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Incoming CIBSE President Outlines Engineering Industry Challenges

Incoming CIBSE President Outlines Engineering Industry Challenges
20 June 2023

CIBSE President Adrian Catchpole has highlighted the importance of leadership in engineering in his Presidential Address.

He also outlined the challenges presented by climate change, building safety considerations and the engineering skills shortage.

The speech was delivered in person at the CIBSE AGM on 13 June 2023 at the Royal Society, London, and online. Adrian succeeds Kevin Mitchell as CIBSE President and will in turn be succeeded by Fiona Cousins, CIBSE President Elect.


Urgent Response to Climate Change Needed


Adrian highlighted early in his address that in 2022, global carbon emissions rose by a further 0.9 per cent to 36.8 billion tonnes despite all of our efforts to date:

“And as we are doing all of that, we need to remember that half of our industry’s future emissions are predicted to come from buildings in developing nations, which have yet to be constructed. We need to act globally, to ensure that the lessons we have learned, are shared effectively throughout the world.

“It’s quite a task, but we still have time all around the world, I know there are engineers (many of them in our own CIBSE family) with the knowledge and expertise to deliver the further step changes we need. We, now need to lead those changes! Building Services Engineers now need to be prepared to lead those changes.”


Attracting New Young Engineers With the CIBSE STEM Ambassador Scheme


As part of the address, Adrian launched a new CIBSE STEM Ambassador scheme, in partnership with STEM Learning. This will support volunteers to attract new entrants in all CIBSE regions, including the UK, Ireland, Hong Kong, ANZ and UAE. He challenged all CIBSE regions "to have 10 registered, and active STEM Ambassadors by the end of May next year".


CIBSE Chartered Organisation Programme


Adrian’s address also referred to the Building Safety Act, which he described as "a hugely significant piece of legislation". He said that CIBSE would be bringing forward guidance to support the implementation of the act, together with details of a new CIBSE Chartered Organisation Programme, that will facilitate the demonstration of competence.


Embracing the Potential of Modular and Offsite Construction


As part of CIBSE’s commitment to driving innovation and encouraging collaboration and information exchange via databases, Adrian also raised the potential of modular and offsite construction:

The precision that is possible when construction takes place in a controlled factory environment is appealing, so we should be keen to lead and support this methodology.

“For our sector, the key driver is the plant room. If you can put a set of six pumps on a frame in a factory and deliver everything to site together, then you dramatically reduce the risk of error. And along the way, you also reduce the health and safety risk for installers. This has to be the future. High-quality precision engineering, constructed in factory conditions.”

Picture: a photograph of Adrian Catchpole standing at a lectern. Image Credit: CIBSE

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 20 June 2023


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