Home>Fire>Legislation>Rachel Davidson appointed to key building safety-focused role at BESA

Rachel Davidson appointed to key building safety-focused role at BESA

13 November 2023

RACHEL DAVIDSON has been appointed to the new role of director of specialist knowledge at the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) with a particular focus on the Building Safety Act 2022 and its implications for BESA members, not to mention the wider specialist building services sector.

Davidson has worked at BESA for more than 30 years in a variety of roles, most recently as director of certification. Davidson also served as head of technical schemes and knowledge for ten years until 2013, and also as a Board director of Piper Insurance (the business providing critical illness cover for the building engineering industry).

BESA has now asked Davidson to bring her considerable experience and expertise to bear on what the organisation regards as the most important legislative development in a generation.  

The Building Safety Act 2022 will bring about “profound change to the UK’s construction and engineering professions”, asserts BESA, and lead to widespread ‘culture change’ in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster and the subsequent Public Inquiry process.

BESA CEO David Frise observed: “The Building Safety Act is just starting to make its presence felt. It represents a fundamental shift in the way building engineering companies will need to go about their business from now on. On that basis, the new senior role we’ve created is hugely important to the Association, its members and the wider building services community. There is considerable concern and confusion out there about the implications of the Act. It's increasingly clear that contractors desperately need a dedicated source of expert information and guidance.”

Crucial work

Davidson is delighted to be taking on this “crucial work”, which will involve building in-depth knowledge of the Building Safety Act and the secondary legislation that will be used to implement its measures. Now, Davidson will lead a dedicated in-house team. That team will produce advice, guidance and tools to help contractors understand and comply with the changes.

BESA is also setting up a Building Safety Act Advisory Group to support this initiative. This will include members from a variety of industry sectors and play a pivotal role in gathering diverse perspectives, all the while representing the concerns of the entire supply chain.

The unique insights afforded by the Building Safety Act Advisory Group will allow it to harness the depth of knowledge and expertise needed to explore the practical and operational implications of the legislation and examine some of the more theoretical aspects.

Of course, BESA already disseminates news and updates about the Building Safety Act via its online information hub and plans to considerably enhance that service with details specifically tailored for building services companies and individual engineers.

Competence in the sector

“It might take some time, but there’s no doubt that the Building Safety Act 2022 will bring about profound and positive change for our industry,” explained Davidson. “Changes that will go well beyond safety. It will introduce a much more rigorous focus on competence and compliance, underpinned by strict legal requirements to provide digital evidence and improve record keeping that will have implications for all aspects of our work.”

Further, Davidson explained: “However, to make this possible we need much better collaboration and communication between clients, designers and partners on site. Everyone must be aware and take ownership of their responsibilities. Central to the Building Safety Act is compliance with the Building Regulations and making sure organisations and individuals alike are competent to carry out their specific tasks.”

In conclusion, Davidson added: “When projects are approached in the right way, the outcomes should naturally support the required compliance standards.”

Davidson also pointed out that BESA already had several schemes and tools in place to help contractors meet the new demands and will continue to develop and expand these services as the impact of the legislation gathers pace.

*For more information about the Building Safety Act 2022 visit the BESA hub at www.thebesa.com/building-safety-act

**Additional detail concerning the work of BESA as an organisation can be accessed online at www.thebesa.com