National Conference Round-Up All the 2018 BESA Award Winners
Also in this issue Government back retentions reform P13 UKâ€™s first HIU test standard in high demand P18 30 Years of Welplan P26
BESA chief executive David Frise
YOUR BESA - ISSUE 11 In this issue:
conference & AWARDS ROUND-UP
BACK TO THE BESA FUTURE
You can’t Google everything There was a tremendous amount of information on offer at last month’s BESA National Conference in London. The keynote sessions ranged far and wide covering everything from the Grenfell Tower tragedy to poor payment practices and even Gordon Brown’s leadership style (see pages 6-8). In this web-enabled age, it is becoming fashionable to be a bit dismissive about the value of ‘physical’ meetings and conferences. “I can Google that” is the refrain – and yes, there is a vast amount of knowledge available to us online. You will also find many key messages from the Conference in the press and on various websites. You are even able to look at many of the presentation slides, but you will never know about the nugget of information that you missed because you weren’t there to join the conversation. Also, if you are going to Google something you have to know what the question is before you can ask it. You don’t know what you don’t know. Our panel sessions on Brexit and the Grenfell Tower fire and its impact on our industry were only successful
because there was significant interaction with the audience – the panellists were all experts in their field, but they didn’t know what questions were going to come at them ‘from the floor’. Everyone at BESA is hugely grateful to them for, not only sharing their valuable knowledge with us, but also having the courage to sit on a stage and wait for someone to ask the ‘killer question’. On the technical front, we were treated to presentations and animated discussions about how facilities management needs to step up to the plate and address building operational issues in the wake of Grenfell Tower; the likely impact of new clean air legislation on building indoor air quality; the role of off-site manufacture in tackling skills gaps and quality issues…and many others. Our Future Leaders group set out an agenda to drive recruitment into our sector from schools and to address mental health issues. It was all happening – and we were tweeting about it – but you had to be there to get the full value. You also cannot read about the informal and unscheduled meetings and discussions that went
on in between sessions and around the exhibition stands. Deciding which events to attend and finding the time to extricate ourselves from busy schedules is tougher than ever these days. We realise that and that it is incumbent on us to ensure if we do ask for your time, we provide you with value in return. To those of you who did come, thank you for attending – I am sure you learned something…at least one thing. For those who missed it, read about some of it here and get ready to ask that killer question next year.
Follow David on Twitter: @outsiderwrecker4 Your BESA Magazine is produced and managed by Open Box Media and Communications Ltd. Tel: +44 (0)121 200 7820 Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information given, the publisher - the BESA Group; or Open Box Media and Communications Ltd - the production managers; cannot accept liability for loss or damage arising from the information supplied. The inclusion of adverts and information herein does not in any way imply or include endorsement or the approval of, or from, the BESA Group.
BUILDING SERVICES ENGINEER APPRENTICE OF THE YEAR
BESA AWARDS 2018
LUKE ROBINSON NG BAILEY
ING REFRIGERATION & AIR CONDITION R YEA APPRENTICE OF THE
OH, WHAT A NIGHT! JONATHAN LANSDOWNE TECHNICAL RETAIL SERVICES LTD
This year’s BESA National Awards sponsored by Milwaukee Tools, saw a jam-packed room of 250 people celebrate the UK’s brightest stars from the building engineering services industry.
SERVICE AND MAINTENANCE ENGINEER APPRENTICE OF THE YEAR
The prestigious black tie awards took place on Thursday 1 November at the Park Plaza Victoria, London and saw 13 categories up for grabs, including for the first time, the BESA Long Service Award. The evening kicked off with the launch of the Back to the BESA Future campaign, which showcased the history of the Association and its members over the past 114 years (read more on page 29). Comedian Ian Stone, compered the evening and announced the winners who were a range of BESA apprentices, members and employers who had previously won at regional level. The BESA National Awards are a culmination of a series of regional awards which took place throughout 2018 in the North East, North West, Yorkshire, London, South East and Midlands, Wales and Scotland.
ELECTRICAL APPRENTICE OF THE
KIERAN BIGGS ECOLUTION GROUP
BESA PRESIDENT’S AwarD
NATIONAL SKILLFRIDGE WINNER
GARETH JONES FAIRHEAT ADAM MCHAFFIE SODEXO CHANDLER DAVISON
BESA Group Companies:
ANN NOBLETT PROFESSIONAL ENGINEER OF THE YEAR Award
CONTRACTOR OF THE YEAR
FARMWOOD M&E SERVICES LTD
KELLY MOSS BRIGGS & FORRESTER
RUNNER UP SEAN FERGUSON BES LTD
WINNER JAKE SHORROCK T CLARKE CONTRACTING LTD
SPECIALIST GROUP AwarD FOR
ROBERT FLETCHER FIFE COUNCIL
Alfred manly management award
BESA APPRENTICE OF THE YEAR
BESA LONG SERVICE AwarD
HEATING & VENTILATION APPRENTICE OF THE YEAR
COMYN CHING & CO (SOLRAY) LTD ALSO CROWN HOUSE TECHNOLOGIES
LUKE ROBINSON NG BAILEY
JACK DINNEWELL NG BAILEY
THANK YOU A big thank you to everyone who was shortlisted and attended. It was a fantastic night and proved once again, that building engineering services is one of the best and leading industries in the UK! We would like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors, Milwaukee Tools, who have supported our awards both at regional and national level. Please note dates for diaries below for our 2019 regional awards. For more information visit www.theBESA.com/awards
REGIONAL AWARDS 2019 BESA North East 1 March 2019 Crowne Plaza, Newcastle
BESA Yorkshire 6 April 2019 Majestic Hotel, Harrogate
BESA Cymru / Wales 11 May 2019 Mercure Holland House Hotel, Cardiff
BESA North West 8 June 2019 Victoria & Albert Hotel, Manchester
BESA NATIONAL CONFERENCE 2018
Brexit delay would hurt industry A further extension to the Brexit transition period would be “hugely unhelpful” to the construction and building services sectors, according to BESA President Tim Hopkinson. He told the Association’s 2018 National Conference that “the one thing businesses crave above all else is certainty” and the proposal to extend transition arrangements after the UK leaves the European Union would further delay investment decisions. He also criticised the Prime Minister for labelling construction craft occupations as “low skilled” and, therefore, subject to the strictest immigration restraints after Brexit. “These are crucial skills that will be central to many of our forthcoming projects,” said Mr Hopkinson.
