Mike Lawrence: “This has been a busy year. Last July we had the 30-year celebration of FETA at the Savoy, attended by the Home Secretary, Theresa May, and many of our friends from government and the press; we have said goodbye to Cedric Sloan at the end of 18 years dedicated service as director general during which FETA has grown in size and influence; and we have said hello to Russell Beattie as our Chief Executive. Russell has now been with us for 8 months. I think I can say, without fear of dissent, that he has weathered his baptism of fire with good humour. However, for the most part this is our internal world within FETA. Throughout the year there has been a lot going on in the external world with which FETA Associations have had to tussle.
“The external event that has been, and is, causing work for most of our members and associations is the issue that has been the subject of comment by my predecessors for the last several years. I am told that people are bored of hearing its name but it has now become law. BRA has a Working Group, which has the title PURR – Putting into Use Replacement Refrigerants. This Group will issue its report in the next month. In the past our efforts have been to try to ensure that the legislation would be workable and achieve its declared objective. Now, and for the next 10 years or so, we have to take the necessary actions to comply. This will not be easy but it is technically possible.
“Another piece of legislation that has made, and will continue to make, considerable demands on us is the Ecodesign Directive. Any product group can get caught up in this. The European Commission can decide that any group of products needs investigating and having maximum energy performance criteria applied to it. About nine product groups that affect our members are entwined in this system. The EU has recently announced that it is going to study the system with a view to revising it. FETA will be acting, with our friends and the multinational groups of which we are members, to improve the basic methodology of this Directive. I must make it clear that the intention of this Directive is good and its correct use should be beneficial.
“Now, talking about our individual associations:
“Many HEVAC Groups are involved in the CIBSE initiative to look at the revision of the Part L (Building Regulations) compliance guides in advance of future government requirements.
“Within HEVAC, the ADM Group are in the process of re-issuing their updated Air Distribution Guide.
“Also within HEVAC, the FMA are involved in the consultation of the European Fan Regulations which are in the process of change. This is taking place under the Ecodesign Directive system – Fans are Lot 11 in that Directive.
“HPA has been working within the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) to get the Energy Related Products Seasonal Performance Factor
Requirements established within the Microgeneration Certification Standards. This will be the first in Europe for Heat Pumps.
HPA continues to be part of DECC’s regular Industry Advisory Groups on the Renewable Heat Incentive.
“BCIA is concentrating on retaining high standards in the controls sector with the introduction of its Building Controls Professional Assessment, and a new ECS (Electrotechnical Certification Scheme) Gold Card to recognise those who achieve it. This has been a project which has required a great deal of teamwork across the Association membership, and illustrates the value of being part of an industry association.
“BRA has been involved, as normal, producing guidance in the area of refrigeration. It has also been heavily involved with de-mystifying the F-Gas and Ecodesign Directive requirements.
“ADCAS is continuing the battle to raise the profile of the ductwork industry. Their membership of the NSCC (National Specialist Contractors Council) forms an integral part of their strategy to increase awareness of the Association across the construction sector. NSCC's work on common issues across the construction market, including fair payment for subcontractors and the Council's involvement in the Government’s 2025 Strategy for Construction will enable the active involvement of NSCC member associations which otherwise would have been too small to have a voice. ADCAS will be reintroducing training courses in 2015 which fell by the wayside during the recession and they continue to do what they can to influence European legislation with representation on both BSI and CEN committees dealing with Ventilation and Ductwork.
“BFCMA has been busy establishing its interactive online guides for chimneys for solid fuels and biomass.
“All the Associations have been working to try to understand what is required of them for BIM and preparing to be in a position to supply it.
“All the Associations have concerns about the recruitment of people into their industries and about the availability and appropriateness of training available for their recruits. In this regard I am pleased to say that the RACHP industries have received Government endorsement for their Trailblazer Apprenticeship Course and that ADCAS and B&ES are working together on a Trailblazer scheme for the ductwork sector; aiming for approval in the next round.
“This is important because Industry will be in control of the syllabus development – We will get the training that we, as employers, want our future employees to have had.
“We have been pleased to support the successful big bang event at the NEC, which was aimed at encouraging young people to take up technological and other training.
“In the next month or so, we will be saying goodbye to two members of our small staff at FETA. Rosie Pearce will be leaving us after 22 years service. We have all enjoyed her wonderful welcome of us when we arrived for meetings at Hare Hatch and her help whenever we ‘phoned FETA for help – in my case often because I had lost a needed document or address! We wish Rosie a very well deserved retirement.
“Terry Seward is also retiring. He has been at FETA for 14 years. I imagine that it will be a relief to him not to have to make the journey from the Isle of Wight to Hare Hatch every day. Terry has been unfailingly friendly and efficient in providing the secretarial function to many of the Associations’ sections. He also acted as our interface to the Press. This was something he did with unfailing good humour. We owe Terry a large debt of gratitude.
“So, I should like Rosie and Terry to come up here.
“When asked what she would like us to give her in thanks for her time at FETA, Rosie told us that she would like a bench. We cannot reasonably, physically, give her the bench here now, but you can see on the screen the bench we are giving Rosie and we have ordered a plaque to put on it. In the meantime, Rosie, please accept this bouquet.
“Terry said he would like a watch. That we can pass to Terry now. Here it is, Terry: we trust that some of the times, when you consult it to see the time, you will remember fondly your many years at FETA.
“Philosophers have difficulty proving that our common experience that the sun has risen for a large number of mornings in the past means that it will rise again tomorrow morning. Similarly, because there has been a lot for FETA to do during the last few years, it is difficult to prove that the same will be so tomorrow but experience shows that it will be true and, at least in my cloudy vision in a bowl of the future, the amount will increase rather than decrease.
“The short term future is made even more difficult by the certainty that, in 2015, we will live under at least two and, more probably, three or more governments with all the uncertainty that that implies.”