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Remembering Terry Wyatt FCIBSE
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Remembering Terry Wyatt FCIBSE

13 Jan 23

CIBSE is saddened to hear of the death of Professor Terry Wyatt, CIBSE Past President (2003-4). An inspiration to many in the industry, Terry was at the forefront of sustainable engineering before it was fashionable and a pioneer of novel engineering approaches to reduce energy consumption, carbon emissions and the impact of engineering services, whilst always looking to deliver buildings that performed. His work was not just building related, as he was also involved in the ventilation systems for the Mersey tunnels.

A member of CIBSE since 1960 he joined the Senior Officer Group in 2001 becoming President of the Institution in May 2003. He was a man ahead of his time in recognising the enormous challenges that climate change would pose, and also the significant challenges facing the profession of building services engineering. Terry was awarded a CIBSE Silver Medal in 1995 and received the CIBSE Gold Medal in 2007, recognising the outstanding contributions that he made to the construction and engineering industries throughout a long and distinguished career, the last 24 years of which was as a partner at Hoare Lea.

As a champion of sustainability in the construction industry of many years standing, Terry was one of the earliest pioneers of innovative design in building services engineering, and an advocate of energy efficiency as an antidote to carbon emissions from buildings. During his career he was involved on landmark building projects around the world. Terry pioneered the introduction of combining displacement ventilation with static cooling in the UK, recognising it as a more effective and efficient practice. One of many examples that illustrate his drive, combating initial scepticism to champion building performance. Terry also established and led the CIBSE Carbon Task Force, the first serious initiative to address climate change in the Institution, in 2001, and set about challenging colleagues to consider how the profession would respond to the emerging evidence of the impact of anthropogenic carbon emissions on global climate.  This expert group had a significant impact on changing attitudes in the construction industry and encouraging market transformation by the use of new technology. Terry consistently demonstrated the possibilities for reducing carbon emissions, both in new designs for buildings and in refurbishing existing buildings. One tangible outcome of the Task Force was the CIBSE Carbon 60 project, which set out to reduce carbon emissions from the Balham head office buildings and resulted in a major refurbishment of Delta House and of the engineering systems.

Terry was also responsible for the Worldwide CIBSE ASHRAE Gathering of the Building Services Industry in Edinburgh in September 2003. “Building Sustainability, Value and Profit”, featured speakers from around the world to discuss what was considered a clear contradiction at that time, but Terry was determined that they were seen as mutually compatible. Such was Terry’s influence that the event was opened by the then Construction Minister. Whilst the Minister struggled with the names of the organising bodies Terry calmly sailed on as if nothing had happened and so did the conference, with speakers from all of the industry, including the RIBA President and CEO of the IStructE, reflecting Terry’s passionate commitment to interdisciplinary working.

For 15 years as head of Hoare Lea’s R&D Group he led a quiet revolution in building engineering. Terry united people from different specialisms, collating academic and empirical data from his ‘network’ in Sweden and USA to show how indoor climate qualities affected personnel well-being and productivity. Terry was one of the first to postulate how investment in effective climate systems could be returned through business output, a line of reasoning accepted by Hoare Lea’s Client on the MOD PE HQ, a project which later won the European Office of the Year Award at MIPIM.

Throughout this period, although a Partner of Hoare Lea, Terry shared his research and ideas with the wider community arguing that progress was more important than patent. In so doing he became something of a champion for this industry.

Terry became CIBSE President in 2003, using his inaugural address, called “Adapt or Die” as a call to action, challenging building services professionals to adapt to changing circumstances or face serious consequences in relation to both climate change and increasing use of computers to perform the work traditionally done by building services engineers.

“Although we have been a very successful industry and have taken on many extra functions to deliver added value, the warning signals are mounting. Very rapid change is underway within construction and we need to respond quickly, creatively and with focus.” Terry Wyatt, Presidential Address (2003).

Terry was made a special professor of building services engineering for the School of the Built Environment at the University of Nottingham in 2004.

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