The unusual inauguration of CABE President Jayne Hall

May is usually an exciting month in CABE’s calendar, with the inauguration of a new President for the Association. We usually find some way to celebrate the occasion with colleagues, professionals and friends. But this year it has been very different.

Due to Covid-19 all celebrations had to be cancelled and Ant Burd and Jayne Hall met up at HQ late in May for Ant to hand over the reins from a socially acceptable distance to our new President Jayne Hall.

Ant Burd Immediate Past President and Jayne Hall President might not be able to deliver their speeches as intended, but now take the opportunity to reflect on experiences and challenges as they start their new positions on the CABE Board.

Experience and reflection  

After my piece in last month’s journal you probably thought that might be the last you would hear from me. I’m afraid not quite yet.

As I step down as President, I have to say thank you and goodbye to our Past President, David ‘Two Terms’ Taylor, Richard Smith and Darren Burrell all of whom leave the board. Our quarterly board meetings take place at the weekends (and with Covid-19 virtually, too) and several of its members continue to support CABE activity within their respective regions. This is a huge undertaking, and we continue to be truly grateful for all that they, and everyone at the regions, do for the Association.

Now, you might think I’m going to reel off all off all the things that I’ve achieved while President at CABE, but it doesn’t work like that. We’re a team, and we have a clear and established five-year strategy of all that we want to achieve. A year is a very short period. But in that time, working with and supported by our amazing HQ team, we have continued to progress, all the while helping to set the agenda and leading by example. Including such highlights as:     

  • Publication of our Code of Professional Conduct supported by guidance on Ethical Professionalism coupled with our revised Competency Framework
  • Continued top-table involvement in all aspects of the Grenfell response and Hackitt review; including development activity around professional competency across the industry and providing input into MHCLG’s revisions of both the technical and procedural aspects of the English Building Regulations
  • The CABE rebrand (including our new journal, website and digital members’ platform)     
  • The establishment of CABE’s sustainability strategy, including the CABE HQ refurbishment – designed to nearly zero energy     
  • The establishment of our new regional office in Hong Kong; and last, but not least     
  • Securing full membership of the Engineering Council.

I’ve had the privilege of being on the CABE Board for almost three years now, where much of the above and more has been developed and decided upon. I served two years as a Vice President, one as President and now one last year as Immediate Past President. In that time I’ve made some great new friends and forged ever deeper relationships with some old ones. The debate is always healthy, the challenge always professional and the support unstinting.

I will look back with considerable pride at all that we’ve achieved this past year. Now it is the time to hand over to our new President Jayne Hall. Jayne has been a friend of the Association for a very long time. What can I tell you about the covent-schooled lady from Burnham on Sea? She was never going to be held back from doing what she wanted to do, that’s for sure.

She entered our industry with a focus on architecture and had a design consultancy that specialised in signage and wayfinding. Then finding herself a single mum, she entered a profession close to my heart, building control, as an assistant trainee. Jayne undertook a part-time degree in Building Control Studies. She was joined on that course by Diane Marshall PPBEng, so clearly a course that was a hot bed for future Presidents of the Association.

From there Jayne became a Chartered Member of CABE and a committee member for the South West Region. She quickly became Head of Building Control for her authority, and – following a dabble with national activity – she soon became a Vice President and then President of LABC. She now finds herself heading up the Building Control and Planning Enforcement team for South Gloucestershire Council as Built Environment Enforcement Manager.

Jayne is a doer, a get up and goer; and she has a passion for all things built-environment related. She’s hardy, she’s resilient and she seeks collaboration in all that she does. She’s also our Diversity Champion. I’m so proud to hand over to her.

It’s been an honour as CABE continues its journey, onwards and upwards. Take care, stay safe.  

Ant Burd PPCABE FCABE, now CABE Immediate Past Present


Challenges for the future

New President, and Chair of the CABE Board, Jayne Hall

Welcome to my inaugural letter as President of CABE. When I first encountered Ant Burd 13 years ago, he was delivering a stimulating piece on the changes to the Building Regulations, hot off the press from the Deputy Prime Minister’s office. I was impressed by how easily he managed to turn a very dry subject into an entertaining lecture. Little did I know that he would become a valued mentor and friend. I cannot say how privileged I feel to follow in such revered footsteps. I hope I will do justice to the role that other highly respected members have held before me.

I am generally a glass-half-full kind of person, but the challenges thrown to our industry over the past few years have been trumped by the extraordinary global chaos that has followed the unforeseen appearance of a microscopic entity in our midst.

Many of you will know I have always championed the argument for improved diversity and inclusion, so social isolation has never been part of my vocabulary. And disappointing though it is to see some of our regional buildeng events being postponed, I applaud the team at HQ for embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution and rolling out the new CABE Community website and providing regular online CPD webinars to keep members up to date and occupied while we adjusted to government-imposed lockdown. If you haven’t signed up, I urge you to do so (

I am a great believer in reframing the negative to look for the positive, to seek out opportunities in adversity. Now is the time for us all to reflect on our ethics and social responsibilities and to rethink how we deliver our services. We need to move forward as building engineers with greater confidence in our competencies, to reach out to fellow professionals and embrace constructive collaboration. The emergence of fully operational Nightingale hospitals in the UK have proved our industry can rally round to mobilise quickly alongside the health service and military and other agencies in a highly successful way to kit out an emergency hospital within a matter of days.