Insight “You have a unique insight into the built environment and bring architects’ visions to life,” she said. “You make our buildings function and keep their occupants safe. It is so important that BESA continues to set standards and quality benchmarks,” said Mrs Flint. She added that trade associations like BESA also played an important role in supporting SMEs. “SMEs are vital to our economy, but you wouldn’t believe it from the business voices you hear on the radio and TV,” said Mrs Flint. “We only hear from the big corporates with the huge PR budgets…but BESA is crucial in getting the views of smaller businesses heard.” She also pointed out that British SMEs were owed £586bn as a result of poor payment practices, which “can’t go on”. “The government has rules on late payment, but it is not enforcing them. Major suppliers on public sector projects are getting paid on time, but they are not passing the money down their supply chains. That’s a scandal.” She described the Grenfell Tower fire as “a major shock” that should lead to an examination of “the rigour of our building inspection regime”.
“Describing them in this way also sends out the wrong message to young people considering a career in our sector. Top quality professionals are vital, but we also need excellence in craft skills.” Delegates at the Conference held at London’s Park Plaza Hotel Victoria, also heard former Labour cabinet minister Caroline Flint MP criticise successive governments for failing to deliver infrastructure projects. She urged politicians to step back and allow industry to find the solutions to many of the country’s requirements. The former Housing and Planning Minister added that BESA and its members had a big part to play in British people’s quality of life.
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“BESA members are in a great position to provide helpful advice and solutions as they understand these issues,” said Mrs Flint. Earlier, BESA chief executive David Frise said the Association was making excellence in technical matters its top priority as it seeks to help contractors demonstrate competence and compliance in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy. “Technical is the friend of the contractor,” he said, before stressing the role of conferences and meetings in helping to drive improvements right across the industry. “You can’t Google this stuff. You only find out what you need to know when you attend events and speak to people faceto-face…you don’t know what you don’t know,” said Mr Frise.
Complacency and complexity blamed for Grenfell fire The Conference also heard that technical incompetence was likely to blame for the Grenfell Tower tragedy, but the disaster was also a culmination of growing complacency across the fire safety industry. Before Grenfell, the number of fires and deaths in fires were in decline. This led to complacency and a race to the bottom on price,” Conor Logan, technical director of Colt International, told the conference. “However, it would appear that insurance claims were rising for a smaller number of fires, but nobody seemed to relate that to a bigger issue.” He also pointed out that a big part of competence was being able to recognise when you should not be carrying out specialist work, according to Mr Logan. “We have the crazy situation of fire alarm companies being given contracts to service fire and smoke control systems when they clearly do not have the expertise. Hopefully, one of the outcomes from the Hackitt Review will be an end to that sort of corner cutting,” he said. Mr Logan was part of an expert ‘Fire Safety Panel’ chaired by BESA chief executive David Frise and co-hosted by the Smoke Control Association. They told the Conference that fire engineers were rarely involved at the design stage of building services projects so fire safety elements often had to be bolted on after the rest of the M&E works were complete.
Cost “Fire engineering is often seen as an additional cost not an integral part of the process – and if the team is led by an architect it will not be considered until well into the M&E phase,” said Mark Farmer, CEO of Cast and author of the seminal government-sponsored review of the construction labour market model ‘Modernise or Die’. “There has been very little change in client behaviour since Grenfell – everything is still driven by lowest cost,” he added. “We need to impose more prescriptive regulations, at least until we sort ourselves out. That is why I would favour a complete ban on combustible cladding, for example, because the current system of regulation is fundamentally flawed and very hard for building control to sign off.” The current process is also too complex, according to Will Pitt of NG Bailey, who is chair of the BESA Technical Committee. “Competence is the single biggest issue to emerge from the aftermath of Grenfell, but the whole project process has become so complex that building control officers are signing off things they can’t possibly understand,” he said. “It is unreasonable to expect the MEP contractor to take responsibility for all of this and solve all the technical problems – other specialists need to step up.” The panel agreed that the current privatised model for building control was flawed as it did not incentivise inspectors to take tough action against developers. Poor quality specification is also a major problem, according to Roperhurst managing director Bob Lane. “They are often cut and paste exercises carried out by the most junior member of the project team – yet the success of the whole design depends on them,” he explained. While the panel identified many of the technical problems that led to the Grenfell tragedy, Ian Doncaster from the Smoke Control Association said many of the real issues were “cultural”, which are much harder to change “because you are asking people to change their behaviour”. He said the Hackitt Review had already pointed this out.
