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05 December 2007


IF Kite

This isn't a new idea, I think the proposal to change the name of Services Engineers has been around since the mid-nineties.

Architectural Engineer, Sustainability Engineer, Building Systems Engineer, M&E Engineer have all been proposed.

The sector does not lack vision but, unfortunately, consensus. Hopefully David Strong's work with the UKGBC will help him push through further reforms to the industry.


I wonder if the plan includes training for BS engineers? (pun not intended)

For example, most of the BS engineers I have talked to know nothing of Agenda 21, or the Millennium Development Goals, or sustainability assessment.

I feel there needs to be some form of standard or certification associated with any such move; particularly as it is now so hard to meet government standards anyway (Part L and the ones you mention).

Simply allowing the word to be stuck on the end of current practice is not good enough if sustainability is to continue to be about moving beyond compliance to achieving best practice and "raising the bar".

IF Kite

@ Matthew

It's hard to meet Part L? Would that explain the highly glazed facades that still seem to be erected post 2006?

You should have a look at Swedish, German or Canadian building regs if you think what we do in this country is hard.

And as far as a standard or certification to be met the CIBSE Low Carbon Consultants Register has been in place for over a year now.


I don't understand your facades point?


I'll anticipate, as I am genuinely interested in a response but won't be back until tomorrow.

You obviously know more about building regs than I do. I wonder if you think lvl6 C4SH is so easy?

My point is that to reduce sustainability to CO2 emissions, then to change Building Services Engineer to Sustainability Engineer (while doing what they do anyway) is to add insult to injury.

Of the >150 indicators in Arup's Sustainable Project Appraisal Routine, CO2 is not mentioned. Of course, it can be modified to include it, but then it becomes 1 indicator in >150, or even only part of one indicator.

You cannot engineer sustainability.

The planet has already shown remarkable ability to sustain life, precisely because of CO2 and the so-called "greenhouse effect". (Combined of course with the proximity of the moon and jupiter, but that's another matter!)

IF Kite


You mistake the CFSH for Part L. They are not the same thing though CFSH does include for improvements upon the shoddy statutory minimum; Part L.

And if you read Part L it doesn't just deal with dwellings hence the facades point.

I agree that sustainability is much more than CO2 emissions or energy but to continue with your notion that CO2 isn't a big issue just depresses me:

'Man from Internet in Climate Change Denial Shocker'

I really thought the tipping point had been reached and we had got past this diversionary debate.

I believe engineers are the best placed people to reduce emissions from buildings, even if their scope is limited to do anything else they should focus on this and strive forward.


The problem with the name change is that everyone has a different idea about what "environmental engineer" or "sustainability engineer" actually means. When I handed my card to a structural engineer recently he had no idea what a "consulting environmental engineer" was and I had to explain that actually I was a building services engineer. He thought I was a Part L consultant.

And of course you can engineer sustainability; it's just measuring it that's the problem. That doesn't mean don't bother.


Back sooner than I thought, and pleasantly surprised - all good points, thank you.

Kite, I'm not confusing the two in my mind, but perhaps in the wording of my comments. Discussions had lead me to believe Part L was complicated, confusing and difficult to achieve, but I am not an expert. (I am still not sure about the facades comment...?! sorry)

On the CO2 issue, it is true that CO2 has a warming effect ("greenhouse effect" is a misnomer). The effects of any human-induced warming however are not known: a consensus has emerged but this is highly politically charged, and is in my opinion linked to global governance structures and imperialism.

Humans emit ~26 billion tonnes of CO2 per year, of which the UK contributes 2%; nature herself pumps out 220 billion tonnes pa.

I say, don't believe the hype! Energy efficiency is common sense, and 'sustainable', but I have not seen anything to convince me that CO2 is the problem we are being told it is, and I have been looking for a while now.

Believe me I would like to be convinced - I was until I started digging around a few months ago.


"Believe me I would like to be convinced - I was until I started digging around a few months ago"

Hence looking for good sites to discuss sustainability with real people!

mel starrs

Blimey, it's busy here! Anyway, I'll through in my thoughts about Phil's original post. I've been calling myself a 'sustainability consultant' for the past couple of years, but am sure to keep my chartered engineer initials on my card, in case anyone were to mistake me for a geography graduate ;0) as many environmental consultants seem to be.

I quite like the 'sustainability engineer' moniker - I might start using that - and of course BS Engineers shouldn't be precious about losing the old title - most of the general public don't know what one is anyway...


I think "Sustainable Building Engineer" is more appropriate, but reckon I may be outnumbered ;)

Speaking of which, is anyone going to SB08?

Phil Clark

It would be a bit rude of me not to join in after such a long and interesting thread.
I'm meeting David Strong next week so will find out whether his idea has any legs and will of course keep all you interested, and interesting, posters informed.

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