BESA 2021 National Conference Supplement

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2021 NatioNal CONFERENCE

VIRTUAL EVENT SUPPLEMENT

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Full coverage of the BESA National Conference with session write ups plus links to view on demand Thursday 20 October 2022 / Novotel London West


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CLIMATE CRISIS A digital vision for the built environment

REBUILDING | KEYNOTE: GEORGE CLARKE

Digitalisation has the power to enable people to manage information effectively to improve and transform processes, and to apply and integrate technology wisely.

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REBUILDING | The ‘new normal’ economy

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CLIMATE CRISIS Getting back to energy efficiency

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REBUILDING | Construction Playbook Winning profitable public sector work

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CLIMATE CRISIS | Heat Pumps – opportunities to achieving Net Zero ambitions

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CLIMATE CRISIS Meeting the Net Zero housing challenge

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SKILLS | Upskilling for Net Zero

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SKILLS | Crisis, or a whole new world? Navigating labour shortages

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SKILLS | The cold chain and its critical role in the modern world

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SKILLS | BESA PipePlus - the new pipework selection app

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SKILLS | Is modern slavery and exploitation in your supply chain?

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SPONSORED ROUND TABLES

PRESIDENT’S INTRO Opening words from BESA President Neil Brackenridge.

TV personality and architect George Clarke has urged the government to help power “a global retrofit revolution”.

The past 18 months have been a gruelling period for the UK economy which experienced its worst recession in 300 years.

The Government’s Construction Playbook is set to drive innovation, sustainability and fairer financial outcomes in public and private sector projects.

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REBUILDING | 10 years of BIM - did the industry rise to the challenge?

More than a decade on from the launch of the UK’s Building Information Modelling (BIM) strategy, the main drivers remain too much carbon, not enough cash.

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SAFETY AND WELLBEING KEYNOTE: ProfESSOR Cath Noakes OBE

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SAFETY AND WELLBEING | Ventilation for health and its balance with sustainability

One of the government’s top scientific advisors has called for a concerted programme of ventilation improvements in buildings including professional accreditation for contractors.

Occupant health should be top of mind when designing and specifying ventilation systems for workplaces such as offices.

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SAFETY AND WELLBEING | Stop passing the buck: Lessons from Grenfell Tower

A panel put the spotlight on the industry to act on the outcomes of the Grenfell Inquiry, and agreed that it must do better.

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SAFETY AND WELLBEING Transforming building safety culture

The Grenfell tragedy was the catalyst for changing the UK construction sector’s safety regime.

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SAFETY AND WELLBEING Think you know about LEV?

Highlighting how clients are failing to keep good records for local exhaust ventilation (LEV) and risk occupant safety as a result.

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SAFETY AND WELLBEING Fire Dampers – Hidden life savers

A warning that too many building owners are unaware of the status of fire dampers in their buildings, leaving them liable for prosecution and even imprisonment in the event of deaths in a fire.

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CLIMATE CRISIS Delivering Net Zero: Can it be done?

The building services sector can deliver on its Net Zero goals, but there are major challenges ahead, according to a panel of experts who addressed the Conference.

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CLIMATE CRISIS | How can heat networks achieve their full potential?

The panel highlighted that while heat networks only account for around 2% of our heating today, the government has set its sights on boosting that to 19% of total UK heat by 2050.

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The panel, chaired by Mervyn Pillay, executive director of the Energy Services Technology Association, shared ideas about how to pick ‘low hanging fruit’ to cut energy bills.

Most firms called out to install heat pumps “don’t touch air-to-air [technology] because they’re essentially heating and plumbing firms who are really just dipping their toe into the renewables market.”

A session on meeting the net zero housing challenge, explaining how the UK could increase the number of homes being built while still meeting climate change goals.

Cooperation between contractors, manufacturers, colleges, and schools is vital to ensure that the industry is building the skills it needs to deliver on Net Zero goals.

The tight labour market is here to stay even if the current hiring crisis is not, according to Neil Carberry, CEO of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation.

This session highlighted the crucial role that refrigeration technology and products play in the modern world – showing how its widespread application could attract the next generation of engineers into the sector.

BESA’s Pipework Working Group and the BMTFA announced the launch of their free Pipe Plus app.

Helen Carter of Action Sustainability issued this warning: “It is impossible to say you have no slaves in your supply chain. You have to be looking for it.”

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CLIMATE CRISIS | Keeping our COP26 promises

While COP26 was taking place in Glasgow, this panel chaired by CIBSE president-elect Kevin Mitchell focused on how the young engineers of today will lead on delivering solutions for Net Zero.

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BESA National conference 2021 | headline sponsor: mitsubishi electric

CONTENTS


membership means a badge of quality

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BESA Conference covered all the bases who explained how the construction and building engineering sectors could play a key role in addressing the climate crisis. He called for the scrapping of VAT on the restoration and conversion of existing buildings to help drive an ambitious programme of building upgrades that could both reduce carbon emissions and improve people’s quality of life.

BESA President Neil Brackenridge

The 2021 BESA National Conference was a great success and helped to define many of the practical solutions to the built environment’s most serious challenges. The two-day online event attracted almost 500 delegates, featured 67 speakers who produced 21 hours of technical and topical content across two streams. It also coincided with the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow so there was a strong focus on how we could turn political rhetoric about net zero into reality.

This theme of how our industry can have a positive impact on human health and wellbeing dominated many of the discussions and was particularly highlighted by the government adviser Professor Cath Noakes who gave a keynote address on the second day.

commissioning, and maintenance; adding that there was “no excuse” for poorly ventilated buildings. The format of the Conference allows us to take these major, global themes and drill down into the detail to illustrate how our industry can make a difference and use some of the business opportunities to invest in our collective futures. As you will see from the series of summaries in this special conference supplement, we had detailed discussions about the use of heat networks, heat pumps, hydrogen, and other carbon lowering solutions. The use of digital systems, including the Internet of Things and digital twins, was also seen as key to helping the sector tackle the ‘performance gap’.

Speakers and panellists also pointed to the issue of skills shortages and how that could undermine progress in the years She said there should be much ahead. This is a key project for greater scrutiny of standards BESA staff and members, and in ventilation installation, the National Conference is CLICK HERE TO WATCH NEIL’S WELCOME MESSAGE ON DEMAND already providing welcome impetus for this work. We are delighted to be able to make all this rich content freely available to you all. So, please dig deep into this material and be inspired by it. n

The opening keynote address was giving by the TV personality and architect George Clarke

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BESA PRESIDENT NEIL BRACKENRIDGE

PRESIDENT’S INTRO


KEYNOTE Speech: GEORGE CLARKE

REBUILDING

Architect and TV personality George Clarke

Clarke calls for scrapping of VAT on refurbs TV personality and architect George Clarke has urged the government to help power “a global retrofit revolution” by abolishing VAT on the restoration and conversion of existing buildings. During his keynote address that launched the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) National Conference 2021, he said the construction and building engineering sectors could play a key role in addressing the climate crisis but financial incentives would be needed to encourage investment and new approaches from building owners. He described current government measures to address the carbon impact of housing as “a drop in the ocean” and said the fact that 10% of all UK households were suffering from fuel poverty was a “national scandal”. “We wasted six years when the government dropped its Zero Carbon Homes plan and the Green Home Grants scheme only lasted six months…we need to think much, much bigger…and show everyone why improving their homes is to their benefit and how it can help them save money.” Clarke told the Conference, which is sponsored by Mitsubishi Electric, that the construction industry would also need to improve its performance and said the Grenfell Tower disaster exposed “just what a mess the building sector is in”. He said the Hackitt Review that followed the fire “did not go far

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enough” and said there needed to be more honesty about product and material test results.

Optimistic However, he said there were plenty of reasons to be optimistic and urged the industry to reinvent itself by inspiring young people to work with the wide range of new technologies being used to build greener and more sustainable structures.

“We will be looking in detail at how we as an industry are contributing to rebuilding the economy as well as delivering the requirements of new building safety legislation, modernising the sector’s workforce, and pushing on towards a net zero emissions future,” he said.