Future Leaders set to tackle skills gap The BESA Future Leaders group set a series of ambitious aims and objectives for the coming year during a special session at the Conference. As well as encouraging more young engineers from BESA member companies to join the group, it said its main aims for the coming year would be to focus on ways to reduce the skills gap.
Off-site taking off Increasing the proportion of building engineering services systems produced off-site will help the industry improve productivity and quality. This was the key message from a conference session chaired by BESA President Tim Hopkinson. Adrian Mitchell of Balfour Beatty said the factory-based model could reduce programmes by between 20% and 60% depending on the nature of the project and cut delivery costs by as much as 40%. It could also lead to a 70% reduction in project labour – with some major projects benefitting from a saving of more than 100,000 working hours. Working off-site improves safety and working conditions for staff by minimising elements like working at heights and ‘hot works’. He said that manufacturing M&E risers was one of the most valuable off-site activities contractors could now deliver. However, the session also heard about multiple barriers to wider adoption of off-site methods including the fact that many projects start with incomplete designs – a factor that can be “fatal to off-site”, according to Mr Mitchell. Other issues like site restrictions can hold back off-site specifications, but many of these obstacles – including the challenges posed by refurbishment projects – can be overcome by adopting a ‘design for manufacture and assembly’ (DfMA) approach where the contractor operates more like a manufacturer. “The industry does not currently maximise the preconstruction phase as well as it should,” said Mr Mitchell. “We need to stress to clients how DfMA can add value to all aspects of a project and model ourselves on the motor industry, which makes great use of standardisation and multiple modules.” He said off-site approaches could help to narrow the skills gap, but in a way that is complementary to on-site skilled trades and would not “force them out the door”.
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Part of the plan involves getting young STEM Ambassadors to work with BESA members to set up engineering workshops and to collaborate with Primary Engineers, which is an initiative set up to enthuse young school children about science, technology and engineering. It will also look to collaborate with like-minded bodies across the sector, including the CIBSE Young Engineers’ Network, and organise joint projects and meetings. Mental health is another area of growing concern, so the Future Leaders have created a series of ‘tool box’ talks that will be available for download from www.theBESA.com/ mentalhealth. Member companies will be invited to use these to help their staff deal with this increasingly worrying feature of life in construction-related fields. The group is also going to focus on encouraging wider uptake of new technologies. An example cited by Future Leaders chair Reanna Evans was the use of QR codes to capture project and operational information in an easy to use, low cost format. She also called on more BESA member companies to offer work placements to young people so that they can get a feel for the industry. “It is really important that this happens before they opt for an apprenticeship so they can decide at an early stage whether this is the right career for them. If, instead, they start an apprenticeship and then drop out – somebody else has missed out on that opportunity,” Reanna explained. www.theBESA.com/future-leaders
Leader of the pride Reanna Evans is the new chair of the BESA Future Leaders group and believes it is time for the “alpha male” building engineering industry to get in touch with its feminine side. Reanna is a passionate believer in the role of women in engineering and thinks the building services industry will not survive unless it makes far greater strides towards embracing gender diversity. “The culture in contracting is wrong,” she says. “The consulting engineering sector is getting this right, but we aren’t. This is still an alpha male industry that simply must change to survive. We need more women at the sharp end helping to get things built.” She also believes that having more women in contracting will help the profession adapt to new ways of working: “Women are good team players and we are also very process-driven, which is just what the industry needs right now,” says Reanna. She described taking the chair of the Future Leaders group as “a real honour” and hopes she can have “a real impact on the future of the engineering industry”. Reanna also won the highly prestigious CIBSE ASHRAE Graduate of the Year award for 2018 in October following a testing final round of presentations at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in London. The award has been running for 23 years and attracts entries from all over the world. She joined NG Bailey as a first year building services engineering apprentice in 2011 and the company then
Reanna Evans proudly holds her award
sponsored her through a degree in Building Services Engineering at Leeds Beckett University. She has recently been promoted to senior project engineer. “I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction from building something for the future – and want to pass that excitement on to others. If I have worked on a hospital, then I have helped to save lives…if we were part of the team delivering orthopaedic facilities then I have helped people to walk again.” As chair of the Future Leaders group, she wants to put a heavy emphasis on encouraging 12 to 13 year olds to look at engineering, both in design, and on the tools. “We can offer them placements in the industry and show them what is possible,” she says. “We can show them BIM, estimating and planning; how things work on site – and the opportunities in M&E, which are unfamiliar to many people.” Inspired by her own experience with the NG Bailey apprenticeship scheme, she wants to work with other BESA members and encourage them to offer work experience opportunities.
