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History of BSRIA

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BSRIA was formed in 1955 as the Heating and Ventilating Research Council, later to become the Heating and Ventilating Research Association. As the industry became increasingly linked with other aspects of building services so the professional institution and the research association saw the need to widen their remit.

In 1975 the building services scope was adopted both by us and by the professional institution (now CIBSE) and we became the Building Services Research and Information Association. Over the next twenty years more people came to know us by the shorthand, BSRIA.

As the activities of the Association were developed to meet the needs of an integrated construction industry and to provide a much wider package of services than just research and information, the full name became less and less relevant. Therefore when new government rules required us to split our research and other activities into two companies, we started using the short name as a formal name.

We now have a trading company, BSRIA Limited, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Building Services Research and Information Association, which is a company limited by guarantee.

Members are members of The Building Services Research and Information Association, but will find that all of the services are provided by BSRIA Limited.

We also retain a history of BSRIA publications which includes guides which have been withdrawn from sale, unpublished reports and documents related to our corporate history. Some are available to members electronically or on loan.


1955 (29 Dec) - The inaugural General Meeting of the Heating and Ventilating Research Council held at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. The Chairman (C.S.K. Benham) summed up the proceedings by " Thank you, Gentlemen. Now we exist ".

1956 - With almost 200 members, 3 research staff are appointed to work in rented premises at British Coal Utilisation Research Association, Leatherhead.

1959 - The Heating and Ventilating Research Association (HVRA) was incorporated to take over the assets, liabilities and undertaking of the Heating and Ventilating Research Council, which was dissolved

1964 - Laboratories double in size.

1967 - Test Division established.

1973 - Establishment of Member Services and Technical Division to reflect 'customer / contractor ' ethos.
The 'Application Guide' is launched to reflect members interest in the application of research.

1975 - 'Building Services Research and Information Association' name formally adopted.
Instrument Hire service established with 120 hirings.
First Statistics Bulletin published.

1986-7 - "Research Clubs" established to match DoE funds for projects.
BEMS Centre established as autonomous centre of expertise.
Air Infiltration Centre renamed to Air Infiltration and Ventilation Centre to reflect widening role.

1989 - EuroCentre established to help industry take advantage of the single European market.

1993 - Second site established at Crowthorne giving 50% more space.
New radiator test room for testing to new European standard.

2000 - The Association establishes a trading company - BSRIA Ltd - to undertake all the trading activities, including research.

2003 - Acquisition of new offices adjacent to existing laboratories to accommodate staff relocated from Crowthorne.

2006 - Offices set up in France, Spain and Germany.

2008 - New subsidiary, BSRIA Business Consulting (Beijing) Co., Ltd., established.
Acquisition of market research business 'Proplan' to develop market intelligence in controls, fire protection and security.

2014 - New subsidiary, BSRIA Inc. established in the USA to service clients in the Americas continents.

2016 - New subsiduary, BSRIA SARL, established in Lille, France, to service calibration clients in mainland Europe.

2017 - BSRIA opens a northern laboratory and office complex in Preston, Lancashire and achieves ISO 9001:2015 across the entire UK operations. BSRIA additionally extends its UKAS calibration accredatation to Preston for temperature, pressure and air volume (blower doors). Furthermore, BSRIA SARL achieves COFRAC accredatation for temperature, pressure and air volume (blower doors) in the Lille laboratory.

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