BSj is 30 years old this month.

Back in 1978, The Journal of the Chartered Institution of Building Services was launched to foster and inform the fledgling profession of building services engineering. Its debut coincided with the uniting of the Heating and Ventilating Engineering Society and the Illuminating Engineering Society under the banner of the Chartered Institution of Building Services. The magazine’s remit was to go far beyond the reportage of CIBS proceedings.

Back then, when Grease was heading the bill at the local picture house and the Boomtown Rats were topping the pops, building services engineering was considered a necessity rather than an asset and was always the last appointment to the construction team, as Chris Cole recounts in “Evolution of the engineer” (page 46). What a difference 30 years makes. Now, with the growing focus on sustainability and ever increasing energy costs, the building services engineers top developers’ design team lists.

While the profession has changed enormously, it is surprising to see how little the magazine has altered over three decades, aside from the name. The contents of the first issue mirror that of today: news, opinion, building studies, interviews, technical features. That so much of the original concept is still relevant is a testament to the foresight of the launch editor, Stephen Ashley, and the commitment of those scribes who followed him.

In this issue we look back over 30 years of BSj and highlight some of the people who have helped shape the profession (page 20) as well as landmark buildings that encapsulate the industry’s endeavours (page 52). The future looks ever more exciting, so we also pick out some rising stars (page 36) and predict how life will be for the services engineer of 2038 (page 31).

In September 1978, the journal’s mission was to be “the authoritative voice of the services world”. Successive editors have skilfully risen to the challenge. Thirty years on, even though the profession has changed beyond recognition, that mission is as true today as it was then. And I’m sure it will hold true for the next 30 years. I hope you enjoy this special edition.

Andy Pearson