Reanna receives her certificate from ASHRAE President Sheila Hayter
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This kind of far-sighted and ambitious thinking is just what BESA President Tim Hopkinson had in mind for the Future Leaders group when he launched it last year. Find out more about the Future Leaders group at www.theBESA.com/future-leaders
Welcome to a new era BESA President Tim Hopkinson told the Association’s annual President’s Lunch that major construction and infrastructure projects would not be delivered unless the industry changed the way it worked. He urged members and guests at the event held in the Oxo Tower on the south bank of the Thames, to embrace off-site construction methods and digital procurement so that the country could deliver crucial projects like nuclear power stations; transport infrastructure and housing. Revitalising delivery methods would also improve productivity while helping to tackle skills shortages and alleviate payment problems, according to the President. He said employers had “no option”, but to move with the times and embrace new techniques with the UK’s shortage of skilled workers fuelling “an off-site revolution”. “The UK’s major infrastructure pipeline and housing needs will simply not be achievable – unless we work in a completely different way,” said Mr Hopkinson, who is now in his second year as BESA President. “The UK construction industry simply cannot deliver everything competently in a world of increasing opportunities and demands for higher standards with a shrinking pool of resource and talent.” He pointed to the fact that building a third runway at Heathrow Airport would require more than 15,000 site workers, unless delivered
differently, and that the two proposed nuclear power stations stations at Hinkley Point and Wylfa Newydd, could require more than 6,000 site-based staff.
BESA President Tim Hopkinson
Unsustainable “These numbers are simply unsustainable. We must deliver much more of our product in a factory environment. This will give us a far better chance of finishing projects to a high standard and provide better and safer working conditions for our people,” said Mr Hopkinson. He predicted that, in the next two to five years, there would be a surge in the use of offsite and modular construction; much greater collaboration between organisations and professions; growth in the use of digital technology and procurement; and more (diverse) apprenticeships.
He added that BESA would increasingly be called upon to lead this transformation by setting new technical standards and to help businesses provide evidence of their competence and compliance. He said the multiple shocks experienced by the industry in the past 18 months had made the building engineering sector’s “professional credibility” more important than ever before. He also told his audience that increasing the proportion of building engineering work completed offsite would make the industry more appealing to potential recruits. The collaboration needed to make offsite successful would also gradually diminish the sector’s problems with late payment. “Many of the things that make our industry so unattractive to young people will be transformed. If it becomes safer, cleaner and more technologically driven – and less adversarial – it becomes a much more appealing career,” said Mr Hopkinson. Follow Tim on Twitter: @BESAPresident
LEGAL AND COMMERCIAL
An Overview of the new NEC4 Alliance Contract (together the “Members”), in accordance with the implementation plan.
Key features of the ALC Risks are shared between the client and Partners in agreed portions. Payments, rewards and deductions are assessed on the performance of the alliance, not the individual Partners.
Brought to you by
Collaboration has been encouraged in NEC contracts through a requirement of the parties to ‘act in a spirit of mutual trust and co-operation’ and optional partnering/ multi-party collaboration provisions. The NEC’s new NEC4 Alliance Contract (“ALC”), launched in June 2018, goes one step further creating an alliance arrangement whereby members of the alliance are incentivised to collaborate with each other to achieve the alliance objectives.
When and why to use the ALC The ALC has been designed for use on major projects or for a number of lower value projects which together form a major programme of work, which are high risk and complex. The ALC is a multi-party contract to be entered into by the client and all the key members of the supply chain such as key contractors, consultants and suppliers (the “Partners”).
Structure of the ALC An alliance board, which includes a representative from the client and each Partner, has overall responsibility for the alliance and provides strategy, allocates work, appoints an alliance manager, makes decisions and helps to resolve disputes. An alliance manager, who performs similar functions exercised by a project manager under other NEC contracts, manages the work in accordance with the implementation plan. Work is delivered by the alliance delivery team, which consists of the client and Partners
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The performance table includes alliance objectives, set by the Members and a risk/reward mechanism for the whole alliance. The implementation plan sets out the roles and responsibilities of the Members.
What if things go wrong? For an alliance to succeed, disputes should properly be resolved within the alliance. Disputes should be resolved by the alliance board or with the help of third party support, such as a mediator or an independent expert. Whilst the ALC does not include adjudication provisions, the Scheme for Construction Contracts would apply to the relevant work and so a Member could adjudicate at any time.
Success of the ALC From a client’s perspective, selecting a Partner that demonstrates a collaborative aptitude and defining a clear set of alliance objectives and performance regime will be critical to project success. As with other projects, clients may also want to consider the risk of insolvency of the Partners, mitigating such a risk through parent company guarantees. From a Partner perspective, it is likely that additional client-led provisions will be incorporated through ‘Z clauses’ and so such provisions will need to be checked to ensure that they align with the commercial priorities of the Partners. The overall success of the ALC depends on the Members efficiently working together and the supply chain adopting collaborative behaviours. Visit www.clarkslegal.com for more information.
