“The BRE Group of companies delivered increased revenues of £54.1m in 2017/18, bringing a net profit of £2.1m,” said James Wates CBE, Chairman of the BRE Trust, when introducing the Trust’s 21st Annual General Meeting and the publication of the BRE Annual Review on 4 October 2018.
A registered charity, the Trust owns the BRE Group which provides the UK and international construction industries with products, standards and qualifications, and 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,” said James Wates, “and to play its part in ensuring that the BRE Group is a digitally led, global leader in 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 professor and lecturer roles that together form the ‘BRE-Universities Partnership’.
Deborah Pullen, the executive Director of the BRE Trust reported that, “In the last year, £923k has been awarded by the Trust to support research projects and university bursaries. This attracted nearly £2m of additional cash and in-kind support from more than 70 partners from the public, private, charity and academic sectors.”
The diverse topics investigated by projects this year included the impact of biophilic design on the health and wellbeing 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, to the resilience of buildings to natural disasters.
Addressing the AGM, BRE’s Acting CEO Niall Trafford reported, “In 2017/18, 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.
“A key enabler and conduit for us with our industry is the BRE Academy,” he said, “which has continued to extend its international outreach, training over 2,000 students across 160 countries. We have launched our online learning platform – BRE.AC – in China, and new partnership agreements are in place in Malaysia, UAE, New Zealand and France.
“This year we have also continued to upgrade our facilities and have 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.”