Clarke said there was a big future for “factory-built housing”, which could be prefabricated off-site to the highest standards and rigorously checked in a clean and safe environment. He also urged the industry to carry out more R&D to support other similar innovations.

BESA chief executive, David Frise, added that the two-day event would be a platform for “the return of hope” as the building engineering sector looked to promote its role in delivering low carbon solutions and raising professional standards. n

“I love this industry and think it has lots of really exciting opportunities to offer future generations,” he said.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SESSION ON DEMAND

The BESA Conference was opened by the Association’s president Neil Brackenridge who explained that the overall theme was ‘Building back better, safer, greener’. 2021 BESA Conference Supplement sponsored by

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Anna Leech, Deputy Chief Economist, CBI

Economy still on bumpy road to recovery “there are a lot of opportunities for the UK as we look to move beyond COVID to try and get a sharper upward trajectory for growth” The past 18 months have been a gruelling period for the UK economy which experienced its worst recession in 300 years, according to Anna Leech, Deputy Chief Economist at the CBI. Leech said the disruption of the last 18 months had scarred the economy’s productive capacity and left many companies struggling to meet the rebound in demand that we’ve been experiencing. “The economy has been through a fairly bumpy recovery so far,” she added. However, she said, on the upside: “Throughout this year, we’ve had a fairly steady reopening of the economy following the very successful vaccination rollout here in the UK, and the economy has largely followed suit,” with activity recovering and the economy close to pre-pandemic levels. But the reopening had not been plain sailing, said Leech: “More recently, labour shortages and supply challenges have been a

source of escalating disruption for many sectors of the economy and making it difficult for funds in those sectors to meet what has been actually quite strong demand and well above normal in a variety of sectors, particularly in manufacturing.” And energy prices in the UK had been of particular concern in recent weeks: “In the UK, we are experiencing both global issues with natural gas, which reflect the fact that, globally, winter was quite cold last year. “We’ve entered this winter with very low stocks. In Europe they had a very hot summer with very low wind. In the UK we have a very high reliance on gas for power generation and especially low gas storage capacity. The UK is particularly vulnerable to gas prices, which is why electricity prices have risen faster here than elsewhere.” She added: “Supply chain issues are also leading to lengthening delivery times and more generalised inflationary pressures as companies seek to recoup

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some of their rocketing costs by passing those costs on through the supply chain.” There has been a significant impact on the availability of materials and components. The CBI has seen this fear escalate in its latest October manufacturing survey with 64% of firms concerned that access to materials or components could limit their output over the next three months. Leech concluded: “Overall, we do expect the recovery to continue further ahead. Our forecast in June was looking at growth of 8% this year and 6% next year, which is not at all bad, all things considered. “And there are a lot of opportunities for the UK as we look to move beyond COVID to try and get a sharper upward trajectory for growth and get that higher wage, higher performance economy that the government is so keen for us to engage in.” n CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SESSION ON DEMAND

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The ‘new normal’ economy

REBUILDING


Construction Playbook Winning profitable public sector work

REBUILDING

Government Playbook to drive innovation, sustainability and fair pricing across the construction sector The Government’s Construction Playbook is set to drive innovation, sustainability and fairer financial outcomes in public and private sector projects.

The Playbook includes several requirements that will be familiar to the industry from numerous reports highlighting the need to modernise. For example, the use of modern methods of construction (MMC) and adoption of product platforms.

Fergus Harradence, deputy director for Infrastructure & Construction at BEIS said: “The Construction Playbook is about a focus on long-term programmes that are more strategic than transactional.”

He pointed out that the Playbook builds on previous recommendations: “For the first time, it’s all in one document and we aim through this to paint a picture of what ‘good’ looks like for project outcomes.

Harradence explained that the Playbook offers a standardised approach to construction projects which can provide better outcomes for all: “There is a lot of agreement in government that the focus on lowest cost has delivered bad outcomes for everybody, including government as the client as well as the construction industry.”

Preparation and Planning

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Publication

Selection

Evaluation and Award

Contract Implementation

Pipelines, Portfolios and Longer Term Contracting

commercial pipelines and Getting it right starts by publishing s to drive investment identifying where we can create portfolio solutions. in new technologies and sustainable Driving better, faster, greener delivery •

Procurement pipelines enable a diverse selection of suppliers to prepare for upcoming opportunities and develop better, faster, greener ways of delivery.

Effectively managing markets fosters innovation and new players who bring new improved ways of delivering projects and programmes. • Longer term contracting will drive investment in technology and capability, including more manufacturing‑led approaches, which will deliver safer, quicker and more sustainable solutions.

Commercial pipelines can One of the most important things we do is to prepare, maintain and publish and future comprehensive pipelines of current activity. government contracts and commercial Publishing commercial pipelines enables suppliers to understand the likely future early demand across government. By sharing expect insights on planned activities, we can greater to achieve wider participation and small diversity in our supply chains including and (SMEs) and medium‑sized enterprises 14

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Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprises ilding for (VCSEs), and support capability‑bu the longer term. look Published commercial pipelines should effective. ahead three to five years to be truly Contracting authorities’ individual by commercial pipelines will be supported the Infrastructure and Project Authority’s published procurement pipeline for . public works projects and programmes This will supplement the existing National and Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline government provide insight into a richer set of priorities including the use of Modern regional Methods of Construction (MMC), , how distribution of contracting opportunities achieving we are delivering social value, and . our net zero GHG emissions commitment

Market health and capability assessments because Healthy, competitive markets matter value for they support our ability to achieve money for taxpayers. looking Good market management is about beyond individual contracts and suppliers. It is about designing commercial strategies markets and contracts that promote healthy over the short, medium and long term.

Also, this is a standardised approach that is mandatory which wasn’t done in the past. We think there is now a better chance of government achieving what it wants if there is a coordinated approach across government, and it’s better for the industry as well.”

Fair pricing is being highlighted as key to success: “Tender responses should include fair costs including your fair profit h to g a more manufacturing‑led approac margin. That’s improve “ Adoptin will mes public works projects and program for money.” productivity and deliver better value key to building a more resilient Portfolios and longer and adaptable term contracting industry,” said Harradence. He noted that a ‘should-cost’ model in the Playbook will provide “a realistic starting point for negotiations”. an All public works projects should include during the assessment of the market early on preparation and planning stage. This should skills, include a consideration of the available capabilities and capacity of the market, entry and and an assessment of barriers to s market concentration. These assessment should then be used to: identify potential opportunities and limitations in the market • take advantage of effective new technologies and innovation • consider what actions would increase competition and improve market health, including strengthening skills and

capability

Market health assessments for individual form projects and programmes should part of a wider ongoing market strategy. access Contracting authorities can request to supplementary market intelligence the Cabinet collected by commercial teams in Office and Crown Commercial Service the from (CCS). Advice can also be sought (CMA) Competition and Markets Authority in relation to more complex or substantial competition issues.

approach Adopting a more manufacturing‑led will to public works projects and programmes value improve productivity and deliver better for money.

and, We will standardise elements of design contracts where appropriate, use longer term the across portfolios. This will give industry y certainty required and make it commerciall innovative in invest to viable for suppliers the new technologies and MMC – increasing speed of delivery.

The length and size of individual contracts with should be designed for specific markets suitable break points and clear contractual t obligations to drive continuous improvemen example, in safety, time, cost and quality. For provided eight years of relatively certain work based by a 4+4 contract (with an extension faster, on good performance) could deliver better and greener delivery and improved . outcomes when used appropriately

their Contracting authorities should review to bring pipelines to identify opportunities than as work together into portfolios, rather those that a series of individual projects. For should already do this, contracting authorities look across the public sector to identify at a further opportunities to create portfolios

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THE CONSTRUCTION PLAYBOOK Government Guidance on sourcing and contracting public works projects and programmes

Version 1.0 December 2020

Contractors making tenders under the Playbook must also include conflict avoidance pledges in their contracts to demonstrate that they are willing work collaborative and ‘resolve problems’ without an adversarial mindset. And in line with government environmental goals, responses must also include details on how contractors are intending to achieve Net Zero by 2050 The Playbook has been in use since December 2020 and applies to all public works projects. It is mandated for central government departments as well as Arm’s Length Bodies (ALBs). These are organisations which have a high degree of autonomy, but which are funded by government, such as Network Rail, the Environment Agency, National Highways and Homes England. However, Harradence also noted: “Local authorities and the NHS are not obliged to comply with the Playbook, but there is a strong indication that they want to adopt this approach. We are also working with the Construction Leadership Council on a plan for supporting its implementation in the private sector.” n CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SESSION ON DEMAND

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Raise your professional profile, gain sector insight and advance your personal development with BESA Associate Membership.

