UK: Mark Farmer, who led the hard hitting Farmer Review of the UK Construction Labour Model will deliver a keynote address at the BESA National Conference next month.

He will be joined on the speakers’ rostrum by the BBC’s “Business Doctor” Dr Paul T Thomas and the deputy Mayor of London Shirley Rodrigues, who will debate important changes to the capital’s planning laws and environmental strategy.

The full day event at London’s Park Plaza Riverbank hotel on October 19 will focus heavily on how companies in the building engineering sector can achieve technical compliance and business efficiency to meet the many commercial challenges they now face.

A key element of the conference will look at the likely impact on the refrigeration and air conditioning sector of the growing popularity of heat pumps and a rapid shift in the use of refrigerant gases as a result of the F Gas phase down of HFCs. The conference’s strong technical content will also cover indoor air quality and district heating. Leading authorities on mental health, diversity and training funding will also address the conference and offer practical support.

Mr Farmer pulled no punches in his review, which he carried out on behalf of the Construction Leadership Council. In it, he established that many of the industry’s problems could be traced to poor profitability that, in turn, starve employers of investment in skills and innovation.

The BESA conference will be a rare opportunity to discuss the report’s findings with its author and establish how the building engineering sector is responding by developing new models to manage projects more effectively – including the wider use of digital processes.

The technical sessions will consider how buildings can be turned into ‘safe havens’ from rising air pollution and how to make district heating schemes more efficient.

There will also be a series of seminars led by the Association’s commercial and legal team offering tailored advice on day-to-day contractual issues, late payment and staff engagement.

As well as the busy conference programme, there will be an exhibition of innovative products and services drawn from across the industry. The event will conclude with a black tie awards dinner celebrating the best of the sector’s national apprenticeship talent and announcing BESA’s annual management and Contractor of the Year awards.

For more information and to register for the BESA National Conference and Awards go to www.thebesaconference.com.