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Kevin Mitchell leads CIBSE Council in inspiring the next generation

10 Jun 22

In the role for just over a month, CIBSE President, Kevin Mitchell has had a busy few weeks. At the start of his presidency, Kevin launched the #CIBSE125Challenges. As outlined within his inaugural address, Kevin has one theme for the year ahead: to inspire the next generation, two goals: to pay forward the support received to those starting their careers and to share how building services engineers are vital to the transition to net zero carbon and in fighting climate change, and finally five challenges: Celebrate, Inspire, Boost, Share and Engage.

Providing a vehicle for action, communication, and collaboration, the aim of the #CIBSE125Challenges is to raise the profile of building services engineers and inspire people to join us from a wide range of backgrounds to ensure our industry reflects the communities we serve. 

Image from the June 2022 CIBSE Council Meeting (held via Microsoft Teams)

Each year, the CIBSE President also takes on the role of chairing the Institution’s Council and Kevin chaired his first CIBSE Council meeting on 9 June 2022. The meeting began with an update from the Regional Liaison Committee (RLC), which is now chaired by president elect, Adrian Catchpole. The update from RLC included the continuation of hybrid events in the regions, plans for regional podcasts and discussions around the CIBSE 2025 strategy.

Council also received an update from the previous Groups and Societies meeting. This referenced a presentation by CIBSE Head of Sustainability, Julie Godefroy on the work she is doing to update the CIBSE Climate Action Plan. The ongoing work to update and deliver on the Climate Action Plan highlights the vital role that building services engineers must play in adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change.

Representatives from the CIBSE societies were invited to deliver updates to Council. This included an update from the new Society of Light and Lighting (SLL) president, Andrew Bissell. The SLL held their AGM on 26 May and for the first time it took place outside of London at the People’s History Museum in Manchester. Andrew highlighted his aims for the year ahead and in keeping with Kevin Mitchell’s presidential theme, he commented on the importance of communicating the various career paths people may take when starting a career in building services engineering.

“People’s journeys, like mine, can be accidental, deliberate, through education and apprenticeships, there are so many different ways to come in, but the big thing is to try and understand better why and what is different about people’s journeys now.”

Dean Greer, Chair of the Institute of Local Exhaust Ventilation Engineers (ILEVE) provided an insight into ILEVE’s plan for the year ahead, based on their objective to provide, ‘safely controlled environments, free from harmful air born contaminants, making workplaces safe for people.’ The plan also referenced the need to provide guidance and support for engineers in local exhaust ventilation to gain professional registration.

Andrew Krebs, Chair of the Society of Digital Engineering (SDE) delivered an update on the SDE’s plan to broaden the Society’s influence and engagement across the built environment, bringing people together from all the specialisms represented within CIBSE members, building services engineering and those in related disciplines.
Scott Mason, Chair of CIBSE Patrons outlined the work that Patrons have been doing around strategic planning. This included a vision statement for CIBSE Patrons, illustrating their commitment to disseminating knowledge, facilitating collaboration and networking, and nurturing talent.

Bringing the focus back to the #CIBSE125Challenges, Council members broke out into smaller groups, each allocated one of the five challenges to discuss. With resounding support from Council members, the discussion led to several suggestions regarding engagement with the challenges and the way they can be used to support CIBSE’s mission, vision and values. The groups touched upon the need to continue to improve inclusivity and diversity. They highlighted the role that CIBSE has in inspiring the next generation of building services engineers, but also in supporting the ongoing development of those further into their career journeys. The groups discussed the need to communicate and celebrate the work and impact that building services engineers are having in the transition to net zero and delivering solutions to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Ruth Carter, CIBSE CEO provided an update on membership growth. In support of the previous discussions around the #CIBSE125Challenges, Ruth emphasised that now is the time for building services engineers to shine and CIBSE must provide a platform and a voice for them to do so.

Laura Webb, Director of CIBSE Membership outlined plans relating to competency requirements, with work being done to align the membership criteria for the CIBSE Societies and Divisions with that of CIBSE membership and the Engineering Council’s UK-Spec.

Laura then handed over to immediate past president, Kevin Kelly who provided an update from the CIBSE Inclusivity and Diversity panel. Kevin announced four new sub-panels which will focus on women in engineering, LGBTQ+, minority ethnic groups, and neurodiversity. The aim is to build a sense of inclusivity and belonging for all.

The meeting concluded with a policy update from Hywel Davies, CIBSE Technical Director. In reference to the Building Safety Act, Hywel highlighted that the Building Safety Regulator is being set up within the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Reflecting on the HSE’s approach, this would indicate significant changes will be imposed, particularly concerning demonstrating compliance, with the emphasis will be placed on the functional requirements outlined in Building Regulation and demonstrating how they have been met. 

There are expected to be over 30 secondary pieces of legislation in support of the Building Safety Act. Along with providing a new training course on the Act, CIBSE is committed to working on the upcoming consultations around the secondary legislation and supporting members and the industry in meeting the requirements outlined. 

Take a look at Ruth Carter’s CEO report from the June 2022 CIBSE Council meeting

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