Government Back Retentions Reform In October, there were three key developments for the Aldous Bill campaign and the efforts to reform the outdated and damaging cash retentions system, writes BESA Public Affairs and Policy Manager, Alexi Ozioro. First of all the number of MPs that pledged their support for the Aldous Bill hit and passed 250, the Second Reading of the Bill was pushed back to 23 November, but then on 23 October the Minister for Business and Industry announced his intention is to legislate to solve the issue of cash retentions. The announcement from Richard Harrington MP comes a year to the day that BESA initiated the Aldous Bill and campaign in 2017, and represents the most significant step forward on the issue since the Construction Act in 1996. With the Government now pledging legislation to tackle the issue of cash retentions, BESA members can breathe a sigh of relief that change is going to come. The shockwaves of Carillion reverberated through the entire economy and brought a spotlight onto the abuse of payments in our industry. Richard Harrington also held a roundtable meeting in late October to discuss the proposals of the Bill with Peter Aldous, BESA and a range of key industry officials representing the entire supply chain. Following consultations in early 2018 the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) concluded that
there were three options for tackling retentions; retention deposit schemes (essentially the Aldous Bill), outright abolition or the status quo. It is an extremely poignant development that this third option is, thankfully, off of the table. Harrington said in an interview that while he has some reservations about the Aldous Bill, when it comes to legislating to solve cash retentions “I will have to.” He continued saying that “A voluntary code only works for people who agree with it. I’m not going to faff around. We’ve got to decide in the next few weeks which way to jump.” Very strong, and very welcome words indeed. But even more encouraging was his following statement that once the views of industry have been taken into account, he will bring forward his own Government Bill to tackle the problem. The Aldous Bill is a Private Members Bill, which means that time will have to be found in the very busy Parliamentary schedule to progress it any further. However, a Government Bill would have time already allocated to it and, considering the huge cross-party support that reform to retentions has, would hopefully pass through Parliament with ease. The Business Department has already published proposals to end late payments to small businesses by larger ones across the economy as a whole, but the Aldous Bill and Harrington’s statements show that a compulsory measure, specifically in the construction industry, will be coming into force. Whether you are red or blue, like the Government or not, this is all very welcome news. It shows that the Government have been listening to the views of industry, but also that there is a voice in Westminster for BESA members big and small. For more information visit www.theBESA.com/retentions
Hammond backs apprenticeships… again Director of BESA Training, Tony Howard, has welcomed another funding boost for apprenticeships from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Philip Hammond announced a £125m funding package that will allow large employers to transfer up to 25% of their Levy funds to smaller supply chain partners from next April. This is a significant step up from the 10%, which started this July. The Chancellor also told the Conservative Party conference in the autumn that the government was determined to increase the number of people who can access science and technology courses and said it would spend up to £30m on encouraging big businesses to mentor small firms. “This is huge,” said Mr Howard. “Particularly as much of the talk before the Conference was about the Conservative Party wanting to water down the Levy in a bid to pacify big business.”
are able to claim back all of the money through their own training,” said Mr Howard. “Thanks to this new move by the Chancellor, up to 25% of what they pay can also now be used to help firms in their supply chains carry out the training they need to improve and grow, which will also benefit the levypayer’s business. “It is just the kind of pro-business measure employers have been crying out for in the build up to Brexit.” By sharing their levy funds, larger firms can support companies who may not have considered hiring an apprentice before or could not get the specialist provision they wanted. However, Mr Howard also pointed out that funding should be directed towards training providers capable of delivering the new type of apprenticeship courses, which have been developed “by employers for employers”. “There is huge appetite out there to take on apprentices,” said Mr Howard. “The difficulty for employers has been finding providers in their area able to deliver building services training. Many specialist courses were closed years ago because of a drop in demand after the financial crash or because providers cherry picked the apprenticeships that they wanted to deliver,” he added.
Only around 2% of employers actually pay into the Levy – those with annual payrolls of £3m and above – but the estimated annual pot of £3bn is intended to be used by all employers to subsidise apprentice recruitment and training. However, there had been considerable confusion about how non-levy paying firms could gain access to the money.
“However, this new stream of funding brings fresh hope – and the fact it has been increased from 10% to 25% shows that the government understands the principle behind this.”
“There continues to be a perception of the Levy as some sort of additional tax on large employers, but they
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For more information, visit: www.theBESA.com/training
Getting to grips with flammable refrigerants
Growing amounts of mildly flammable refrigerant gas used in refrigeration and air conditioning should not be a cause for sleepless nights because training is now available, says Head of Refcom, Graeme Fox. Refcom has been receiving daily calls from contractors concerned about the speed with which mildly flammable refrigerant gas is being adopted across the air conditioning and refrigeration sectors. A2L classification gases do bring with them an increased level of risk compared with many of the gases they are replacing as the phase down of HFCs gathers pace under the European F Gas regulations. Contractors are worried about their technical and legal responsibilities and the lack of any targeted training for flammables specified under the terms of F Gas. The fact that the Health & Safety at Work Act does cover the issue means employers are already legally responsible for the safety of their staff and customers. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has also made it clear that the use of flammable refrigerant gas is on its radar and we could well see prosecutions under its DSEAR (Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmosphere Regulations), which designates ALL refrigerants as ‘dangerous substances’.
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However, there is no need to panic. The Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Industry Board (ACRIB) has identified the need for specialised training in the handling of all flammable refrigerants. While manufacturers of equipment designed to work with A2L gases have done a good job by putting product specific training in place, ‘generic’ training led by industry bodies will provide the wider knowledge needed to carry out complete installations safely. The ACRIB Education group, which includes employers, trade bodies, professional institutes and training/assessment organisations, has developed courses for “experienced refrigeration engineers”, who must already hold a recognised F Gas qualification such as BESA Training F Gas Cat I or II, City & Guilds 2079 Cat 1 or 2, CITB J11 or J12. Topics covered by the ACRIB course include: How to understand the different classes of flammability as recognised by legislation and safety standards; the legislative and organisational procedures for installation, servicing, maintaining and decommissioning of flammable refrigerants; and the specific requirements for installing and testing refrigeration systems using mildly flammable gases. This training is now being delivered by a number of providers across the UK (visit www.theBESA.com/training for details). It is important that the industry gets this right because mildly flammable refrigerants are now a fixture in our industry and they will play an increasingly important role in the long-term reduction of global warming gases as we move into a new era. www.refcom.org.uk
UK’s first HIU test standard in demand The UK’s first test standard for Heat Interface Units (HIUs), which is managed by BESA, has been revised and updated in response to growing demand from the district heating industry. Two UK-based test houses have also been approved to carry out testing to the standard – BSRIA and Enertek International – in addition to the Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE), which was previously the only organisation able to test to the new UK standard. HIUs extract heat from district heating networks to feed individual buildings and dwellings. How they perform is central to the overall efficiency of a district scheme. The Standard was developed, therefore, to help developers of UK heat networks procure HIUs based on comparative performance data.
