Fiona Cousins joins the #CIBSE125Challenges by sharing her building services icon
"The CIBSE 125 Challenges provide an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the people and technologies that have had an impact on our lives as engineers. Most of us have someone or something that inspired us and made us love building services and this is a great opportunity to celebrate them."
Considering her career to date, Fiona celebrates her building services icon, Mike Holmes.
“I worked with Mike Holmes when I first started at Arup and that first year laid the foundations for my career. At that time, Mike was working in the R&D part of Arup, developing a suite of programs for the analysis of buildings. I was assigned to work with him as a programmer, bug-tester and the chauffeur driver of the more complex analyses required by the design groups.
It was cutting edge work – translating an understanding of first principles building physics into programs that could be used by design engineers to guide decision making and advice on the ‘special spaces’ – lobbies, atria, ventilated facades – on projects.
I was a poor and reluctant programmer, and it was early days for the use of analytical software in the understanding of buildings physics problems, but Mike was a brilliant boss – guiding me through the miserable thickets of learning programming on the job with patience and humour – while inspiring an understanding of the mechanics of building thermal response.
Over the years I came to realize how much energy and effort he put into improving building physics understanding across the industry, arguing every technical point with peers and collaborators, inside and outside the firm, and contributing to the relevant CIBSE guides that form the underpinnings of UK technical practice. He also developed a robust approach to tracking how programs worked – for natural ventilation, the over-heating of highly-glazed spaces, and eventually building energy use – so that it was clear how they could be applied, and mentored junior engineer after junior engineer. His contributions are most obviously documented through technical journals and academic papers, based on work done while solving real project problems, and less obviously in the legacy of engineers across the industry who built our careers on what we learned from Mike. These include a whole generation of engineers.”
As part of CIBSE’s 125 Anniversary celebrations CIBSE President Kevin Mitchell launched the 5 challenges to encourage action, communication and collaboration. The challenges are designed to engage those who are new to our industry and raise our profile more widely and inspire people to join us from a wide range of backgrounds to ensure our industry reflects the communities we serve.
Get involved, share your experience, rise to the #CIBSE125Challenges
Share your #CIBSE125Challenges by engaging with one of the following:
Celebrate - your building services icon
Inspire - future engineers
Boost - development of an early years engineer
Share - your building services story
Engage - with your peers to share knowledge & fight climate change
If you would like more information about how to get involved or if you would like to share something for one of the challenges, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or download the brochure