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Putting occupants at the very heart of building design

he BRE is a fount of all knowledge and its latest project – the construction of a new ‘dementia- friendly’ home aimed at learning how better to support those living with the condition – begins on the BRE Innovation Park this Autumn. All very laudable and I look forward to hearing what emerges from the project and how this can be translated into more practical environments for those with this awful condition.


According to the BRE we spend 90% of our lives in buildings but sometimes, it is all too easy to forget the human aspect of a building – the occupants.

My own particular bugbear is the office environment. Poor lighting, bad ventilation and lack of facilities can all impact on workers’ performance and health.

So it is good to see that with the advent of the Well Building Standard, the “wellness” of occupants in commercial


From THIS MONTHthe Editor

4 INDUSTRY NEWS Latest news from around the industry.

property is moving up the business and building services’ agenda.

A while back, we reported on the BRE’s Biophilic Office research project which will show how biophilic design can create a healthier, more productive office environment.

The project, in collaboration with Oliver Heath Design, focuses on the refurbishment of a 1980s’ office building on the BRE campus.

The Biophilic Office is designed to show how quantified improvements in productivity and wellness can bring rewards for landlords, occupiers, developers and all those concerned with the office environment.

It is a fascinating project and we hope to bring you more news about it in the not too distant future.

Enjoy this month’s issue. Debbie Eales


Are you walking the legislation tightrope?


BCIA President, Malcolm Anson, on inspiring the next generation.

8 BUILDING CONTROLS A holistic approach to improving efficiency and wellbeing in buildings.

9 ELECTRICAL SAFETY When prevention is better than cure.


uThe challenge of heating churches and historic buildings.

uNew heating in old buildings. uThe science behind style.


By Andy Owen, Managing Director of electric tug specialist, MasterMover

Why meeting the skills gap requires a change in attitude

rguably, the most pressing problem for the UK industrial sector in recent years has been the skills shortage, an issue that will once again be at the centre of the public's consciousness in light of the UK Government's introduction of an apprenticeship levy in April 2017. But why is the engineering skills problem persisting – and what can businesses do about it?


The last five years have been a tumultuous period for the UK engineering industry. While stability has gradually been restored in the years following the financial crash, the industrial sector continues to face an uncertain future. This is driven by what has been dubbed the skills gap, in which the volume of skilled engineers entering the industry falls short of the growing demand for engineers.

Fortunately, the situation is improving. According to the 2017 state of engineering report by Engineering UK, support from the education system has led to an increased interest in engineering careers among young people. Now, the UK government has put an apprenticeship levy in place to persuade larger engineering businesses to employ more apprentices.

Herein lies the fundamental problem with many of the current apprenticeship schemes in the engineering industry. By introducing a levy to coerce businesses into offering apprenticeships, the UK Government is taking the wrong steps to achieve the right goal. Businesses must make apprentices integral to their strategies rather than a financially-motivated afterthought.

For example, MasterMover takes on many apprentices each year across all departments from design engineering to


finance. During the apprenticeship, we ensure that learners are equipped with practical skills rather than just experience of shadowing an engineer. This makes it mutually beneficial, particularly for engineering apprentices, as the company gets extra work capacity and the apprentice gets valuable skills development, as well as the opportunity to see their work finalised and shipped worldwide.

This is critical in ensuring a sustainable future for both the company and the industry itself. In the 2016 skills and demand in industry survey, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) found that 50 per cent of engineering companies believe typical new recruits do not meet their expectations. This can be avoided by actively investing in apprenticeships and shaping new recruits into effective engineers.

Naomi Climer, the President of the IET, has echoed this sentiment. Following the 2016 survey, Climer stated: “It is more important than ever that we develop the next generation of home grown engineering and technology talent”. This cannot be accomplished unless businesses rethink apprenticeship schemes to provide the most benefit to both parties and cultivate talent.

The apprenticeship levy is certainly an important development that underlines the importance of apprentices in the future of engineering, but businesses must change their approach and attitudes towards apprenticeships to realise this future. While the skills shortage has been the key talking point of recent years, it does not have to remain this way. BUILDING SERVICES & ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEER JUNE 2017 3

Effective water treatment regimes – where to start.

11 ASK THE EXPERT WITH ABB Synchronous reluctance motors – the right choice for HVAC pumps and fans.

15 INDUSTRY COMMENT Energy‐efficient office lighting and improved employee health.

16 WATER TREATMENT A guide to water system safety and efficiency.

18 ENERGY MANAGEMENT uHeating efficiency served up on a plate.

uMaking great savings with CHP. uA whole system approach to thermal efficiency.

24 STEEL TUBES All tubes are not created equal. Check they comply before you buy.

26 FIRE SAFETY Taking control of smoke extraction.

28 INSTALLATION NEWS Case studies and installation stories. Also on page 31.


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