He succeeds Peter Gammie, former CEO of Halcrow, who served for five years and has now retired.
Mr Belsham joined BAM Nuttall in 1972 and has been an executive director for the last 10 years. He has held particular responsibility for Nuttall’s northern projects and for rail work nationally.
He is also chairman of the Institution of Civil Engineers Northern Counties local association and sits on the Defra/Environment Agency R&D theme advisory group.
CIRIA has also appointed Dr John Connaughton, professor of sustainable construction at the University of Reading, as a non-executive director. He is a former head of Davis Langdon's knowledge team in Europe where he played a leading role in the development of the firm's Management Consulting arm. He also formerly chaired CIRIA’s council.
CIRIA chief executive Bill Healy said: “I look forward to working with David and John and take this opportunity to thank Peter Gammie for his support of CIRIA over the years, and particularly for his guidance over the last five years as chairman of CIRIA’s executive board.”