Our People

We see the people who work with us as our single most important resource. Our organisation simply would not exist without the talent, energy and professionalism they bring. We aim to recruit and retain the best people who are personally and professionally committed to make a positive difference to the built environment. This is the way to guarantee our continued success into the future. You can see some of our dedicated professionals at work in our ‘BRE Uncovered’ film, and meet those who are leading our wide ranging activities below.

AllBRE Group Board DirectorsBRE Group Executive CommitteeChief Scientist

Gillian Charlesworth

Chief Executive Officer, BRE Group

Gillian is responsible for BRE Group strategy and performance, working with the BRE Trust and Group Board to build BRE’s brand in the UK and new markets.

Gillian Charlesworth

Chief Executive Officer, BRE Group

As BRE Group’s Chief Executive, Gillian is responsible for the organisation’s strategy and performance. She works closely with BRE Trustees and the Group Board to define our purpose, vision and long-term goals.

Before joining BRE Group, Gillian was an Executive Director at RICS, where she held a number of roles covering assurance and enforcement of standards, global brand growth and thought leadership. She is passionate about the importance and potential of the built environment in creating sustainable, vibrant and productive life on the planet.

In her earlier career Gillian worked in the UK Civil service and with a number of professions and industries as a regulator and advocate.

Andrew Herbert

Interim Chief Financial Officer

Andrew has worked as a professional interim manager for over 25 years. He qualified as a chartered accountant with Ernst & Young and has since held senior management positions in a wide range of organisations in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors.

Andrew Herbert

Interim Chief Financial Officer

Andrew has worked as a professional interim manager for over 25 years with experience in change programmes and turnaround work. He qualified as a chartered accountant with Ernst & Young and has since held senior management positions in a wide range of organisations in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors including NatWest Group, Guide Dogs for the Blind and more recently the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.

He also works as a non-executive director having held a range of positions including chairman of Octavia Housing a registered housing association based in West London and past chair of the London Society of Chartered Accountants.

In one of his previous roles Andrew was managing director of Radio Taxis Group where he championed the move to becoming the first carbon neutral transport business as part of the company’s overall CSR plan. Andrew has spoken at numerous conferences on the business benefits of going carbon neutral and practises what he preaches having embarked on a personal project to restore a late Victorian town house, in a conservation area, whilst trying to achieve as low a carbon footprint as possible.

Dr Julie Bregulla

Director of Fire & Building Technology

Julie oversees and develops work with UK and international clients on evaluating the performance of materials, systems and structures.

Dr Julie Bregulla

Director of Fire & Building Technology

As Director of Fire & Building Technology, Julie is responsible for overseeing and developing work with UK and international clients that supports the performance evaluation of materials, systems and structures in the built environment.

Julie leads BRE’s structural integrity framework with the UK government and coordinates BRE’s specialist consultancy for the development of UK building regulations concerning structural robustness and safety. She is technical secretariat to the Building Regulations Advisory Committee Working Party for Approved Document A, sits on numerous UK, European, USA and ISO committees and represents the UK and BRE at several expert networks.

A Chartered Civil Engineer and visiting professor at the University of Bath, Julie specialises in structures, structural materials, fire, loading, robustness and reliability standardisation, and has worked on collaborative research and construction projects in Germany, the US and the UK. She has acted as principal site engineer in Germany and supported the University of Surrey structural engineering team before joining BRE.

Julie has published over 200 client reports, papers and presentations on various technical aspects of structural engineering, including the implementation of Eurocodes, particularly EN1990 and EN1995. Her research work to date has a particular focus on the structural fire behaviour of building materials and systems and her strategic work spans the development of regulations and regulatory guidance - including regulatory barriers to the use of innovative products in construction, robustness and reliability of structures, risk analysis and perception, and use of experimental methods in engineering practice.

Chris Earnshaw OBE FREng

Non-Executive Chairman, BRE Group

Chris was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1999, served as Institution of Engineering and Technology president from 2008-09, and was awarded an OBE in 2015 for services to engineering and technology.

