Lorne Stewart

How BESA's technical prowess safeguarded member's interests


One of our members was responsible for the complete fit-out of the mechanical and electrical systems, including the design, installation, and commissioning of the ductwork systems of a large-scale, mixed-use development comprising over 60 buildings

With such a significant undertaking, the company employed a rigorous quality control process, adhering to industry standards and best practices. They also collaborated closely with a reputable subcontractor, who was also a BESA member, to ensure the successful delivery of the project.

Despite their meticulous approach, an issue arose during the final stages of the project, leading to a potential setback that threatened to incur substantial costs and disruptions.

The Challenge

Despite the project being handed over and fully operational, the appointed consultant noticed that a sub-contractor, also a BESA member, had not provided microbiological samples from all the ductwork systems.

The consultant insisted that both members revisit the site and conduct comprehensive testing across the entire ductwork network. This directive posed a significant challenge, as the disruption to the occupied buildings would be immense. The contractors proceeded with the testing, only to discover that 21 of the duct systems had failed the assessments. The consultant then demanded re-testing of these failed systems, which carried a staggering cost estimate of over £250,000 for the members.


Recognising the gravity of the situation, BESA’s Director of Technical, Graeme Fox, and his team swiftly intervened. They meticulously reviewed the test results and uncovered critical insights. Firstly, the substances found within the ductwork were not harmful to human health, posing only a minuscule risk to individuals with underlying health conditions.

Furthermore, BESA's expertise revealed that only 12 of the failed ducts were supply ducts, while the remaining 9 were extraction systems, which may not necessarily require re-testing according to industry guidelines.


Armed with these findings, BESA successfully negotiated with the consultancy, persuading them to reconsider their stance. As a result, the members were spared over £200,000 in unnecessary costs and avoided the substantial inconvenience of re-testing the ductwork systems in occupied buildings.

Join BESA today to access the invaluable support BESA provides to its members, leveraging its technical expertise and industry clout to resolve complex challenges.