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10 years of BIM - did the industry rise to the challenge?

REBUILDING

BIM hampered by ‘back to front’ industry 11 years on from the launch of the UK’s Building Information Modelling (BIM) strategy, the main drivers remain too much carbon, not enough cash, according to Paul Morrell OBE, Sole Principal at Paul Morrell Consulting.

buildings are not really at the table when jobs get designed and thought about”.

Morrell led the drafting of the BIM strategy during his term as the government’s chief construction advisor and is a strong advocate of the process. The strategy set mandatory goals for the adoption of BIM as part of the government’s construction strategy.

The third, and biggest problem was, said Morrell, that nobody owned the whole process so they did not and, often, could not innovate.

Morrell said BIM had come a long way but, potentially at least, the clients’ experience remained grim.

The second problem was that the industry was back to front: “We push this great snow plough of cost forward rather than the whole thing being pulled by value.”

“If you are reactive industry, which we are – we wait for the phone to ring and then, at our best, we put a proposition together for it – we never know what the next question is going to be,” he said.

The answer to these problems, said Morrell, was integration: “The only unit of success in this industry is a good team, and ideally a good team that works together regularly. For me, BIM was a kind of Trojan Horse into all of that. It wasn’t about software; it was about how you use digitalisation to produce good changes within the industry.” He said he hoped there would be a departure from the industry’s habit of blaming others for problems: “The one thing that’s come out of Grenfell is everybody has agreed it’s somebody else’s fault. And to a degree that’s true. In a fragmented industry where no one controls the whole process, it’s very hard to find accountability other than through a team that accepts it jointly.” So, what happens next? Morrell said: “We need to move from Level 2 [of BIM] to Level 3 which is fundamentally about getting more information into the model… we need to move from a dumb model to one that’s got data in it. And we need to stop selling practical completion and start selling an operational asset.” n

There were, he said, three things wrong with the industry. The first was that it was upside down, “by which I mean that the people who actually do the work and make the materials with which we assemble

“So, you don’t massively invest in solving a problem we never get asked to solve again. And even if you can, you can’t have control of the whole process to do that. So, it’s a structural issue that we need to face.”

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KEYNOTE Speech: Prof. Cath Noakes, OBE, Deputy Director of Leeds University & Government SAGE advisor

SAFETY AND WELLBEING

Prof. Cath Noakes

Noakes calls for ventilation improvements in buildings One of the government’s top scientific advisors has called for a concerted programme of ventilation improvements in buildings including professional accreditation for contractors. Professor Cath Noakes told the conference that the pandemic had increased understanding of how disease is transmitted around indoor spaces and raised public awareness of the importance of mechanical ventilation. “I never thought I would see the day when the Prime Minister and the Chief Scientific Officer were talking about ventilation,” said Noakes, who is one of two engineer members the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). She added that the pandemic had exposed systemic failings in how we design and retrofit buildings and said we should pay far more attention to the impact of poor ventilation on human health and productivity. “Many of our buildings are underventilated and there is no excuse for it,” said Noakes, who is Professor of Environmental Engineering for Buildings at the University of Leeds and an expert in fluid dynamics. “This is not just about complying with regulations. We also need to show clients that there is a benefit to them through the health and wellbeing of people. We know buildings improve health and that poor indoor air quality reduces productivity by up to 9% - that’s half a day a week.

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Tangible “Before the pandemic 5.3 million working days were being lost every year to respiratory infections [figures from the Office for National Statistics], but it is still not as tangible as your energy bill, so we need to push that message harder,” she told the Conference. She agreed with BESA chief executive David Frise that people operating at the “sharp end” had a bigger part to play in the development of practical solutions to building operating problems. Professor Noakes said it was important that ventilation contractors were included in wider discussions because they understand what works in the real world and what clients can be persuaded to pay for. “We also need to look at professional accreditation [for the ventilation sector] because we are not applying the same standards to the ventilation industry as we do to gas and electricity, for example,” she added. She also called for better evaluation of systems in use to assess whether the ventilation was delivering what occupants need, had been correctly installed and commissioned, and was being adequately maintained.

“The increased amount of indoor air quality monitoring since the pandemic is helping because it is making people more aware of their indoor environment,” she told delegates at the two-day online event. “However, it is now clear that it is very hard to naturally ventilate buildings adequately in winter.” Professor Noakes also warned building owners and managers to be wary of many of the new solutions being promoted – some of which she described as “snake oil”. “We seem to know a lot about the new technologies emerging into the market, but some of the existing solutions are probably better – we just need to measure what they are doing. They also need to be wellmaintained,” she said. Professor Noakes added that approaches to ventilation had been prioritising comfort and energy efficiency, rather than health and productivity, for more than 30 years and it was now time for a change of emphasis. n CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SESSION ON DEMAND

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Ventilation for health and its balance with sustainability

SAFETY AND WELLBEING

Select your ventilation systems with occupant health in mind Occupant health should be top of mind when designing and specifying ventilation systems for workplaces such as offices. Ella Clark, mechanical engineer at the consultancy AECOM, emphasised how COVID-19 has raised awareness of ventilation as a key aspect of indoor health, in her presentation to the Conference. Clark pointed out that the link between health and ventilation in offices has been understood for many decades, with Sick Building Syndrome arising in the 1970s. She added: “Now, we know that doubling the rate of ventilation reduces the spread of COVID-19 by around half and that the World Health Organisation recommends ventilation as the first-line strategy for getting people back to the office.” However, achieving higher levels of ventilation must be balanced against the need for energy efficiency, particularly as we focus on the carbon footprint of today’s buildings.

This can be a challenge for engineers who must make the choice of which system can achieve good indoor air quality as well as efficiency.

and ULPA filters which are typically used in clean rooms in hospitals. You get a higher pressure drop across these filters and they do also have to be maintained.”

Clark noted that the British Council for Offices (BCO) recommends fresh air rates of 12L/s per person with an extra 10% allowance in high density spaces. “An additional 0.28ls/ per person could result in an increase of 0.6kWh/m2 per year for an office building.”

Clark also raised the importance of humidity control. Recommended relative humidity (RH) is between 40% and 60%, but the average in UK offices is 38% which can cause physical problems such as eye irritation, and dryness of nose and throat. And at 23% humidity, 70% of flu particles can cause infection an hour after they are introduced to the air. But at 43% humidity that drops to 14%.

Natural ventilation is also an option that is highly energy efficient. However, in the UK air pollution can be a big problem. “You could introduce NOx, PM10 and PM2.5 into a building,” said Clark. “IAQ in some London buildings is almost as bad as outside air.” Mechanical ventilation offers a more controllable approach that can also make use of filtration to reduce the ingress of pollutants into occupied spaces. “We want to ensure that we are filtering down to PM2.5. There are HEPA filters

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“Humidity is often disregarded in the UK, and adding humidifiers to our systems would increase energy demand. They can also be difficult to retrofit,” said Clark. She suggested that one approach might be to consider evaporative cooling, which can achieve energy savings of 28% before additional fan power is required. n CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SESSION ON DEMAND

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Stop passing the buck: Lessons from Grenfell Tower

SAFETY AND WELLBEING

Industry must embrace the spirit of Grenfell Enquiry as much as the letter of the law A panel at the BESA Conference 2021 put the spotlight on the industry to act on the outcomes of the Grenfell Inquiry, and agreed that it must do better in areas such as the competence and ethics of both companies and individuals. Opening the discussion, David Frise, BESA chief executive officer, said: “Many people feel as though the Grenfell tragedy happened in another country, so it hasn’t driven behaviour change.” Panellist Peter Yates, regional framework director for Constructing West Midlands, agreed: “We are four-and-a-half years in and where I am based in Birmingham, everyone is watching and waiting. It hasn’t helped that it took so long to get the Building Safety Bill out at the strategic level, but until we see the tactical level regulations, we won’t see much change.” And take-up of competence schemes at business and individual level remains low. Rachel Davidson,

