Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Late payment ‘tsar’ to speak at BESA Conference

The 2018 Building Engineering Services Association Conference has started to take shape with high profile sessions already agreed on the technical implications for contractors of the Hackitt Review and how Brexit will affect the building engineering marketplace; along with a number of ‘meet the buyer’ sessions.

The one-day conference entitled ‘Engineering the Future’ will take place at the Park Plaza Victoria Hotel in London on November 1 with headline sponsor Milwaukee Tools. It will focus on how building engineering firms can win and deliver projects in a highly disrupted marketplace.

A wide range of expert speakers and political commentators will help delegates focus on the actions companies, of all sizes, should be taking to build resilience into their businesses – including preparing for Brexit.

“By the time of the conference, we will be less than six months away from the UK officially leaving the European Union. Whether or not you support Brexit, it’s happening; and the industry needs to be ready,” said BESA’s public affairs and policy manager Alexi Ozioro.

“We will be examining some of the most important questions facing a post-EU construction industry: What will be the regulatory impact? Has enough been done to protect skilled labour and movement of talent? Should we prepare for less foreign investment or is Brexit actually a wonderful opportunity for the industry?”


Informed ‘remain’ and ‘leave’ voices will provide an overview of what is in store for the industry and delegates will have a chance to ask questions and share their hopes and fears.

Mr Ozioro will also be interviewing the government’s Small Business Commissioner Paul Uppal in a special public session during the conference. Dubbed the ‘late payment tsar’, Mr Uppal will explain how his office can help companies resolve disputes, how effective his role has been so far and where he is trying to make a difference in the wake of Carillion.

As well as wider commercial issues and important discussions on mental health and diversity, the conference will zero in on key technical topics with seminars covering:

Fire safety – meeting the Hackitt challenge: This will be jointly hosted with the Smoke Control Association and a speaker from the London Fire Brigade. There will also be a specific session on fire rated products, fixings and new fire resistant materials;

Air quality: ‘Driving the pollution agenda indoors’ will be hosted by the BESA Indoor Air Quality Group. It will be followed by a session dedicated to Ventilation Hygiene: ‘The new TR/19 and what it means for the sector’s future’ organised by the Association’s Ventilation Hygiene Group;

Facilities management guru Geoff Prudence has agreed to host an in-depth discussion on the FM sector with a particular focus on leadership and how investment and standards must rise in the wake of the Grenfell fire. This session will also look at the FM requirements of NHS estates and other high profile clients;

There will be sessions dedicated to apprenticeships and training – with a key focus on how BESA is helping the industry equip its workforce with qualifications for life via new style apprenticeships. The trade union Unite has also been invited to give its views on how the sector needs to modernise the way it funds and delivers training.

The air conditioning and refrigeration industries will also be well served by the BESA Conference, which comes at the end of a year that has seen unprecedented upheaval in the refrigerant marketplace. Head of Refcom Graeme Fox will lead a session on The Future of Refrigerants.

More details of speakers and topics will be released in due course, but early bird delegate packages and exhibition areas can be reserved now by visiting:

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