Your BESA Issue 20

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Issue 20

Also in this issue Massive market for damper testing P8

Workloads soaring but inflation a real threat

‘Ambitious’ setting of air quality targets P10

Major change to safety environment is top priority


Healthcare sector is key focus for SFG20 P16 Speed of recovery putting pressure on jobs marjet P24

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BESA chief executive David Frise


YOUR BESA - ISSUE 20 In this issue:

David Frise















It’s an even lonelier business It is a lonely business running a business at the best of times, but owners and managers of building engineering firms have good reason to feel even more isolated than normal…not to mention a bit undervalued. If the recession was the deepest and strangest we have ever experienced, the recovery is proving to be just as odd. The economic indicators are all pointing upwards and the construction and engineering sectors are run off their feet with work, but there are several troubling underlying issues as we report on page 23. And can it be right that many of the UK’s most wealthy people are actually better off today than they were when the pandemic hit? The billionaire owners of online retailers, computer games providers and streaming services have all done very well thank you while UK unemployment has risen to 1.7 million and many traditional businesses are now teetering on the brink of collapse, if they haven’t gone already. Several online businesses that have never turned a profit are valued at multiple billions by stock markets and the virtual currency bitcoin is now worth 400% more than a year ago, but what of sound, well managed and skilled engineering businesses? How do they stand? The fact is that specialist firms in our sector and in others linked to the built

environment are essential to the economic recovery by creating sound foundations for future growth, but that is rarely reflected in how they are valued by clients and the wider public. Building engineering services directly contribute £100bn to the country’s GDP and enable a further £600bn. Buildings are also responsible for more than 40% of the country’s total carbon emissions, so the role of BESA members and their supply chains will be crucial in tackling the climate crisis. It is high time this inherent value was more widely recognised. It is particularly important that those companies who do all the right things by investing in their workforces and keeping up to speed with emerging technologies are rewarded and it is a big part of our role as your trade association to fight your corner. We do that by taking the initiative. For example, we recently became the first trade body to adopt a new industry agreed prequalification standard that promises to cut expensive and time consuming ‘red tape’ for members. The new Common Assessment Standard, developed by Build UK and endorsed by the Construction Leadership Council, means suppliers will only need to be certified once a year by a single recognised assessment body before tendering for work with contractors and clients who specify it.

This is a significant improvement on the current system where different clients insist on their own prequalification questionnaires meaning contractors are forced to duplicate time and effort. Build UK estimates this wasteful process costs the construction industry as much as £1bn every year and it is another example of companies who have already proved their value and ability to do the job being forced to jump through extra hoops to prove it all over again. BESA has also recognised the new standard as a way of deeming to satisfy the business management section of our own Competence Assessment Standard (CAS), which companies must achieve to join the Association or remain in membership. Again, saving time and cost. Throughout this latest issue of Your BESA you will find other examples like this of how we help our members demonstrate their value – not just to clients, but to the wider world. n 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.

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SAFETY FIRST Four years on from the Grenfell Tower disaster the industry is still grappling with changes to working practices that will eventually be enshrined in new legislation. Preparing members for a major change to the safety environment is a top priority for BESA. The public inquiry continues to expose many of the failings that led to the Grenfell tragedy and is a continual reminder that many of those bad habits are still in evidence. Although the Building Safety Bill has still not become law, BESA is urging firms to recognise that the process of change needs to be happening now and that contractors cannot afford to wait for the new safety regulator to pounce sometime in the future. It is also worth noting that the regulator will be able to take retrospective action; so any shoddy work done now could come back to haunt the perpetrator in the future.


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Peter Baker has been appointed as the first Chief Inspector of Buildings and will head up the Building Safety Regulator (BSR), which is a key outcome from the Hackitt Review. This body will oversee efforts to improve the competence of all building industry professionals and it will be responsible for the entire building safety environment.

Baker will also be the first ever head of the building control profession, and lead the work to provide independent, expert advice to industry, government, landlords and residents on building safety. Frustration at the pace of change is not a reason to delay our preparations and the Association continues to focus heavily on helping members meet the new standards and that they can provide evidence of their competence and ability to comply with the Building Regulations. This is reflected in the robust BESA Competence Assessment Standard (CAS), which tests members’ competence. This will be increasingly important as the new regulatory regime will challenge firms’, particularly if something goes wrong and questions are raised years later. There is a common misunderstanding that the whole

post-Grenfell inquest is about cladding and the ongoing difficulties this is posing to flat owners up and down the country. In fact, it is about all aspects of building safety.

• It will strengthen enforcement and sanctions to deter non-compliance.

For example, insurers are already cracking down on buildings without the correct fire compartmentation and the regulator is looking closely at the way projects are procured and the use of ‘value engineering’ to strip out costs at the potential expense of safety.

• It will develop a new stronger framework providing oversight of construction products.

The Association’s CEO David Frise said that future compliance would rely on contractors treating the building as a complete integrated system and not a series of products assembled “to look like the original planning application”. He urged anyone involved to listen to the BBC Grenfell Inquiry podcast, which summarises the week’s evidence. “I have said before that this should be mandatory listening. It should be part of the CPD of everybody in the industry,” he said.

BUILDING SAFETY BILL The draft Building Safety Bill was announced in the Queen’s Speech in December 2019. • It will create an enhanced safety framework for high-rise residential buildings, taking forward the recommendations the Hackitt review.

• It will give residents more involvement in decision making.

• It will develop a new system to oversee the whole built environment, with local enforcement agencies and national regulators. Meanwhile, the new Fire Safety Bill has already been approved by parliament amidst the ongoing controversy about who pays for remedial work on unsafe residential buildings. It threatens ‘limitless fines’ for anyone found to be in breach of fire safety regulations or obstructing or impersonating a fire inspector.

Fire risk assessments will have to be recorded for each building and there will be improvements to the way fire safety information is shared during the lifetime of a building. This new Act of Parliament focuses on the competence of the people carrying out those assessments and the way Draft Building Safety Bill information is Presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government by Command preserved and of Her Majesty July 2020 updated.

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• It will lead to new regulatory regimes for building safety and construction products. • It aims to provide clearer accountability and stronger duties for those responsible for the safety of high-rise buildings, with clear competence requirements to maintain high standards.

Other measures include improving the cooperation and coordination between those responsible for fire safety and making it easier to identify who they are; strengthening guidance issued under the Fire Safety Order so that failure to follow it may be considered in court proceedings; and improvements to the way building control and fire authorities liaise when reviewing plans for building projects.

SITE SAFETY Another important part of the evolving safety culture is the importance of keeping our own employees safe in their places of work. With that in mind, BESA recently became the first training provider to fully integrate Site Operating Procedures (SOPs) into its health and safety courses. Understanding SOPs will also become a pre-requisite for anyone applying for or updating their SKILLcard so making it a requirement for working on site. The online BESA Academy has embedded a series of mandatory SOP questions into the existing health and safety test that forms part of the SKILLcard application process. SOPs were developed by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) to ensure all construction sites could continue operating during the Covid-19 pandemic by following strict guidelines that protected workers and minimised transmission of the virus. The guidance was regularly updated to reflect changing conditions during the crisis and the requirements are expected to become a long-term part of the construction landscape despite the easing of lockdown restrictions. During the pandemic, the BESA Academy developed an online SOP training module which leads to a certificate proving the individual worker understands the requirements and has been trained to work safely on site. This standalone module is freely available to all and can be completed online in 15 minutes. The SOP content is regularly revised to reflect changes in site guidance and has already been updated seven times. Anyone who has already completed the course is automatically alerted to log-in and update their training. n