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director of certification at BESA, said: “Frameworks for competence and compliance have been in place for years. The reason personal registration schemes haven’t been taken up has always been put down to lack of government enforcement. But industry must buy into this and not wait for the government.” Chris Yates, chief executive of FETA (the Federation of Environmental Trade Associations) said that it is vital to involve all sizes of business in the sector: “The best initiatives are driven by the industry. There is more work that can be done by the tiers of the supply chain working together. We don’t want to take the micro-SME out of the equation so they can be part of this work.” Panellists raised the idea of the ‘Clerk of Works’ who would sign off projects, however Frise said that this could cause other issues: “Clerks of works were great, but that can breed a culture of thinking, ‘If they don’t spot it, then I’ve got away with it’. Shouldn’t contractors take

responsibility for their own work and show they’re competent?” BESA members are subject to an ‘Inspection and Competence’ assessment which is accredited by UCAS as a third-party body. Davidson explained: “The second part of the BESA assessment is a technical audit of a fully-installed piece of work. We are asking, ‘Can you do the job that you have stated you can do?’. If they don’t meet our standard they can’t become or remain BESA members.” Overall, the importance of understanding the building as a single system will be key to ensuring safety. Peter Yates commented: “It’s not about installing the individual products, it’s where they join and how your work impacts on others’. For example, if the alarm installation company drills through fire ducts because they don’t understand the whole systems. It’s about not knowing what you don’t know.” Chris Yates agreed: “Let’s realise that our products are part of a bigger system and let’s raise the bar ourselves and not wait for regulation. We need to ask ourselves the difficult questions rather than having the answers imposed.” n CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SESSION ON DEMAND

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BESA Business Insurance Services

Affordable, flexible, and tailored business insurance BESA members can now access competitively priced, high-quality business insurance cover from BESA Business Insurance Services (BBIS), thanks to our collaboration with Marsh Commercial – part of Marsh, a global leader in insurance broking and innovative risk management solutions. Working with BESA Business Insurance Services will help make sure your business’s insurance needs are catered for. We make it easy to secure a wide range of insurance protection, specifically tailored to your business and have a range of cover options available.

“I had been using a broker for a number of years and wasn’t sure if I was getting the best service available. Then I was put in contact with Marsh Commercial through my membership with BESA. Samantha was very helpful and responsive and managed to save me £££’s on my renewal premium.I feel I can trust her to find the right insurance for my needs and this enables me to concentrate in other areas of my business.” Mr M, Co. Down

Get in touch Call us on 03332 413533 for a no obligation discussion regarding your insurance cover or send us an enquiry to besa@marshcommercial.co.uk

This is a marketing communication. BESA Business Insurance Services is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Jelf Insurance Brokers Ltd (Jelf). Marsh Commercial is a trading name of Jelf Insurance Brokers Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Not all products and services offered are regulated by the FCA (for details see www.marshcommercial.co.uk/info/regulation/). Registered in England and Wales number 0837227. Registered Office: 1 Tower Place West, London EC3R 5BU.


Transforming building safety culture

SAFETY AND WELLBEING

New role will transform building safety culture The Grenfell tragedy was the catalyst for changing the UK construction sector’s safety regime, according to Andrew Moore, industry competence lead at the Health and Safety Executive. Moore said: “The [Dame Judith] Hackitt independent review, which followed that tragedy, recommended a new regulatory system for high-risk buildings. [Hackitt] concluded that the regulation at the time wasn’t fit for purpose and one of the key recommendations was a Building Safety Regulator (BSR) that looked at high-rise buildings.” Moore believes the HSE was chosen to take on this role “as we have a reputation for being quite proportionate, being evidence and risk based. These are all things that Hackitt was quite clear that the regulator needed to take on.”

He added: “It will be a more stringent regulatory regime. But hopefully, that will build people’s confidence in the new building safety system and will be beneficial to everyone with an increased focus on standards “I think that will be good for the good guys who are trying to get it right, providing a more even playing field and avoiding a dreaded race to the bottom.” However, he warned that it was not just the new regulatory regime for high-risk, high-rise buildings that the BSR would bring in: “We’re actually looking to promote competence. And not just in high-rise buildings, but right across the built environment. And competence in all buildings.”

There would be a cost recovery mechanism, yet to be developed, that would pay for this work, he told the Conference. The regulatory regime is likely to focus on design, then build, then occupation. Moore explained: “In the design and build stage there are a number of gateways that need to be gone through. These are essentially ‘go, no-go’ points so that a duty holder can’t go from the planning and design stage [to the building stage] unless they have the approval of the regulator. So, there’s a much more hands-on role for the regulator in this respect. “And in the design phase, there will be much more focus on design than there has been in the past.” Moore added that the assessment process wasn’t necessarily just about compliance with building regulations; it was also about how well the building complied with the design.

Moore said the purpose of the BSR was to look for cultural change across the built environment, including those designing, constructing, and maintaining buildings.

The BSR will become the overseer of the building control profession across all buildings. Moore admitted it could not do all this work on its own but would be working closely with partner regulators using a multi-disciplinary team approach “where the BSR, local authority building control, private sector builder control, fire service, housing offices all get together on one team to look at a look at the work that’s going on holistically”.

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He said the challenge for the industry would be to consider its training needs and how to deliver them: “My plea would be to investigate the types of training and extra skills you may require doing a job under the new regime and put them in place as soon as possible.” n CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SESSION ON DEMAND

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Think you know about LEV?

SAFETY AND WELLBEING

Paperwork failures on local exhaust ventilation spell danger for occupants An expert panel highlighted how clients are failing to keep good records for local exhaust ventilation (LEV) and risk occupant safety as a result. Panelists from the Institute of Local Exhaust Ventilation Engineers (ILEVE) said that missing or outdated information was not simply a case of poor regulatory compliance but would lead to unhealthy and dangerous working conditions. “Most people don’t know what a Safety Data Sheet is. I am often supplied with the wrong information when carrying out inspections,” explained Jane Bastow, former chair of ILEVE and co-author of the joint BESA and CIBSE Guide to good practice for local exhaust ventilation (TR40). Safety Data Sheets provide information on substances such as

toxicity, flash points and hazard controls. Ensuring the Sheets are current is vital for LEV specialists and their clients. Adrian Sims, vice chair of ILEVE, pointed out: “This is not just about chemicals and chemical mixtures. Almost every substance is hazardous to health; it’s about the dose.” The onus is on building owners to take responsibility for this information, explained Bastow: “One reason you know a data sheet is out of date is when you come to do risk assessments. Part of that process is understanding risks from a product, so you have to start with those data sheets. Clients need to check they have the latest version.” Current ILEVE chair Dean Greer, said working with LEV experts was important, and that clients should check for the right competencies. “The ILEVE Competency Card covers

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the roles of many LEV experts including designers, installers, commissioning engineers, examination and test engineers. We ask for experience reports, example reports, qualifications and a raft of other information. That’s how we know they are competent in the role they are carrying out.” However, responsibility for ensuring records are up to date rests with clients. Greer said contractors should advise clients accordingly: “You have to keep on about it and advise your customers. It’s something that people should look at. Standards and regulations change all the time. It’s a busy world out there, but you’ve got to stay up-to-date.” n CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SESSION ON DEMAND

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Fire Dampers – Hidden life savers

SAFETY AND WELLBEING

BESA panel issues safety warning about lack of fire damper awareness A panel of experts at the Conference warned that too many building owners are unaware of the status of fire dampers in their buildings, leaving them liable for prosecution and even imprisonment in the event of deaths in a fire. Panelist Peter Rogers, technical consultant for BESA, explained: “Building owners are not even aware that they have fire dampers, let alone getting them tested. They often don’t know where the dampers are as there are no records from the installation. We have to make everyone aware that they need to keep records up to date and make that information easily accessible.”

consultant for the Fire Protection Association (FPA) agreed that building owners and managers must ensure they have information to hand: “If a fire risk assessor asks for records of dampers, and there are no records for them, that that indicates that the building manager is unaware of a fire strategy for that building. The owners could find themselves in a difficult position straight away.” The principle of the ‘Golden Thread’ of information that came out of the Grenfell Tower fire enquiry is critical. In new building projects this information can be collected and stored, but existing buildings pose a real challenge.

