Wednesday, March 1, 2017

BESA steps up focus on specifiers

Promoting the expertise of building engineering contractors to local authorities; consulting engineers; architects and key end user groups will be a central part of the strategy pursued by the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) this year.

It has appointed former Travis Perkins senior executive Kevin Kingaby to the new position of Key Accounts Manager – Specifiers to spearhead a programme aimed at creating stronger links between specifiers and BESA members to help ensure projects meet clients’ expectations and commercial objectives.

Building on BESA’s 112 years of industry leadership, he will promote membership of the Association as a ‘badge of quality’ for specifiers looking to appoint top quality contractors. He will remind them that BESA is one of few trade associations in the UK to insist prospective and existing members are subjected to an independent; third party accredited Competence Assessment Scheme (CAS) to verify both their technical expertise and financial stability.

Members will be invited to tell Mr Kingaby where tenders do not include BESA membership as part of the pre-qualification criteria so he can approach the specifiers and remind them of the value and benefit of using suitably accredited contractors.

Mr Kingaby has more than 35 years’ experience in plumbing and engineering products; having risen to become managing director at Saint-Gobain owned Walker & Staff before spending 13 years in senior management positions, including as regional manager for London and the South East, at the plumbing merchant BSS, which was acquired by Travis Perkins.

He now brings that considerable experience to bear on a major market development role for BESA with a focus on promoting the high professional standards and technical expertise of its members.

“This is a key appointment for us,” said BESA’s Chief Executive, Paul McLaughlin. “As specifications increasingly reflect the growing expectations of building users – linked to sophisticated ‘smart’ solutions; the focus on occupant health and well-being; and the need to continually improve the financial performance of building systems – so specifiers need support in singling out contractors with excellent track records and independent verification of competence.

“Qualifying for BESA membership means a contractor meets the technical and commercial standards needed to deliver projects to a suitably high standard. It will be Kevin’s job to ensure more and more specifiers are aware of that fact.”

Mr Kingaby added that the CAS process helped BESA companies “stand out from the crowd”.

“Some parts of the construction industry have a damaging habit of breaking specifications – either to save money or because of technical shortcomings in the project team – and it is the end client who suffers,” said Mr Kingaby.

“An important part of my role will be to promote the technical expertise and financial rigour of BESA members so clients can enjoy the peace of mind of knowing they are using contractors who deliver what they promise.”

The Association also manages a series of recognised registration schemes like Refcom – for safe refrigerant handling – and the SKILLcard site safety programme. It has also developed tools like SFG20 – the definitive standard for planned maintenance – which saves thousands of businesses money by optimising maintenance, avoiding over-spend, ensuring efficient running of plant and helping clients comply with legislation.

“My early conversations with major players in the marketplace have revealed that many are surprised at how much we do and how much ground we cover,” said Mr Kingaby. “There is also a general misunderstanding about what the sector is capable of. It has quickly become obvious to me that BESA members have a key role to play in raising the profile of the building engineering profession as a whole.”

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