Chris Earnshaw OBE FREng

Non-Executive Chairman, BRE Group

Chris Earnshaw OBE FREng was appointed Non-Executive Chairman of the BRE Group Board in January 2014. He had previously served as senior Non-Executive Director since 2010.

Chris has worked in engineering and technology businesses for many years. He was a member of the BT plc executive management board until 2002. He had responsibility for the company’s major engineering and technology programmes, including the building of the digital network and systems that now underpin the broadband and information service enjoyed by the UK's corporate customers and consumers.

He was also responsible for BT’s extensive research and development programmes and global supply chain. Chris has a long standing professional interest in sustainability and was a member of the Prince of Wales’ Business in the Community Environment Leadership Team for many years.

Throughout his career he has actively promoted collaboration between industry and academia. He is an Honorary Fellow of University College London in recognition of his work to promote industry-university partnerships.

Chris was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1999 and served from 2008-09 as President of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Europe’s largest professional engineering institution. He was awarded an OBE in the New Year's Honours 2015 for services to engineering and technology.

In addition to his role as Non-Executive Chairman of the BRE Group he serves as Chairman of a number of other engineering based companies.

Dr Martin Ganley

Construction Innovation Hub Director | Director of Electronics, Security & Inspection Services

Martin leads the testing and certification of products and services, including fire detection, fire system installers, security, microgeneration, BIM and ISO auditing.

Dr Martin Ganley

Construction Innovation Hub Director | Director of Electronics, Security & Inspection Services

Martin joined BRE in 2011 and is responsible for business areas covering the testing and certification of products and services. This includes fire detection, fire system installers, security, microgeneration, BIM (Building Information Modelling) and ISO auditing. He is also the lead for BRE’s Smart Homes and Buildings activities which covers research, smart demonstrators, the development of training, standards and guidance across the areas of connectivity, cyber security, energy, health and wellbeing, safety and security, construction and installation.

Prior to BRE, Martin worked in engineering consultancy, concentrating mainly on radiocommunications and working across construction, rail, defence and aerospace sectors.

Michael Grant

Group Operations Director

Michael looks after the key group services including Commercial Operations, Performance Management & Delivery, BRE Digital Products, IT Systems & Infrastructure, and Property & Estates.

Michael Grant

Group Operations Director

Michael Grant is Group Operations Director at BRE, providing day to day operational leadership across the Group. He is responsible for the key group services including Commercial Operations, Performance Management & Delivery, BRE Digital Products, IT Systems & Infrastructure, and Property & Estates.

Michael has many years senior management experience and a proven track record of providing strategic and operational delivery across BRE's highly technical research, testing, and certification businesses.

He first joined BRE in 2001 as Head of Fire Detection and Electronics Testing having previously worked at the Loss Prevention Council as Head of Electronic Security. He is an Electrical and Electronic Engineering graduate from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration, Management and Operations.

Dr Deborah Pullen MBE CEng FCIOB FIMMM

Executive Director of the BRE Trust

Deborah leads the strategy to maximise the positive societal impact and success of the BRE Trust, one of the UK’s largest charities focused on supporting transformational change in the built environment. 

Dr Deborah Pullen MBE CEng FCIOB FIMMM

Executive Director of the BRE Trust

Deborah is a core member of the BRE Trust Board, providing leadership of the Trustees in setting the vision and strategy to maximise its positive societal impact and success of the BRE Trust, one of the UK’s largest charities focused on supporting transformational change in the built environment.  She also works closely with BRE Group executive colleagues to ensure ongoing synergies and collaboration in achieving complementing strategic objectives. She is responsible for the BRE Trust research and education programmes, which use the gift aid received from BRE Group and other external sources to commission research, provide scholarships and disseminate outputs widely through a range of physical and digital formats. Prior to formal appointment to this role Deborah was the BRE Group Research Director and as a member of the BRE executive team still maintains a strategic role in ensuring that BRE has an integrated research strategy to ensure the success of the BRE Trust and its subsidiaries. 

