BESA Conference gears up to enter ‘uncharted waters’


he second annual Building Engineering Services Association Conference will shine a spotlight on much needed payment reform; the likely economic impact of Brexit and the technical implications of the Grenfell review.

‘Engineering the Future’, which takes place at the Park Plaza Victoria hotel in London on November 1, will focus on how building engineering firms can win profitable work and deliver high quality projects against a seriously disrupted economic and regulatory backdrop – and in the face of major cash flow challenges.

Expert speakers and political commentators will help delegates focus on the actions that companies of all sizes should be taking to build resilience into their businesses. The BESA conference will challenge contractors to consider whether they are ready for the likely upheaval caused by radical changes to the Building Regulations; a shifting financial situation that could disrupt construction markets; and the impact of political decisions taken both here and abroad.

“The ability to demonstrate competence and compliance is even more important when the market enters uncharted waters – as it will do next year,” said BESA Chief Executive, David Frise. “Therefore, our conference will focus heavily on technical excellence with guidance on how firms can

uJo Bird sta celebrate the second Queen's Award in five years.

uBESA Chief Execuve David Frise: “Our conference will focus heavily on technical excellence with guidance on how firms can develop the range of skills they need to compete and thrive.”

develop the range of skills they need to compete and thrive.”

Technical sessions will cover fire safety, ventilation hygiene, refrigeration and air conditioning, air quality and digital construction. There will also be sessions on late payment, project finance and legal matters, along with updates on apprenticeships, skills and recruitment. The expanding healthcare and residential sectors will be examined in detail as will wider issues such as diversity and mental health. There will also be ‘meet the buyer’ sessions with key clients and specifiers.

Boulng welcomes cohort of new apprences

ngineering solutions provider, Boulting has appointed seven new apprentices as it continues to bridge the skills gap in the industry. The multi-disciplined engineering solutions provider operates across a diverse range of industry sectors in the UK and internationally. The new apprentices have taken up positions in electrical installation, mechanical installation and the business’ panel shop in Penketh, Warrington.


Each year, the company receives hundreds of speculative applications for apprentice and graduate roles. With support from the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB), Boulting has developed a rigorous recruitment process that includes an aptitude test that candidates must pass to demonstrate a proficiency in Maths and English. “In April 2017, the

government introduced the Apprenticeship Levy in a bid to tackle the growing skills gap,” said Lucy Speed, HR Advisor at Boulting. “With a predicted shortfall of 1.8 million engineers by 2020, both the government and those working in the industry need to do their part. “We have a long-standing commitment to investing in young talent. Apprenticeships provide an excellent

uBoulng has a longstanding commitment to invesng in young engineering talent.

Kershaw wins contract for cung edge

university building

ershaw Mechanical Services has scooped another contract within the educational sector in the form of the mechanical and electrical works for “Building 60” for the University of East Anglia (UEA).


Awarded the project by lead contractors R G Carter, the development, which includes a state-of-the-art teaching and learning space, will provide a comprehensive range of lecture and seminar rooms for students across all disciplines.

opportunity not only for candidates who receive training and a job, but also businesses which can develop essential digital skills that they may be missing. This is becoming increasingly important in the advent of Industry 4.0.

“We’re delighted to have welcomed seven new apprentices to the Boulting family and will be watching their progress in earnest.” In 2017, Boulting

apprentice, Robbie Stanley claimed two prestigious Electrical Contractors Association (ECA) awards in Manchester and the North West, a testament to the company’s dedication to training future engineers.

Following the work that was undertaken during the design process by JSH Consulting and the UEA, Kershaw Mechanical Services collaborated with them on the final design and will be responsible for the mechanical and electrical installation for the new building.

As part of the project, the existing district heating main, which was installed by Kershaw Mechanical Services during the

construction of the Thomas Paine Study Centre, is being extended to Building 60, enabling the future connection of other buildings along the route to the system and take advantage of a highly efficient and sustainable source of heating and hot water.


