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Last updateThu, 09 May 2024 2pm

B&ES stresses importance of reliability, responsibility and professionalism

Construction and building engineering services are living through an era of unprecedented change, according to Andy Sneyd, newly elected president of the Building & Engineering Services Association (B&ES).

“Many people believe that the industry, and the part we play in it, will remain pretty much the same as in decades past – but this is a mistake”, Mr Sneyd told his audience at the annual general meeting of the Association.

“We can no longer depend on the old certainties or on established working practices.

“The truth is that change is here to stay – and if we are to survive and prosper, as a sector and as individual businesses, we must not only embrace that change.

“We must actively lead it,” Mr Sneyd insisted.

And he went on to point out that B&ES had a wider duty than simply to serve the interests of its members.

“Throughout its 110-year history, our Association has stood for quality, for reliability, for responsibility and for professionalism,” he said.

It was no coincidence that it published so many of the specifications and good practice guides that had established quality standards for the sector – nor that a preference for B&ES membership was written into so many pre-qualification documents.

“And it is also no coincidence that we remain the only construction industry body that requires its members to undergo third-party competence assessment against a single set of rigorous criteria we ourselves developed, with input from the sector as a whole.”

He went on to say that nowadays B&ES was more than just a trade association.

“Today, we have an increasingly crucial role to play in supporting, educating and encouraging our members as they face the challenges posed by new technologies, the ever-growing demand for energy efficiency, and the quest for smarter working practices – perhaps best exemplified by the BIM revolution, in which the contracting sector has a pivotal role to play.”

Mr Sneyd went on to explain that, in his “day job” as head of design for Crown House Technologies – which operates as an integral part of the Laing O’Rourke group – he had learned that progress was seldom, if ever, the result of a single party to the construction process “going it alone”.

“True progress derives from cooperation, from collaboration and from partnerships formed by those who share a real commitment to continuous improvement, and a genuine desire to work better, smarter and more productively – to the benefit of all concerned.”

Engagement in a “reputable, representative and well-resourced association” – like B&ES – enabled such collaboration, amongst organisations, amongst companies and amongst individuals who shared a common vision, common aspirations and a common goal.

He acknowledged that many of today’s key issues – such as fair payment, early involvement in the construction process, skills shortages and raising awareness of the added value specialist contractors can deliver to their clients – were by no means new.

“But having been around for so long doesn’t make them any less serious, ­or finding solutions to them any less urgent – and they will remain high on the agenda during my term of office,” Mr Sneyd concluded.

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