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Collaboration message dominates sell-out CIBSE symposium

The first day of the 6th annual Technical Symposium, were dominated by the need for engineers to work together in order to drive building performance.

Organised by the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineer (CIBSE), for a sold out audience of industry professionals at Edinburgh's Heriot-Watt University, 51 speakers presented sessions from on a variety of topics from case studies to academic papers, on the theme of 'Integration for whole life building performance'.

A number of speakers demonstrated the benefits of collaboration, ranging  from improving the process of design to shaping the environmental policies of whole countries. The opening Keynote by Wim Zeiler, of Eindhoven University of Technology, challenged delegates to think "inside the box", describing how engineers can balance the creative design process with structure by working more closely with Architects.

Later presentations extended the aims of collaboration to working with occupants and the natural world. William Wright of BRE noted the potential of consulting occupants from early design to the end of a building's life, incorporating occupant behaviour into the design in order to boost efficiency. This was coupled with a greater appreciation for the role of natural means to cool buildings, working with other professions to use trees and bodies of water to mitigate heat islands.

Nick Mead, President of CIBSE a, said "The Technical Symposium is our chance to think big as engineers, pose the difficult questions and make radical proposals. That's what makes it such an exciting event to attend, both as a speaker and as a delegate, and so valuable for the industry.

"What we heard today was particularly exciting because it's change brewing from within, not a new idea or technology from outside. By committing to working together both in terms of practical projects and sharing knowledge, we are tapping into unused potential that has the ability to bring building performance forward in leaps and bounds."

The CIBSE Technical Symposium is an annual event in which speakers present on topics around a theme that can range from PowerPoint presentations to published academic papers. Anyone can submit a topic for consideration, which will then be assessed by a panel of judges to determine its suitability.

As well as the sessions listed, the Symposium also included the following highlights:

  • Jonathan Hines of Architype introduced a series of case studies that demonstrated the effectiveness of Passivhaus in reducing the energy usage of a number of schools by as much as 70%
  • A lively debate between panellists including former CIBSE president George Adams on the topic "Putting our head above the parapet is impossible with the present industry structure".
  • A presentation by Ian Van Eerden of Northrop Consulting Engineers and Paul Angus of Erbas on the Australian building performance scheme NABERS, demonstrating how it works and how it's lessons could be applied to improve operational building performance in the UK.

Selected papers from the Symposium will be available to download shortly from and you can follow day two live on Twitter through @CIBSE and #CIBSEsymposium.