No one really knows what the post-Covid-19 world will bring, but it is fair to say that the load for some of us might tip us to breaking point. There is no magic formula for recovery, and we cannot predict what the new normal might be as the restrictions are gradually lifted. Each of us probably has a story to tell about the impact the past few months have had and some of us will have fared better than others.

I am proud to be a trustee of the CABE Benevolent Fund and pleased that, through establishing a special emergency fund, we are able to offer support to members who have been hit harder than others by the sheer unexpected and fast-moving implications for people’s health, emotional and economic wellbeing. Thank you to all of our members, past and present, who have made donations to the Benevolent Fund at CABE events, through adding a gift to their annual subscription, leaving a legacy or by responding to the sudden growth of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Over the past year, with CEO Gavin Dunn at the helm, an invigorated board of directors and an enthusiastic and knowledgeable team at HQ, CABE has really shone as a bright light while the construction industry gears up to take on the rising tide of safety reform. There is a level of CABE membership for everyone, from students to chartered engineers. Our Association is member-focused to guide us through change, to support every one of us, both on our individual career paths and collectively through raising standards and competencies and representing building engineers in the corridors of power to ensure our voice is heard.

If the past weeks have shown us anything, it is how fragile society, the economy and the whole structure of life as we know it is. I would like to thank my fellow members, the Association’s board, regional and regional committees and chapters around the world, and the whole team at HQ for allowing me the opportunity to be part of the global CABE family as we all look forward to a dramatic year of change.

Take care, keep safe and well and – whatever hand you are dealt – know that CABE is here for you, and ‘Always look on the bright side of life’.

Jayne Hall PCABE FCABE, CABE President

Welcome to the board

Joseph Birt

Joseph Birt VPCABE FCABE – Vice President

I am greatly honoured to be elected to the position of Vice President of CABE. My career to date has consisted of 22 years within Local Authority Building Control, the latter 12 years as Specialist Support Officer for a cluster of councils, which included responsibility for advising on fire safety aspects of the Building Regulations. Three years ago I started out in private practice. I now feel like the gamekeeper turned poacher, as I often engage with my former colleagues from the other side of the table on Building Regulatory matters.

Buildings are becoming more complex with the interrelationship of materials, technologies, systems and services. To create these amazing structures to exacting modern standards requires an expert multi-disciplinary team. I am, therefore, proud to be a member of CABE, as I believe it is the only association that accurately describes what we are; we are not singularly architects, structural engineers, services engineers or building surveyors, but an incorporated association of architects and surveyors and more – we are chartered building engineers.

It is my aim to ensure that as the Association grows and develops, we stay true to our roots and deliver excellent services to our membership.

Dan Fordham

Dan Fordham FCABE – board member

I am a structural engineer based in Cambridge. I formed my company in 2004, initially as a sole practitioner, then growing into a small practice. I am currently Vice Chair of the Membership and Professional Standards Committee with CABE and regularly sit on CABE member interview panels. I also sit on the Small Practitioners Panel for IStructE.

Since joining CABE I have felt extremely welcomed, as it is clear the Association truly follows its ethos on collaboration. Other professional bodies focus on their specialisms within our industry and provide essential services needed for their own key areas to thrive. CABE is unique in that the membership covers the whole of the built environment and is perfectly placed to bring together otherwise segregated professionals. It is this that makes CABE such an open association.

One of the criticisms to come out of the Hackitt review was that all the professionals within our industry sit in isolated silos. Never truly collaborating. The industry is going to change, and it is CABE that needs to be the leading body, drawing on the abundance of skills from its membership to allow the industry to integrate, adapt, develop and grow.

I am extremely excited to join the board at this time. However, it is also a very difficult time; the construction industry was already facing a challenging future, and this has been made more intense by the recent global pandemic. This is time for CABE to continue to push for change and to drive the industry forward.

Russell Urwin

Russell Urwin FCABE – board member

Through my role as Northern Region Chair, I always look forward to interacting with friends and colleagues of the Association at the many excellent events held during the year, and 2020 was set to be no exception. Thrilled as I already was at taking up another three year term as a Non-Executive Director, this year now looks to be one that will offer a completely different experience, albeit with a more interactive, multi-media approach, but one I’m really excited to be a part of.

As a Principal Consultant of Turner & Townsend, with more than 28 years’ experience within the construction industry – 15 years as a senior leader within the housing sector, delivering a broad range of technical professional roles across building surveying, asset management, health and safety and risk management. I maintain a passion for improving the outputs of our sector and raising the standards we apply to ourselves as professionals.

Putting aside the absence of this year’s presidential inauguration, and the impact on our regional CPD activity, I look forward to utilising my knowledge and experience supporting our new President Jayne Hall and the executive team over the coming months as the CABE community rally together to meet the challenges, for both the industry and our Association. Working alongside our excellent HQ team as we continue to take CABE forwards in these unprecedented times with a smile on our faces.

What a year this looks to be.



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