BESA on Government's Net Zero Plan Update
The government’s strategy for spending up to £2.5bn on improving the energy efficiency of homes and public sector buildings has been given a cautious welcome by the BESA.
The Association, whose members play a key role in thousands of building improvement projects, said the investment could be an important step towards meeting energy security and carbon reduction goals, but only if it was focused on the long-term performance of buildings and not confined to one-off installations.
The funding was announced last September but the government has now published details of how £630m will be spent through its Home Upgrade Grant (HUG) for privately owned properties, and £780m via the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, for homes owned by local authorities and other social housing providers.
Social housing will also benefit from a further £1.1bn of match funding from local authorities, social housing providers and charities.
The government believes its scheme will provide energy efficiency improvements for 115,000 homes with an EPC rating of C or lower and will support 20,000 construction and home retrofit jobs.
A further £409 million will be spent through the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme divided between 114 English public sector bodies aiming to improve the energy efficiency of hospitals, schools, universities, museums, and leisure centres. This is part of the UK’s commitment to reduce emissions from public sector buildings by 75% by 2037.
IAQ monitoring should be 'standard practice' says Whitty
The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has welcomed another intervention by England’s chief medical officer in the controversy surrounding poor air quality in buildings.
Professor Chris Whitty has called for offices and public buildings, including schools, supermarkets, and hospitals, to be regularly monitored for indoor air pollutants.
He believes that analysing the indoor air quality (IAQ) of many buildings should be made “standard practice” and that more investment is needed to tackle the problem in homes. He also called for investment in creating “indoor emission inventories” as part of a “roadmap to cleaner indoor air.”
This follows his 2022 annual report where he wrote that IAQ should be made a priority as it was becoming “an increasing proportion of the overall problem” with progress being made on tackling outdoor pollution. He also pointed out that most people in developed countries spent more than 80% of their time indoors.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has established that 3.8 million premature deaths worldwide are linked to poor indoor air every year out of a total of 8.7 million from general air pollution.
“Indoor air pollution hasn’t received the same attention [as outdoor air], even though it might cause almost as many deaths globally,” Professor Whitty wrote in a co-authored article in the journal Nature. “The lack of research makes it hard for governments to target policies and controls, while building owners may be oblivious to the health risks and how to reduce them.”
He added that IAQ was a complex problem because it varies dramatically from one building to another. He said the level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can differ by a factor of 1,000 in identical houses on the same street, because of different occupant behaviour or ventilation systems.
BESA’s Nathan Wood said detailed monitoring was a vital first step on the road to producing a more targeted IAQ strategy, adding that the technology was already widely available, affordable, and becoming increasingly accurate.
“The pandemic drew attention to the link between poor ventilation and the transmission of diseases around buildings – this accelerated the adoption of IAQ monitoring,” said Wood, who is chair of the Association’s Health & Well-being in Buildings group.
“We are now well placed to assess the scale and nature of the challenge, including analysing the cocktail of contaminants that can lead to indoor air being many times more polluted than the outdoors. However, showing someone that they have a problem is only the start. They must then be shown how to address the problem through competent professional advice and the use of proven solutions.”
BESA is also supporting the proposed Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill which is currently progressing through Parliament and would introduce specific responsibilities for building operators to meet IAQ targets in line with WHO guidance.
The Bill, which is also known as Ella’s Law in memory of Ella Kissi-Debrah, who died 10 years ago this month from a severe asthma attack triggered by air pollution, is being spearheaded by Ella’s mother Rosamund who has become a prominent air quality campaigner. She said tackling IAQ was “a great way to give people back power over their own environment and save lives”.
“We have to be clear about this…bad IAQ leads directly to deaths,” said Rosamund, who is Honorary President of the BESA group.
BESA has produced a series of guides on addressing indoor air quality and building ventilation, which are freely available on its website here. It is also an organiser of the annual World Ventilation Day, which takes place on November 8th.
BESA launches expanded industry awards
The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has launched an expanded and rebranded BESA Industry Awards programme for 2023.
The BESA Awards, which are free to enter, will reward individuals, teams, and companies responsible for delivering projects, products, innovations, and initiatives that demonstrate excellence in building services engineering.
The Awards Finals will take place in London on October 12 following the Association’s annual National Conference. This gala dinner event will be the culmination of a series of regional dinners and awards running from May to July with winners going forward to the national final. However, some of the categories will only be judged at a national level without regional heats.
The Association launched several new awards last year including Net Zero Initiative and Product Innovation and has now expanded even further so companies and engineers from across the whole UK supply chain can enter more categories. Although some awards are exclusively for BESA members, many are now open to the whole sector and entries are encouraged to ensure the programme fully reflects the depth and breadth of the industry.