Deborah has a BSc(Hons) in Materials Science, a PhD in polymer chemistry, is a Chartered Engineer, and a Fellow of the Chartered Institutes of Building and of Materials, Minerals and Mining. In 2012 Deborah successfully completed a Post-Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Business and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Hertfordshire in 2014 for her leadership of the BRE Trust Future Cities Programme. She has spent the last 20 years leading research teams and business units focused on the manufacture and use of high performance polymer materials in government and private sector organisations across a range of industries including defence, aerospace, oil & gas, transport, and medical. Deborah has also set up and led a number of knowledge transfer networks and was awarded an MBE in the 2014 Queen’s New Year Honours in recognition of her work in innovation and knowledge transfer in the Built Environment. Deborah’s current affiliations include: Scholarships Committee and also a Court member of the Worshipful Company of Constructors Livery Company, a Board member of the European Network for Building Research Institutes (ENBRI). Previous affiliations include: Fellow at the Centre for Science and Policy at the University of Cambridge, UKTI Construction Industry Steering Group and Smart Cities Task Group, IOM3 Construction Materials Group, CIOB Research & Innovation Group, CIOB Professional Membership Advisory Panel, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Engineering Strategic Advisory team, UK National Platform for the Built Environment, Green Construction Board ‘Greening’ task Group, Chair of the AIRTO Task Group for the Built Environment.

Dr Debbie Smith, OBE

Managing Director, BRE Global

Debbie joined the organisation in 1984 and is now MD of our independent certification arm which incorporates international brands such as BREEAM and LPCB.

Dr Debbie Smith, OBE

Managing Director, BRE Global

Debbie first joined the Fire Research Station (FRS) at BRE in 1984, straight after completing her PhD at the University of Birmingham in Metallurgy and Materials Science. During her career at BRE, she has been involved in a broad range of fire related work in research, testing, certification and consultancy which has included material fire behaviour, turbulent diffusion flame dynamics and development and validation of mathematical modelling approaches.  She has also been heavily involved in the developments of new European fire test methods and the classification schemes for construction products, in addition to the development of Fire Safety Engineering standards and guidance both within the National and International Standards arena. In recent times, Debbie has become involved in the area of sustainability, in particular its impact and influence on fire protection and construction methods.

Debbie is Chair of the European Committee CEN TC127 on Fire Safety which is responsible for the development of all of the fire test methods for construction products in Europe.  In June 2010, she was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list for services to fire safety.

Debbie is currently Managing Director of BRE Global Ltd, the certification arm of BRE which incorporates international brands such as BREEAM and LPCB.

Debbie also leads our collaboration with the BRE Centre for Fire Safety Engineering at the University of Edinburgh  where we are working together to deliver future generations of fire experts.

Alan Somerville

Director of Building Performance Group

Alan leads the Building Performance Group which delivers Advisory, Benchmarking & Data tools to the owners, occupiers and managers of global real estate & infrastructure.

Alan Somerville

Director of Building Performance Group

Alan leads the Building Performance Group which delivers Advisory, Benchmarking & Data tools to the owners, occupiers and managers of global real estate & infrastructure.

Alan joined BRE during 2018 to lead and grow the Building Performance Group. He joined BRE from Cushman & Wakefield where he was a Partner and led the Energy, Infrastructure & Sustainability group for the EMEA region advising many of the world’s largest investors and occupiers. Prior to joining Cushman & Wakefield he created and led the energy strategic solutions group for Capita plc, led a restructuring and IPO team for an energy company and spent 11 years with property company Grosvenor leading on complex development and regeneration projects such as Liffey Valley in Dublin.

The Building Performance Group of BRE has deep expertise and capability delivering standards, data & solutions for commercial real estate and housing as well as infrastructure. As real asset performance becomes further driven by data the skills and knowledge of BRE have a significant role to play in the global market as it continues to evolve.

The Building Performance Group has four key pillars of expertise:

1. Strategic Advisory – Delivering strategic solutions to global clients from both the public and private sector. The team specialises in the performance of the built environment, enhancing business performance, sustainable cities & innovation.
2. Housing – Global experts on housing condition and energy modelling. Our housing team is responsible for the world’s largest housing dataset and leads the longest running National Housing Survey in the world. Increasingly the team are providing insight to clients on the relationship between housing condition and health / fuel poverty
3. Benchmarking & Certification – We deliver the BREEAM certification system which is the most authoritative, comprehensive and widely used building environmental certification system globally. BREEAM is used in 77 countries covering 2.2m buildings.
4. Data Tools – We deliver data solutions to help monitor Health, Safety & Environmental impacts within the built environment. Our YellowJacket & SmartWaste solutions are widely adopted by many of the world’s largest companies.

