Glitz and glamour of another memorable evening

BCIA President Graeme Rees proudly looks back on a record-breaking BCIA Awards ceremony.

As the dust settles on another spectacular evening at the BCIA Awards, I can now reflect on what I believe was one of the best ever I’ve had the pleasure to be involved in.

When I took on the role of President in March 2022 I could not have foreseen that this year we would not only break the record for the number of entries, but also the number of guests, with more than 600 people in attendance, making it the highest attendance for a BCIA Awards since they were first held back in 2007. Jon Culshaw proved to be an excellent host with some remarkable impersonations, there was enjoyable entertainment afterwards with the casino tables and artificial curling, and it made my night to present Tracey Rushton-Thorpe with the Outstanding Contribution of the Year award and seeing the surprised look on her face as she came up to collect the trophy. It is quite an operation to keep awards like that completely under wraps until the announcement is made so we were very pleased with how that went.

As President of the BCIA I am in the privileged position of sitting on the judging panel for the BCIA Awards, and what really struck me this year was the variety of entries, particularly in the Technical Innovation of the Year in both the Products and Projects category. They really provided a perfect snapshot of how the building controls industry has evolved over the years.

Breadth and diversity

Entries ranged from life science laboratories to football stadia, university campuses to high street bank branches. On the new product front we see yet more signs of increasing breadth and diversity, with an entry (and winner) that bridged BEMS control with small power outlets, simply enabling BEMS to take control of plugged in devices (the classic under desk fan heater that is the bane of every controls and energy manager). We also saw a product that involved the intelligent monitoring of the safety of water supplies – essential in healthcare facilities and where the more vulnerable need additional levels of protection but also a boon in commercial buildings where regular water treatment and testing is needed to be carried out. All this at the BCIA awards, which historically are about heating, cooling and ventilation! There is so much new technology going into buildings in the 21st century and building controls lie at the very heart of it all. It gives me great pride that the industry can come together and celebrate its achievements like this every year.

Looking to the future generations I have real belief that the BCIA is in good hands as both the Chair and Vice-Chair of the BCIA’s Young Engineers Network now have a Young Engineer of the Year award to their name, after Abbie Bewley picked up the award this year to go with Greg Smith’s achievement in 2018. Congratulations also go to Robert Drysdale who picked up our first ever Apprentice of the Year award.

Thank you once again to everybody who attended and made it such a special night. Whether you were a winner or a finalist you are representing the very best in our industry and that is something to be incredibly proud of. I’ll hopefully see many of you again next year.