Our history

BCECA was formed in London by four companies in January 1966, as the British Chemical Engineering Contractors Association. The inaugural meeting was held at the offices of CJB Ltd. (Constructors John Brown) and hosted by Mr. John Staniforth. In addition to CJB Ltd. the initial members were: Humphreys and Glasgow Ltd; PowerGas Corporation Ltd, and Simon Carves Ltd.


BCECA 50th anniversary cake

Cutting the BCECA 50th birthday cake

The Association was founded to help promote the export of process plant. The scope of the Association was defined as covering the design, procurement, supply and erection or supervision of erection of major chemical, oil, gas or petrochemical process plants for installation either in the UK or abroad. Its creation provided a single informed and authoritative body through which government departments, allied trade bodies and other interested parties could talk to the chemical engineering contracting industry in the UK as a whole. The Association quickly established productive relationships with government and parliamentarians prompting the then Secretary of State, Anthony Wedgewood Benn, to praise BCECA member companies for their vital role in, “Transforming the results of research into economically viable plants”. The good working relationship with government continued into the 1970s and Benn’s successor, Peter Walker highlighted the importance of chemical engineering contractors in, “Opening up new markets in Eastern Europe and elsewhere”.


Over the next two decades the Association continued to grow in size and influence with 15 member companies employing over 20,000 people in the UK and generating new business with a value in excess of £2.5 bn, 40% of which was accounted for by export markets.

BCECA today

BCECA today section on history pageDirectly and through our UK supply chains, BCECA Members are responsible for the creation of over 1,000,000 jobs in the UK in a diverse range of sectors including Energy, Infrastructure, Government and Chemicals. As well as being major contributors to the UK economy, our Members have an unparalleled reputation for excellence in the global market with a workforce that is highly valued all over the world.


BCECA Membership accounted for global revenues of £157 billion in 2017 with approximately 20% of this (£25 billion) generated in the UK. Our Members are all multi-nationals with operations in every corner of the globe. The UK has long been recognised as the centre of excellence for engineering and technical innovation with its flexible workforce highly prized by our Members and clients alike.


From its modest beginnings, engineering contracting has grown to become one of the UK’s major exporters with over 80% of its work being delivered for international clients. BCECA member companies have become increasingly multidisciplinary, tackling a wide range of engineering projects.  The association continues to fulfil an important role providing a strong, collective voice for some of the world’s largest contracting companies.


In 2016, BCECA marked its 50th anniversary with a major celebration in the House of Lords.

Find more about different aspects of BCECA’s work here:


For an informal conversation about the benefits of BCECA membership, contact our Chief Executive, Tracey Shelley, on +44 207 0918652 or email admin@bceca.org.uk