In memory of Terry Wyatt

CIBSE Past President Terry Wyatt inspired thousands of engineers with his pioneering thinking on sustainable engineering. CIBSE remembers the impact of his impassioned Presidential address ‘Adapt or Die’, while past colleagues pay tribute to one of building services engineering’s most brilliant minds

CIBSE is saddened to hear of the death of Professor Terry Wyatt, CIBSE past president (2003-04). A member of CIBSE since 1960, Terry is remembered for his passionate commitment to building services. His life and career have left a legacy that inspires many in the construction industry and beyond.

Always at the forefront of engineering for sustainability, Terry was a man ahead of his time, a pioneer of innovative design for buildings. He spent years researching technologies that aimed to cut carbon emissions and energy consumption while performing to the best possible standard.

‘Adapt quickly and our future is only limited to the horizons we set. Fail to adapt and we, with 150 years of heritage, will fast fade into obscurity.’ This was Terry’s impassioned call to action in his inaugural address as CIBSE President in 2003. His speech drew attention to the enormous challenges that the industry would face as the threat of climate change grew greater.

Terry had a long and distinguished career, spending his last 24 years of employment as a partner at Hoare Lea, and was heavily involved in landmark building projects around the world. He consistently focused his research on reducing carbon emissions, both in new designs for buildings and in refurbishing existing buildings.

In 2001, he set up, and subsequently led, the CIBSE Carbon Task Force. This was the first serious initiative from CIBSE to address climate change, and focused on prompting colleagues to consider how the industry would respond to the emerging evidence of the impact that anthropogenic carbon emissions were having on global climate.

An advocate of the benefits of technology, Terry delivered a much-needed wake-up call to building services professionals to look to the future and increase the use of computers to improve the sustainability and performance of buildings. ‘Very rapid change is under way, and we need to respond quickly, creatively and with focus,’ he said.

Throughout his career, he united people from different specialisms, collating academic and empirical data from a network he established in Sweden and the US that illustrated how indoor climate qualities affected people’s wellbeing and productivity.

Terry was one of the first to postulate how investment in effective climate systems could be returned through business output – a line of reasoning that was accepted by Hoare Lea’s client on the MOD Procurement Executive HQ, a project that won the European Office of the Year Award.

Terry’s outstanding contribution to the engineering industry was recognised when he was awarded a CIBSE Silver Medal in 1995 and the CIBSE Gold Medal in 2007.

In 2004, he was made a special professor of building services engineering for the School of the Built Environment at the University of Nottingham, which said ‘his long life experience in the building services industry will be most valuable to our staff and students’.

Terry was an incredibly valued member of the building services profession and his influence has had, and will continue to have, significant impacts on the industry.

Personal tributes

Kevin Mitchell, FCIBSE, CIBSE President
Terry’s genius was the ability to link creativity and science, and communicate this to the audience. He had a very clear and relevant message that has inspired hundreds, if not thousands, of engineers. This is an absolutely phenomenal legacy.

Rod Bunn, building performance and Soft Landings consultant
Many years ago, as editor of CIBSE Journal, I invited Terry to write a spoof technical article for an April edition. He did it so well and so convincingly that the article was cited in research, even though it defied fundamental laws of thermodynamics. Terry was inventive, kind, thoughtful, supportive, with a great sense of humour.

Andrew Bullmore, director at Hoare Lea
Terry was a true visionary, way ahead of his time in his thinking. More than that, he was simply a fantastic, lovely person, always willing to provide support and advice with a smile. He was an inspiration to me when I joined Hoare Lea more than 30 years ago, and has remained an inspiration ever since.

Jude Harris, architect and director at Jestico + Whiles
One of the great influential figures that sparked my early interest in the integration of architecture and building services. A sad loss to the industry.

David Marshall, director at Currie & Brown
I remember Terry setting the direction for Hoare Lea on sustainability and Breeam back in 1989. It appears many in the construction industry are still catching up with his thinking.

Susan Roaf, director at Ecohouse Intiative
He was a real climate change champion for the industry. I was honoured and pleased to know him as a thinker, a person and a supporter of our work. Thank you, Terry.

Nathan Surendan, transition engineer/consultant
My recollection of a quote from him at a conference: ‘I pity anyone who isn’t an engineer. The world must be an incomprehensible and terrifying place.’ Terry was a kind and deeply thoughtful leader.