FROM THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
January and early February have again been busy months, and it’s been a great opportunity to meet with many members during our tour of Asia, and the Southern and Northern Ireland regions where I accompanied John Hooper and Gavin Dunn delivering the key presentation on the Engineering Council debate where our membership opportunities and relationships have formed much member discussion.
Relationships, or associations, seems to be the current word of the day in particular regard to the Engineering Council debate and a lot of speculation has been made, much via social media, which in part remains misleading and incorrect.
However, by the time members read this report many will have had the opportunity to have seen the presentation and no doubt much of their reservations or concerns will have been addressed.
Social media is a great tool and a perfect opportunity to reach a huge audience, promoting and meeting new people and aiding communication with transparency, honesty and integrity, but often it can also do more harm than good, and misinformation can easily reinforce the wrong message because of diverse viewpoints and critiquing of ideas. However, in putting social media to one side, I am pleased to say that the events I’ve attended to hear the presentation have been well received, and members have been afforded unrestricted time for questions and answers, and it’s been encouraging to see the positive member response.
It was a pleasure to join the Southern and Eastern regional AGMs and the Midlands buildeng conference. The Midlands conference was well attended with some excellent presentations, and it remains encouraging to see our events continuing to grow in popularity throughout the country, particularly with other professional members who now attend our events and acknowledge them as a welcoming industry connection and something they now look forward to attending each year, and developing new relationships with other professional colleagues.
In joining our Southern and Eastern members, it was a pleasure to see both Michael Wadood and James Sizer installed for further terms as regional chairman, and again it’s encouraging to see how the communication and relationships between regional members and other organisations are growing in recognition and demand.
Independent review of Building Regulations and fire safety It‘s been a month or so since the release of the Hackitt Interim report in which Dame Judith Hackitt gave an overview of the shortcomings in UK fire safety regulations, and she has called to action all those involved in the system to bring about changes that will enable residents to be assured that their buildings are, and will continue to be, safe to live in. She called on industry, regulators and central and local Government to demonstrate their commitment and relationships to transforming the environment and culture into one in which the safety of residents is paramount.
In its next phase, the Review aims to develop practical solutions to deliver the areas of change, with a major overhaul of the whole system now needed and industry leaders are committed to the aim of creating a new system that will work effectively and coherently, and working groups will be established to develop innovative solutions in the following key areas:
• Design, construction and refurbishment – establishing what industry and regulators need to do to fully embed building safety during the design and construction phase
• Occupation and maintenance – identifying what building owners, landlords and regulators need to do differently to ensure that building safety is prioritised when a building is occupied and throughout its life-cycle
• Products – determining how the product testing and marketing regime can be improved
• Competency – establishing how competency requirements for key individuals involved in building and managing complex and highrisk buildings should change
• Residents’ voice – determining the best way for residents to be given a clear, quick and effective statutory route for raising concerns on fire safety
• Regulation and guidance – resolving whether central Government ownership of technical guidance is the most appropriate model for complex and high-risk buildings.
So, more to follow on this as we all in industry move forward together.
Before I close I could not end without finishing on a point I started with, on relationships. As many of you are aware, our CEO John Hooper will be leaving us in April this year and he will be sorely missed by all in the Association – although I am aware that Veronica, his wife, has a lot of gardening lined up for him. John has put the Association in a great place and the industry top table is within touching distance, and I’m sure, in speaking for all our members, we all wish John all the very best for his days of comfort, although I do not envisage him relaxing too much, as he’s not a man to sit idle.
His successor Gavin Dunn, already known to many of us, will undoubtedly take the Association to the industry top table, concluding the journey John has taken us on, and our future relationships under Gavin will inevitably grow from strength to strength.
Until next month,
David Taylor BA(Hons) C.Build E PCABE FCABE MCIAT PEng MSPE