The death of Anne Hemming will have touched many in construction because of her willingness to engage positively on difficult issues says Building's technical editor

The news that Anne Hemming, the head of the buildings division at DCLG, was killed in a cycling accident came as a particular shock, not only because of her young age but also because I briefly got to know her during Building magazine’s Reform the Regs campaign.

Indeed the fact I knew her was a clear demonstration that she wasn’t a remote civil servant hidden away down a long corridor but someone who was keen to get out and engage with the industry and above all, listen to what people had to say. “She brought a breath of fresh air to the place,” is how one industry source, who had regular dealings with DCLG, described her.

The campaign was ostensibly critical of Anne’s department, the then ODPM, as it was responsible for the regulations. But when we held our summit earlier this year to debate the future of regulations Anne was keen to come along to hear what people had to say, indeed she took copious notes.

She came across as someone who was clear thinking, straightforward and who understood the issues. She acknowledged the problems with the regulations but was also clear about the role of regulations and what they needed to achieve. If Anne’s positive approach continues as part of DCLG’s regulatory reform process, then we can be confident that the implementation of future regulations will be a success.