September marks the start of the new financial year for the Association, and the start of the new membership year for most of our members. The year ahead is shaping up to be a year like no other. We are, of course, in extraordinary times in terms of how countries around the world continue to deal with and respond to the Covid-19 emergency, the pressure to restart our economies following lockdown, the continuing concern over the impact of climate change and the likelihood of significant changes in the construction sector as regulators respond to the learnings from the Grenfell fire in 2017.
So we must prepare ourselves, personally and professionally, and remember that uncertain times inevitably drive change, but this change can be both positive and negative if we let it.
Certainly change is on the horizon for building engineers in England, where at the time of writing the government has published a new Draft Building Safety Bill that is now being considered by parliament and is likely to become law, possibly by the end of the year. This Bill radically changes the building regulatory system for England by establishing a new Building Safety Regulator within the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and significantly changes the roles and responsibilities for those working in building control and other key roles within the design, construction and operations of buildings within the scope of the legislation.
Concurrently we are also expecting the publication of the latest consultation by the government on The Future Homes Standard and associated changes to parts of the Building Regulations covering the requirements for energy efficiency (Part L), ventilation (Part F) and overheating in buildings. The changes are designed to further reduce the carbon emissions from new and existing buildings, and also help ensure our buildings are prepared for – and are resilient to – the effects of climate change that we know will occur.
While these examples of regulatory change affect only those working in England, we know that other jurisdictions in the UK, and around the world, are undertaking similar reviews to improve building safety following the Grenfell fire and adapting building requirements in response to climate change.
Here at CABE we will continue to do everything we can to support our members during these challenging times whether it be through the continued development of the association, our regular Covid-19 update communications, our new digital platforms, or the Association’s Benevolent Fund, which provides direct financial assistance to members and their families in distress.
Building engineers, and other professionals from across the construction sector, need to engage positively with these changes. They will create greater public confidence in the buildings in which they reside and embrace, thus creating a better industry for ourselves to work in; one that we can all be proud of. As ever, I remain confident that building engineers with your wide range of technical knowledge and practical expertise, working across the various disciplines of the built environment, have the right mix of skills and experience to make this happen.
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I fully agree with the positive approach. Change always brings opportunities for those willing to embrace the change.
We at ACP are preparing for new opportunities by opening an office in Singapore to service the South East Asian market in historic building engineering consultancy. This is being led by Noel Taaffe a Fellow of CABE.