Deputy London Mayor highlights importance of building services at BESA National Conference

BESA National Conference, London Plan, Shirley Rodrigues
Shirley Rodrigues

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) held its first annual conference in London on 19th October. Speaking at the conference, London’s deputy mayor for sustainability and energy, Shirley Rodrigues, outlined the new London Plan and said: “Buildings are critical to making London greener, and the work that BESA and its members are doing is vital to delivering that.”

Explaining the Plan, which is due to be available in draft form in Autumn, Rodrigues said that London is on a “Low carbon pathway”. She added that one of the key issues is the city’s vast numbers of existing buildings: “We need to tackle environmental and sustainability issues with our existing building stock. This means through refurbishment and retrofit. BESA is critical in helping to achieve that.”

Shirley Rodrigues also pointed to areas of building services such as “active cooling systems” which will be pushed further down the “cooling hierarchy” under the London Plan, which will also be focusing on natural refrigerants, where required.

One of the major issues for London is air quality, and the deputy mayor pointed out that £875 million has already been invested in trying to improve London’s currently poor record on that issue. IAQ is a topic very much at the forefront of BESA’s research, and the Association later highlighted its ‘Safe Haven’ approach to providing healthy indoor environments in offices and other non-dwellings as well as in homes.

BESA President Tim Hopkinson continued to emphasise that the building services sector needs to train more people in order to help deliver these sort of ambitious targets. This includes making the process of taking on apprentices, which many employers find challenging. Read our News Analysis on this topic.

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