Bittersweet honour for air quality champion
Air quality and child health campaigner Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah has been made a CBE for services to public health in the King’s New Year Honours.
She described the award as “bittersweet” because her campaigning was prompted by the death of her nine-year-old daughter Ella, who is the first person in the UK to have air pollution stated on her death certificate.
“It is an absolute honour and recognition for the campaign [but] children are still dying, and my ambition is to keep on campaigning so that no other parent has to experience what I went through,” she said.
MPs are currently debating her proposed Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill – also known as ‘Ella’s Law – which has already received approval from the House of Lords and the London Assembly.
The new law would introduce specific responsibilities for building operators to meet indoor air quality (IAQ) targets in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) guidance and Kissi-Debrah has become a prominent voice in the push to improve standards of ventilation in buildings through her work with the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA). Read more ...
The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has evolved throughout the years to reflect the growing needs of our members and encompass all of the specialist services available within the built environment.
Established in 1904, BESA has a proud heritage and has been known by several names throughout its history, most notably as the Heating and Ventilating Contractors’ Association (HVCA). Now trading as BESA, our primary focus is to support and serve our members active in the design, installation, commissioning, maintenance, control and management of engineering systems and services in buildings.
We are a membership organisation. Our mission is to act as our member’s voice, representing the best interests of firms active within the built environment at a regional and national level. Our members range from the smallest enterprises to the largest organisations within the industry, we offer specialist support services, training courses and advice that is tailored to meet their individual requirements.
Our headquarters are in London, but we are active throughout the UK - with a longstanding presence in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as eight regional offices. Our regional presence is facilitated by a team of dedicated Association Managers who build strong working relationships with each of our members, enabling networking and sharing of best practice, business opportunities and advice on all local and national developments.
The specialist groups within the BESA provide members with an opportunity to address issues and set standards across the disciplines that comprise building engineering services.
- Ventilation The group is committed to maintaining the highest technical, efficiency and safety standards in ductwork manufacture and installation.
- Refrigeration, Air Conditioning & Heat Pumps The group is committed to safeguarding the environment by promoting and improving professionalism in the refrigeration and air conditioning sector.
- Heating & Plumbing Services The group is committed to the delivery of sustainable, energy-efficient heating and plumbing solutions in residential and small commercial buildings.
- Service & Facilities The group is committed to promoting the highest standards in the management and control of engineering services systems and facilities across the built environment.
Specialist Interest Groups
From time to time, special interest groups are formed within the BESA when issues arise that call for particular focus, either for a specific period or on an ongoing basis.
- Ventilation Hygiene – Formed by the Service and Facilities Group, the Ventilation Hygiene Branch was instrumental in the development of the BESA Guide to Good Practice for the Internal Cleanliness of Ventilation Systems (TR19), and continues to focus on topical issues relating to ductwork cleaning.
- Indoor Air Quality – The Indoor Air Quality Strategy Group – membership of which comprises manufacturers and consulting engineers as well as contractors – has been formed to build positive contacts within local and central government and to develop alliances with like-minded organisations.
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The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has announced the passing of its former president Peter Hoyle at the age of 76 with great sadness.
Hoyle was the first president of the Association since the Second World War to serve two consecutive terms following his election in 2000. He then became only the sixth person in the history of what was then called the HVCA to be awarded its Distinguished Service Award.
BESA chief executive officer David Frise said only individuals who rendered exceptional levels of service to the Association and its members received this special accolade.
“We refer to it as BESA’s ‘Hall of Fame’ and Peter certainly deserves to be regarded as one of our most outstanding past presidents for his totally dedicated service to both the Association and the industry at large,” he said.
Formerly managing director of Bradford-based Mitton Mechanical Services (now Mitton Group), Hoyle was also president of GCI-UICP, the European umbrella body for the building engineering services sector, and achieved considerable success as the UK’s representative on the international stage.
He served on the HVCA’s Council for more than 20 years and carried out vital work for the benefit of all members through his work on the Membership, Operations, Finance and House committees. He was also a director of the Association’s subsidiary Piper Enterprises and chairman of its training provider Building Engineering Services Training Ltd (BEST).
“He was a totally genuine man who, above all, recognised the value of the people he worked with and the importance of investing in their development,” said Frise. “In his inaugural address, Peter insisted that quality began and ended with people – and that any organisation, business or trade body, could only be as good as the individuals involved.
“Peter Hoyle will be remembered for his kindness and desire to help and support others whether in his business or personal life. We are truly grateful for his long and distinguished service.”
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REFCOM is the F-Gas certification body of the Building Engineering Services Associati