“The BRE Group of companies delivered increased revenues of £54.1 million in 2017-2018, bringing a net profit of £2.1 million,” said chairman James Wates CBE when introducing the BRE Trust’s 21st Annual General Meeting and announcing the publication of the BRE’s Annual Review.
A registered charity, the Trust owns the BRE Group which provides the UK and international construction industries with products, standards and qualifications as well as research, testing and validation services. The funds generated from this work – and other funding gifts – are used by the BRE Trust on programmes to enhance the quality of the built environment for the benefit of all.
“The Trust has also continued to extend the contribution it makes to enhancing research and education,” added Wates, “and to play its part in ensuring that the BRE Group is a digitally-led global pioneer in the sphere of the built environment.”
The BRE Trust provides funding support for built environment research and dissemination projects, as well as awarding scholarships and bursaries to PhD students and providing financial support for the creation of new professorial and lecturer roles that, together, form the ‘BRE-Universities Partnership’.
Deborah Pullen, the executive director of the BRE Trust, reported: “In the last year, £923,000 has been awarded by the Trust to support research projects and university bursaries. This attracted nearly £2 million of additional cash and in-kind support from more than 70 partners across the public, private, charity and academic sectors.”
Diverse topics for investigation
The diverse topics investigated by projects this year have included the impact of biophilic design on the health and well-being of office workers, the potential of blockchain technology for built environment innovation and the use of multi-sensor detectors to reduce false fire alarms. Eleven new projects were started this year on issues ranging from the life-long health impacts of poor indoor air quality through to the resilience of buildings to natural disasters.
Addressing the AGM, BRE’s acting CEO Niall Trafford explained: “In 2017-2018, digital revenues accounted for more than 25% of our total revenues and more than 40% of these now come from outside of the UK, demonstrating that our focus on extending and enhancing the global relevance of our products and services is succeeding.”
Trafford continued: “A key enabler and conduit for us with our industry is the BRE Academy, which has continued to extend its international outreach in training over 2,000 students across 160 countries. We’ve launched our online learning platform – BRE.AC – in China, while new partnership agreements are in place in Malaysia, UAE, New Zealand and France. This year, we have also continued to upgrade our facilities and developed exciting plans for a new BRE Open Innovation Hub building at BRE Watford, which will strengthen our reputation as a national and international centre of built environment research.”