On the 10 - 11 November 2016 The Park Royal Hotel, near Warrington, hosted this year’s Annual Conference and Exhibition and as delegates started to arrive on day one they were greeted by an enthusiastic conference team from HQ and immediately had access to an extensive exhibition with 16 exhibitors, including the event sponsors, Aedis regulatory services, 2iM, Cordek and CABE Insurance Services.
Whilst delegates, some of whom had travelled from Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia as well as those closer to Warrington, settled in for a day full of thought-provoking papers, partners were offered the option of a Spa treatment and relaxation or a trip to nearby Chester Zoo.
The Earl of Lytton formally opened the conference with a short welcoming address in which he looked at the achievements of the Association over the past year and the objective of Ben Bradford’s Presidential term. He then went on to look at the theme of the conference ‘Aiming for Excellence’ and mentioned the work of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Excellence in the Built Environment of which he is a Vice-Chair.
The Keynote paper was delivered by Graham Watts OBE, who explained how the Construction Industry Council had been through its own strategic review and as a result there is an even greater focus on built environment professionals working together. He went on to look at four key issues: Brexit, the Economic Forecasts, BIM and Digital Built Britain.
This was followed by presentations from Dale Sinclair, Director of Technical Practice at Building Engineering Consultants AECOM; Kevin Blunden, Deputy CEO of CABE presenting the paper on behalf of Richard Harral of DCLG, who was unavoidably absent; Paul Oakley, the Associate Director of BIM at BRE; Jerry Shoolbred of the Institute of Clerk of Works and Construction Inspectorate; Martin Taylor of LABC, and Richard Smith of MD Insurance Services.
Conferences in recent years have included the opportunity for debate amongst the audience and this year the Panel considered the question of quality being a collective responsibility. Jerry Shoolbred once again took to the stage to represent the client’s view, with Stuart Samuels giving the Building Control perspective and Paul Bogle of the National Federation of Builders taking the contractor’s stance. The panel set the scene and then the delegates engaged in a lively debate; the end result being a general agreement for more joint working, particularly between building control and clerk of works.
The first day concluded with Kevin Blunden returning to present his own paper looking at current thinking on ethical and professional standards in the sector.
The Conference Dinner followed a short drinks reception and initially the stage was given over to David Phythian, Past President and Chair of the Trustees of the CABE Benevolent Fund.
The evening also saw the awarding of the first of the Association’s Gold Service Awards which are presented to members of the Association who have made a major or significant contribution towards the advancement of the Association at International, National or Regional level. The awards, which comprise a medal and certificate, were presented to Ken Ewing, Tom McLaughlin and Trevor Jacklin.
Speakers on the second day were Alan Crane of the Building Control Performance Standards Advisory Group (BCPSAG) on how professional standards, particularly in Building Control, could be better; Jon Pagan, Chairman of the Fire Engineering Council of the Fire Industry Association, on the need for a quality design in fire engineering; Alistair Soane used examples of building failures to demonstrate how structural design has evolved and then went on to show, using examples of how failures can be caused by bad practice, poor specification of fixings and inappropriate use; Dr Gavin Dunn of BRE looked at the direction of energy and sustainability standards within construction.
The final paper of conference was presented by Robin Somerville and looked at professional standards in building control and the new CICAIR Ltd Code of Conduct.
CABE President, Ben Bradford, then closed the Conference.