New year, new start

Firstly a Happy New Year to you all and trust you had a good Christmas.

Well it’s all been very busy couple of months! With a bit of a lull over the Christmas period, I’ve finally been able to collect my thoughts into the blog. The 3rd and 4th of November saw the CIBSE Building Performance Conference and Exhibition at the QE2 centre in London, and extra special for me to be attending as President.

This year’s Conference was again an unqualified success, with 48% more attendees, double the number of exhibitors and a bigger splash on social media than last year. This was unsurprising given the quality of the presentations and debates that we saw during the two days, including some cutting edge knowledge on security and unique collaboration with disciplines outside engineering on comfort and energy efficiency.

Next was the SoPHE dinner in Kensington on the Thursday which was as always a great night, and quickly followed by the SoPHE Awards, which demonstrated inspiring practical uses of engineering principles. This year’s winner of the SoPHE Young Engineer’s Award, which involved using the Moringa tree to provide clean water and jobs in Liberia, was a perfect demonstration of how a career path in engineering can have a world-changing impact.

The SoPHE award winners collect their certificates
I was in Bristol next for the Society of Public Architecture, Construction, Engineering and Surveying (SPACES) dinner.  We have started an alliance with this group and the Patrons to enable knowledge sharing, CPD attendance and general collaboration with the Public Sector – something that is sorely needed if we are to spread the message of collaboration to its widest.

Tuesday 10th was Lunch at IMechE with Presidents from IMechE, SoE, IChemE and IMEST to discuss more collaboration with the Institutions and education. The aim being to try and get engineering and science back into the curriculum in schools, which is crucial to the aim of setting up the next generation of STEM workers.

Wednesday was the IETs presidential address. Held at the Mermaid centre in London. IETs president Naomi Climer introduced a captivating address entitled Bright Future with scattered cloud. Using her experience from Television and Media she addressed the future of technology in our industry – this was especially timely, given the focus on technology on the first day of the Conference, and helped put into perspective what we had learned about the opportunities and risks from our speakers.

48% more attendees queue for the start of Conference
Friday 13th may not be the most auspicious of days, but it also meant a BSRIA briefing that brings many in the industry together, and was an excellent opportunity to reflect on another year of change in Building Services.

I also had the opportunity to see the work of some fascinating guest speakers over the last two months. The IMechE Presidential event was a great evening with an interesting view on design technology from Jaguar/Land Rover chief designer. While on the 2nd of December I attended the iTree Eco project report – Valuing London’s Urban Forest - issued at the House of Lords.

I didn’t quite know what to expect but a fascinating insight into the trees in London and the overwhelming importance they play in maintaining the environment. We are all aware of how trees balance nature with human intrusion but this report is fascinating and the depth of the study is very intense, worth a look if you get a chance

Giving the Presidential address at CIBSE Conference and Exhibition
The 4th December saw an early flight to Dublin with one of the most enjoyable events of the year. At nearly 500 guests, the Ireland region always makes everyone very welcome with a great lunch, good hospitality and, this year, excellent entertainment! Speaking of great lunches, Past Presidents Lunches are always good to meet up old colleagues from industry and the Institution. I was looking forward to attending the latest meeting on the 10th, and was not disappointed by the “debate” on the challenges of the industry and CIBSE, which was held in good humour.

On the Imtech front, well, all is well there with them seeing new projects coming through the door. Unfortunately, I will not be there to help, as I left the business at Christmas to seek new opportunities in my career. I wish them all the best for 2016 and look forward to catching up with them at the awards dinner in February where they are headline sponsors.

Again, I hope you all had a Happy Christmas and have a prosperous New Year


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