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Welcome to the ‘green collar’ era Recruiters have created a new label to describe professions that are changing or emerging to take up the government’s low carbon challenge. ‘Green collar’ workers will soon be a key part of our industry. Meeting the government’s new carbon emissions target will need an unprecedented surge in training and recruitment across many sectors – not least ours – and will require employers to be much more flexible in how they assess skills. The new target of a 78% cut in emissions by 2035 (compared with 1990 levels) announced by Boris Johnson in April will require a huge contribution from the built environment, which is responsible for more than 40% of total UK emissions. Heating buildings alone contributes 31%, according to government estimates. New and emerging technologies will be essential, but so will a new look workforce populated by socalled ‘green collar’ professionals. The campaign group Green New Deal UK believes that the 813,000 jobs lost during the pandemic could be offset by a growth in these new green collar posts. Its analysis suggests that the nation can deliver a net job gain of around 240,000 over a two-year period and 720,000 over the next 10 years. In our sector, the CITB estimates we will need 350,000 new recruits to work on improving the fabric performance of buildings by 2028

and the Heat Pump Association estimates another 70,000 engineers will be needed to deliver the target 600,000 annual installations by 2030. The latter is a good example of the kind of skills challenge we face because it is a ‘hybrid’ technology that involves both heating and air conditioning techniques. While a politician might think it relatively straightforward to simply ask thousands of boiler installers to switch over to heat pumps, we know different. The combination of skills needed, and the very different concept of low temperature heating will require a radical new approach for many ‘traditional’ heating contractors. It also goes hand in glove with the building fabric work because good insulation is essential for heat pumps to deliver their best performance. That calls for a joined-up approach and a wider understanding of the design issues involved. The BESA Academy has taken that thinking on board, which is why its heat pump course takes the operative all the way from design, installation and commissioning through maintenance and lifecycle. Regarding the heat pump as part of a complete system – not a standalone unit – is the key to delivering long-term

BESA President Neil Brackenridge

success. There’s considerable urgency because the 2025 deadline for the abolition of boilers in new builds is coming up fast – and we are well short of the numbers of skilled installers we need. The new Lifetime Skills Guarantee launched by the government to improve access to education and training should also help this skills revamp. It offers any adult, regardless of age or work situation, access to a flexible loan for higherlevel education and training at university or college. More flexible apprenticeships will also open up new opportunities. For BESA members this is a great opportunity to upskill and adapt our workforces; take advantage of a new employment model and the funding support to gear up for the ‘net zero’ challenge. Exciting times ahead. Visit the BESA Academy for lots more on this topic: n



Massive market for damper testing There could be as many as 100 million fire and smoke dampers installed in UK buildings and each one should be tested at least annually, but BESA believes only a tiny proportion are meeting regulatory requirements. Helping owners meet their regulatory responsibilities could create a market worth over £500m a year. Protecting a building’s fire integrity has never been more high profile and the national press is full of alarming stories about the risks faced by building occupants, but the full extent of the problem is still largely hidden. Every time an electrician drills a hole in a wall to run a cable via the shortest route from A to B, they could be breaching a fire wall and, therefore, undermining the fire and smoke compartmentalisation strategy. Fire and smoke dampers are crucial contributors to fire integrity but are often ignored. However, with the new Fire Safety Act strengthening existing regulations, BESA believes we have a once in a generation opportunity to get this aspect of fire safety firmly entrenched as a routine maintenance activity. According to the most recent market figures produced by BSRIA, there are approximately 146,000 mechanical curtain dampers and 70,000 motorised dampers installed every year. These are for new builds and replacements, which account for just 1% of the annual market, suggesting that the total number of dampers already installed in UK buildings could be as high as 100 million.


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If every damper that needed to be checked was tested and maintained in line with the legislation, the market would be worth at least £500 million a year.

SCALE UP The kitchen grease extract cleaning sector was just as ‘out of sight out of mind’ as dampers a decade ago. The specialist industry had to scale up rapidly and improve training and competence after several high

profile and very expensive fires flagged up the risks to owners and their insurers. BESA’s Ventilation Hygiene Elite (VHE) scheme played a key role in promoting and setting standards for best practice in that area so that extract cleaning is now established as a critical maintenance task. Before that asbestos that was the hidden threat inside buildings, but today most building owners can point to their asbestos register if challenged. The insurance industry is now taking a similar interest in dampers, which provide a first line of defence in stopping the spread of smoke and fire through ventilation systems.

IF EVERY DAMPER THAT NEEDED TO BE CHECKED WAS TESTED AND MAINTAINED IN LINE WITH THE LEGISLATION, THE MARKET WOULD BE WORTH AT LEAST £500 MILLION A YEAR” BESA has responded by updating its technical guidance for Fire and Smoke Damper Maintenance (VH001) which it is making freely available to support the industry’s efforts to improve the overall safety of buildings. This guidance builds on the Association’s industry standard for ventilation safety and maintenance TR19® and will shortly be incorporated into DW145 which is the industry standard for the installation of dampers. It is also in line with the Hackitt Review and the newly enacted Fire Safety Act that continue to raise awareness. As a result, more building managers are now sub-contracting this aspect of fire compartmentalisation to BESA members. As with any growing market, there are many untrained, uncertified firms seeking to cash in, but they are not technically capable of providing the comprehensive service required to keep people and properties safe. It is important that building owners understand that and recognise they have

a legal responsibility to have their systems properly checked. VH001 was produced in response to urgent calls for a methodology that could help the building services industry comply with the British Standard (BS9999) for fire safety in the design, management and use of buildings. It also supports the healthcare sector’s technical documents HTM 03-01 for heating and ventilation and HTM 05-02 for fire safety in healthcare premises. BS9999 requires all installed dampers to be tested by a competent person and at regular intervals “not exceeding one year”. It also states that springoperated dampers should be tested annually with those installed in dustladen atmospheres checked even more regularly. BESA’s guidance explains how dampers should be located – in line with the responsibilities of the system designer and as part of a building’s fire strategy – and accessed for testing along with the levels of competence required to carry out this work. It states that an inventory of all dampers should be created and that every manually resettable damper must be individually released to ensure the spring-loaded shutter remains operational. All of which needs to be backed up with photographic evidence showing the condition of each damper before, during and after inspection and testing. Without that evidence, the process is not compliant.

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN The BESA document also sets out a comprehensive plan for providing reports to clients and any findings that need action including damaged and missing dampers. It also highlights key elements needed to put a planned maintenance regime in place for fire and smoke dampers linked to the Association’s digital maintenance tool SFG20. This is helping to address a huge and potentially damaging impression that it is possible to reduce the frequency of damper testing to as little as every five years by carrying out risk-based assessments. This is simply wrong and dangerous but has even become quite common practice in hospitals and other healthcare facilities with obvious implications for safety. BESA’s guidance explains that one of the most important aspects of fire and smoke damper testing is pinpointing those dampers that cannot be tested – often because they cannot be found or easily reached. If you cannot test something, you must propose remedial work such as installing access panels or builders’ hatches. It is no longer acceptable – or compliant – to put in your report that a damper simply could not be tested. Download your free copy of VH001 here n



We need to be ‘ambitious’ when setting air quality targets A group of international experts have compared the current indoor air quality (IAQ) situation to the deadly contaminated water supplies of the early Victorian era. In an article for the journal Science, the group of 40 leading academics, scientists and engineers said the UK’s lack of air hygiene regulations was in stark contrast with the strict public health controls imposed on food, sanitation and drinking water. They blamed the way buildings are designed, operated, and maintained for helping to spread disease, including Covid-19, and called for a “paradigm shift” in ventilation similar to the changes brought about almost 200 years ago in water sanitation. An air quality certification system for public buildings, like the one used by the food industry, should be introduced, the group argued. They estimated that installing ventilation and filtration systems able to remove airborne pathogens would add just 1% to the construction costs of a typical building. The Science paper’s lead author Professor Lidia Morawska from Queensland University of Technology in Australia, said: “For


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decades, the focus of architects and building engineers was on thermal comfort, odour control, perceived air quality, initial investment cost, energy use, and other performance issues, while infection control was neglected.”

inside a building plays in the way germs and viruses may spread between people. The pandemic has exposed that deficiency in our understanding and the way we seek to make buildings safer to use,” she said.