Comprehensive The BESA Standard originally emerged from a heat network efficiency research project supported by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. Testing to the Standard is helping to create a comprehensive product database and improve performance of UK heat networks. It is modelled on a well-established Swedish methodology, which was adapted to suit typical UK operating conditions, and makes it possible to compare products and equipment types so that network designers can evaluate the performance of individual HIUs against their design parameters. The test calculates the annual volume weighted return temperature (VWART) from the HIU and provides evidence of compliance with other performance and reliability metrics, such as domestic hot water response time.
The availability of a UK standard has prompted considerable response from manufacturers with multiple HIUs already tested at RISE and several more already going through the process at BSRIA and Enertek.
As part of the revision process, the steering group overseeing the Standard has been expanded and a technical subcommittee – comprising industry experts and the three test houses – has been set up.
Testing to the standard is a two-stage process. The HIU has to achieve a UKAS or equivalent national accreditation through one of the three test houses and this result must then be verified by the Standard’s Steering Group before being published on the BESA website www.theBESA.com/ukhiu
It will make recommendations to the steering group on developing the standard, including a planned expansion of the regime. An HIU Manufacturers’ forum also meets regularly at BESA’s headquarters in London and provides valuable feedback to the steering group. “One of the Standard’s great strengths is that it has been developed by users, for users,” said UK HIU Steering Group chair, Gareth Jones. “It provides users with a clear basis on which to evaluate HIU performance and is rapidly becoming the default point of reference for those making procurement decisions within the industry. “As a result, HIU manufacturers must now ensure that their HIUs perform well and we are seeing a significant increase in R&D. Ultimately this raising of standards will help improve the health of the heat network industry as a whole.” For more information visit www.theBESA.com/ukhiu
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Schools face tough air quality challenge New government guidance for the design of school buildings sets tough new ventilation targets in an attempt to protect children from poor air quality, but maintaining systems throughout their operating life will be the ultimate test, says BESA’s Head of Business Development Steve Tomkins. The recent changes to the government guidelines for school buildings published in the new Building Bulletin 101 (BB101) are a once in a generation challenge to the building engineering industry to find a delicate balance between significantly improving indoor air quality (IAQ) without reducing thermal comfort or energy efficiency. The new requirement for fresh air rates of five litres per second per person is a major step up from the last version of BB101 published in 2006. Natural ventilation systems must now reduce CO2 levels to below 1,500 parts per million (ppm) and mechanical ventilation to below 1,000ppm. CO2 levels cannot exceed 1,500ppm for longer than 20 minutes in new classrooms while refurbished spaces must now achieve an average CO2 level of below 1,750ppm. Hybrid ventilation solutions are also included in the guidance for the first time alongside more familiar natural and mechanical systems. The guidance is also much tougher on summertime overheating, which has been a serious problem in schools for many years.
This means that any ventilation strategy – new or old – must be supported by a planned maintenance programme to ensure it continues to work as intended. In many cases, the ventilation system already installed may be perfectly adequate, but not performing as it should due to poor or absent maintenance. This new design guidance is part of the process of raising awareness of the health threats posed by poor air quality and the remedial role played by building services. This is prompting more school building managers to look for better preventative maintenance strategies. The availability of digital aids, such as BESA’s SFG20 maintenance standard, is a significant plus for school administrators. SFG20 is a dynamic online tool that makes best practice widely available and easy to access. It is also a good way for facilities managers to manage the ventilation strategy in a holistic way that takes into account its wider impact on the school’s overall running costs. Many users have recorded ongoing cost savings of up to 20% by adopting SFG20 and embedding its measures into their building management processes so that other energy using systems, like heating, are not adversely affected by changes to the ventilation strategy. For more information visit www.sfg20.co.uk
All of this means many educational facilities are reconsidering their ventilation strategies.
Pollution The challenge for ventilation designers and installers is how to achieve the higher air change rates specified in the new BB101 without bringing the growing outdoor pollution problem indoors. Lifecycle running costs also have to be taken into account particularly as school budgets remain stretched to breaking point.
We wish all our clients a warm seasonâ€™s greetings. 2018 has been a fantastic year with Ductbusters expanding into gorgeous historic offices, as well as opening new offices to serve London and the South. The offices are a 210-year-old Georgian Listed Manor House in its own grounds in leafy Worcestershire. Throughout 2018 Ductbusters have continued to uphold their current accreditations (Achilles, Altius, Chas, Safecontractor, Constructionline, BESA to name a few) and have even gone on to acquire the LPCB Certification for Kitchen Extract Ductwork Cleaning. Ductbusters continue to prove themselves to be the leading UK Building Services provider in Ductwork Cleaning and Fire Damper Testing.