Alan contributes to a number of industry initiatives aimed at driving change in the real estate market including RICS Sustainability Valuation Taskforce. He is part of the leaders’ network and a mentor for UKGBC, a member of the European benchmark committee for GRESB and British Property Federation committee on renewable energy and sustainability.

Brigid Sutcliffe

Non-Executive Director, BRE Group

Brigid is an experienced Non-Executive director and chartered accountant with a background in management consulting, professional services and business transformation.

Brigid Sutcliffe

Non-Executive Director, BRE Group

Chartered Accountant Brigid Sutcliffe was appointed to the BRE Group board as Non Executive Director in July 2016

Brigid is an experienced Non Executive director and chartered accountant with a background in management consulting, professional services and business transformation. She has held senior positions at Arthur Andersen and Telos Partners. Brigid will also take on the role of Chair of the Audit Committee which supports both the BRE Group Board and BRE Trust Council on finance and risk management issues.

Brigid is currently Non-executive Director of the National Physical Laboratory.

Ashley Wheaton

Non-Executive Director, BRE Group

CEO of the University College of Estate Management, Ashley, was appointed as a Non-Executive Director in July 2016 having served as a BRE Trustee since 2015.

Ashley Wheaton

Non-Executive Director, BRE Group

CEO of the University College of Estate Management, Ashley Wheaton, was appointed to the BRE Group Board as a Non-Executive Director in July 2016.

Ashley, who has been a BRE Trustee since 2015, brings with him considerable experience of online and digital training and education services. In his earlier career he was Director of Global Learning Services for Microsoft Corp based in the USA and Chief Executive Officer of InfoBasis Ltd, a global Talent Management software company. He holds a BA (Hons) in Economics from University of London.

Darran Messem

Non-Executive Director, BRE Group

Darran is an independent Non-Executive Director and consultant with over 30 years experience leading business development in energy, transport and the environment.

Darran Messem

Non-Executive Director, BRE Group

Darran is an experienced executive with over 30 years experience with companies including Shell, British Airways and the Carbon Trust, and over 10 years’ experience as a company director. He is currently Chair of the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (‘LowCVP’, a membership organisation sponsored by the UK Department for Transport), and Director of Velocys (a listed sustainable fuel company). Darran’s Board roles have included Audit Committee (Chair), Remuneration Committee (Chair), Appointments Committee, Strategy Committee and Refinancing team. Darran’s achievements include Chairing Iogen Energy and developing production of cellulose ethanol; Chairing the LowCVP and expanding its role despite pressures on public spending; and playing a lead role in the commercialisation and internationalisation of the Carbon Trust.

Prof. Jeremy Watson CBE

Chief Scientist and Engineer

Jeremy’s specialities include research strategy, innovation processes, emerging technology identification, R&D and technology deployment.

Prof. Jeremy Watson CBE

Chief Scientist and Engineer

Jeremy Watson CBE FREng FIET FICE is BRE’s Chief Scientist and Engineer, and Chair of the UK Chapter of buildingSMART.

Concurrently, he is Vice-Dean, with responsibility for engineering mission at UCL and Professor of Engineering Systems in the Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy. Jeremy was previously Arup’s Global Research Director, and until November 2012, Chief Scientific Advisor for the Department of Communities & Local Government (DCLG).

An electronics and control engineer by training and practice, he has experience of research and technical direction in industry and universities, also governing board membership at TSB (InnovateUK) and EPSRC, plus service with NERC and HEFCE. He recently served on two government SAGE panels (Flooding and Pandemics) and a Blackett Review. His specialities include research strategy, innovation processes, emerging technology identification, R&D and technology deployment. Jeremy is Deputy President of the IET.