Two of the key individuals behind the Building Safety Act, Dame Judith Hackitt and Dr Hywel Davies, were awarded Honorary Fellowships to CIBSE in recognition of their lifetime contribution to the construction and building industries.
The Honorary Fellowships are the highest accolades that can be presented to non-CIBSE members and are only awarded to individuals whose contribution is seen as exceptional.
For Dr Hywel Davies, the Fellowship is all the more remarkable for being the first that has been awarded to a serving member of CIBSE staff. Dr Davies became Technical Director of the organisation in 2007, following over a decade working for the Building Research Establishment and another ten years as an independent consultant, developing a profound understanding of building engineering and the management of public policy on construction standards.
Hywel’s primary role revolves around offering technical expertise to the UK government and devolved nations on consultations and regulations. He gained wide recognition for his exceptional understanding of the Building Regulations – expertise which positioned him to spearhead the expert group responsible for reviewing the use and structure of the Approved Documents following the Grenfell tragedy.
Dr Davies’ technical knowledge again proved invaluable following the emergence of COVID-19. During the early stages of the pandemic, he advised on various aspects of the pandemic response and co-ordinated the advice and guidance on “emerging from lockdown”. Guidance notes that have now been downloaded over 60,000 times and are recognized across the world.
He continues to contribute his technical knowledge to a range of regulatory and advisory bodies within the built environment, both within the UK and internationally, making him an unparalleled force in the field and a true champion of CIBSE’s core values.
With a background in chemical engineering, Dame Judith Hackitt is a former chair of both the UK Health and Safety Executive and the manufacturing trade body MAKE UK. She has also served as President of the Institution of Chemical Engineers and is a Fellow and Trustee of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Dame Judith became widely known in the construction sector when she was appointed to lead the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, commissioned by the Government in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. Her final report, Building a Safer Future, published in 2018, formed the basis for the fundamental and systemic reform of building safety legislation introduced through the Fire Safety Act 2021 and the Building Safety Act 2022 and the creation of a Building Safety Regulator to oversee the reformed building control system in England.
These legislative changes and the secondary legislation which they enable, and which are already being introduced, constitute the most radical and fundamental reform of the oversight and regulation of building work in England since the Second World War.
The significance and impact of Dame Judith Hackitt’s work is undeniable. She is exemplar in her approach to best practice and is pivotal in driving the urgent cultural change needed within the construction sector.
The Fellowships were awarded to both recipients by CIBSE President Adrian Catchpole at an event attended by CIBSE members and patrons in London on 27 July.