2018 has seen Dillys the Duck (Ductbusters mascot, pictured right) travel the world accompanied by a Ductbusters Ambassador. Dillys has been seen in Mexico, Spain, Bulgaria, Paris, Betws-y-Coed, she has been seen on the Queen Mary 2, at the Ryder Cup and shall be soon jetting off to Australia, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Singapore. If you see Dillys as she travels the world, have a chat with the Ductbusters Ambassador and get a free drink. If you take a photo with Dillys, we will then upload it for viewing on the Ductbusters website.
The LPCB accreditation is held by just a handful of carefully chosen UK companies and is extremely useful to Insurance Companies in ensuring the quality of the service provider to the catering establishments.
Watch This Space!
We are currently completing the final arrangements for the Ductbusters (Southern) Ltd offices in Braintree, Essex, these are the new offices to accommodate London and the south. With Director Dan Colledge in full-time attendance and available for site surveys, as well as local operatives, we will be able to provide even more economical solutions to our current and new clients in the London and southern areas of the UK. Telephone 0800 085 0403 or email Dan@ductbusters.co.uk for further information.
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SKILLcard Profiles 2018 marks the Government’s ‘Year of Engineering’ campaign to actively encourage young people to choose a career in our industry. To help showcase the wealth of jobs and opportunities available in the UK engineering services industry we have created a series of profiles on our cardholders. If you would like to feature as one of our SKILLcard profiles, please email marketing@theBESA.com.
‘Year of Engineering’
> NAME: Gilmour McColl > Company name: Gilmour McColl (Sole Trader) > Job Title: Heating Engineer (underfloor heating and wet systems)
> SKILLcard type/colour: WHITE > How long have you worked in the engineering services industry? I have worked in engineer ing services for 15 years. > How did you get into the engineering services industry? I was recomm ended by a friend to get into the engineer ing industry . > What does your current job role involve? hospitals , prisons, houses, care homes I install underflo or heating in a wide variety of buildings including schools, and retail.
> What is the best aspect of your job? years old, I have done a few different jobs People might think I am fibbing but my job is everythi ng I am! At 46 and makes me truly happy! and in 29 years of working , engineer ing has been the only career I enjoy you would like to mention?
> Are there any high profile projects that you have worked on that first one of its kind in the UK. I installed underflo or heating in the new Peterhead super prison, the plant in Dunferm line, the first one ever of its I have also installed the underflo or heating for the the new recyclin g gets broken down into compost, the compost kind in Europe. It’s a fascinat ing process , as rubbish in Dunferm line heats the compost to produce gas. The gas is then put into massive concrete containe rs and my pipe installat ion You cannot get any more job satisfaction is then pumped back into Dunferm line to heat the resident ’s homes. than that!
> Are there certain skills you think people need for your type of 6 months on the job training , No. Certain skills are required as I started my engineer ing career with and have not looked back since.
> What advice would you give someone looking to get into our industry?
Anyone looking to get into the industry , all I can say is you won’t regret it and you will love it just as much as I do!
To find out about the types of SKILLcard available visit:
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WELPLAN AT 30
Are you one of the 54% of businesses who have already switched pension provider? This year, Welplan celebrates 30 years as a pension provider. As part of celebrating our 30th anniversary, Welplan recently commissioned some research to gain a clearer picture of what businesses are looking for in terms of a pension provider, and whether they felt they might benefit from switching provider. The findings disproved current industry beliefs that switching is too big a hurdle for many businesses to consider- in fact, over half (54%) of SMEs have already switched auto enrolment provider, and 49% plan to do so in the future – 20% in the next 6 months. The main drivers of planned switching are poor value for money (40%), investment performance (35%) and easier transactions (34%). Bruce Kirton, chief executive of Welplan Pensions, says: “Business owners want value for money. It’s the main reason why there is such a high level of switching. “There has been huge focus by master trust providers on cost at the expense of value. This research blows that assumption out of the water: people also want good investment performance and robust systems that streamline administrative challenges. “Smaller business owners are savvy and well-advised. They know what to look for in their auto-enrolment provider and how to get their needs met. “Everyone in the pensions industry should now see switching as the norm. Employers want the best for their employees – and that’s exactly how it should be.” Value is about more than just the product, it is about the service employers and members receive. For example, talking to staff about pensions is tough. People are reluctant to think about the long-term. Welplan actively encourages members to talk to us. In our opinion, talking over the phone is an underrated form of communication. We have always understood how a friendly voice at the other end of a line can provide comfort and help to build a connection, and we make the most of the internet to communicate the key facts clearly. For example, we use simple online tools to illustrate complex concepts in a straightforward manner. Pension providers frequently get bogged down by complexity. Side-tracked by technical issues, the industry often forgets
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its purpose, which is to provide employees with a secure retirement. Welplan is different. We have always been focused on the needs of employees. Providing pensions is at the heart of our approach to supplying staff benefits and we make it easy for a smaller employer to offer these advantages to their employees.
WELPLAN’S HISTORY Launched in 1964 to provide benefits for building services employees, Welplan added a stakeholder pension to its product range in 1988. It now operates a low-cost master trust pension scheme for businesses of any size, in any sector. Three decades of providing pensions as well as understanding small employers enables us to fill a gap in the economy, because many larger pension providers don’t think the smallest businesses are worth the effort. Switching to Welplan is efficient and hassle-free, giving you value for money and streamlined administration. It you want to understand more about the professional service, no employer fees and flexible administration and investment options we offer, please get in touch today on 0800 1958080. For more information visit www.welplan.co.uk
DON’T JUST TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT Accreditations are at the core of the Welplan Pensions offering, demonstrating that our high standards have been independently assessed and verified. For three consecutive years, Welplan Pensions has been a holder of the Master Trust Assurance Framework standard, which recognises the quality of our governance and administration. Welplan Pensions has been awarded a five-star rating by independent research organisation defaqto in 2017 and 2018. This is the highestachievable rating, given only to financial products or services assessed as “excellent, with a comprehensive range of features and benefits”. We have also held Pensions Quality Mark READY status for four consecutive years, affirming our emphasis on clear communications and good governance.
