Fife plumber Rab Fletcher has been elected as president of the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) for 2022/23.
Mr Fletcher, manager of the mechanical services team in Fife Council Building Services, succeeds Neil Brackenridge, who steered BESA through the pandemic during his two-year term.
The new president, who describes himself as “a time-served plumber”, brings more than 30 years’ experience in construction and building services engineering.
Addressing the BESA AGM in London, he said he was delighted to be the latest in a long line of presidents from a devolved nation, further strengthening BESA’s unique position as the only built environment trade body representing all four UK countries.
Mr Fletcher said: “Our enduring strength and influence depend on our ability to speak with a collective voice on behalf of the whole industry – and we are not afraid to speak truth to power wherever that power may sit.”
He added: “This association has a proud history and we its members are fortunate that we can call on the collective experience and expertise of members past and present. The BESA community has given us an amazing repository of technical know-how and business experience.
“This means we are well placed to navigate choppy waters – and it is always better to do that together, as part of a community of like-minded people and firms, rather than having to work out the best way forward on your own.”
Mr Fletcher is a passionate advocate of training and apprenticeships, and a former chairman of BESA Scotland. He was one of the founders of the BESA Local Authority Forum, which he continues to chair. This brings together representatives from every local council in Scotland to address key industry topics and find solutions to common problems. It attracts more than 500 attendees every year.
He has been working for the £130 million turnover building services division of Fife Council for 25 years, having started in a plumbing role before progressing through the ranks to supervisor and co-ordinator. He was promoted to team manager in 2012.
As team manager, he was initially responsible for delivering an annual £15 million program of more than 2,000 domestic heating installations for council tenants, and since 2017 he has overseen all the mechanical services in Fife Council’s 3,000 non-domestic properties.
The bulk of his £9 million installation and maintenance program is delivered by BESA member companies and includes the upgrading of commercial gas installations. It is a requirement of the council that firms tendering for its work packages are members of the association.
The new BESA president is also lead mentor for Fife Council Building Services mechanical apprentices, of which there are more than 30 working in plumbing/gas and mechanical disciplines. Several of the current group were taken on after being made redundant by private firms.
BESA chief executive David Frize said: “We are hugely grateful to Neil for his steadfast service through two unprecedented and extremely challenging years. His leadership helped to steer us through some tough times and means we can now look ahead with optimism.
“Rab has already given great support to members through his work as chair of BESA Scotland and the Local Authority Forum. The whole team are looking forward to working with him on several exciting projects over the next 12 months.”