Maria Driver, whose role is to represent BESA members and help them secure more business through specification on tenders and frameworks, said the new culture of competence and compliance demanded by Dame Judith Hackitt, who chaired the independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety that followed the Grenfell Tower tragedy, was a major opportunity for BESA firms to prove their quality.
“My job is to highlight the member benefits to clients who wish to use competent and compliant companies on their projects,” she said. “The Hackitt Review and the draft Building Safety Bill that followed will change attitudes and the way our sector operates forever.
“My message to contractors, building owners and architects is to be ahead of the safety and quality game. If you want to be part of it, you need to demonstrate and prove your competence and your ability to comply with the latest industry standards and best practice.
“However, I believe many BESA members clearly recognise the importance of facing up to their responsibilities for the safety and welfare of people in buildings – and many are well placed to become Hackitt-ready quickly once the standards are fully in place,” added Maria.
She also expressed her pride in joining an organisation that “has such an impressive history of sector leadership and that is focused on making the building engineering industry a better place. “This is not just about ensuring specialist contractors are competent and compliant, but the wider social implications of that effort to ensure people feel safe living and working in buildings and contractors’ own staff feel safe and supported during projects,” she added.
Driver has considerable experience of the construction materials, roofing, and commercial interiors markets. She has worked in sales management with a particular emphasis on driving specifications. She joined BESA from Water Logic PLC where she was UK key accounts manager dealing directly with main and sub-contractors. In that role, she worked with some of the industry’s top companies including Overbury, Morgan Sindall, Willmott Dixon, Kier and Balfour Beatty.
Previously she was specification manager at the £100m roofing specialist Alumasc and was formerly commercial manager at IKEA where she introduced the company’s intranet.
“We are delighted to be able to add Maria to our senior staff,” said BESA chief executive David Frise. “This is a strategically important new role for the Association and demonstrates our commitment to ensuring clients recognise the value of BESA membership and that using our members can help them achieve their own competence and compliance goals.
“Maria will be able to explain to specifiers how our fully refreshed Competence Assessment Standard means all BESA members have been thoroughly vetted for their technical and commercial competence and are fully committed to delivering work to the highest quality.”