4 March 2019
The focus of the Team continues to be on the implementation on the next steps of our strategic plan and improvement of delivery to Members. Increasingly, my time is being spent nurturing external relationships and meeting as many Members as possible through the various regional events and AGMs in order to inform everyone about the many developments currently going on within the Association. For those of you who I have not been able to present to in person, I thought I would use this opportunity to provide an update on key developments.
We are driving considerable change within the Association but we have to remember that this is in direct response to the challenging environment we find our sector facing in terms of a serious skills crisis, poor productivity, slowing economic activity, and the serious questions asked of the competency of our entire sector to deliver building safety following the tragic Grenfell fire. I strongly believe that the Association and its Members have an opportunity to help the sector take on these challenges by directly addressing how we organise ourselves to be more focused on the public interest and by setting standards for ourselves that address these issues so that Building Engineers become part of the solution that creates a better sector in which we all work.
The Association’s plan is designed to address this challenge and fortunately we are starting from a strong position with membership having grown 40% since we got our Royal Charter. This provides us the strength and confidence to invest in the changes needed but in a way that builds our Royal Charter and the Chartered Building Engineer title and nothing in our plans will undermine the Charter as it is critical to our success. At the core are four critical development themes: Gaining full membership of the Engineering Council; addressing competency and professional responsibility; modernising operations; and actively taking on key sector challenges including skills, productivity, diversity and wellbeing.
In regards to Engineering Council membership we made tremendous progress in 2018 but I am fully aware that most members won’t have seen any significant change yet – but rest assured it is coming and significantly enhances the standing of the Association for all Members, whether you choose to pursue the additional Chartered Engineer registration or not. Key milestones include: completion of the full Member vote that approved the changes to our bylaws to approve joining the Engineering Council in May last year; governance changes approved by the Board completed in June; a detailed CEng operational documentation in August that resulted in a successful approval by the Engineering Council’s Quality Assurance Committee in October, and further agreement in November regarding the pre-qualification of Chartered Members towards CEng, IEng and EngTech registration.
Currently we are working with a selected group of Chartered Building Engineers who have volunteered to progress early with CEng registration in order to build the panel of assessors needed to conduct the interviews necessary for Members to register for CEng. I am pleased to say that we now have our first Building Engineers who also hold the CEng registration and will be rolling out the registration process to the wider Membership as soon as we have sufficient interview panel capacity. In April 2019 we plan to publish the guidelines for CEng, IEng and EngTech registration and open a ‘Register’ of current Chartered Members that wish to register. These are all-important steps towards us achieving the Association’s aim of being granted a full licence of the Engineering Council during 2019.
Competency and professional responsibility
The Hackitt Review highlights the need for significant sector change in regards to competency and professional responsibility to help rebuild public trust in our ability to ensure buildings are safe. It is essential that Building Engineers do our part and given the Association’s primary role is to provide Members the ability to demonstrate competence, it is essential that we have the right processes and standards in place to ensure those persons who wish to become Building Engineers are up to the job and equally to remove Members who fall short. To this end we are strengthening our Membership procedures and will be introducing new membership Code of Conduct, disciplinary procedures, and Competency Framework which we intend to publish in April and will come into effect in October this year.
Brand and digitalisation
As part of our modernisation programme we are updating our internal procedures, facilities and IT infrastructure to improve the service we provide to Members and to enable the Association to continue to grow successfully. The next steps of this programme will be the rebranding of the Association and the launch of a new digital member platform. The rebrand aims to modernise the look and feel of all our materials and provide a new identity for how to describe and present ourselves while retaining the core values of the Chartered Association and our heritage. The new digital platform will replace our current website, Members’ Area, and database and will introduce new functionality including a CABE mobile application that will revolutionise how Members can interact with the Association, its regions, international chapters and each other.
Exciting times, indeed, and we will endeavour to keep you informed as we get closer to launch of each new aspect.
Dr Gavin Dunn BSc MSc PhD FCABE Chartered Building Engineer