Rebecca Fox has joined the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) as its new director of membership.
Formerly director of membership and business development at the Association for Project Management, Fox brings a wealth of experience to the role. She was also previously group head of membership at the Chartered Institute for Procurement and Supply having progressed from general manager for the Middle East and North Africa and before that had a series of international roles at the logistics company DHL.
Fox said she was delighted to be joining an organisation “with an exciting future” representing a sector that is central to so many of the biggest social and economic challenges facing society, such as climate change and levelling up.
“I thrive on having an impact and making a difference, so this seemed the ideal new challenge,” said Fox. “BESA is a fantastic brand with a strong heritage, and it is my vision to strengthen and grow the BESA membership brand and base.
“We should not be afraid to challenge and evolve our value proposition to ensure it is relevant and compelling,” she added. “Our members’ businesses are changing; their marketplace is evolving, and we are on the cusp of regulatory and technological transformation that will have a major impact on the sector. Our membership offer must keep pace.”
The Association represents a broad range of companies and Fox said it was vital that membership reflected their needs.
“The larger firms will make less use of our in-house services, but they are looking for representation and influence, a sense of belonging – so could we be doing more for our senior leaders? The smaller members have different needs, and we must be flexible enough to adapt and remain close to them,” she said.
BESA is expanding its membership team and Fox said this would help to improve engagement and communication with members.
“We need to understand what they are doing, who are their customers and what they worry about so we can provide them with the right products and services. We have a fantastic offer, and we need to spread the word,” she added.
She sees great opportunities around skills, the adoption of new technologies, artificial intelligence (AI) and BIM and believes new legislation will have a major impact.
“The Building Safety Act should help to restore some of the trust that has been lost since the Grenfell disaster and the collapse of Carillion – and we are starting to address the race to the bottom on procurement that has caused so many problems,” said Fox.
“Covid also shone a light on indoor air quality and the role of buildings in protecting health and well-being, so that is another key area where we can promote the work of BESA members and their supply chains.”
She also said the industry “still looks a bit blokey”, so its bodies and employers would have to embrace the changes needed to accommodate diversity and inclusivity.
“I am passionate about seeing more women and young people in this sector – and BESA has a crucial role to play. This is a Cinderella profession that needs to be better promoted: We have all these incredible buildings, but people have only ever heard of the architect,” said Fox.
“That needs to change so that more people see our sector as a great place to make a living and make a difference.”