The issues of installation and maintenance also need to be addressed, with so many inaccessible dampers, building owners are taking on risk that they may not be aware of. The panel also called on manufacturers to be aware of the challenges. “We need to ensure manufacturers show their brand names on the inside of fire dampers as well as the outside,” said Rogers. “This will allow the engineers to see who made it and where they can get a replacement fusible link, for example. We have also all seen dampers that are installed incorrectly, so manufacturers need to be clear on how their products should be installed and perhaps offer training too.”

Howard Passey, director of operations and principal

Rogers advised: “Building owners should be finding out what they have in terms of fire dampers and if they can’t then they need to get an expert to find them. About 25% of installed fire dampers are inaccessible, but that figure can rise to 95% in some buildings. And that means they are also untested. I’d like to see this problem stopped in new builds going forward, so that we don’t keep adding to the problem.”

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Richard Norman, managing director of Indepth Services, added: “Fire damper testing isn’t just a maintenance task; these are lifecritical systems, so they need to be addressed as a matter of urgency.”

He also explained that BESA will be updating its DW145 guidance shortly to include dampers manufactured in Europe: “There are different types of fire dampers in the market, and we will be working on updating and encompassing the technology that is out there.” n CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SESSION ON DEMAND

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Delivering Net Zero: Can it be done?

CLIMATE CRISIS

Delivering Net Zero: Yes, we can, says building services sector The building services sector can deliver on its Net Zero goals, but there are major challenges ahead, according to a panel of experts who addressed the Conference. The group of contractors and manufacturers were hopeful for the future, but aware that the industry needed to step up to achieve its ambitions. Scott Mason, chair of CIBSE patrons and regional sales manager for Lochinvar, chaired the discussion and asked: “Can the building services sector achieve Net Zero?” Panellist Josh Emerson, head of marketing at Swegon, said: “We have the technology to do it. The questions are do we have the skills to make it happen? And can we measure the effects? We need to know that we are doing the right thing, so measurement and proof are needed.” Will Pitt, technical leader of MEICA Systems for Laing O’Rourke and chair of the BESA Technical Committee, agreed: “We can do it. My big concern is around skills and capabilities. We need to understand the complexities of the engineering and we need to attract a lot of people to the sector as well.”

engaging with commercial and domestic clients, particularly in terms of decarbonising heating. Jeff House, head of external affairs for Baxi, commented: “The bit that’s missing is consumer engagement. We are now talking about getting into people’s homes and making a substantial change. Consumer and customer engagement need more work in my view.” Martin Fahey, head of sustainability at Mitsubishi Electric explained that manufacturers are ready to meet increased demand for products such as heat pumps but agrees that consumer education is key: “It’s about how people respond to the need to make the change when their existing technology is no longer available. We have rolled heat pumps out to housing associations and we know that the technology needs to be explained to householders so that they can use it effectively.” There is widespread agreement that, in the domestic sector,

large-scale improvement of the existing building stock is a prerequisite to any change in heating technologies. “Before retrofitting new technology we must improve the energy efficiency of our existing homes,” said House. The panellists agreed that upskilling the industry for largescale requirements such as the installation of 600,000 heat pumps per year by 2028 and greater use of heat pump heat networks is also a challenge that needs to be addressed quickly. “In the commercial sector, we need to retrofit CHP and heat networks. The challenges there are about understanding the engineering to integrate the technology into existing buildings,” said House. “We need to have people who understand the engineering principles.” However, in spite of the challenges ahead, all agreed that time is pressing to deal with the climate emergency. “The question must be: Is 2050 soon enough? How far do we have to go – 1.5oC or 2.5oC? The technology is there, we’ve got to apply it and take the British public and business owners with us,” added Fahey. n CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SESSION ON DEMAND

Several panellists highlighted the importance of

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It’s time to embrace heat networks A panel of experts told the BESA Conference that, while heat networks only account for around 2% of our heating today, the government has set its sights on boosting that to 19% of total UK heat by 2050. The Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is also supporting heat network development with grants of £300 million, so this is a technology we can expect to see more of in the UK. Chairing the Conference panel, Gareth Jones of the BESA Heat Interface Unit Users Group said: “A lot of heat networks are installed in new developments, but we will have to retrofit to meet that 19% target. We have to ask what do we need to do to make that work?” Heat networks can be challenging to design and deliver, and the panel agreed that training is a requirement. Panellist Charlotte Large, strategy, policy and innovation director for Engie Urban Energy, said: “There will increasingly be a skills gap in this

space. Apprenticeships need to be looked at and ground-up expertise is needed. This means standardising apprenticeships and developing more of them. There is also an opportunity for re-training.” Modern heat networks will also make more use of low-carbon technology such as heat pumps which brings added challenges. Chris Parsloe, author of CIBSE’s Design Guide for Heat Networks (2021) said: “There are lots of competing objectives with these systems. Getting good control of flow and return temperatures is key to get the most from heat pumps. There are several factors to consider that are all far more critical for success if you focus on these heat sources at system temperatures that we’re not used to in the UK.” Jan Hansen sales director of SAV Systems agreed that greater knowledge of modern heat networks is crucial: “Once, 80oC was the norm, then 70oC. With air source heat pumps, it’s 55oC. But the supply chain needs to be aware of the appropriate system requirements. For example, when we see specifications, we can

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tell that people don’t know how to size radiators for these systems. Developers will have to ask for bigger radiators, for example, and make sure they are getting what they need.” Phil Jones, lead author of CIBE CP1: Heat Networks Code of Practice (2020), added: “We need a quality assurance scheme to get the most out of heat networks. CP1 gives us a foundation towards that. We’re going to see very large heat pumps on networks and thermal storage as well, so we need to control and commission those. We will also probably see a lot more polymer pipe, rather than steel, as we operate at lower temperatures.” The panel agreed that high quality system design, installation and commissioning will be vital for project teams to grasp as heat networks extend across the UK. As Mr Jones concluded: “Low-cost gas has allowed us to be very permissive. Now, we have to be more focused on correct delivery.” n CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SESSION ON DEMAND

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How can heat networks achieve their full potential?

CLIMATE CRISIS


Keeping our COP26 promises

CLIMATE CRISIS

Today’s young engineers will deliver tomorrow’s solutions

from COVID-19 on the importance of working together internationally.”

While COP26 was taking place in Glasgow, this panel chaired by CIBSE president-elect Kevin Mitchell focused on how the young engineers of today will lead on delivering solutions for Net Zero. Jennifer Cox, electrical engineer at AECOM, and CIBSE ASHRAE Graduate of the Year 2020, said that young engineers have a key role to play: “You are more fundamental than you think. You come into the industry with knowledge, and we need to make sure that managers are aware that younger members of the team can make a contribution. Young engineers can be part of the discussion.”

Hannah Tweddle, operations analyst at MCS added: “COP26 will have a huge impact on our work in the future. We need more collaboration in the industry to create action and change.” While achieving Net Zero is a challenge, the panel agreed that it is also an opportunity to deliver real change in the built environment: “This is an opportunity to start afresh as built environment professionals and reassess how we approach our designs. Sustainability, energy efficiency and Net Zero are no longer ‘nice to haves’ they are fundamental standard requirements,” said Alex Hughes, operations analyst at MCS

income. Funding messages from government are also confusing: Is the government responsible for the cost or is it individuals?” Tweddle pointed out that creating demand for low-carbon technologies would be an important step: “Consumer awareness is one of the main challenges. That’s how we will get to Net Zero. We need to talk about the low-carbon technologies and ensure we have the installers to get it done. There is no point setting goals if we can’t meet them, but if we create consumer demand then that will create the drive for more installer training.” The panel agreed that speedy delivery of solutions would be key to tackling the climate emergency, and that we should apply the technology to hand that is ready. Ms Sherburn said: “We need to think far into the future. What we do now is the most important.

