This conference was held at UCL and was attended by more than 110 people. Feedback (from more than 70 people) indicated that it was a great success and generated considerable interest and enthusiasm.
Prior to the conference the first meetings of all six Technical Working Groups (TWGs) were held, attended altogether by 71 people from our membership.The feedback on the groups was also good, indicating that nearly everyone found them both informative and useful. Reports and future plans for all TWGs will be available on theUKCMB TWG Sharepoint for members. If you would like to join a TWG or be a corresponding member, please contact Valentina Marincioni. More news about the TWGs in the next newsletter!
Feedback on membership fees:
At the conference Neil May explained that it could be beneficial for the UKCMB to have a regular source of income to cover overheads, development, communications, policy work and to provide more financial independence. It can also a good way of ensuring “buy in” from members and excluding time wasters and hostile interests.
However he also noted that there could be downsides to membership fees, such as the exclusion of certain members and organisations (who found it difficult to pay fees for whatever reason), the increasing obligations on UKCMB to manage membership and the loss of some goodwill from members currently giving their time and expertise for free.
Neil outlined several options for membership which were reproduced on the feedback forms. On analysis these forms produced a mixed response. The UKCMB management team discussed this mixed feedback at some length and have decided, for the time being, not to proceed with any kind of membership fee. Instead we will develop a membership charter which lays out the ethos and expectations of membership to new and existing members (thereby in rare cases giving us the ability to exclude members who do not hold to the ethos of the organisation or who cause unwarranted difficulties for management or other members).
In particular the UKCMB management felt that there is so much goodwill in our membership, and so many offers of help in different ways (such as access to data and research, willingness to help with organisation, policy work and communications, as well as funding support for projects and programmes) that it would be counter-productive to start charging people for their involvement. This has also led us to seek to engage more actively with members and collaborate with partners from different fields of work and institutions.
Peter Rickaby, who is leading this area for UKCMB, gave a talk outlining our plans for training and again we asked a number of questions in the feedback forms, particularly about interest in attending training, interest in being a trainer or hosting training sessions, the proposed content of the two courses (the first a two day CPD and the second a 5 week professional training course) and the market for moisture training and qualifications.
The feedback was as follows:
There was a lot of interest in both attending training and in helping to run training courses. This was encouraging. On the whole the proposed content of the courses was considered good, although there was concern that a two day CPD course might be too long. Suggestions that the first day of this course might be on-line are now being followed up.
The main concerns were whether there was a sufficient market for the moisture courses, particularly the longer course. Many people considered that this needs to be driven by standards and legislation in order for it to get real traction and have the impact it deserves.
UKCMB will be focusing on getting the drivers in place as well as developing the course. Many people considered that a formal certification from an established body is essential for the longer course.
The MIMA sponsored video was much appreciated by almost everyone. We will make a renewed effort to get this placed on or linked from relevant NGO and government websites.
Please contact UKCMB if your organisation is interested in disseminating this video.
The tool also generated a lot of interest, and several members offered to test it out. Many comments indicated that there should be more options for some of the questions, in order to enable more differentiation of contexts and conditions. We are currently awaiting further support from our sponsors to enable these and other suggested changes to be implemented. We will follow this up in future newsletters and directly with those who have offered their support.
There was considerable interest in the two research projects on Health and Moisture in Buildings (sponsored by Saint Gobain) and Mould Testing and Benchmarking (sponsored by Polygon UK and further funded by EPSRC Impact Acceleration Award). The second project is featured below in this newsletter. The first project on health and moisture is now being developed further by the UKCMB and there is a good possibility of collaboration with medical researchers. Watch this space!