The benefits of being a CIBSE member are for everyone

The president of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers, DONALD LEEPER, and its president–elect, DAVID HUGHES, are so enthusiastic about the benefits of CIBSE membership that they want more people to enjoy them and bring their expertise to the cause of better serviced buildings and addressing the environmental issues associated with buildings.There are thousands of people out there with an involvement in building-services engineering who would benefit from becoming a member of CIBSE, the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers — and many of them are readers of Modern Building Services. Not only would membership provide access to a wide range of information to help them perform their jobs better, it would also enable them to develop their expertise and improve their performance through approaches such as CPD (continuing professional development). Simple first step Taking the first step is simple, for CIBSE has an affiliate grade of membership aimed at everyone having an interest in the promotion of building-services engineering. This is a low-cost level of membership (£85), but it immediately brings many practical benefits such as discounts on publications, training and events and opportunities to network with professionals from building services, engineering and energy. CIBSE has made it very easy to become an affiliate member. On the web site ( there is a link towards the right of the home page to an online registration form. There is also information on all other grades of membership. The image that CIBSE is an institution for consulting engineers is long out of date explains its president Donald Leeper. Inclusive The membership policy that CIBSE has been developing for some years is an ‘inclusive’ one. Earlier this year, the then president Graham Manly said, ‘CIBSE is for the whole engineering sector. We are inclusive and welcome all people involved in servicing buildings.’ Behind his comments was a near-2000 increase in the institution’s membership since the beginning of 2004 — taking it to a record high of over 17 000.   Donald Leeper acknowledges that ‘it takes a generation to change a reputation’ but stresses that CIBSE now provides entry for a network of professionals who are employed throughout construction and engineering. Their roles embrace consulting, contracting, manufacture, facilities management, research and teaching in universities and colleges. No matter what their role in whatever part of the industry, those joining CIBSE as members will have access to vast resources of enthusiasm in a sector that continues to grow.   ‘The broadened membership initiative is aimed at all those with an interest in building services, including those who do not have an academic background. We also want to embrace a much greater fraternity of those involved in areas such as controls, facilities management, security, façade engineering etc.’ says Donald Leeper. He continues, ‘Not many professional areas can say that they are expanding. Our profession is exciting and in expansive mode.’ He attributes this positive scenario to the vital contribution of building services to improving many of they key issues society now faces. Donald Leeper explains, ‘Other professions need our input to help them respond to issues such as reducing carbon emissions, energy control and sustainability. There has never been a greater opportunity for CIBSE and its members. If the world is to be saved, it is down to us — and we have the means to deliver. ‘Governments look only four to five years ahead, but dealing with these issues requires a much longer-term perspective. Responsible engineering organisations like CIBSE have to provide that long-term perspective — looking up to a hundred years ahead. Institutions have a duty of care to develop ideas, but all manner of people are needed to apply those ideas for maximum effect.’ Develop CIBSE also works with its members to help them develop professionally. The institution is licensed by ECUK, and appropriately qualified members are encourage to register as a Chartered Engineer, Incorporated Engineer or Engineering Technician. Those without the academic qualification required for becoming a Chartered Engineer, can be mentored through other routes to achieving chartered status. Donald Leeper explains that the institution has been developing competency-based criteria for membership to augment the traditional criteria of academic qualifications. This is the key to CIBSE’s plans to expand its membership and be more representative of people with technical expertise working within building services. He says, ‘The broadening of CIBSE’s membership policy reflects increasing awareness that any one us is only part of the chain of people and knowledge that is needed to produce a building. We are becoming more aware that we are mutually interdependent.’ David Hughes, president elect of CIBSE, points to the wide range of technical publications as an immediate benefit of membership. These publications are generally offered at half-price to members, and they have long been accepted technical standards in the building-services industry. Real strength He says, ‘The publications we offer are a real strength. Other institutions are envious of the quality and range of the publications we offer. These technical publications are a very tangible benefit of membership. Members enjoy being able to receive publications.’ Donald Leeper elaborates. ‘Probably more than any other institution in the UK, we are taking the gathering the latest thinking and research and development, subjecting it to peer review by the finest practitioners in the industry, distilling that information and making it available to members.’ The latest development is the ‘knowledge series’. These publications are aimed at the user end of the industry, such as facilities managers, to provide them with direct and accessible guidance from key subject overviews to implementing practical solutions. Among early titles in this series are ‘Managing your building services’ and ‘Reclaimed water’. Donald Leeper describes the knowledge series as ‘lovely, succinct pieces of information that are complementary to the higher-level publications of the industry, helping to break down communication barriers’. In fewer than 30 pages, ‘Managing building services’ considers the technical features of building services and the managerial aspects of their operation and maintenance. Its scope includes compliance with legislation and other regulatory requirements placed on the facilities manager. ‘Reclaimed water’ provides an overview of how to reclaim and use rainwater and grey water for a range of non-potable purposes that typically account for 40 to 60% of water consumption in UK buildings. ‘The route to competence in everything you do’ is the message from CIBSE about the benefits of membership. Specialists are competent in their area of expertise, but every day they are presented with tasks in which they are not expert. That is when the resources of CIBSE become invaluable. Much more information about CIBSE membership is available on the web site address below.
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