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Trade associations: Promoting and defending members' interests

27 July 2015

There are more than 3500 trade associations currently in the UK, covering the entire spectrum of industry sectors, but only one dedicated to the compressed air and vacuum industry – the British Compressed Air Society. Here, Chris Dee, its executive director, explains more about what BCAS is and what it offers its members

Membership of an industry association can help keep businesses up-to-date with important, ever-changing issues, trends and legislation within their marketplace.  

Overview of BCAS

The primary aim of BCAS is to support members as they grow and develop their organisations. Throughout 2015 BCAS has continued to build on a range of membership benefits and services, which are designed to provide members with the knowledge, tools and advice to help them, and their end-user customers be more productive, competitive and ultimately, more profitable.

The association aims to promote and defend members’ interests, and to advise of threats and opportunities to their businesses, while seeking to improve perceptions of compressed air and vacuum equipment and providers in the UK.

Membership of BCAS projects a positive image to customers, demonstrating a business’s initiative, its engagement in a particular trade and its commitment to staying abreast of current developments in the market.  

AIRSAFE register

Part of the ‘Insist on BCAS – Be Compliant And Safe’ scheme, the AIRSAFE register allows customers to leave and read reviews on BCAS members’ performance, helping businesses to find recommended compressed air distributors.

Published on the BCAS website and independently managed by Referenceline, the register sets BCAS members apart from their competitors. 

The programme asks all customers the same set of questions, meaning results can be benchmarked. This gives customers the confidence that they are dealing with capable and competent companies and, more importantly, with companies that have been recommended by their peers.

By typing their postcode into the search box on the AIRSAFE website, customers can check the ratings and reviews of all active BCAS members in their area.

In addition to helping customers make an informed decision on which compressed air supplier to use, feedback also allows BCAS to view the performance of its members and will help to further improve the types and levels of service that the society offers.

Promoting best practice

BCAS has a crucial role to play in promoting best practice, helping member companies become more competitive and formulating effective policy and delivery to the benefit of their clients.

Productive engagement between trade associations such as BCAS and government is very important for the policy making process.


The society acts as a co-ordinated voice of business when talking to government, and offers great value in terms of quickly communicating updates on government policy to its members. 

BCAS’s representations to the government on policy matters are backed up with the best available evidence gathered from members. This helps with assessments of the costs and benefits of policy proposals - as the society’s membership numbers increase, so does its authority.

The society represents those businesses that are going to create the profits and employment that will restore the UK economy to growth and assist in the reduction of the public sector deficit. 

Sitting at the heart of the compressed air industry, BCAS can uniquely offer a wide range of information and services via a number of communication methods. This can include collation of sensitive information to provide an industry-wide statistical report service, or the management of a consumer code of conduct.


The society provides many products and services, including conferences where you can build connections, training and educational materials, technical advice, and publications to name but a few. It also facilitates the opportunity for members to expand their network with peers at BCAS conferences and at exhibitions such as Maintec and AirTech.

Benefits of BCAS membership:

  • The UK’s only technical organisation for all those involved in the compressed air and vacuum industry
  • Opportunities to network with more than 170 member companies in the UK 
  • Join an internationally respected and influential body
  • Benefit from more than 80 years of technical/business expertise
  • Representation at the highest levels of government 
  • Access discounts on the organisation's respected range of compressed air training courses including: Working Safely with Compressed Air and the Diploma in Compressed Air Management


If you are interested in finding out more of the benefits and services that membership of the British Compressed Air Society can offer you and your company please visit the BCAS website at www.bcas.org.uk or email chris@bcas.org.uk for further information.