Lucy Sherburn, graduate engineer at FairHeat and the recent winner of the 2021 graduate award, said: “The outcomes of COP26 will shape my future career and lifestyle. I hope that politicians are taking lessons

The panel agreed that it was essential no one was “left behind” on the journey to Net Zero. Jessica Hardwick, public affairs and policy lead at National Grid said: “The government faces a significant challenge in getting the public to buy into the changes needed. The cost of living is rising, and people have less disposable

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Government needs to give clear guidance, legislation, and funding for the things that we know work – insulation, heat pumps, heat networks and good commissioning. We need to do those things now.” n CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SESSION ON DEMAND

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A digital vision for the built environment

CLIMATE CRISIS

Digital approach can help people and nature thrive Digitalisation has the power to enable people to manage information effectively to improve and transform processes, and to apply and integrate technology wisely, Mark Enzer, Head of the government’s National Digital Twin Programme, CDBB and Mott MacDonald told delegates on the first day of the conference. Outlining his hopes for the future, he said: “Our vision is for a built environment whose explicit purpose is to enable people and nature to flourish together for generations.” However, he warned, it was only when we shifted our focus from creating the built environment to the outcomes enabled by it that people and nature could thrive together: “We don’t want to just exist. The whole idea here really is that we can flourish together.

interconnected systems – including transport, energy, water, and telecoms – that were essential to our wellbeing. Moreover, we had complex interconnection with the natural environment. And a third layer – cyber physical systems – had also emerged over the last few decades. He said: “The systems view is of enormous importance if we are to deliver the outcomes we desire. Without it we are simply tinkering around the edges, and we won’t be able to deliver on big challenges such as achieving net zero, climate resilience and the circular economy.” But we could not, he warned, address climate change in silos: “It’s a systemic challenge, it affects the whole system. So, we have to address it with the whole system.”

“And,” he added, “it needs to be for the long haul, for generations. So not just for ourselves, but for our children and grandchildren and onwards.”

Another issue that needed addressing was wellbeing, something we had learned early in the COVID-19 pandemic. Enzer again: “We recognise that our wellbeing is fragile. And it’s also deeply tied to nature as well as the environment within which we live.”

Enzer pointed out that the built environments were complex and

Other lessons we had learned from the pandemic, he said, were that decisions

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mattered and had long-term consequences, especially in the built environment; change could happen quickly, and we needed to get more from less. At its heart, was the use of the built environment that mattered, he said: “It is only when we shift our focus from creating the built environment to the outcomes enabled by it that people and nature can thrive together for the generations to come.” And if we bought into this idea, then it made sense to align those outcomes from top to bottom, “from global outcomes, like the sustainable development goals, all the way through to local outcomes… and that they line up”. Enzer concluded: ““We need to see the big picture. If all we see are the projects we do, then we don’t see this bigger picture. We need to see those projects as interventions on the system that can then deliver us all the outcomes that we want, and that our children and our children’s children deserve.” n CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SESSION ON DEMAND

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Getting back to energy efficiency

CLIMATE CRISIS

Quick win energy savings

A panel of experts from BESA’s Energy Efficiency in Buildings Group chaired by Mervyn Pillay, executive director of the Energy Services Technology Association, shared ideas about how to pick ‘low hanging fruit’ to cut energy bills. George Barnes, senior energy and sustainability consultant at JRP Solutions, said there was a lack of focus on energy efficiency from SMEs, particularly around delivering behavioural change to boost energy efficiency through cohesive energy management systems such as ISO 50001. “Uptake for ISO 50001 has been relatively low in the UK, partly, I think, through lack of incentivisation,” he added. He also said two recent government documents – Heat and Buildings and the Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener – took too limited a view on efficiency: “They are much more focused towards alternative sources of energy generation, and I think that’s missing a big trick.”

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Rob Whitney, member of the IET Built Environment Panel, said in his key area of heating control most buildings were still run using 20-year-old technology. He said: “Just by [implementing] some simple changes to the control strategy and to the operational settings like system balancing, optimisation [and] using best in class technologies, 30% energy consumption reduction is very possible. “Even changing something like a thermostat can save 10%.” Ian Fisher, technical director of Mattair, advocated a ‘back to basics’ approach. He defined this as “making sure that things are maintained correctly, and everything’s clean and working as it should”. He claimed that many building owners and operators needed to engage more with their maintenance providers, listen to what they were saying, and look at the options they offered for optimising equipment. And, he added: “I really think that engineers ought to look outside of their discipline when

maintaining a building. For example, the heating engineer could have a look at the air conditioning setpoints or even see if it’s running when the heating is on. The ventilation engineer, who is looking at the air handlers, can [also] look at the heating and the cooling, making sure that the valves are working.” For Chris Coath. director of Energy and Asset Management at NG Bailey, it was important to make FM teams and businesses accountable for how a building performed. He said: “Are we utilising our engineering force in the right way, and the most effective way, to drive performance? And in many cases, I don’t think we are.” He added: “We still don’t see a huge number of customers holding FM companies to account through KPI (key performance indicator) metrics, in terms of building performance. They really should, and we should be all measuring the building performance. If we feel that performance is drifting, ultimately, we should be pushing the FM company to address that.” n CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SESSION ON DEMAND

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Plumbing firms ‘just dipping their toes’ in heat pumps Most firms called out to install heat pumps “don’t touch airto-air [technology] because they’re essentially heating and plumbing firms who are really just dipping their toe into the renewables market”, according to Graeme Fox, head of technical at BESA.

pump system that the owner will understand how to use.

He said: “Heating and plumbing engineers frequently don’t understand the design, setup and running implications on the household or take into account infrequent use.”

Although there were several types of heat pumps, frequently, only one specific type of heat pump was discussed in projects, he added: “This is the reason why we have so many systems that are poorly designed or poorly installed, and why heat pumps attract negative publicity.”

The Heat Pump Association (HPA) roadmap to net zero demonstrated the need for 600,000 heat pumps to be installed annually to have a hope of achieving net zero targets, said Fox. He added that the government had funded around 1,500 places on the BESA Academy heat pump installers’ course which is designed to upskill heating engineers so they can set up and hand over an efficiently operating heat

The HPA, he said, had developed a similar course run via manufacturers’ training centres for the same purpose: “It’s all about providing the education so that the engineers who are installing these things actually understand what it is they’re installing,” said Fox.

He added: “For our sector, it’s really important that we take back the narrative. We need to make sure the listener has been given all of the facts, and that they understand that the type of heat pump system they may need may not be the same time that the local plumber is trying to sell to them.” Another issue, said Fox, was the over-insulation of homes:

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“With this, we are seeing an increase in respiratory diseases and asthma attacks and that’s really the side effect of poor indoor air quality.” By using a modern, efficient packaged air-to-air system, he said, outside filtered air could be introduced: “So we end up with healthier homes that actually work as intended without the high energy bills.” Graham Wright, senior manager Environmental Research – Daikin UK, said that as temperatures and insulation rates were rising, so the size of the heat pump would reduce. He added: “To ensure that we get the right balance in people’s homes, we need to make sure the right ventilation is in there and even some mechanical cooling when it gets really hot outside.” Although he acknowledged other heating solutions would be appropriate in some applications, Wright said he and Fox had worked hard over the past year to make heat pumps the de facto heating system for the future: “Probably, most people’s homes will contain some form of heat pump. Whether that is air to water or air to air really depends on what kind of house it is.” n CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SESSION ON DEMAND

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Heat Pumps – opportunities to achieving Net Zero ambitions

CLIMATE CRISIS


Meeting the Net Zero housing challenge

CLIMATE CRISIS

Modular factory-built housing ‘offers environmental, quality and speed benefits’ Introducing a session on meeting net zero housing challenge, Nigel Banks, director of Special Projects at ilke Homes explained how the UK could increase the number of homes being built while still meeting climate change goals by making wider use of factory-built modular housing techniques. The construction sector, he said, had a significant skills shortage and resolving quality issues in new build homes continued to be a challenge. There were also broader reasons for looking at modular housing: “UK productivity has stalled in construction; it has not really increased in the last 20 years whereas other sectors have had massive transformations.

much better… with the skills and available labour that we have. But to build more homes we’ll need to bring in people from outside the construction sector through modern manufacturing,” explained Banks. He outlined the benefits of factorybuilt modular housing which, he said, could be installed in half the time of traditionally built houses. Among the environmental benefits were the fact that modular houses were about a third of the weight of conventional alternatives “which reduces the embodied carbon in the foundations”. However, operational carbon was currently where modular housing had its biggest impact: “That will hopefully change as we decarbonise our housing stock and move to zero operational carbon.”

