Judgement Day

The BCIA Awards have become the gold standard for showcasing game changing examples of innovation and with external factors such as climate change, wellbeing and building performance all increasingly important metrics for our success, this year promises to see our growing pool of brilliant engineers step up yet again to show that we can help engineer a brighter future.

I recently sat on the Judging Panel for the Awards for the third and last time and it is one of the many, many things that I will miss when I step aside as President of the BCIA in March. It is a day of complete indulgence, sitting in a quiet room with no phones or emails just reading about state-of-the-art ideas and products or being reminded of how young engineers are really investing in themselves to be the ‘new professionals’ that will plug the gaps in the supply chain.

Given the effort and attention to detail that is put into preparing entries by so many people, it does no harm to remind you that all the judges work in isolation and submit scores to the Judging Chair on the day. At the end of this process, none of us know who has won any of the categories – the winners are only revealed at the Awards. When I first learned of this strict judging process, I was particularly proud as I realised that it reflected the professional status that the BCIA seeks to deliver in everything it does. It is this continued raising of professional standards that is now driving our sector on as we really play our part in the supply chain to deliver world class buildings.

There are no prizes on offer but here is a real-life professional conundrum for you to ponder; you have been appointed to provide the BMS on a significant project and the completion date is set and cannot be changed. The supply chain has launched into action and is very busy with value engineering, compliance and all the other things that occupy them in the early days until such point that the time available to complete and review detailed BMS design and how the building will actually function has all gone and the focus shifts to delivery, delivery, delivery. Unbeknown to you, the client is seeing their influence slip away during this process and the building they actually want is fading ever further into the distance. So, the client phones you direct and explains the situation and asks if they can come and talk to you to review the BMS and how it will serve the building and their needs for the next 15 years. What is your answer?

Thankfully, there was a very satisfactory outcome which served both the demands of compliance but also of building performance. Perhaps it emphasises the growing need for professional expertise and knowledge in all aspects of building services to be made more available to those who actually occupy and run buildings?

This ‘scenario’ has never been truer as the advantages of the terrific innovations are there to be taken and the need for professional advice and trusted explanation has never been greater.


Examples of both these innovations and the professional engineers that can deliver will be in the spotlight at the BCIA Awards and I look forward to celebrating all the finalists and, of course, the winners. It is you who are driving innovation and leading the way.