Championing competence

CIBSE President Adrian Catchpole reflects on the highlights of his 12 months in office, which have had a particular focus on improving building services competence and attracting the next generation of talent through the launch of the STEM Ambassador scheme

As my year as CIBSE President comes to an end, my overarching feeling is one of immense pride. Pride at having been able to represent CIBSE at so many events across the world, but also pride in all that the Institution and our members have achieved together.

The vast output of publications, events, awards, training and knowledge sharing is testament to the passion and drive we have as an industry to meet our net zero carbon targets.

One of the biggest highlights of my year has been meeting so many members. I have been privileged to visit many CIBSE regions, including the UAE and Ireland. It has been incredible to witness first hand the huge respect that CIBSE, and its guidance and knowledge, enjoy across the globe.

The key message in my Presidential Address last year was a call to industry to ‘take a lead’ – and I have definitely felt this call being taken up.

It has been incredible to witness first hand the huge respect that CIBSE, and its guidance and knowledge, enjoy across the globe.

The launch of the CIBSE STEM Ambassador scheme, which was a priority for me, has already had an impact, with 185 ambassadors registered to date. I’d like to thank every one of you – your contribution will make our profession more visible to those in education and encourage young people to see themselves in engineering roles. Early engagement with potential engineers in schools and colleges will make them aware of the rich and varied career opportunities in building services.

I also recognise the need for ongoing support and encouragement as we move along our career paths. The benefits of guidance and advice from someone more experienced are countless, so I was delighted to launch the CIBSE Mentoring Programme.

Mentoring’s ability to empower individuals, enhance skills and foster career advancement presents an opportunity for mentors and mentees to engage in a relationship that propels professional and personal growth. We have already received very positive feedback from those involved.

I also urged the industry to take the lead in driving the net zero agenda, and I saw first hand the impact that CIBSE is having during COP28. Attending and speaking at the event with CIBSE
CEO Ruth Carter was another highlight of my Presidential year. Being part of COP28 gave CIBSE a platform on the world stage, and it was entirely appropriate that we were there. The feedback we received during our visit highlighted how vital our guidance and expertise is, and demonstrated the worldwide respect that our knowledge enjoys.

CIBSE’s technical contributions in setting standards for achieving better building performance, and its ongoing activities on net zero carbon, are vital in the drive for a more sustainable future. Central to this is CIBSE’s TM65: Embodied carbon in building services: a calculation methodology, which has garnered significant interest this year. This document is helping industry take leaps in evaluating embodied carbon emissions in building services design, alongside operational carbon emissions. A sign of CIBSE’s global relevance is that, this year, we
published a guide to adapting TM65 to local use (TM65LA) and have worked with various regions to produce versions for Australia and New Zealand, as well as the UAE/Middle East and North Africa.

Another central theme of my Presidential Address was the need for competence, and I was delighted to see the publication of the updated CIBSE Guide M: Maintenance engineering and management. The guide is a key tool to ensuring competence, and contains all the information needed for the successful operation of a building’s services while ensuring buildings are safe and optimised for energy performance.

CIBSE Chartered Organisations is another move towards cementing our commitment to competence across the industry. This new programme will provide a robust framework for demonstrating competency, professionalism and adherence to the highest standards.

It has been an outstanding year for CIBSE and I can’t begin to cover all that has been achieved – but I do want to note a couple of other highlights. The Technical Symposium, in particular, stands out for me; the leading academics and building services engineering experts who presented were truly inspiring. Likewise, hearing from our rising stars and those who will be instrumental in driving ahead with our environmental targets at the CIBSE Young Engineers Awards was a special evening. I look forward to watching their careers flourish.

Thank you to all the members, volunteers and CIBSE staff who have welcomed me over the year – I look forward to continuing to work with you as I support Fiona Cousins in her Presidential year