Building Engineering Services Association

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), until 2012 the Heating and Ventilating Contractors' Association, is the main UK trade association for companies that design, install, commission and maintain heating, ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration (HVACR) and related engineering projects.

Building Engineering Services Association (formerly the HVCA)
TypeTrade association
Legal statusNon-profit company
PurposeBuilding Engineering Services industry in the UK
HeadquartersRotherwick House, 3 Thomas More St, London E1W 1YZ
Region served
United Kingdom
UK building engineering services companies
Chief Executive
David Frise[1]
AffiliationsGCP Europe


The association has undergone several name changes since it was initially founded in 1904.

It was originally the National Association of Master Heating & Domestic Engineers and was intended to represent the commercial interests of engineering contractors rather than individual engineers, who, since 1897 had been able to join the Institution of Heating & Ventilating Engineers (today CIBSE).[2] Following a series of industrial disputes with employers, the contractors body was established in January 1904, and held its first official meeting in March, and its first council meeting on 14 June 1904. Fourteen founder members were joined by six further companies at that meeting.[2]

In 1927 it was renamed the National Association of Heating, Ventilating & Domestic Engineering Employers,[3] which was instrumental in helping create the first industry training scheme for heating and ventilation engineers at Borough Polytechnic, now London South Bank University, in 1947.[4]

In 1963, the association became the Heating and Ventilating Contractors' Association.[3] In 2012, it had almost 1400 company members throughout the UK.[5]

It changed its name to the Building and Engineering Services Association (B&ES) on 1 March 2012.[6] In January 2016, it amended its name slightly to the Building Engineering Services Association, dropping the ampersand from both its name and acronym (now BESA).[7]

In September 2017, BESA announced it was restructuring its organisation with an increased focus on training, legal and commercial support. As a result, up to 12 staff were being consulted about redundancy.[8][9]

Until November 2017, the BESA head office was in Hammersmith, West London. It moved to offices in an 'industry hub' in St Katharine Docks, near London's Tower Bridge on 6 November.[10]

Function and activities

As an employers' association,[11] it negotiates benefits and conditions for employees in the sector in a National Agreement with Unite the Union.[12]

The BESA provides quality assurance services, promotes excellence and seeks to shape the commercial environment in which its members operate through representation and leadership; it has submitted written evidence to the UK Parliament on matters including industry training[13] and university skills provision,[14] health and safety,[15] and energy and climate change.

It provides technical support services tailored to particular industry specialisms[16] which include: standards for ductwork (e.g. DSP DW/144, first published in 1997, and cited in Building Regulations)[17][18] and ductwork cleaning (e.g. B&ES TR/19), heating and plumbing services,[19] refrigeration and air conditioning,[20] and service and facilities.[21]

Its members are subject to regular, third-party inspection and assessment to ensure technical and commercial competence.[22]

Industry role

The BESA is a member of the Specialist Engineering Contractors Group (SEC Group), which is represented on the Strategic Forum for Construction; it also represents the views of its members as a trade association member of Build UK.[23]

Internationally, the BESA is a member of GCP Europe, the European umbrella body for the HVACR and plumbing sectors,[24] and of CEETB (European Technical Contractors Committee for the Construction Industry), which represents all engineering specialists across Europe's construction sector.[25]

Subsidiary companies

The BESA has a number of subsidiary businesses that provide benefits and services to their members and businesses in their sector. These include Welplan Ltd[26] (a pension and Employee benefit administrator), Engineering Services Skillcard Ltd (which issues smart cards[27] certifying the competence levels of individuals),[28] REFCOM Ltd (a registration scheme for companies working with F-Gas refrigerants[29] as regulated by the F-gas Regulation (EC) No 842/2006),[30] SFG20[31] (an online software tool[32] which provides building maintenance standards), and BESA Training (an apprenticeship training organisation) formerly branded as BEST.[33]


  1. "New chief exec for BESA". The Construction Index. 19 March 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  2. "Born in controversy — Representing interests (1904 to 1929)". Modern Building Services. 1 June 2004. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  3. Judd, Blane (1 March 2012). "Building for the future". Modern Building Services. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  4. "National College for Heating, Ventilating, Refrigeration and Fan Engineering". Archives Hub. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  5. Form AR27: Annual return for an employers' association, dated 29 February 2012. Retrieved: 3 February 2016
  6. "HVCA Membership approves name change". Heating, Ventilation & Plumbing Magazine. 14 December 2011. Retrieved 2015-06-06.
  7. "B&ES becomes BESA". Cooling Post. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
  8. "Jobs axed in trade association revamp". The Construction Index. 27 September 2017. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  9. Prior, Grant (26 September 2017). "BESA trade body cuts staff during restructure". Construction Enquirer. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  10. "BESA moves into "industry hub"". Cooling Post. 7 November 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  11. "Public List of Employers Associations". UK Government. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
  12. "Wage Agreement" (PDF). Unite the Union. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-12-20. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
  13. "Written evidence submitted by the Heating and Ventilating Contractors' Association (HVCA), 10 February 2012". Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  14. "Engineering: turning ideas into reality - Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee - Memorandum 61 Submission from the Heating and Ventilating Contractors' Association (HVCA)". Parliament UK. Archived from the original on 3 February 2016. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  15. "Select Committee on Work and Pensions Written Evidence from HVCA (13 February 2004)". Parliament UK. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  16. "BESA Boosts Technical Expertise". The Construction Enquirer. Retrieved 2016-02-02.
  17. "DSP DW/144 Specification for sheet metal ductwork: low, medium and high pressure/velocity air systems (Appendix M revision 2002) (No longer current but cited in Building Regulations)". NBS. NBS. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  18. "B&ES release DW/144". RAC (Refrigeration and Air Conditioning) Magazine. 2 December 2014. Retrieved 2016-02-02.
  19. "B&ES supports renewable heat skills and training". H&V News. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
  20. "B&ES Specialist Groups". Ceilite Airconditioning Limited. Archived from the original on 2016-01-20. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
  21. "SFG20 Standard Maintenance Specification for Building Services (B&ES)". CIBSE. Archived from the original on 2016-02-11. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
  22. "Building & engineering services assessment". Exova BM Trada. Archived from the original on 2016-02-01. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
  23. "Members list". Build UK. Retrieved 2016-01-25.
  24. GCP Europe Members (Website - accessed 2 Feb 2016)
  25. About BESA Archived 2016-01-29 at the Wayback Machine (Website - accessed 1 March 2012)
  26. "Welplan pensions gains independent accreditation". HVP Magazine. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  27. "Skillscard going smart". CSCS. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  28. "B&ES Member receives first smart skillcard". Heating and Ventilation Review. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  29. "Refcom reassures sector over new F-Gas qualifications". RAC News. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  30. F-gas Regulation (EC) No 842/2006
  31. "SFG20 Standard Maintenance Specification for Building Services (B&ES)". CIBSE. Archived from the original on 2016-02-11. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  32. "SFG 20 goes online". Modern Building Services. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  33. "BEST renames as BESA Training". Cooling Post. Retrieved 2016-08-08.
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