There was, said Banks, a big environmental journey ahead for the whole housing sector: “From 2025, the Future Homes Standard will mean that no home will be able to be built with a natural gas boiler or any other form of fossil fuel heating. Air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps or electric heating will be required.” But there were, he said, also other benefits to modular construction: “We can typically deliver sites in half the time including the groundworks of a traditional homes. Installation of the superstructure is much, much faster than you would get on a traditional build.” He said that manufacturing modular housing was a different way of working: “We follow standard operating procedures to deliver standard work with people skilled in a narrow area of focus, which means they don’t need to be trades people.”

“Our view is we need to carry on building traditional homes

Ilke Homes has made a commitment that by 2030 it will only build zero carbon homes.

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homes, which is where you get the additional capacity.” However, for Banks, continuous improvement was probably the biggest benefit of modular factory-built housing: “We have a product that iterates and improves and that that journey is never ending. One of the things that really frustrates me about traditional construction is [each time a new housing development is built] it’s a new team, a new site, and a new process. And the learning either doesn’t happen or it is over a two to three-year cycle.” A specific technical point about balancing the need for improved ventilation in sealed homes while still minimising energy use, led to a debate about problems linked to mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR).

ilke Homes also brings in pretested sub-assemblies and, at each stage of the process, there are quality control checks and sign offs: “There are also quality inspection standards. Independent quality team inspects at certain key stages, we then have audits by NHBC and BOPAS (Buildoffsite Property Assurance Scheme) on a regular basis to inspect to give third party assurance as well.”

“[We built] the very first house with full MVHR, but the feedback we’ve had from social housing social authorities is they’re not keen on the maintenance and noise issues around MVHR. Historically, some of that has been from poor installation practices,” said Banks. “So, we went for MEV (mechanical extract ventilation) System 3 instead, which gives you an extract

so you have continuous ventilation to the home, but you’re not relying on filter changes, and it should be a quieter system of trickle ventilation, which can be boosted by opening the windows.” He said he had used MVHR in his own home “and would do it again”. However, if people turn their system off because of concerns about noise or energy bills, or not understanding how it works, “then you are left with a very airtight building with no ventilation which can make things worse”. “Also, the energy saving isn’t huge. When you move to electric air source heat pump heating from a low carbon grid, the embodied carbon of the MVHR may not necessarily, on a whole life basis, deliver much base saving when you look at the filter replacement,” said Banks. “Our current solution works and we’re comfortable with it. If we are forced towards MVHR because of the Future Homes Standard, then we’ll have to look at it. But I don’t think it is cut and dried that it is necessarily the right answer.” n CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SESSION ON DEMAND

Modular building also offered labour advantages, he said: “95% of the roles in the factory manufacturing homes do not require a trained background. So, we are recruiting people from outside the sector to manufacture 2021 BESA Conference Supplement sponsored by

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Meeting the Net Zero housing challenge

CLIMATE CRISIS


Upskilling for Net Zero

SKILLS

Collaboration is the key to upskilling the construction workforce for a Net Zero future Cooperation between contractors, manufacturers, colleges, and schools is vital to ensure that the industry is building the skills it needs to deliver on Net Zero goals such as decarbonising heating. Neil Brackenridge, BESA president chaired a panel of industry experts who agreed that skills shortages are already a significant challenge for the whole industry. Wyn Prichard, director of construction and skills strategy for NPTC Group of Colleges, said: “The real challenge is that colleges are good in terms of teaching in green building and energy skills, but we do need cooperation with manufacturers, industry and government to ensure that those are the right skills. Traditional apprentice programmes need to be updated to reflect these new requirements and the occupations now available.”

apprenticeship is three to four years so we’re already behind the curve. As an employer, you need to know that work will be there on the other side of that apprenticeship if you are going to invest.” Clayton highlighted the issue of electric vehicle charging point installations: “Will we be able to rely on that as an income source if government doesn’t sort out the grid infrastructure?” Denis Richard, head of major programmes for Energy Systems Catapult, commented: “This is all happening at a fast pace, but it is quite fragmented. I think the innovation, new technology and new business models are positive in that they can attract new candidates to these jobs.”

Upskilling of those currently working in the construction industry is also viewed as a critical step in meeting the goals set out in documents such as the Heat and Buildings Strategy. “With the new business models coming in and the new technologies there is a need for continuous education going forward; continuous upskilling,” said Richard. Brackenridge agreed: “We need to get people in from an early stage at the school level and signpost pathways through the industry. We also need to signpost opportunities for career changers too.” The need to attract and train entrants reflects the challenges and opportunities facing the construction industry which is already adopting new approaches. Clayton said it is important to highlight construction as a modern sector: “We should showcase the industry as something that is innovative and talk about the fact that we are good at this.” n

Frank Clayton, group had of learning for NG Bailey agreed that collaboration is key and added that time is pressing: “Employers are already on the back foot. An

However, Rab Fletcher, BESA president-elect pointed out that not all the required skills are in new areas: “Where I work at Fife Council, we are mainly looking at retrofit work and we have a significant number of houses in our area. We have used modular on some projects, but on the whole we still need the traditional skills.”

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ACADEMY


Crisis, or a whole new world? Navigating labour shortages

SKILLS

“What we’re seeing is the [current crisis in recruitment] exposing some long-term and fundamental weaknesses that the UK labour market has around skill shortages and issues like the loss of maybe a million workers from THE labour force over the course of last year.”

Neil Carberry, CEO, Recruitment & Employment Confederation

Labour shortages ‘are here to stay’ The tight labour market is here to stay even if the current hiring crisis is not, according to Neil Carberry, CEO of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation. He warned: “What we’re seeing is the [current crisis in recruitment] exposing some long-term and fundamental weaknesses that the UK labour market has around skill shortages and issues like the loss, we think, of maybe a million workers from the labour force over the course of last year.”

This, he said, had been cushioned by people working longer due to the ending of the normal retirement age: “The baby boom generation is enormous but, as they retire, they are being replaced by smaller generations. The one stat I use to emphasise this is that there were 50% more babies born in the UK in 1964 than in 1977. That demographic pressure on labour shortages is also coming down the pipe.”

encouragement would be for every business think about how you adopt a high road route.” Carberry warned that ‘people are our greatest asset’ was easy say, “but we don’t live in a time where it can just be talking to talk. You are going to have to walk the walk on this because the labour market is tight”. But he said, it was not just that labour supply was limited. “We are getting clear signals from the workforce that they want to be aligned with the purpose of what their organisation is doing, and they want the people practice to be aligned with the commercials of the business.”

This, he said was largely due to retirement by older workers, younger people staying in education longer, and the loss of workers to Brexit.

So, he said, although we would get used to the changes brought about by Brexit and get over the pandemic. “The idea that a tight labour market is not here for at least the next decade or two, I’m afraid, is for the birds. And that is a big challenge to corporates.”

On top of this, he added: “Particularly highly skilled trade sectors such as HVAC have seen a gentle increase in the average age of the workforce over the last five to 10 years.”

Getting recruitment wrong, he added, was costly: “Turnover is no one’s friend; there are high, high road and low road routes available to react into the kind of pressure that we’re under now. And my

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Carberry concluded: “In terms of one thing to take away [from this talk], it’s absolutely that your people strategy is a part of your commercial plan, and it needs to be owned by your board.” n CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SESSION ON DEMAND

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The cold chain and its critical role in the modern world

SKILLS

Critical global role of refrigeration should be incentive for new recruits This session highlighted the crucial role that refrigeration technology and products play in the modern world – showing how its widespread application could attract the next generation of engineers into the sector. Graeme Fox, head of technical for BESA and Steve Gill, founder of World Refrigeration Day and former President of the Institute of Refrigeration (IoR), addressed the conference about the need to raise awareness of the importance of refrigeration in our modern world. “Refrigeration is at the heart of so many sectors. In food production, for instance, the product needs field-to-fork refrigerated storage. Refrigeration is used for storage after harvesting, during transportation, at retail outlets and commercial kitchens, and in our homes,” said Gill.

