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George Clarke to open BESA Conference

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has confirmed that this year’s National Conference will take place on November 3 and 4 and will once again be a ’virtual’ event.

TV personality and architect George Clarke

Structured around an overall theme of ‘Building Back Better, Safer, Greener’ the event will have a strong focus on the detailed technical elements of rebuilding from the pandemic, delivering the requirements of new building safety legislation, modernising the sector’s workforce, and pushing on towards a net zero emissions future.

The BESA National Conference has Mitsubishi Electric as its headline sponsor and will be opened by TV personality and architect George Clarke. He is best known for the Channel 4 programmes The Home Show, The Restoration Man and George Clarke's Amazing Spaces.

Clarke will give an opening keynote and discuss a range of industry topics with BESA chief executive David Frise and delegates.

“The building engineering sector is in a fascinating place right now,” said Clarke. “There is huge demand for specialist services that can deliver healthier, safer and more comfortable indoor spaces. The pandemic has thrust this industry into the public eye as people have become much more conscious of the role buildings play in their health and wellbeing.

“I am really looking forward to sharing my thoughts and ideas with BESA, its members and the conference delegates. I am also hoping to gain greater insight myself into some of the exciting technologies and new working practices that will transform building engineering in the coming years as we all take on the massive net zero challenge.”

Challenges
The Association said it intended to use the two-day event to run a series of specialised technical sessions that would dig into the details of the main challenges confronting the building services sector.

Last year’s conference had 1,200 registered delegates and BESA is returning to a similar format, but with an even stronger technical focus. It will reflect the steep learning curve experienced by building engineering contractors during 2020 as they answered the call from essential services like hospitals, schools, and supermarkets for critical building services support.

“Having hosted more than 100 webinars that attracted almost 20,000 attendees since the start of the pandemic, we have gained valuable insight into what our members and the wider building engineering sector wants and needs,” said Frise. “The detailed technical sessions have proved incredibly popular and the National Conference is an opportunity to consolidate all the specialised knowledge and experience we have built up during the pandemic.

“That does not mean we are ignoring the bigger picture – quite the opposite. We will be setting the scene with George and then drilling down into the ‘nitty gritty’ to deliver a series of practical solutions that address the full breadth of challenges we face.”

This year that work continues as the industry contributes to the economic recovery by underpinning private and public sector rebuilding; low carbon retrofitting; infrastructure projects and the reopening of buildings following the pandemic.

“We are delighted to be the headline sponsor for this prestigious and ambitious event,” said Rachel Lekman, marketing manager at Mitsubishi Electric. “We have built up a very productive partnership with BESA in recent years and have already collaborated on a number of important projects not least the widely acclaimed ‘Beginners’ Guide to Indoor Air Quality’ and the rapidly developing BESA Academy.

“The focus of the Conference on technical competence and compliance to ensure healthier and more efficient buildings is exactly in tune with our own priorities for this year and beyond; and we are excited to see the development of such a wide-ranging but in-depth programme.”

Key topics to be covered at the BESA National Conference 2021 will include:

• Ventilation solutions for healthier and more productive buildings

• Fire and smoke safety

• Heat pumps, alternative refrigerants, and other opportunities

• Giving young engineers the tools to succeed

• Getting back to the fundamentals of energy efficiency

• Repair not replace to tackle embodied carbon

• Decarbonising heat.

23 June 2021

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BESA National Conference – Virtual event