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New BEAMA chief braces for Brexit and low carbon agenda upheaval

Patrick Caiger-Smith says group’s members face unprecedented rate of change as it considers how best to try and influence government policy on issues such as low carbon innovation

Mr Caiger-Smith, co-founder of the energy monitoring systems supplier GEO, is described as the first entrepreneur to head up BEAMA’s operations. His appointment comes at a time where the group’s members are facing up to the low carbon agenda and the impacts of the UK’s exit from the EU on their operations.

He said that while cleaner and energy efficient technologies will be increasing valuable, the availability of connected technologies such as refrigeration devices will also raise a host of challenges such as preparing for the incoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). GDPR comes into effect later this year and will put new requirements in place on how personal information is used and stored by smart technologies. Another important consideration will be on Building Information Modelling (BIM) requirements and how building projects are planned, designed and implemented.

Mr Caiger-Smith added, “New regulation, such as GDPR (and others, such as BIM), will have a big impact on any building service company, especially those with cloud connected systems.”

“BEAMA’s agenda for the coming period is focused on helping members navigate these forthcoming changes with visionary work. This includes the new paper on Market Design for Flexible Energy Systems, which identifies the role that technology can play and proposes market structures that will allow it to be successful. Similarly, with GDPR and BIM, there are projects underway to help members understand the impact and coordinate industry action where necessary.”

Mr Caiger-Smith said that BEAMA was heavily focused at present around helping shape government policy around meeting its economic and environmental goals with three core initiatives identified. These focuses include backing product compliance and the use of quality marked design and installation as part of a sector-wide initiative focused on the government’s new Industrial Strategy. BEAMA will also aim to push forward a residential energy efficiency programme.

Mr Caiger-Smith said it was clear that the government preferred to allow relevant industry to take the lead on devising sector strategies, with BEAMA looking to work closely with other trade organisations to help influence key issues.

He said, “Of course, nowhere is industry knowledge and influence more important than in relation to Brexit, and this is where BEAMA has initiated, and is leading, a multi-sector task-force advising the UK government in the forthcoming trade agreement negotiations.

“This is a hugely ambitious and influential agenda – an exceptional response to exceptional times.”

The new BEAMA president, who previously served as vice president for the organisation, said that his experience as both an engineer and the chief executive of GEO had given him significant experience in leading building service companies and understanding the changing role of technology in construction.

He added, “My current business is about deploying smart home technology at scale. Much of what is needed for this particular emerging sector derives from sophisticated control systems from commercial applications, though utilising cost-effective computing and cloud connectivity to aggregate demand and control across the housing stock. This is a fascinating area that excites me and is where new ways of thinking are essential.”

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