Come back Building Services - All is forgiven

A lack of brand recognition doesn't detract from the industry's importance

As we move towards September, those of us who are old hands in this industry will be girding our loins for the plethora of exhibitions, conferences and seminars that are heading our way. Flat shoes and plenty of coffee are generally called for.

Events have come and gone over the years, and it’s interesting to consider the current crop. We have Ecobuild; the Energy Event; Sustainability Live; Energy Management Exhibition; the Renewables Event; FutureBuild…

Is it me, or has building services become the sector that dare not speak its name? It seems that we are all looking at saving energy and using renewables, but poor old building services has been stuffed at the back of the cupboard behind the other more exciting topics.

Although energy is clearly an important business issue for the whole construction sector, and the clients who use its services, I wonder if moving away from the ‘basics’ to this extent is a good thing. Have we lost sight of what really counts – good design; effective installation and a robust maintenance regime for areas of the building that use all the energy: heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting…

There is still enough anecdotal evidence out there to show that basic mistakes or poor installation are still happening far too often. Some of this has in part been driven by the need to seem ‘green’. Inappropriate technologies that just don’t work have been installed to meet tick-box planning criteria.

And as for poor installation, well there has been a tough recession so perhaps training has fallen away in recent years. But now is the time to ensure that those involved in building services are trained in building services, not just the latest energy efficiency incentive schemes.

Energy efficiency and sustainability are important to our sector, but they don’t happen instead of good building services – they happen because of it.

Karen Fletcher is Director of Keystone Communications.

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