On 19th May 2017, Honoured guests gathered at The House of Lords to celebrate the Presidential Inauguration of David Taylor.
This prestigious event saw Benjamin Bradford become the Immediate Past-President whilst carrying out his last duty as President, installing his successor David Taylor as the 71st President of The Chartered Association of Building Engineers.
David Taylor then went on to give us his first presidential address:
My Lords, Honoured Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen
What a great honour and privilege it is to be here today as the new (and 71st) President of the Chartered Association of Building Engineers. It’s certainly interesting what the roads of life can bring you to, and I am truly honoured. I’m pleased to say the roads of choice I’ve made in life have steered me well and I owe much to the guidance, counselling and friendship of my colleagues throughout the years, and the love and support of my family which gives me inspiration in taking on this amazing adventure, and I look forward to extending the Association’s road during the year ahead.
Following on the roads of the past presidents will be an arduous task; a journey I am quite looking forward to, but I have no intention or desire of following Ben and jogging the marathon. Jogging my memory nowadays is bad enough so, if you don’t mind, I’ll pass on that one!!
The Chartered Association of Building Engineers is an organisation we can all be proud of and the Association’s identity is now well established as a vibrant, inspiring and growing body.
Time is flying by at a frightening pace and it only seems like yesterday I was taking up the Vice-President’s reins; but during my VP term I have had many discussions with members of all grades and levels, and clearly our members are proud to belong to an Association which continues to demonstrate flexibility, awareness and progression, but one that also recognises the important challenges of our industry whilst providing a key role in best practice, training, education and inspiring others to engage.
Our Association has a positive ethos, clear goals and strong ambitions and was founded with the principal objectives to share our knowledge and encourage and facilitate co-operation between our members and the professions; so my mission for the year ahead will be to build upon the Association’s vision of Developing Professionals, Sharing Knowledge and Raising Standards in which educating members and student growth, encouraging collaborations between our members and the professions and promoting quality core values will be my primary objectives.
Our industry currently employs 3.2 million people and 29 new jobs are created for every one million pounds invested. Industry predicts that 300,000 new jobs could be created by 2019; however, there is a problem – within the next ten years up to 450,000 in our industry will retire and, with one in eight members now over 60 and our impending exit from the EU, we have a serious issue ensuring and maintaining a skill base for the years ahead.
Retaining, motivating and improving the skills of those already in our industry, and attracting and developing the skills and growth for the future is a challenge, investment and journey that we all need to recognise, encourage and develop; and to see more young people becoming industry professionals, industry must now step in to make up the classroom shortfall by offering some inspiring opportunities, investing more and engaging more.
Throughout the year I hope to encourage the many attractive and varied opportunities to the younger generation for them to contemplate and evaluate a building engineer career.
Collaborative opportunities for our members, students and professionals to come together is an integral part of the Association’s objectives; it’s a fuel of any organisation, and it brings together the best of industry expertise.These opportunities are an essential part of embracing industry trends and increasing our member engagements, whilst ensuring our Association has a global presence and respected influence with other organisations.
Embedding collective collaboration in our professions provides us with equal opportunities, and over the months ahead I aim to build upon this further by expanding our regional and national co-badging relationships with other professional bodies and, in fact, several events are already planned, with others in discussion.
Our membership skills are now so diverse that the values and knowledge we have within the Association brings us fresh ideas and new perceptions; and by working together, sharing our skills, goals and experiences we’re driving change and opportunities across our boundaries, and by adding our voice and expertise we’re continually increasing our influence in industry.
Our member strengths are now flourishing in over 60 countries, and the Association is further expanding its international platform with a common goal of developing professionals and raising industry standards, and it’s these standards that will serve the long-term needs of our industry both nationally and globally. Clearly we are a powerful force for the good in our industry!!
Our industry is under constant pressure to be faster, more competitive and more efficient whilst many challenges continue, and quality and professionalism has become exacerbated by the student shortfalls, industry retirements and personal values of performance and compromise. Quality is now being sacrificed for speed of delivery, and we are now at a crossroads of risk and opportunity and the quality gap is widening.
Over the past year Ben has led a passionate charge on the importance of ethical awareness and it’s incumbent on us all to follow his example; influencing and promoting the importance of integrity and better quality, better industry standards, better industry values, better industry delivery, and better ethical standards and leadership.
It’s crucial that we all retain and preserve the highest possible standards and values, whilst maintaining a positive contribution to our professions and society.
The next few years will bring many more challenges and, balanced against an increasing population, demand for housing and increased climate change issues, we all now need to support a promotion of better core values, which through close collaboration from industry will we only then overcome this problem. And, without doubt, the recent Farmer Review has been an industry wake-up call for us all.
The rate of change in our industry has never been so fast and it must be recognised that the impact of changing technology in our lives is a clear driver of industry engagement. We all now work in a world of fingertip, robotic and remote operation, and digital engineering advancements continue to gain pace. Drones, Virtual Reality, Robotics, Augmented Reality and 3D Printing to name a few are all now being industry embraced, and through BIM 360 we are now constructing buildings in our computers.
Communication is now dominated by an iPhone, Android Social Media generation, and wearable technology now enables us to access e-mails and communicate by the flick of the wrist any time, any place, anywhere. Skype enables us to visually meet up with each other thousands of miles apart, and Cloud-based collaboration systems now enable us the opportunities to connect our global expertise in one virtual office.
My background is in Architecture and over the years I’ve been involved in many varied projects both in the UK and Europe, but I am increasingly finding that designing for today, with an awareness of the past for a future we can’t foresee has never been more difficult, but Connecting, Communicating, Networking and Exchanging with fellow members and fellow professionals has never been easier.
Growth, Collaboration and Quality Core Values are the lifeblood of our industry – my focus over the year – and digital and communication progress is re-shaping our future, but more change is inevitable and I firmly believe that, to keep pace with these changes, for the growth of our Association and vitality of our members, we must all embrace, engage, upskill, collaborate and plan ahead, investing, trusting and learning from each other, whilst providing a platform of excellence inspiring others to follow.
It’s an honour and a privilege to represent the Association. I’m looking forward to the road and journey ahead, meeting members, fulfilling my objectives, and promoting the Association throughout the UK and overseas; and I’m confident that with your continued support I shall have an incredible year.'