Vice President's Page April 2017


David Taylor

Time passes so quickly – April already and my last VP journal report. Congratulations to Anthony Burd, who takes over the VP reins, and I’m sure his two years will simply fly by; and Congratulations also to Darren Burrell and Jane Hall who were both elected new Board members. David Kitcatt and Karen Roberts have both reached the end of their Board journey, but I’m sure they will both continue to provide invaluable member feedback over the years to come.

It’s been a busy period since January, and I have had the pleasure of visiting a number of the regions and the recent buildeng in Ashford, all continuing with the theme of raising the Association’s profile, and it’s been interesting listening to some of the variable and diverse presentations.  

Energy and sustainability standards seem to be a theme challenging our industry, and much seems to be delivered on Passivhaus and Enerphit Passivhaus standards. The difference is that Passivhaus is a standard of a thermal quality whereby post-heating or post-cooling the fresh air flow required for good indoor air quality, without the need for additional re-circulation of air, is the general approach; and Enerphit Passivhaus is a standard for retrofit projects, but a lot of our old architectural and conservation type buildings means that meeting this standard is often not feasible.

VP Apr 17Passivhaus has been around for many years and there are now many others adopting their own take on the standard name, e.g. Klimahaus, Strodahaus and, believe it or not, Ireland has one called Paddyhaus!! I was struck at a recent presentation when sustainability and Passivhaus was the theme, but I was shocked at how very little was known about other methods of energy design considerations such as Biophilic design and Bioclimatic design; and if we are all to move forward in tackling global sustainability issues then it’s important for us all to start adopting these recommendations and guidelines also. I’m sure our VP, Gavin Dunn, will have some thoughts on this, but for those of you unaware of these design standards I would advise you to take a look at the design principles; it’s a simple Google search to start with!

So, other than slaving in the office and visiting many sites I currently have ongoing, my travels over the past two months have been interesting.

Mid-January, I had the pleasure of visiting the Southern region, whose regional AGM, was held in Hillingdon, London. Michael Wadood delivered his Accessibility design presentation which is always well received, and Barry Cope, of the Air Tightness Testing & Measurement Association, delivered an interesting presentation on the future outlook and the need for contractors to be more competent in ensuring minimal fragmentation of the industry and better quality control throughout. This was a good event and much networking continued well after.
VP Apr 17
Next stop was Newcastle for the Northern AGM which had an excellent turn-out, and I delivered a presentation 
on Design or Build Compliance and Best Practice. The event was extremely well organised, great food and great company, until somebody decided to bump the front of my car so it turned out an expensive journey. It was also good to touch base with past president, Colin Bell, who was able to offer some kind words of advice for the journey ahead. 

Up the A1 again, this time to the Yorkshire and HumberVP Apr 17 region, and again another excellent turn-out; and Past President Rhys Taylor delivered an interesting presentation on subsidence caused by mining.

It was good to chat with Rhys given our past working relationships with the NCB, and also to discuss the Party Wall etc Act in which we both administer as part of our daily practice services. 

Over the past months I have been Involved in a number of Party Wall matters, and although I have been working with this piece of legislation for many years, it has now become so ambiguous that even the courts are having difficulty in the understanding, spirit and integrity of the Act, which is clear to see by some recent case law judgements!! Maybe it’s time for a peer review?
VP Apr 17Continuing the adventure, next stop was Norwich and it was pleasing to see James Sizer unanimously chosen as the new regional chairman. James’s drive and enthusiasm is refreshing, and clearly there are good things ahead for the region; in fact, he has already secured a venue in Huntingdon to expand our regional activities, and is in discussions for the Eastern Region designeng in Cambridge again later this year. 

A nice touch, which James has initiated, has been the presentation of regional certificates to speakers and supporters of CABE regional events, and I was pleased to see my long term good friend, Andy Toovey of Brick Matters Ltd, being the first recipient.  
VP Apr 17
In the format of the outgoing chairman’s intent, a social event continued afterwards, and its evident this will continue with future events to follow.  

My travels finished in Ashford, Kent, which was the Southern Region’s 2nd buildeng event, following on from the success of Southampton last year.

The event was well attended with over 90 delegates present, and again the quality and theme of the presentations was built around Overheating of Buildings, Air Tightness, Passivhaus, and our very own Kevin Blunden offered a refreshing insight into the new technologies for the future.  
Again I was able to add on the importance of Biophilic design and Bioclimatic design, and other than Kevin and myself being aware of it, it seemed alien to all others.
VP Apr 17

It’s been very clear to see throughout my recent travels that there are some hard working passionate members who, when closely joining together to put on these events, ensure our Association fulfils its objectives of developing professionals, sharing knowledge and raising standards; and recognition should be acknowledged.      

Recognition is rewarding and the voluntary contribution of our regions should be acknowledged along with the recognised quality and contribution which the Association provides to our industry, and by ensuring this sustained recognition of the Association, its members and the discipline of building engineering; is a pivotal goal in both practice and education which we should all be proud of.

My journal page changes in May and I’m sure the journey and adventure ahead will be an interesting one, but with your continued support I hope to have an enjoyable year.