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BESA has been around for 114 years. The Association rebranded itself four years ago with an identity that was more in keeping with the modern industry, but that does not mean it wants to forget its past. The HVCA name, in particular, still carries weight and represents a proud heritage on which today’s Association and its members are building their collective future. Therefore, the Back to the BESA Future campaign – a 12 month celebration of shared heritage – was launched at last month’s National Conference and Awards. All members are invited to get involved by sharing their own histories and thoughts on how the industry has changed and continues to change – and how we learn from past triumphs and tragedies. The founding meeting of the National Association of Master Heating and Domestic Engineers (NAMDHE) took place in March 1904 at the Holborn Restaurant in London with the Association’s first president David Nesbit in the chair. The body was created to “watch the commercial interests of contracting engineers”. The 14 founding companies were concerned, in particular, by a major dispute over “demarcation”, which saw plumbers and heating engineers at loggerheads over who should install plumbing pipework. That issue eased with the outbreak of the First World War, but the Association continued to flourish and made sure the industry’s voice was heard on a series of crucial matters over the decades that followed. Renamed the National Association of Heating,
Ventilating and Domestic Engineering Employers (NAHVDEE) in 1927, it became the HVCA in 1963.
Campaign Today as BESA, it continues to campaign and represent members – thanks to its long and respected pedigree as the contractor’s body. As well as legal and commercial issues, the Association has also led the way on technical matters and, during the 2018 National Conference, CEO David Frise stressed that this remains at the heart of the modern body’s strategy. The Back to the BESA Future campaign was launched at the National Awards with the recognition of two companies who have been members of the Association from the very beginning. Comyn Ching & Co, which is now part of the Solray Group, can trace its heritage back much further to the early 1700s when it was set up in London as an architectural ironmongery company. It provided, among many other things, the railings for Buckingham Palace and eventually diversified into heating, which brought it along to that first NAMDHE meeting near its first factory in Holborn. Crown House Technologies attended the first meeting as Richard Crittall and Co, but traces its history back to Z. D. Berry, who started his own business manufacturing heavy kitchen equipment and swimming pool heating systems in 1810. It is a proud heritage and over the next 12 months, BESA will showcase the company and personal stories that have made the Association what it is today. The campaign will culminate in a Back to the BESA Future exhibition at next year’s National Conference. Share your memories at: www.theBESA.com/ back-to-the-besa-future or on Twitter: #backtotheBESAfuture
Living and breathing clean air Nathan Wood receives the ‘Contractor of the Year’ award for Farmwood M&E Services Ltd
Partnership It is also delivering clean air solutions for Hampstead Hill School in London, which is subject to high levels of air pollution from the surrounding area. Farmwood has formed a partnership with the filtration specialist Radic8 to reduce NOx levels in the classrooms and minimise children’s exposure to PM2.5 and a range of other harmful particles thanks to the use of a positive pressure ventilation system and stand-alone purifiers. Hampstead will be the first ‘We Share Clean Air’ school in the UK and the London Mayor’s office also recognises the Radic8 technology as part of its ‘Clean Air Toolbox’ for schools.
This year’s winner of the BESA Contractor of the Year award was recognised for their pioneering approach to indoor air quality (IAQ). At a time when pollution and its associated health risks are commanding headlines all over the national press, the work of Farmwood M&E Services is taking on increasing significance. Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is also a priority area for BESA, which is working on a campaign to turn buildings into ‘safe havens’ from rising levels of outdoor pollution – particularly in urban areas.
Farmwood also enjoyed national publicity when it took part in an episode of the BBC’s hugely popular DIY:SOS programme. Curtis, one of the children featured in the programme, has multiple and complex health needs, but he has not been admitted to hospital for pneumonia or chest infections since his house was fitted with an IAQ demand controlled ventilation system. As a result, Farmwood has since been invited by the BBC to complete another SOS project in Bromley, this time using Radic8 products.
This work has received welcome impetus with the introduction to Parliament of a draft Clean Air Act aimed at replacing outdated legislation dating back to the 1950s. If passed into law, the Act, which was proposed by Baroness Jenny Jones, would include specific measures aimed at improving IAQ for the first time. Current legislation only recognises the health threat from outdoor pollution. Farmwood employs 30 people – with two new apprentices due to start shortly – and has an annual turnover of around £1.5m. Among a range of projects, it is currently working on the huge Battersea Power Station construction site to monitor air quality and deliver bespoke clean air systems on behalf of the developer Mace. Two floors are being monitored, one using a Farmwood system and one without, to demonstrate the potential differences – and, if successful, Mace will consider rolling this out across all of their sites.
“As our work shows, everyone at Farmwood is passionate about clean air,” says managing director Nathan Wood. “We are looking forward to continuing our work with BESA and our specialist contacts to push for a new high standard in ventilation and air quality competence for the whole sector.” www.farmwood.co.uk