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In addition, refrigeration is also a requirement for pharmaceutical research and development. Refrigeration equipment is needed in laboratories, factories and in pharmacies at the point of delivery. Gill pointed out that in the past year, we have all benefited from the application of refrigeration technology in this way: “The COVID-19 vaccine needed to be stored at -70oC and then kept at 2oC to 8oC for five days before use.” Fox also pointed out that during the pandemic when many employees were working from home, data centres were essential: “Data centres need massive amounts of cooling and during the pandemic we really needed those systems to carry on working seamlessly from home.” As the UK moves to decarbonise its heating, we are seeing further application of refrigeration technology in the form of heat pumps for homes

and commercial buildings. However, in order to deliver this technology, the industry needs to attract young people to take up training. World Refrigeration Day which takes place annually on 26th June (the birthday of Lord Kelvin) was designed to bring together refrigeration experts around the world and to raise awareness of the sector with young people. The UK engineering sector has a shortfall of around 59,000 engineers annually, so this is an important issue. “A survey by Engineering UK showed that 73% of 11- to 14-year-olds don’t know what engineers do, and 69% of parents don’t know either. And 42% of teachers don’t feel confident giving engineering careers advice,” said Gill. “Refrigeration is often called the hidden industry, and we need to open the eyes of others.” n CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SESSION ON DEMAND

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BESA PipePlus - the new pipework selection app

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Pipe Plus mobile selection app ready for launch BESA’s Pipework Working Group and the BMTFA (British Metal Tubes and Fittings Association) announced the launch of their free Pipe Plus app. A panel of experts behind the new app explained how it will help specifiers and engineers avoid many of the pitfalls of poor pipework specification. Will Pitt, chair of the BESA Technical Committee and technical leader at MEICA Systems, explained: “This is an app for everyone involved in pipework. It offers the latest tube and fittings technical standards and product

guidance. Our aim is that it helps ensure specifications are correct and fit-for-purpose in our post-Grenfell era.” Irek Starzyk, technical manager for Laing O’Rourke said that the app would help to cut through the complexity in today’s pipework sector: “Pipework selection is more complex than often designers assume. There are lots of factors to take into account. There are also lots of joining systems on the market that add another level of complexity.”

“This is an app for everyone involved in pipework. Our aim is that it helps ensure specifications are correct and fit-for-purpose in our post-Grenfell era.” 34

“We have developed the database behind this app to include as much information as possible, including guidance and further information on a website,” said Chris Owen manager of customer technical services at Tata Steel. “The group identified 22 generic building services applications and we have aimed to achieve agreement on terminology which can vary widely in this area.” The app will ensure that users are referring to the latest relevant tube and fitting technical standards, instead of relying on legacy specifications and outdated specifications. This should help to avoid the risk of compliance issues, as well as problems with the installation, performance and service life of pipework. The app will be available for free from the Apple and Google stores in January 2022. n CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SESSION ON DEMAND

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Recruitment made easy with your free BESA Jobs Board The latest Building Engineering Business Survey revealed 41% of businesses are experiencing issues with recruiting. We have developed a free member Jobs Board with BESA Affiliate PRS Jobs, specifically for the building engineering services sector, which should eliminate some of your recruitment issues.

For those of you who have multiple vacancies, then why not take advantage of our latest feature – a company profile page, which showcases why applicants should want to work for you and displays all your vacancies in one place. Save time with our two-way online chat between you and the candidate so you can work out if they are right for your business before proceeding with a more formal interview. The BESA Jobs Board beats all the top leading online recruiters on price as our is simply free, with no hidden costs!

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Is modern slavery and exploitation in your supply chain?

SKILLS

Slavery in your supply chain – ‘find and fix’ needed to end slavery and exploitation Slavery and exploitation are present in almost every supply chain – and every product that we use. Helen Carter of Action Sustainability issued this warning: “It is impossible to say you have no slaves in your supply chain. You have to be looking for it.” Carter is the lead consultant for Action Sustainability, an organisation which advises on sustainable supply chain development. She highlighted that while modern slavery is a global issue, the UK “is not blameless”.

The Modern Slavery Act of 2015 outlines several types of slavery, including forced labour, which affects over 40 million victims worldwide. Carter highlighted the importance for companies to consider their whole supply chain to be aware of the human impact of their specifying and buying decisions. “For example, in Southeast Asia many farmers have been driven off their lands and forced into slavery to make bricks to pay off debts. That may seem a long way from us, but during the pandemic there was a 300% increase in bricks sourced in Europe from Southeast Asia, so we have to think about what that means.” The UK Centre for Social Justice estimates that there are around 100,000 victims of exploitation in the UK, some of them in the construction industry. “We have seen victims

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forced to work as security guards or handymen on UK building site, even on Tier 1 and Tier 2. It is a problem in our industry,” said Ms Carter. There are several signs to look out for in potential victims of modern slavery and exploitation. These include injuries from physical abuse, or indications that someone is living in poor conditions resulting in poor hygiene or malnutrition. “You may find that victims seem very withdrawn, and have few personal possessions or changes of clothing,” explained Carter. It is important for all businesses in the construction industry to be aware of the problem, as the legislation on preventing modern slavery applies to every organisation, large or small. She emphasised that taking steps to avoid the problem is not enough to comply with the regulation: “The onus is on you to demonstrate that you are taking steps to find and fix the problem.” n CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SESSION ON DEMAND

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SPONSORED ROUND TABLES

What next for offices? Sponsored by Mitsubishi Electric

The demise of the traditional office space has been widely predicted, but many experts are not so sure. Witness the decision to go ahead with a £1bn speculative office development close to Victoria station in London due to start on site early next year. People are returning to city centre locations again, but the key word seems to be ‘flexibility’. Many workers are now choosing to spend only part of the week in an office and working from home seems to be here to stay. If spaces need to be more flexible, then this has important implications for building services and our panel of experts considered how our industry will have to adapt; what kind of services will be needed in the future and what this means for energy efficiency, sustainability, commissioning, air quality and the rest… n CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE ROUND TABLE ON DEMAND

One gas grid, many products

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Hydrogen gas as a low carbon fuel source, able to benefit from utilising the existing gas network infrastructure, is currently a hot topic that will continue to be so for the coming decade. But there are many challenges ahead and questions still unanswered, for both the commercial and domestic heating sector. n CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE ROUND TABLE ON DEMAND

Measuring IEQ for building and occupant health

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As we spend around 90% of our time indoors, it’s important for building owners to curate an indoor climate that helps improve the health, wellbeing and productivity of building occupants. In this round table, panelists discuss the importance of measuring IEQ and the different factors to consider; from thermal comfort to sound, as well as discussing how to meet ever changing sustainability targets whilst keeping comfort ventilation at the forefront. n CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE ROUND TABLE ON DEMAND

Keeping it clean: Water quality in HVAC systems’

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The way we heat our homes and business is undergoing the biggest change seen in a lifetime. Decarbonisation of heat is critically important in reducing our overall carbon emissions and ensuring future generations have a habitable planet to live on. As we move towards higher efficiency technologies to generate and distribute heat the importance of good water quality is vital in ensuring these systems perform efficiently and reliably. n

How to prepare, and design, safe buildings and ventilation solutions to fight against airborne health threats

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Hospitals, venues, work places and public spaces are each uniquely different. They experience diverse sets of conditions, ventilation and building layout, resulting in dangerously unknown airflow movement. This unknown reportedly caused increased numbers of deaths due to crosscontamination of COVID-19 within hospitals. Dassault Systèmes collaborated and supported hospitals and venues across the globe, including the Philharmonie de Paris. Using our state-of-the-art technology solutions, developed for the Aerospace & Automotive industries, we performed accurate virtual simulations of airflow and airborne contaminants. 3D visualisation of results enabled intuitive understanding for our experts to devise and test safe measures. n CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE ROUND TABLE ON DEMAND

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