Now BSD ceases publication too

Rumours began to circulate on Twitter yesterday that another UK construction industry magazine was set to close, and today I read Andy Pearson’s “And Finally…” conclusion to his December 2009 online editorial in UBM’s Building Sustainable Design (BSD):

This is the last issue of Building Sustainable Design. After almost a year of trying to succeed in a difficult commercial climate, BSD is to cease publication.

A sustainable built environment is as important now as when BSD was launched 11 issues ago, and its publisher UBM will continue to serve forward-thinking designers through our sister magazine Building. Its website,, will include an archive of the editorial content of BSD.

All that remains is for me to say a big thank-you to all who contributed to this magazine in its short life: in particular, everyone on the editorial panel and the next generation panel who gave their time so generously; the advertisers for their support; and most of all you, the readers, for your feedback and encouragement. I hope BSD has kept you informed and entertained….

This news comes in the same week as Contract Journal publishes its final edition after 130 years and also shuts its website and other online channels (see post), with the loss of six journalist jobs. This closure further reduces the number of print publications serving the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry.

BSD superceded UBM’s Building Services Journal, which was discontinued last year when the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers decided it wanted to publish its own magazine, CIBSE Journal. As Tim Dwyer’s initial comment on Andy’s editorial suggests, there was obviously no room for two publications targeting essentially the same readers and the same advertisers:

The competition between BSD and CIBSE Journal was undoubtedly healthy (in quality terms) but no doubt contributed to the demise in these incredibly harsh economic terms.

Like Building, BSD has tried to embrace social media, and as one of the people engaged in its conversations, I will miss it. I followed its Twitter and RSS feeds, wrote an early contribution to its blog (reposted here), and also welcomed its wiki experiment: the BSD Project Wiki (I also monitored publication and website for one of my clients in the building services sector).

Hopefully, as Andy’s editorial says, some of BSD’s content will still be accessible through the Building website. In the meantime, there is no news of whether this closure will mean job losses at UBM – perhaps staff will be redeployed to cover building services news and features in Building, on and other online channels?


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  1. This is very said. Andy Pearson is a top bloke and very knowledgeable about construction. I no longer work in construction PR but still follow events in the sector closely. First we had Contract Journal go to the wall and now Building Sustainable Design. That’s one CMP publication and one Reed mag biting the dust.

    I wonder whether Emap will now take the axe to one of their titles in order to save money too. A sign of the times, maybe, but as a former journo myself it always hits me hard when a magazine ceases publication. I hope that all the staff concerned at BSD and CJ find alternative work in the near future. I always found them good to deal with and decent people.

    • Andy Pearson on 7 December 2009 at 11:51 am
    • Reply

    Thanks for the kind words Andy. I’m sorry too that BSD had to close – not least because its closure has put me and Krystal, BSD’s print and online reporter, out of work – but also because I believe that BSD’s editorial mix of engineering and architecture had found a niche in the sector and the magazine was starting to build a dedicated readership. It’s a conviction encouraged by many of the emails I’ve received since the announcement of BSD’s demise.
    The reasons for the magazine’s lack of commercial success are complex. Tim Dwyer’s point that competition with the CIBSE Journal contributed to BSD’s end is probably true. But I think that even without that competition the magazine’s launch, which was impeccably timed to coincide with a ferocious recession, a collapse in the recruitment market, a challenging display market and a significant internal restructure all helped contribute to its closure.
    With hindsight perhaps we’d have stood a better chance of success if we’d focused more of our resources to develop the brand digitally using social media – but it is easy to be wise after the event.

  1. […] to OpenBuildings, RIBApedia and the short-lived BSD Wiki (launched in April 2009, terminated in November 2009). It is looking to collate knowledge and expertise about building design and development, for […]

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