Why the industry needs to meet climate change head on

The highlight of my duties so far has been the 2022 Annual Conference and Exhibition in Newport, Wales.

CABE’s chosen topic, Embedding Sustainability, was both topical and engaging. Alongside other countries, the UK government has set ambitious targets to achieve net-zero carbon by 2050, and CABE intends to do all it can to reach this target and help members to do so as well.

Climate change is having a significant impact on the world around us, and construction professionals are already witnessing its effects – from buildings that overheat in summer, to extreme rainfall and flash flooding causing damage to the structural integrity of buildings. It is increasingly apparent that change needs to happen fast and building engineers can make a real difference.

We heard from a plethora of experts who reinforced this message, including Julie James MS, Minister for Climate Change in the Senedd Cymru, whose talk focused on legislation to meet the demands for net-zero carbon and ongoing research programmes recognising that one size does not fit all when it comes to retrofitting.

Dr Deborah Adkins, Senior Lecturer at the University of the West of England, spoke of the benefits of decarbonising buildings and not waiting for legislation to drive cultural change. And Chris Paul, a partner at legal firm Trowers & Hamlins, spoke about helping construction clients to develop non-contentious procurement strategies and contractual structures for sustainable developments.

Alongside the conference, the CABE 2022 Built Environment Awards were a roaring success. The standard of this year’s winners was outstanding and case studies can be found in this issue of Building Engineer. Sincere thanks to our Patron Lord John Lytton and the awards panel for their work.

It would be remiss of me not to mention two personal award winners: Kevin Dawson C.Build E MCABE, winner of the 2022 Gold Service Award for his longstanding dedication to and support of CABE; and Michael Mann, winner of the 2022 Peter Stone Award for his commitment to the engineering industry and for his guidance that helped CABE to secure its licence with the Engineering Council.

The Conference was enlightening, the Awards were inspiring and meeting so many CABE members was fantastic.

Prior to the conference, I was delighted to have attended the Southern buildeng in the cathedral city of Winchester, where I presented a paper on fire safety and discussed the importance of learning lessons from the past. I hope to attend the Southern Region buildeng and the Eastern buildeng conference in November, and l look forward to visiting more regions in due course.

Finally, we are approaching the Regional and Association AGMs. A key part of these are the nomination and appointment of members to both the Regional Committees and the CABE Board. If you are not already involved, please do consider putting your name forward, or nominate a colleague, so you can play a role in the future of the Association.

Joseph Birt PCABE FCABE CABE President

Image credit | Sam-Kerr

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