David Frise, BESA's new chief executive.
He has been combining the roles of head of sustainability at BESA and chief executive of the construction fit-out body FIS for seven years. He takes over as chief executive of BESA with immediate effect, but will also continue in his role at the FIS for a short period to help manage the transition with his successor.
A former nuclear submariner, he left the Royal Navy to become managing director of a building engineering services contractor, which he described as a logical step.
Mr Frise said: “Submarines and buildings might look like two different worlds, but in the end it’s all plumbing. That doesn’t mean any of it is easy, but the basic engineering principles are the same and good quality building services firms – like BESA members – have a lot in common with the nuclear industry.
“We may not have the same profile, but should give ourselves a bit more credit. It will be part of my mission to impress on anyone who will listen that building engineering has a vital social and economic role to play by helping to deliver a top quality built environment.”
Mr Frise is a frequent speaker on a range of industry topics, including energy efficiency, system integration, government policy and the ‘performance gap’ in buildings.
BESA president Tim Hopkinson said: “We are delighted to have secured David’s services. He is a well-known and respected industry figure, who brings enormous experience to the role. He also brings vital continuity, as an existing senior member of staff and former managing director of a member company, along with a fresh perspective thanks to his time leading the FIS.”
The BESA Board gave unanimous backing to the appointment, stating that Mr Frise had the required track record and the necessary political, technical and management qualities.
Mr Hopkinson added: “It was clear from the start that David was the charismatic leader we had been looking for. He is the right man to represent our Association at all levels and to build on its heritage and profile.”
Mr Frise said his key priorities will include stepping up the Association’s already substantial role as a leading provider of technical standards and guidance. This will be delivered by working with BESA members and in collaboration with other stakeholder sector bodies to make sure all technical output was “world class, relevant and cutting edge”.
He added that training will be another priority, so that member companies can access the skills they need to support technical developments.
“I want to build a community where BESA members can flourish,” said Mr Frise. “This involves providing commercial and legal support for their businesses, making sure their views and needs are represented at central and local government level, and helping them to recruit and train a new generation of engineers equipped to operate in the modern built environment.”