BESA’s Health & Wellbeing in Buildings group has been working hard to promote the importance of mechanical ventilation, filtration and air cleaning. Its members have welcomed the news that the British Standards Institute (BSI) decided to fast track the creation of the new Standard BS 40101 for Building Performance Evaluation saying this would give added weight to IAQ measures.

The heightened interest in this area prompted by the pandemic has created an historic opportunity to properly address all aspects of IAQ for the first time. BESA is lobbying the UK government to put its weight behind a series of initiatives including a proposed new British Standard and revisions to building regulations that could make all the difference. Cath Noakes, Professor of Environmental Engineering for Buildings at the University of Leeds, and a member of the government’s SAGE advisory group said that improving building ventilation to reduce exposure to airborne pathogens would bring other benefits beyond transmission control, including improved productivity and wellbeing. “Over the years, we have neglected the role that the air circulating

“The pandemic has pointed the spotlight at ventilation, and we must not miss this opportunity to address, once and for all, the long-term problems caused by poor IAQ in thousands of buildings up and down the country,” said the Association’s head of technical Graeme Fox. “The new Standard and the current review of Part F of the Building Regulations are big platforms on which to build better standards of

“SOME DOMESTIC VENTILATION SYSTEMS ARE CONTRIBUTING TO THE HEALTH AND WELLBEING PROBLEMS BECAUSE THEY ARE POORLY DESIGNED, INSTALLED AND MAINTAINED.” BESA was supporting work on a Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 3003, which was led by engineering firm EFT Consult. It is this work that is being accelerated by the BSI to include the latest knowledge on IAQ alongside efficient and suitable lighting, heating, ventilation in the new Standard.

ventilation and air filtration. However, it is crucial that we set ambitious targets to control the full range of airborne contaminants that affect health and wellbeing,” said Fox. “We must also make sure we are in line with the latest worldwide thinking including updated World Health Organisation (WHO) guidance because whatever standards we agree now will be applied for many years to come.” The WHO has announced that it will shortly be updating its air quality guidance and the European Union is also expected to set tougher targets shortly. BESA added that any measures proposed should be relevant to conditions inside buildings – as opposed to simply reflecting targets for controlling outdoor pollution. “Our members repeatedly encounter the serious problems caused by poor IAQ and have good practical experience of what it takes to fix it. We have a duty to turn buildings into ‘safe havens’ that use good engineering methods to protect people from all airborne contaminants so they can enjoy better health and wellbeing,” said Fox.

It may also provide benchmarks for a proposed Wellbeing Performance Rating that could be used to restore public confidence in returning to commercial and public buildings after the pandemic.

PRESSURE Members have also alerted the Association to a serious problem in homes. Some domestic ventilation systems are contributing to the health and wellbeing problems because they are poorly designed, installed and maintained. This threatens to pile further cost and pressure on healthcare services and curtail people’s quality of life.

systems, but often it is the installation that is wrong with flexible ducting being squeezed into inappropriate spaces,” said Booth, who is a member of BESA’s Health & Wellbeing in Buildings committee. “The Covid crisis has raised awareness of IAQ and demonstrated that well designed, installed and operated ventilation systems can tackle both internally and externally generated contaminants. This will be key to delivering bio-security in buildings as we seek to emerge from lockdown,” he said. This once again flags up the importance of ensuring the people who install and commission building services are properly trained and can provide evidence of their competence to carry out specific technical tasks. For more information about the BESA Health & Wellbeing in Buildings group email: n

Air quality specialist Craig Booth told a recent BESA webinar that the country was creating “a new type of slum” defined by appalling indoor conditions. “We are seeing some terrible installations in homes and need to do much better,” he said, referring to the misuse of mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR), in particular. “Manufacturers are getting the blame for noisy and ineffective


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F-Gas review is reminder of need to update skills The European F-Gas Regulation, which continues to be ‘mirrored’ by the UK industry, is currently being reviewed and may end up producing some radical changes to current air conditioning and refrigeration practice.

Although these things are only proposals at the moment and the revised regulation is not due to be revealed until later this year, the UK’s main F-Gas register REFCOM says this is a timely reminder of why it is important for engineers to keep their training and knowledge up-to-date.

For example, the European Commission is considering a ban on the widely used refrigerant gas R410A in new stationary air conditioners and heat pumps leading to greater use of flammable R32 as the only viable alternative for some systems.

It says all engineers should be required to regularly refresh their practical skills to keep pace with changing technologies and refrigerants and criticised the complacency that allowed “evergreen” certification like City & Guilds 2079 to remain valid without a regular re-registration process to keep skills up to date.

The Commission is also reviewing arrangements for combating the illegal trade in HFCs and considering a certification scheme for those using HFOs and ‘natural’ alternative refrigerants. It may also decide to align the regulation with the Montreal Protocol, which could result in additional phase down steps in 2034 and 2036.

BARRIER “A shortage of skilled technicians is a barrier to the uptake of alternatives,” said BESA’s head of technical Graeme Fox. “We also need to raise awareness of the dangers posed by

untrained contractors working with flammable gases. “All A2Ls [the classification designating a flammable gas] are safe to handle if you know what you are doing, but too many don’t recognise the difference between working with a mildly flammable gas like R32 and R290 (propane) which is more explosive.” A spate of fatal accidents in Nigeria prompted local officials to ban refrigerant sales and shut down the industry’s service and maintenance operations. Initial reports suggest the explosions may have been caused by counterfeit or damaged cylinders, contaminated gas and/or human error and the state authorities have issued dire warnings to anyone who ignores the ban. Fox believes these incidents are probably “the tip of the iceberg” and called for a concerted response from the “worldwide refrigeration and air conditioning community”. It is a further warning against complacency here in the UK where there have been several near misses. BESA Academy is relaunching its F-Gas renewal process with the ACRIB Flammables course embedded within it to ensure everyone renewing their qualification is automatically subjected to testing that covers the new alternative gases. “This is all part of the ‘golden thread’ of competence that will be expected to run throughout the whole industry following the Hackitt Review and the appointment of the new building safety regulator,” said Fox. “The RAC sector will have to catch up with this because we expect policing of safety issues to be much stricter from now on.” n



Getting a fix on safety issues Contractors and design professionals must rethink their approach to supports and fixings to reduce the number of unsafe building services installations, according to BESA technical committee chair Will Pitt.

The new BESA Guide to Supports & Fixings for Building Services (TR50) covers all aspects of this crucial building safety issue and can be downloaded here.

Building Engineering Services Association Guide to Good Practice for:

Supports and Fixings TR 50

V1 April 2021

Supports and fixings are a vital but often overlooked element of M&E installations in buildings. Getting them wrong can have catastrophic consequences. Recent high-profile failures have highlighted the importance of ensuring these issues are properly considered at design, procurement, installation, and testing stages.

It aims to address the industry’s tendency to leave critical decisions to on-site teams as this undermines the safety of many installations; particularly as they are often working with incomplete information and rarely consult a structural engineer first. WWW.BESA.COM

The guide stresses that the weight of the services should be considered much earlier in most design processes, ideally at RIBA Stage 2, and that the details of brackets and other fixings should be included in installation drawings.

Mental health hits crisis point The economic recovery is concealing a growing mental health epidemic among construction SMEs, according to a new online survey carried out by pollsters YouGov for BESA and the ECA. Despite an upbeat forecast for growth across the UK economy this year and a rapid recovery for construction and its related sectors, firms are continuing to report serious conditions amongst workers, including panic attacks, insomnia, and depression. Employees in construction SMEs are more than twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts as people employed in other sectors. Displays of extreme anger


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This requires a completely new mindset for the industry that involves starting the dialogue with structural engineers and fixings manufacturers much earlier. There is particular concern about heavily serviced buildings with lightweight steel frames and the fact that wind loading is rarely considered early in enough in the design.

resulting from late payment are also 50% more likely in SME construction firms, than in businesses of a similar size in other industries, according to the survey. Construction is reporting its fastest rate of growth in almost seven years with house building and infrastructure work moving at record pace; and repair and refurbishment

The new BESA guide outlines the requirements of the relevant British Standard BS8539 (2012) and how to meet them alongside examples of good and bad practice. It explains how to test whether an installation will meet safety standards and highlights the need for this work to be carried out by competent engineers who can show proof of appropriate training. For more information about this and BESA’s many other technical guides for the building engineering sector go to: n

projects also picking up fast. Although most firms are optimistic about their short and mediumterm business prospects, many SMEs are also reporting rising levels of mental health problems among staff and management. Rather than improving the situation, the speed of the sector’s recovery seems to have added to the stress experienced by many construction SMEs and the perennial problem of late payment is the main culprit. The survey showed that extreme responses, such as suicidal thoughts, depression, and panic attacks, in construction SMEs are now 6% higher than in sectors experiencing a slower economic recovery. For guidance and support, visit our mental health hub here. n

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Healthcare sector is key focus for SFG20 One positive outcome of the Covid crisis has been the increased focus on improving ventilation of indoor spaces and the need to measure indoor air quality (IAQ). This is particularly important in healthcare facilities as SFG20’s Steve Tomkins explains. Ventilation has come blinking into the limelight because of the Covid-19 emergency. For so long a ‘Cinderella’ service, it is now a topic of urgent discussion. Building managers are facing detailed questions about how they are improving airflows to help dilute airborne viral loads. While this has long been a key preoccupation for the ‘behind the scenes’ facilities managers in healthcare properties, they have never had these discussions under such intense scrutiny before. There is also a renewed focus on relative humidity (RH) because of growing evidence that viruses thrive when the indoor air is drier. While these issues are concerning FMs in buildings up and down the country, their implications are markedly more important


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in healthcare settings where many of the occupants have supressed immunity. There is also greater recognition that building engineering professionals are key members of the wider healthcare team – and, therefore, greater significance should be given to them using all the planned maintenance tools at their disposal. The importance of turning buildings into ‘safe havens’ that protect vulnerable occupants – particularly those suffering from respiratory illnesses – from rising air pollution outside and other airborne threats to their health and wellbeing that thrive indoors is also a key issue at government level.

THREATS Professor Cath Noakes from the University of Leeds is a ventilation specialist and one of only two engineer members of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) told a BESA webinar that

there was still much to learn about how ventilation can protect building occupants from viruses and other airborne threats, but that settling on a ventilation strategy was not straightforward. “This is a very complex issue, and it will take years to build up the amount of data needed to make sure we can do this better. However, as a rule of thumb we should aim for [air change rates of] 10 litres per second (l/s) per person and CO2 concentrations below 800 parts per million.” Noakes confirmed that studies had shown the risk was higher indoors when ventilation provided less than 3 l/s per person and that household transmission was a particular concern. She also explained that the virus thrived in cool, dry, and dark conditions – making RH control a priority.

“WE KNOW VENTILATION MATTERS AND WILL BE CRITICAL FOR HEALTH AND WELLBEING BEYOND COVID SO WE MUST GET THIS RIGHT.” However, this does not just mean turn up the ventilation and let it rip, but it does support the case for investing in some form of controlled mechanical system and maintaining it properly. “We know ventilation matters and will be critical for health and wellbeing (including mental health) beyond Covid so we must get this right,” Noakes told the BESA webinar. “We can say we have not seen any evidence of high transmission in well-ventilated spaces – so if we are designing and delivering to the standards set in current building standards that will help, but we may need to go beyond that.” However, she pointed out that many buildings were not even achieving current standards and many “had no proper ventilation at all”. She also expressed particular concern about ‘naturally’ ventilated spaces because they are dependent on wind direction and temperature so cannot guarantee the target air change rates. Of course, hospital managers have been keenly aware of the risk of possible cross infection caused by airborne contamination for many years. There is now, however, even more of a need to focus on the frequency of air filter maintenance and replacement to improve the effectiveness of systems along with regular ductwork cleaning to reduce the build-up of particulate matter and biological contaminants. More information is also emerging about how air conditioning systems hold in suspension the water droplets that transport the Covid virus. Therefore, SAGE is advising against using air conditioning in places with low levels of ventilation. The improved

hand washing and surface hygiene regimes introduced by many healthcare premises along with air cleaning are also not reasons to ventilate less. Engineering controls should sit above measures that rely on human behaviour such as distancing and wearing face coverings in any “hierarchy of risk control”, according to Noakes. She also recommends that building managers address source control before studying ventilation requirements. This approach would not necessarily lead to increasing ventilation rates, but a more targeted strategy to ensure refreshed air was reaching all parts of the occupied space – and particularly patient recovery areas.

HUMIDITY CONTROL Measuring concentrations of CO2 is a relatively straightforward way to establish whether a ventilation strategy is working as it will act as a “canary in a cage” for other contaminants. The question of humidity control remains a challenge for FMs, but it is one they must confront to ensure buildings are properly equipped to deal with all future threats to health and wellbeing. Dr Stephanie Taylor from Harvard Medical School told a BESA meeting that managing the

indoor environment was “the best medicine for treatment and prevention”. She said that numerous studies had identified an RH ‘sweet spot’ between 40% and 60%. Air that is too dry will allow viruses to thrive and be more active, she explained. “If humidity is maintained between 40% and 60%, the droplets shrink to a point where the concentration of salts in those droplets inactivates microbes.” However, if RH is less than 40%, those droplets shrink even further and the salts preserve the microbes, making them more virulent. “One study at a preschool showed that humidification decreased flu infections. In fact, it showed that dry air causes infections,” said Taylor. Covid-19 is not the only illness that thrives in our modern air-tight and heated environment. There are also increases in inflammatory disorders, auto-immune disease, and allergies. Maintaining building engineering services in a planned and strategic way will increasingly come to be seen as a key aspect of transmission control in healthcare facilities. Steve Tomkins is head of business development for SFG20. n



TRS and Skanska apply positive pressure to Covid challenge Dartford-based BESA member TRS completed a complex project to make the Accident & Emergency rooms at one of London’s most famous hospitals Covid-secure. The Royal London is a large teaching hospital in Whitechapel and is part of the Barts NHS Health Trust. The works were specified by the trust’s FM provider Skanska Facilities Services and the objective was to ensure nursing staff could work in the same areas as Covid-19 patients whilst reducing the possibility of transmission of the disease. This involved constructing lobbies within the existing treatment rooms that were maintained at a positive air pressure while the treatment rooms remained at atmospheric pressure to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. The lobbies had to be built with additional hand wash stations for staff and vision panels so patients could be kept under observation from the safe staff area. It also required a new communication system from the safe area to the treatment rooms to reduce the movement of staff between the two areas. As well as saving time, this also reduces the amount of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needed. The dividing walls were built with standard construction materials together with hygiene cladding, with wash stations, basins and taps installed in accordance with HTM design standards. The flooring required minor repairs and on completion the areas were decorated to match the existing finishes. In order to maintain the fire integrity of the areas, TRS reconfigured the existing sprinkler system and added more smoke detection.


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LAYOUT The lighting and small power installation was modified to accommodate the new layout, with additional lighting in the lobbies. The ductwork was reconfigured to maintain positive pressure in the lobby areas. Pressure relief dampers were specified by a TRS appointed consultant and were installed with a visual and audible electronic monitoring system. This allows healthcare staff to monitor the lobbies and ensure they remain safe. The original plan was to carry out the whole project in a single phase, but due to a rise in the rate of infections the work was split into three phases to reduce the impact on the operational A&E areas. Constant collaboration between TRS, Skanska

and the NHS trust was the key to delivering these vital and sensitive works with minimum impact on the ongoing operation of the A&E department of one of the largest hospitals in London. Michael Jemmott, senior engineering manager at Skanska Facilities Services, praised the TRS team for their efforts and professionalism. “Special thanks must go to site project manager Iain Bint for a mix of client liaison and controlling the works on a day-to-day basis,” he said. “The works were managed to a very high standard. TRS fully understood our requirements and delivered the complete works on time and on budget.” He added that the workforce were “some of the highest quality craftsmen I have seen in a long time”. TRS operations director John Kilgannon said the company was proud to have been part of such an important partnership with Skanska that contributed to the safe, ongoing operation of the hospital at the height of the Covid crisis. “I think this is a great example of how our industry can rise to a challenge and provide vital services to support our fantastic NHS,” he said. “We don’t shout about our successes enough and engineers are not great at accepting praise, but on this occasion, it is important to explain the role building engineering services plays in critical frontline healthcare.” n

Aspen keen to share its knowledge The Aspen Pump Knowledge Hub is a regularly updated source of industry expertise and technical information, which the BESA affiliate company is keen to share with fellow members. Aspen’s Hub takes a deep dive into a wide range of engineering challenges and some of the social and economic issues that are influencing the development of the building services market. For example, one section talks about the fact that global temperature rises are pushing up demand for air conditioning and looks at the implications this has for specifications now that ac units are

accepted as a necessity rather than a luxury. Aspen explains that 55% of the world’s population live in urban areas and that this is expected to rise to 68% by the year 2050, according to figures from the UN. Globally, more than four billion people live in cities and this continued urbanisation has seen a rise in installations of split systems, in both commercial and residential settings. Mini splits now take up over half of the HVAC market sales revenue – a market which is expected to be worth over $310 billion by 2026.

becoming clogged with a build-up of debris and what to do about it, whilst another looks at the use of condensate removal pumps for more flexibility when siting units. There is much more to be found on the Aspen Knowledge Hub, which is open to all at: knowledge-hub n

Other sections of the Hub, look at the issue of complex pipe runs

Congratulations to our newest members... Taranis Engineering Ltd Aircon Scotland

Maximum Climate Control Ltd

Dragon Heating and Cooling Services Ltd


DEBA UK Ltd Picow Electrical Engineering Ltd

Pitkin & Ruddock Ltd

DMA Maintenance Ltd

GFA Gastech Ltd

Richards Ventilation Services Ltd

We would like to congratulate our new members on passing their audit and becoming BESA CAS Accredited – demonstrating their business’s commitment to high standards of technical and commercial competency.



BESA Conference 2021 set to focus on technical challenges Structured around an overall theme of ‘Building Back Better, Safer, Greener’ the event will have a strong focus on the detailed technical elements of rebuilding from the pandemic, delivering the requirements of new building safety legislation, modernising the sector’s workforce, and pushing on towards a net zero emissions future. Mitsubishi Electric will be headline sponsor and the Conference will be opened by TV personality and architect George Clarke. He is best known for the Channel 4 programmes The Home Show, The Restoration Man and George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces. Clarke will give an opening keynote and discuss a range of industry topics with BESA chief executive David Frise and delegates. “The building engineering sector is in a fascinating place right now,” said Clarke. “There is huge demand for specialist services that can deliver healthier, safer and more comfortable indoor spaces. The pandemic has thrust this industry into the public eye as people have become much more conscious of the role buildings play in their health and wellbeing. “I am really looking forward to sharing my thoughts and ideas with BESA, its members and the conference delegates. I am also hoping to gain


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This year’s BESA National Conference will take place on November 3 and 4 and will once again be a ’virtual’ event.


greater insight myself into some of the exciting technologies and new working practices that will transform building engineering in the coming years as we all take on the massive net zero challenge.”

CHALLENGES The Association said it intended to use the two-day event to run a series of specialised technical sessions that would dig into the details of the main challenges confronting the building services sector.

“We are delighted to be the headline sponsor for this prestigious and ambitious event,” said Rachel Lekman, marketing manager at Mitsubishi Electric. “We have built up a very productive partnership with BESA in recent years and have already collaborated on a number of important projects not least the widely acclaimed ‘Beginners’ Guide to Indoor Air Quality’ and the rapidly developing BESA Academy. “The focus of the Conference on technical competence and compliance to ensure healthier and more efficient buildings is exactly in tune with our own priorities for this year and beyond; and we are excited to see the development of such a wideranging but in-depth programme.” KEY TOPICS TO BE COVERED AT THE BESA NATIONAL CONFERENCE 2021 WILL INCLUDE: • Ventilation solutions for healthier and more productive buildings • Fire and smoke safety • Heat pumps, alternative refrigerants, and other opportunities • Giving young engineers the tools to succeed • Getting back to the fundamentals of energy efficiency • Repair not replace to tackle embodied carbon • Decarbonising heat

George Clarke will open the 2021 BESA National Conference

This list will grow as the year progresses, but in the meantime look out for further updates at: n


202 1


Building Back Better, Safer, Greener


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Workloads soaring but inflation a real threat The industry is bouncing back impressively, but the pressure on material supplies is pushing up prices making inflation and shortages two big clouds on our collective horizon. Despite the CBI reporting the UK’s fastest economic growth spurt since August 2015, rising costs of labour and materials stand out as major concerns from the latest BESA State of Trade survey. Construction market analysts Glenigan also recorded an 18% increase in project starts during the three months to April and 39% rise in the value of main contract awards. It added that the industry was still behind its prepandemic levels, but the signs for the rest of the year were encouraging and the development pipeline was ahead of where it was in 2019. Retail projects starting on-site during the three months to May 2021 were up by 71% in comparison to last year. Public housing repair, maintenance and improvement are all set to rise by 15% in 2021 and the private housing boom is expected to continue well into next year.

Infrastructure was least affected by the initial lockdown, and is set to motor ahead by 29%, reaching its highest level on record. It is being driven by activity on major projects such as HS2, as well as long-term frameworks in water, roads, electricity and broadband. However, the speed of growth is pushing up prices with Travis Perkins, for example, warning its customers to prepare for a 15% rise in the cost of cement and 10% in chipboard. Steel, copper, and timber costs are also spiralling. Some SMEs are also concerned about their cash flow judging from the results of the BESA survey. Almost a quarter of businesses said they took on fewer apprentices in the second quarter of this year; and 34% of respondents added that they would need less agency and sub-contracted labour during the current quarter. Nearly eight in ten (78%) said labour costs would remain stable or rise, with just 20% anticipating a fall. More than one in five expected to employ less direct labour in Q2 compared to the previous three months.

Noble Francis, economics director at the Construction Products Association, told BESA members that, while the outlook was largely positive, the recovery in commercial – the third-largest construction sector – would be muted given a lack of major investment in new projects, particularly in Central London. “Questions remain over future demand for commercial space, particularly in offices and retail, which may be converted into residential or warehousing and logistics, if homeworking and online spending persist in the long-term,” he said. The CPA has also downgraded its growth forecasts slightly because of the impact of supply constraints and uncertainty around demand for housing new builds and commercial space. However, most commentators believe the shortages will only last a few months and projects should start to speed up again in the autumn. BESA members can access free industry forecasts and analysis from their members’ area here. n



SPEED OF RECOVERY PUTTING PRESSURE ON JOBS MARKET If we don’t do something dramatic about upskilling over the next three to five years, we will simply not have a workforce capable of taking on the work created by the economic recovery, according to BESA’s director of training and skills Helen Yeulet. As the economic recovery gathers pace, companies are recruiting again, but the pattern of that recruitment has changed radically. At a recent BESA webinar, Neil Carberry, chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), said employers were much more willing to hire compared with a year ago Despite the impact of the worst recession in 200 years, the Bank of England is forecasting peak unemployment at around 6.5% which is lower than after the crash of 2008/9. The REC believes the picture is even better than that and is reporting levels of vacancies similar to pretty much any year.


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“However, the challenge for employers is not so much about unemployment but about transitioning people into the areas where there is demand,” he said. “For example, retail will never get back to where it was and it was already shrinking before the pandemic, but areas like engineering and construction are recovering strongly. We need to find a way of transitioning people into those areas where there is an acute skills shortage,” he added. However, the mass retirement of the ‘baby boomer’ generation will shrink the pool of skilled and experienced people by as much as 50% during this decade. Not only do we need to plug that gap, we need to plug it with people who bring different skills to our industry – and with others willing to add new skills to traditional ones. Richard Snarey, executive director PRS Recruitment, a BESA Affiliate, also told the BESA webinar there was an acute shortage of blue collar trades people, but that had been the case for at least 20 years.

This means employers need to reach communities where they have not traditionally hired and make use of recruitment marketing to broaden their appeal. He said young people, in particular, were looking for a career where they could make a mark on the world and building engineering was a good option – it just needs to sell itself better. He has been working with BESA to develop a new jobs board where employers can post their vacancies free of charge for the first six months. There are already more than 3,000 vacancies listed on this newly launched platform, which will consolidate all the relevant jobs in the sector in one online space. It will also provide a two-way online chat service between candidates and employers to speed up the recruitment process. The BESA Jobs Board is part of a wider strategy for improving access to careers in building engineering and for attracting a new generation of skilled workers, according to Snarey. “It is important to articulate what you as an industry and as businesses are trying to achieve. What are we enabling and how are we making a difference? That helps you appeal to that broader demographic,” he said. n

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DON’T LET THE HARDENING MARKET RESTRICT YOUR BUSINESS Over recent years, a combination of factors has impacted the insurance industry: natural disaster losses, the Grenfell tragedy, low investment returns, lowinterest rates and of course, the COVID-19 pandemic. Loss-making insurers have withdrawn from the market, leaving remaining providers to adopt stricter attitudes to risk, offer more restrictive cover, apply stringent underwriting criteria and increased premium costs. This ‘hard’ market can make it exceptionally difficult for a construction business to find Professional Indemnity (PI) insurance cover at an affordable rate. PI insurance protects your business against claims that may occur due to professional errors or omissions concerning a product or service you have provided. It can protect you from financial loss or reputational damage, breach of contract and financial loss through negligence or giving incorrect professional advice. PI will also cover legal costs incurred in your defence and damages or costs awarded against you. Almost all contracts will require you to have PI insurance and maintain it for a certain length of time, and you must have PI in place as a BESA/ REFCOM member. However, a survey carried out by the Construction Leadership Council1 identified significant cost increases, and the introduction of new restrictions on PI insurance are preventing companies from taking on projects and could delay essential work on building safety. So, when arranging PI, it’s essential to seek professional advice from a specialist insurer who understands


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your business and the risks it faces. By shopping around on the open market, you may find cheaper premiums, but the policy may not include the specific cover you need to protect your business. Standard PI policies typically exclude any claims relating to an incorrect design, build, maintenance work, or installation.


START EARLY Begin your renewal process early, ensuring you have a clear understanding of what you need; don’t forget to have contingency plans in place. Insurers need more time than ever to review the information, and they’re likely to ask more questions, so be prepared.

ELIMINATE UNWANTED SURPRISES Arrange a mid-year review with your broker; they may pick up on something – perhaps a new risk to your business – that requires time, consideration and detail to support it.

COLLABORATE Always work with a broker who understands your business, is wellresourced to spend the additional time that renewals are taking, and can leverage the insurance market.

CONSIDER YOUR OPTIONS Not all insurers or underwriters behave in the same way. Work with insurance partners who understand your risk profile and work in partnership to arrange the best terms for your business.

WHAT’S YOUR MOTIVATION? Be clear on your priorities as a

business - is it price, cover, or service? Are you loyal to a specific insurer?

FLEXIBILITY Your broker should ask you about new structures and programme designs and communicate all available options to secure your renewal.

HIGHLIGHT YOUR ACCREDITATIONS AND PROOF OF COMPETENCIES Make sure you draw attention to your BESA, REFCOM, VHE and any other accreditations. This helps reassure insurers you are a risk worth underwriting.

RISK MANAGEMENT Have in place rigorous risk management policies, processes, and procedures such as H&S, RAMS, PPE recording, usage of operation and maintenance manuals etc. Implementing activities like AutoCAD drawing production or BIM integration demonstrates an increase in concern for work quality.

GET AN INSURANCE HEALTH CHECK Reviewing your cover could help identify savings, ensure your business is fully protected and that you’re not paying for cover you don’t need.

QUALITY PRESENTATION This is essential and starts with an abundance of relevant, current and correct information. Often a broker may only request a proposal form. While this will always be necessary, providing supplementary information can be highly beneficial when arranging PI. The more reassured an underwriter feels, the more likely they will be to release favourable terms. So by giving a few pieces of additional

information, you can obtain a more comprehensive suite of quotations with broader cover at much more competitive rates. An example of a quality presentation would be: • A completed proposal form detailing five years of financial history, the five largest contracts worked on within that period, and a complete split of locations worked. • CVs belonging to directors and technical staff, detailing their professional qualifications, experience and CPD. • A copy of the standard terms and conditions and how frequently you use your own compared to third party terms. If your standard contracts contain any limits of liability or consequential loss exclusions, you’ll need to confirm these details. n

As a BESA member, you can acess competitively priced, high quality business insurance cover from BESA Business Insurance Services (BBIS) thanks to our partnership with Marsh Commercial – part of Marsh, a global leader in insurance broking and innovative risk management solutions. The specialist team at BBIS will review your business’s needs and arrange quality cover at a price that is right for you. To discuss your PI requirements, get help finding the cover you need, or just to find out more about the support available, contact us for a no-obligation discussion. Email or call us on 0333 2413533.

BESA is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Jelf Insurance Brokers Ltd. BESA Business Insurance Services and Marsh Commercial are trading names 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, please see www.marshcommercial. Registered in England and Wales number 0837227. Registered Office: 1 Tower Place West, London EC3R 5BU.

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Consistently hitting deadlines for our clients has kept us a valued part of supply chains for more than 35 years. Ensuring projects stay on track even with tight deadlines never compromises our quality as we know system safety is paramount. That’s why IEP is a market leader in DW154 plastic ductwork fabrication and supply. • A BESA-audited leading edge production facility, fabricating plastic ductwork to DW154 using PVC, PVC/GRP, PPs and FBPP/GRP • A nationwide distribution service and extensive stocks of vent pipe and fittings, sheet and rod



Only by working together can we meet the scale of the Net Zero challenge On 24 June, the Committee on Climate Change delivered its annual assessment of the UK’s progress towards achieving Net Zero by 2050. For the UK to meet this goal, the CCC estimates spending on decarbonisation will need to average out at around £50bn per year, climbing from £40bn a year in 2025. It is envisaged that most of this spending will be private investment, unlocked by a clear Governmentbacked trajectory, guiding regulations and aligned public funding incentives and energy taxes. We know that the Government’s focus on delivering Net Zero is centred on improving energy efficiency and decarbonising heating in people’s homes and workplaces. In its Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, the Government committed to scalingup the electric heat pump market. The Government will aim to grow


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heat pump installations from 30,000 per year to 600,000 per year by 2028, creating a market led incentive framework to drive growth.

towards 2050. As part of this, it is about making sure that consumers are empowered and enabled to make the best choice for them.

While the Government is strong on its Net Zero rhetoric, the CCC is clear that we now need the details of how this is to be achieved, where the money will be spent and embed it, so the delivery matches the language. Another factor slowing progress has been that different technologies are routinely pitted against each other in the media and by different groups.

Crucially, over the new few months, the UK Government will outline in more detail how it intends to achieve its ambition of Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050. This will manifest itself primarily through a range of policy documents including the Treasury’s Net Zero Review, the Heat and Buildings Strategy and the Transport Decarbonisation Strategy.

Yet the CCC’s roadmap is clear about the mix of technologies that will need to be deployed; from hydrogen to heat pumps and electric vehicles to heat buildings and power vehicles, industrial decarbonisation through electrification and biofuels. The reality is that the scale of the challenge means that many different types of technologies and fuels will have a role to play, from which we can learn and refine as we move

All those backing Net Zero must focus on what the CCC has said is needed: £50bn of investment every single year up to 2050, targeted across a range of technologies to extinguish the UK’s current emissions. Success depends on backing the mixed approach set out by the CCC, coalescing around an overall strategy and providing clarity about how each strand can contribute to this herculean task. n





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Aquarea T-CAP Mono-bloc is the ideal space-saving solution for any home as the unit does not require a separate hydrokit inside. Additionally, all refrigerant is sealed in the outdoor unit, leaving only water pipes needed inside the property.

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The sad tale of the builder and the homeowner In June 2021, the High Court handed down judgment in Cartwright Pond Ltd v Ms Louise Wild [2021] EWHC 1600 (TCC). This related to works carried out by the builder, Cartwright Pond, at Ms Wild’s own property. This case raised various legal issues including (i) what were the terms of the contract; (ii) was the employer entitled to liquidated damages or was time at large and (iii) who was in repudiatory breach of contract and who accepted whose repudiatory breach? Ms Wild engaged an architect to produce a specification and plans which envisaged that the contract would be the RIBA Domestic Building Contract 2014 but did not identify the relevant contract documents or the start/completion date. The builder was instructed and work commenced in July 2018. No formal contract was produced and the architect was not appointed as contract administrator. The construction programme was 14 weeks and liquidated damages were £50 per day. The works were delayed with each party blaming the other. In February 2019, Ms Wild said she accepted the builder’s repudiatory breach of its obligation to complete


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the works within a reasonable time and claimed for losses and the cost of remedying defective works. Repudiation is where one party acts in a way that shows they do not mean to accept the obligations of a contract any further and entitles the other party to ‘accept’ that repudiation and treat the contract as at an end. Repudiation is tricky because the party ‘accepting’ the repudiation can get it wrong and become the party in repudiatory breach. The builder said it was not in repudiatory breach and was willing to complete the works but Ms Wild refused access to allow the works to continue, with the builder having treated this as repudiatory. The builder claimed the balance of the contract price including variations, and loss of profit on the remaining works. The judge decided as follows in relation to the following 3 issues: (i) Terms of the contract That the RIBA form was not incorporated. The contract worked instead as a ‘simple contract’ incorporating the tender and other relevant documents. (ii) Liquidated damages (LDs), or was time at large? There was no contractual mechanism for extending time and so in the event of delay there was an obligation to complete within a reasonable time

and the judge decided the builder was responsible for six weeks’ delay. Despite the inclusion of LDs at £50 per day, in the absence of any provisions relating to extensions of time, time became “at large”, meaning LDs could not be claimed. Instead, Ms Wild was only entitled to general damages in respect of the delay which were assessed at £10 per day. (iii) Termination Whilst the builder had caused some delay, the defects were not so serious as to show the builder could not or would not finish the works. Ms Wild’s failure to confirm that the builder could continue the works amounted to a repudiatory breach which the builder was entitled to accept

COMMENT This case highlights the pitfalls of failing to agree a written contract before commencing work. Parties should finalise the terms of any contract, ensuring that all contract documents are appropriately incorporated and that there are effective contractual provisions to assess extensions of time. This also demonstrates the importance of instructing professionals to assist in preparing contracts and managing a project particularly where the employer is a lay-person. The judge considered that the issues encountered may have been resolved had a contract administrator been appointed. BESA members can access free legal and commercial guidance and support through their members’ area here. n



BESA Academy is the learning solution for building engineers. We provide a specialist range of training courses, assessments and CPD enabling you to develop your career. All our courses are flexible, can be completed at your own pace and accessed from your PC or laptop whilst at work, home or on the go.

Website: academy Email: academy@ Tel: 0800 917 8419

Start your learning journey with us today by registering with

BESA Heat Pump Installer Course In partnership with Worcester Bosch and the Home Builders Federation, we have developed a Heat Pump Installer course for plumbing, heating and F-Gas engineers looking to upskill. Complete the course online in less than five hours or face to face at one of the Worcester Bosch training centres. Visit to find out more.

BESA Health and Safety Environment Online Test In partnership with Mitsubishi Electric, we have developed an online Health and Safety Environment test. The test meets the H&S requirements for all Craft and Operative SKILLcards and is designed for those within the heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration occupations. The test is 100% online and takes less than two hours to complete. Save time and money spent on resits by booking the course and test. Book now

BESA F-Gas Renewal Course Our F-Gas Renewal course has been developed in partnership with Mitsubishi Electric. The course is aimed at refrigeration engineers who are either approaching the end of their five-year certification period for Cat 1 and Cat 2 F-Gas or want to ensure they are up to date with the latest mandatory F-Gas requirements. Renew your F-Gas qualification in less than 6 hours, with immediate assessment results and a downloadable certificate if passed. Renew here

Site Operating Procedures – A free online module featuring the latest COVID CLC guidance, keeping you to be up to date with the latest operating procedures onsite. Register here


Free online CPD

Understanding Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery for Commercial Applications Join this course with Ian Palmer, Head of UK Specification at Airflow to learn about the following;

• Why do we need ventilation? • Why is ventilation with MVHR an ideal solution?

• How does MVHR work? • Key drivers for MVHR • Legislation • Types of heat exchangers • Energy saving via different MVHR technologies

• Typical MVHR applications Register here

HVAC System Air Filtration for Clean Healthy Indoor Air Quality Air filtration is the best proven technology for the removal of hazardous airborne particles. Traffic air pollution particles in cities and Covid19 droplet aerosol virus particles inside buildings are of concern. This course gives practical measures that can be used as a strategy to deliver clean safe air inside buildings. HVAC system maintenance with use of PPE should be made in adherence to current safety guidance. Enhanced air filter efficiency and reduced running costs can be made using Low Energy Air Filters. Register here

On this course you will understand how the systems we use today can be managed to reduce or remove the risk of Legionellosis and associated bacteria. Register here

If you have course content you would like to provide or you’d be interested in developing a course together, then get in touch! Email

On this course you will learn:

• Why do systems corrode? • Think again regards to Precision Carbon Steel adoption

• Why poor pressurisation is often the cause of corrosion problems early warning system Register here

Air and Dirt Separation Join Flamco for this CIBSE accredited course on Air and Dirt Separation. On this course you will learn:

• Theory use and application of air and dirt separation equipment

Interested in working with BESA Academy?

Register for this CIBSE approved course, facilitated by Gordon Pringle of HASL on Monitor, React and Prevent Corrosion. Gordon is joined by Paul Ashby of Geberit and Rob Vissers of Resus.

