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 B&ES’ annual general meeting.

“We can no longer depend on the old certainties or on established working practices. The truth is that change is here and if we are to survive and prosper, as a sector and as individual businesses, we must not only embrace that change – we must also actively lead it.”

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

“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 the result of a single party ‘going it alone’.

“True progress derives from co-operation, collaboration and 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,” Mr Sneyd explained.

Speaking as “the first officer of the Association to have served exclusively in the B&ES era”, 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.

“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.