An interview with – CIBSE Certification – Kieran O’Brien

Kieran is the new Director of Certification for CIBSE Certification Ltd (CCL) having previously worked in other Certification Bodies including TÜV Rhineland, Bureau Veritas, LRQA, BASEC before joining CIBSE Certification in November 2023. 

Kieran’s expertise extends across an array of product and management systems including ISO 17021, ISO 17065, ISO 17025, ISO 9001, ISO 45001, and ISO 14001.

He has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Limerick, an MBA from Aston Business School, and a Diploma in Corporate from the Chartered Accountants Ireland.

We sat down with Kieran to talk about his vision for CIBSE Certification noting their Quality Management, Compliance & Training Company of the Year award at the National Energy efficiency Awards in 2023. 

Q) Having been in the TIC industry for many years, what have you most enjoyed? 

I have worked in organisations undertaking product testing and certification, auditing, and certifying systems internationally across the certification sector and enjoyed learning about new standards, collaborating with new people, and visiting various organisations. One of my ex-colleagues described my role as “industrial tourism” where you learn about innovative new products, systems, processes, and visit new countries, all while doing your day job. Not being able to share these experiences with friends and family, due to confidentiality constraints is a small price to pay for such a privilege.

Q) How important is the role of management systems to organisations in today’s market? 

Very Important, it is essential that organisations understand stakeholder expectations, regulatory obligations and their operational goals consider these drivers, and are communicated to all workers. Likewise, the organisations need competent and motivated people to help achieve their objectives, and to adopt the Plan, Do, Check, and Act processes as their mantra. These are the basis for many modern management system standards, a solid framework accepted internationally as a basis for organisations to achieve success, and ensure customer satisfaction, workers’ safety, and legal compliance.

Q) As the new director of CIBSE Certification, what is your vision for the business?

I see CCL’s vision as delivering expert personal, management and embodied carbon certification services to customers across the Business Services sector while helping support and fund CIBSE’s charitable mission.

There is growing demand for sector knowledgeable, and competent persons in the Building Services sector, and our USP is our brand name, our capabilities, and expertise while been driven by CIBSE’s charitable goals.

Q) The business offers certification of management systems ISO9001, ISO14001, ISO45001 and ISO50001. Are you planning to gain accreditation to any other standards? 

Credibility is extremely important in our Industry, and being part of the CIBSE group is a huge benefit for CIBSE Certification. We are already accredited by UKAS for multiple standards, and accreditation helps assure customers that we are working to recognised standards, and that our governance is robust. It also ensures that we stand apart from non-accredited service providers but on the other hand also adds costs to our operations.

We are continually reviewing existing services, and services under development and will take decisions regarding accreditation on a case-by-case basis. 

Q) CIBSE Certification runs a personnel scheme for ISO 50001 specialists. Are you planning to extend this scheme to other management system specialists? 

Yes, we are expanding our successful management system specialist scheme to include other standards and will do this in line with market demands. We note the ongoing interest in competence frameworks to ensure competent persons are operating in the building services arena.

Our plans are to roll out registers to cover Quality, Health & Safety and Environmental standards in the near future. 

Q) You have recently launched an Embodied Carbon (TM65) verification service. What does this service offer to the industry?

We have responded to demands from manufacturers to verify data used in their manufacturers forms, and plan to run pilots with a select number of early adopters. The service will give assurance to the market, that the data selected is robust, and that embodied carbon calculations are credible. The service is not intended to replace EPDs but to assist manufacturers in their embodied carbon journey and can be considered the first step in the development of EPDs. 

Q) What are the next steps for CIBSE Certification in third party verification? Are you considering any other areas?? 

Market demands are changing continually, and CIBSE Certification will develop new services going forward to stay relevant, and to help deliver CIBSE’s vision. We may find ourselves offering additional management system services, personnel certification services or verification services. Our embodied carbon service may also lead to offering support around EPDs and we are looking at Building Performance schemes, and how to support the sector going forward.

Q) You recently won Quality Management, Compliance & Training Company of the Year award (congratulations). What makes CIBSE Certification stand out from other certification bodies? 

This was before my time at CIBSE Certification, and I am privileged to have joined such a motivated team. The award is a great testimony to the work undertaken by the many volunteers, staff and contractors involved with CIBSE Certification, and their efforts over many years. I think CIBSE Certification stands apart from other certification bodies because of its history, vision, sector knowledge, expertise, professionalism, and customer service. 

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