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Ewen Rose Jul 13, 2023 4:53:23 PM 4 min read

BESA blends business and technical at ‘most ambitious’ conference


besa-conference-2022-blog-bannerThe Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) is bringing together its “most ambitious and wide-ranging” programme of commercial and technical content to date for its sixth Annual Conference this October. 

The Association has now launched the full programme for its one-day event, which is sponsored by Mitsubishi Electric, and will take place on Thursday, October 12 at the Novotel London West. 

It comprises three seminar strands grouped under an overall heading of ‘Building businesses, building the future’ with content designed to appeal to building services professionals, young engineers, facilities managers, manufacturers, and specifiers.  

There will be a particular focus on skills shortages, the push for net zero, the rapid development of digital technologies, and the commercial and contractual challenges facing the building engineering sector. 

BESA members and young engineers can attend free of charge. The cost to non-members is £120 and bookings can now be made online here. A £10 donation will be made for every delegate who registers to the Association’s chosen charity Light House Club, which is dedicated to tackling mental health problems in the industry.  

The packed one-day event, which is also supported by bronze sponsor GPS Air, features three distinct strands: Business, technical, and young engineers. The first will look at how firms can manage costs and invest for the future, improve collaboration, and comply with the Building Safety Act.  

The technical section will be the largest with sessions dedicated to each of the industry’s key technologies and shaped by BESA’s specialist groups. The over-arching technical theme is delivering safe, healthy, and energy efficient building services – covering the complete lifecycle of a building and progress towards net zero. 

Many of the topics have been chosen with young engineers in mind and members of the Association’s Future Leaders group will be participating in several discussions. They will also play a leading role in the final feedback session that closes the event. 

There will be individual talks and debates on ventilation and indoor air quality, fire safety, energy efficiency and carbon counting, Golden Thread; heat pumps; changes to the F-Gas regulations, heat networks and the role of heat interface units (HIUs); FM and building maintenance, overheating and adapting to climate change, among others. 

There will be a keynote session on ‘Transforming building services to transform the NHS’ led by Lord Markham, the Minister in charge of delivering the government’s ambitious plan to build 40 new hospitals by 2030. 

A session on the importance of ventilation in addressing the UK’s healthcare crisis will back up Lord Markham’s call for improving indoor air quality to support patients and reduce waiting lists. It will also examine new BESA guidance on reducing mould and condensation in homes as well as the need for more investment in schools to protect children from illness and allergies. 

Another keynote session will focus on the Building Safety Act with an official from the office of the Building Safety Regulator explaining what contractors should be doing now to comply and the shift towards a whole new ‘safety culture’ across construction. 

“This is shaping up to be our most ambitious conference to date,” said BESA chief executive officer David Frise. “The blend of commercial, contractual, and technical sessions means we can say – with complete confidence – that there is definitely something for everyone. 

“Trying to capture the full breadth of the challenges and opportunities now facing our sector is quite an undertaking, but our conference team aided by our Advisory Board drawn from across the industry, has somehow managed to cram it all into one day.” 

Several ‘people focused’ sessions will look at how businesses can make themselves more attractive to a younger and more diverse generation; and how mentoring and reverse mentoring can help firms prepare themselves for future challenges. A discussion on recruitment strategies will also draw on international experience with speakers from the North American contractors’ body the MCAA and GCP Europe joining the expert panel. 

The expansion of digital techniques will be central to several sessions with one focused on the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) delivered by Sukhmit Singh of Atkins. He will explain how AI can be harnessed to support the work of building engineers by improving performance data gathering and analysis. 

Special speaker, Dr Jo Jolly, deputy director at the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA), will also describe how the transition to data-driven processes is helping to deliver more sustainable major projects.  

BESA is introducing more interactive workshops this year along with short ‘lightening learning’ sessions to give delegates quick access to takeaway actions. One of these will be a legal and commercial ‘health check’ with experts from BESA’s in-house team offering targeted advice on delegates’ specific concerns. 

There will be detailed seminars on heat networks, fire safety in ventilation systems, heat pumps, heat recovery systems and a ‘Big Debate’ between supporters of chemical and non-chemical water treatment. A highly practical session will also look at ‘energy efficiency quick wins’ to help building managers get to grips with rising costs while also balancing the need to prepare for net zero. 

The October 12 event will feature an exhibition area and will be followed that evening by BESA’s Industry Awards which are also sponsored by Mitsubishi Electric.  

For more details, including registration, exhibition, and sponsorship opportunities, please contact: