Welcome to my inaugural letter as President of CABE.
When I first encountered my predecessor, Ant Burd, around 13 years ago, he was delivering a stimulating piece on the changes to the Building Regulations, hot off the press from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. I was impressed at how easily he managed to turn a very dry subject into an entertaining and informative lecture. Little did I know that he would become a valued mentor and friend. I cannot say how privileged I feel to have been chosen by my peers to follow in such revered footsteps. I hope that I will do justice to the role that other highly respected members have held before me.
I am generally a glass half full-kind of person but even I have to admit that the challenges thrown up to our industry over the past few years have been trumped by the extraordinary global chaos that has followed the unforeseen appearance of a microscopic entity in our midst.
Many of you will know I have always championed the argument for improved diversity and inclusion, so ‘social isolation’ has never been part of my vocabulary. And disappointing though it is to see some of our regional buildeng events being postponed, I applaud the team at HQ for embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution and rolling out the new CABE Community website and providing regular online CPD webinars to keep members up-to-date and occupied whilst we adjusted to Government-imposed lock down. If you haven’t signed up for a CABE webinar,then I urge you to do so.
I am a great believer in re-framing the negative to look for the positive, to seek out opportunities in adversity. Some of my stock sayings include, “when one door closes another one opens” and “necessity is the mother of invention”. Now is the time for us all to reflect on our ethics and social responsibilities and to rethink how we deliver our services. We need to move forward as building engineers with greater confidence in our competencies, to reach out to fellow professionals and embrace collaborative construction. The emergence of fully operational Nightingale hospitals in the UK have proved our industry can rally round to mobilise quickly alongside the health service and military and other agencies in a highly successful way to kit out an emergency hospital within a matter of days.
No one really knows what the post-COVID-19 world will bring, but it is fair to say that the load on some of us might tip us to breaking point. There is no magic formula for recovery, and we cannot predict what the new normal might be as the restrictions are gradually lifted. Each of us probably has a story to tell about the impact the past few months have had and some of us will have fared better than others.
I am proud to be a trustee of the CABE Benevolent Fund and pleased that, through establishing a special emergency fund, we are able to offer some support to members who have been hit harder than others by the sheer unexpected and fast-moving implications for people’s health, emotional, and economic wellbeing. Thank you to all of our members, past and present, who have made donations to the Benevolent Fund at CABE events, through adding a gift to their annual subscription, leaving a legacy or by simply responding to the sudden and exponential growth of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Over the past year with CEO Gavin Dunn at the helm, an invigorated board of directors and an enthusiastic and knowledgeable team at HQ, CABE has really shone as a bright light whilst the construction industry gears up to take on the rising tide of safety reform. There is a level of CABE membership for everyone, from budding students to Chartered Engineers. Our Association is member-focused, to guide us through change, to support every one of us, both on our individual career paths and collectively, through raising standards and competencies and representing building engineers in the corridors of power and ensuring our voice is heard.
If the past weeks have shown us anything, it is how fragile society, the economy, and the whole structure of life as we know it is. I would like to thank my fellow members, the Association’s board, regional, regional committees, chapters around the world, and the whole team at HQ for allowing me the opportunity to be part of the global CABE family as we all look forward to a dramatic year of change.
Take care, keep safe and well and, whatever hand you are dealt, know that CABE is here for you and ‘always look on the bright side of life’.
Jayne Hall PCABE FCABE who is now President of CABE
Please Note: In light of COVID-19, new CABE President, Jayne Hall's inauguration was limited to a small ceremony, and later while in the comfort and safety of her home, was able to record her video message, thanks to the help of her daughter and a smartphone.