• The no-brainer benefits of an

History of Legionella and Legionella Within Hot and Cold Water Systems Join Altecnic for an insight to the history of Legionella, Legionnaires Disease and managing the risk within water systems.

Monitor, React and Prevent Corrosion

• The principles of operation • Theory behind air release • Common symptoms of sealed system equipment containing too much air and dissolved air Register here

Compensation for Thermal Expansion This course highlights the need for flexibility analysis in pipe work systems. It shows how expansion and building movement solutions for specific problems in systems can be compensated and covers flexibility solutions for specific problems. Register here



Free online CPD

New Boilers on Old Systems – Hydraulic Separation

Euroclass A2 Vertical Façade Membranes

This 2-part CIBSE accredited course looks at system design in commercial heating applications.

In this course we look at UK Building standards for A2 vertical wall systems for membranes in high-rise buildings and high-risk buildings, Euro class A2 façade breather membranes in vertical rear-ventilated façades and applicable building types.

Learn about the difference between sealed and open vented heating systems and how to assess and choose the best method of separating the primary and secondary circuits.

• Part 1: Establish the existing system

• Part 2: Primary circuit design and connecting to the secondary circuit Register here

Also, what to look for and which certifications are essential, Euro class A2, B and E rated façade membranes and Euro class A2 membranes in re-cladding remediation of high-rise building façades.

Reducing Risk When Specifying Building and Industrial Services Pipework Join TATA for this course on reducing risk when specifying building and industrial services pipework. You’ll learn how to correctly specify project pipework, review application and installation case studies to identify best practice and discover more about new innovations such as BIM and the use of VR, which will have a positive impact on the industry. Register here

Register here

Website: academy Email: academy@

SCA Guide to Common Escape Routes This course shows why a guide was required for fire engineers based on fire data by improving the understanding of smoke control systems for the benefit of building residents. The types of products and their location when fitted into an apartment block and where and how these products link with various controls utilised in a building in support of fire fighters. It also clarifies the various BS/ EN standards that a smoke control system must follow for competence and compliance. Register here


Metal Air Bricks for Building Applications into External Walls In this CPD we gain an insight into the use of a metal air brick supply, exhaust and why a metal air brick was required for smoke control to Class A2 S1 do. We identify why building ADB should change and show the various test standards that a firebrick must achieve. It also includes practical layouts for a consultant and installer to consider when fitting an air brick. Register here

Tel: 0800 917 8419

Corrosion rate (µm/yr)

120 100

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80 60 20.12.19 06:03

20.01.20 03:06

20.02.20 00:09

20.03.20 21:12

21.04.20 18:03

21.05.20 15:06

21.06.20 12:09


Temperature (°C)

20 0 18.12.14 09:12

20.03.15 06:03 20.12.19 06:03

20.01.20 03:06

20.02.20 00:09

20.03.20 21:12

21.04.20 18:03

21.05.20 15:06

21.06.20 12:09

Pressure (bar)

20.12.19 06:03

20.01.20 03:06

20.02.20 00:09

20.03.20 21:12

21.04.20 18:03

21.05.20 15:06

21.06.20 12:09



Science and standards behind low temperature approach Lowering the temperature of heating systems will play an increasingly important role in making buildings more sustainable, according to BESA affiliate member Flamco. The company, which has just opened a carbon-neutral facility in Holland, shortlisted for the World’s Most Sustainable Buildings award and rated BREEAM ‘Outstanding’, wants to share its research into the science behind low-temperature heat networks with other BESA members. It has applied scientific principles and the need to comply with industry standards at the heart of its ‘Science and Standards’ message to contractors. It has launched a new selection tool (recently featured in one of BESA’s technical webinars) designed to simplify the process of selecting equipment and optimise heating system solutions. The Heat Network Guide CP1 (2020) puts greater focus on lower operating temperatures through better design, commissioning and


BESA Group Companies:

operation. It challenges designers, installers, commissioning teams, and manufacturers to find outcomes that address key consumer concerns, meet carbon commitments, and reduce energy consumption. Although 19% of Europe’s total energy consumption comes from renewables, supply form these sources can be irregular, which makes energy storage so important. That was the motivation behind Flamco developing its hybrid solution the LogoEco.

ENERGY STORAGE The LogoEco Hybrid FL combines a Heat Interface Unit (HIU) and a FlexTherm Eco, a compact thermal battery that can prepare Domestic Hot Water (DHW). It stores energy (from electrical or thermal sources) to make it available for instantaneous hot water generation. For example, peak DHW demand can be met using the HIU for first stage heating (network supply temperature of 40°C). Then, the Flextherm Eco can increase the DHW temperature to the desired flow temperature of 55°C.

This design can provide hydraulic separation of heating and hot water circuits in an apartment. The heat is stored in the battery, which can deliver hot water instantaneously on demand. Therefore, there is no need to size the network for peak hot water demand and, depending on the design of the central plant, there is scope for reducing the capacity of the central buffer vessels and the distribution network. The system meets the standards set by the BESA HIU test regime and Flamco is also playing an active part in BESA’s groups and its affiliate member network. Flamco is part of the Hydronic Flow Control division of Netherlands-based EURO 2.8bn Aalberts group. It has been involved in the development, production and sale of components for use in HVAC systems since the 1950s. In addition, the Group provides solutions for residential and commercial buildings and sustainable energy in more than 70 countries. It employs more than 16,000 people worldwide. Hydronic Flow Control has a strong presence in the UK following the merger of Flamco with European pipe and connection systems manufacturer Comap and the recent acquisition in April of water treatment specialist Sentinel. Flamco also supplies expansion vessels, pressurisation units, storage vessels, balancing valves, multilayer composite pipe systems, other HVAC system components, and plant room solutions. n


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BESA BITESIZE UPDATES REFCOM ELITE CELEBRATES 25 YEARS OF BEST PRACTICE IN REFRIGERANT MANAGEMENT REFCOM Elite, the voluntary F-Gas scheme for promoting best practice in refrigerant management, turns 25 years this month. Launched back in July strate the very best demon to ers 1996, it allows memb their competitors. of ahead step one practice and be To mark this momentous occasion, we will be hosting a celebration this September so REFCOM Elite members keep an eye out for your exclusive invite! We will be running competitions, giveaways and rewards over the coming months so watch this space.

New Industry Placement Card Changes to educational policy in the UK have seen an increased focus on vocational education. This includes the introduction of the Traineeship Skills Development Programme and T Level qualifications. These new pathways into construction involve a mixture of classroom learning and extensive on-the-job experience. To support learners transitioning from the classroom into the workplace, the construction industry is introducing the Industry Placement Card. The card displaying the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) logo including Engineering Services SKILLcard, will be available from September and is for learners aged sixteen (or above). Applicants must be registered onto recognised qualification or training programmes requiring a minimum of 30 days’ work placement which is intended to ultimately lead to a job in construction and the built environment. For more information click here.


BESA Group Companies:

SKILLcard is 20 years old! This year sees Engineering Services SKILLcard celebrate 20 years of the industry recognised card issuing and personnel registration scheme for those working in the mechanical sector of the building engineering services industry. This is a fantastic achievement and milestone for SKILLcard, which was first introduced back in September 2001 and is affiliated to the pan-industry Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS). We can’t wait to celebrate and mark this great occasion at this year’s prestigious President’s Lunch on 17 November at the Oxo Tower, which is invite only. As a way of saying thank you to all card holders and supporters over the years, we will have numerous giveaways and special offers leading up to the event so keep a look out on your mobiles, emails and our social channels for more information.

Upcoming BESA Webinars Thursday 8 July The new hospital programme event with Actuate UK Register here Thursday 22 July SHEP Follow-up: Welding Fum e and Metalworking Fluid Register here Tuesday 27 July The importance of Building Services in Net Zero Carbon in operation and on construction Register here You can watch back all our webinars on demand here.

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