022

This year’s Building Engineering Services Association’s conference saw its highest-ever attendance, with 270 delegates and more than 400 guests gathering at the Novotel London West.

More than 50 speakers across three theatres addressed the conference theme: “Bringing buildings to life” from a wide variety of angles including current and future skills, the decarbonisation challenge, human health and well-being, and the implications of the country’s current economic challenges.

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) Conference also saw the launch of World Ventil8 Day – a global initiative aimed at improving ventilation standards in buildings to protect the health, well-being, and productivity of people worldwide.


BESA Supports Light House Club


BESA CEO David Frise reminded the industry that its work was important  “because 90 per cent of us spend 90 per cent of our time in a building, so the social good that results from good building engineering services is massive”.

He also said the industry played a crucial role in people’s health and wellbeing. However, he added that the way we design and build led to “broken buildings…and broken people” with two suicides a day evidence of the pressure many construction workers face.

As a result, BESA supported the mental health charity Light House Club with a £10 donation for every delegate. BESA members were also able to attend the conference for free thanks to the high level of sponsorship received.


Professor Cath Noakes OBE’s Keynote Address


The keynote address was delivered by healthy building champion Professor Cath Noakes OBE from the University of Leeds. She said ventilation was the most overlooked building safety issue and stressed the importance of infection control being part of building designs.

She said the pandemic had led to greater collaboration with lots more sharing of knowledge and best-practice about making buildings more resilient to the transmission of diseases. “People realise we can’t solve this on our own or by arguing about whose tech is the best,” added Professor Noakes.

However, she warned that this winter would be very challenging because people would be looking to conserve energy by not opening windows, which could lead to other health problems linked to mould and damp.

Professor Noakes also launched the new annual World Ventil8 Day, created by a coalition of scientists, academics, engineering bodies and environmental activists. #WorldVentil8Day

The first one takes place on November 8 and will involve a series of in-person and online events. It is being driven by BESA, CIBSE and FETA in the UK in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Future Urban Ventilation Network. 


Inclusivity in the Building Services Sector


Other highlights included a panel chaired by BESA President-Elect Claire Curran, about Women in Construction that welcomed the growing number of young women coming into the sector but said the building services sector needed to market itself better to attract its fair share of talent.

“A new generation of women are showing interest in careers where they can influence climate change so need to be directed our way,” said Lucy Sherburn of Fairheat.

“We need to point out that we are saving the plant…while many other careers are not.”

Alexandra Knight, Founder of the diversity initiative STEMazing, urged delegates to promote engineering careers in their local schools. She added that stereotypes needed to be challenged more aggressively including suggestions that STEM careers are not for women and that “you have to be amazing at maths”.


Roundtable Collaboration Forum on Data Standards


There was an open forum about a ground-breaking collaboration between the built environment’s leading professional bodies who are seeking to align the data standards used to manage costing, carbon and building and facilities maintenance, in a bid to clear up confusion and shift the digital focus from new build to whole life building performance.

The fact that BESA, CIBSE, RICS and NBS are working together on this with support from the Government Property Agency prompted one attendee to describe it as a “game changing moment for building maintenance and operation”.


BESA Awards Winners 2022


Electrical Apprentice of the Year

  • Daniel Pallett, Enerveo 


Facilities Management Engineer Apprentice of the Year

  • Julie King, ECG Facilities Services


Heating & Ventilation Apprentice of the Year

  • Joe Smith, Munro Building Services


HNC & HND Building Services Apprentice of the Year

  • Dylan Gilbert, BES


Refrigeration, Air Conditioning & Heat Pump Apprentice of the Year, Sponsored by Mitsubishi Electric

  • George Lowrey, T Clarke Climate Solutions


Customer Service Person of the Year

  • Claire Pilcher, FP Hurley & Sons


Indoor Air Quality sponsored by Nuaire

  • RDM Electrical & Mechanical Services


Contractor of the Year

  • Roperhurst


Specialist Groups Award for Excellence

  • Adrian Sims, Owner, Vent Tech


Net-Zero Initiative of the Year

  • Elementa Consulting


Small Budget Project of the Year... under £500,000

  • A&E Treatment Rooms, Royal London Hospital - TRS


Large Budget Project of the Year... over £500,000

  • Ashton Old Baths, Ashton-under-Lyne - Sudlows


Product Innovation of the Year sponsored by The InstallerSHOW

  • Aalberts integrated piping system - Pegler


Women in Building Services Award

  • Lisa-Jayne Cook, GEA Group - Service Sales Manager Key Accounts


Diversity and Inclusion Initiative Award

  • IOR Women In RACHP


Competence and Compliance Award sponsored by the BMTFA

  • Farmwood Mechanical & Electrical Services


President's Award for Excellence 

  • Roland Ferry, Ductform HFE


RACHP World Skills Award

  • Luke Haile, Apprentice for Lightfoot Defence and student at Eastleigh College


The Manly Trust Management Bursary 

  • Mark Simm, HE Simm & Son 


National Apprentice of the Year 

  • George Lowrey, T Clarke Climate Solutions


Picture: a photograph of David Frise presenting an award. Image Credit: BESA

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 25 October 2022


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