Jo Bird wins second Queen’s Award in five years

sector has received its second Queen's Award in five years. Jo Bird specialises in the design and manufacture of storage cabinets to protect vital lifesaving and fire safety equipment.


The news was particularly welcome at Jo Bird's HQ in Highbridge, Somerset, as it came five years to the day that the company received its first Queen's Award for International Trade. The company exports to more than 30 countries including businesses operating in the renewable energy sector. The latest Queen's Award in Innovation recognises the redesign and manufacture of a high volume/lower margin fire safety cabinet.

The cabinets protect fire safety equipment at risk of prolonged exposure (10-15 years) to harsh environments such as high winds, tropical

business supplying specialist cabinets to the energy

rain, salt water spray and extremes of heat and cold (-40C to +50C). These are the first cabinets in this market segment to use advanced RTM technology to create a structure based on advanced composites. MD Guy Atkins explains: "We decided to sponsor an Engineering Doctorate (EngD) student through the University of Bristol to overcome the production issues and to transfer knowledge to the company's staff."

Through this sponsorship, graduate engineer Laxman Sivanathan joined Jo Bird and quickly implemented changes to reduce manufacturing costs and product innovations. Said Atkins: “Being successful in winning a second Queen's Award for Enterprise is a huge

achievement and could not have happened without the ambition, determination and hard work of our staff and particularly Laxman Sivanathan."

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Elmhurst Energy celebrates 25th anniversary

Elmhurst Energy, the energy performance measurement specialist is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Formed in 1993, the company has gone from strength to strength, growing to over 7,000 members, served by 68 employees from its Lutterworth

Headquarters. Stephen O’Hara, Chair of Elmhurst Energy, said: “Our mission has been, and will continue to be, to create a more energy efficient society through valuable assessment and driving the improvement of all homes and businesses throughout the UK.”

Construcon output set to ‘flatline’ this year

Following the demise of Carillion and bad weather in February and March, the Construction Products Association believes construction output growth throughout 2018 will remain flat, before accelerating to 2.7% in 2019 and 1.9% in 2020. Noble Francis, CPA’s Economics Director, said: “The growth in

infrastructure and private house building this year is forecast to offset falls in the hard hit commercial sector, where Brexit uncertainty continues to hit international

Carillion treated suppliers with ‘contempt’

he joint report from the House of Commons Business and Works and Pensions Select Committee (published on May16) has highlighted Carillion’s abuse of its supply chains. They were treated with “contempt” said the report. The Specialist Engineering Contractors’ (SEC) Group – representing the largest sector of UK construction by value – welcomed the Committee’s report. Commenting on the report, SEC Group’s CEO, Professor Rudi Klein, said that the Carillion saga has shone a light on the dark underbelly of construction. He added: “Unfortunately Carillion is not alone. Payment and contractual abuse is rife in the construction industry.”


SEC Group has been urging the Government to act on the lessons from the Carillion debacle. It has drawn up a 4 point plan for action: uAll public sector projects should use project bank accounts so that everybody is paid within short timescales from the same “pot”. uThe Public Contracts Regulations 2015 should be amended to mandate 30 day payments on all public sector contracts and sub-contracts. Suppliers failing to pay within these timescales must be excluded from public sector works. uRetention monies should be ring-fenced in a protected scheme. uThe Small Business Commissioner should have the power to fine large companies for poor treatment of their supply chains.

“Unless we act now,” said Rudi Klein, “the risk is that we’ll end up with more Carillions.”

investment in new office towers in London and high street woes affects the construction of new retail.”

George Clarke becomes Ecodan brand ambassador Mitsubishi Electric has

announced an association with TV presenter, architect, lecturer and writer, George Clarke, to help promote Ecodan air source heat pumps. Best known for the Channel 4 programmes George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces, The Home Show and Restoration Man, Mr Clarke will help promote renewable heating and write a monthly column on the company’s blogsite,

TheHub.mitsubishielectric., covers a variety of topics around energy use in buildings.


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