Tag Archives: BER

The MEP Value Equation

David Hughes (MSCSI, MRICS, MAPM),
is a qualified mechanical engineer,
chartered quantity surveyor and
has 20 years experience in building
services (MEP) cost management.

Building services (MEP) are evolving at quite a pace, driven by continuous technological innovation, greater regulatory emphasis to improve building energy efficiency, and on-site project challenges. Heat pumps, sophisticated building controls, LED lighting, modular off-site construction, photovoltaics, building information modelling (BIM), Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Building Energy Rating (BER) and Nearly Zero Energy Building Standard (NZEB) are all areas that have now become the new “business as usual”.

Innovations such as smart lighting and the Internet of Things (IoT) are also starting to make an impact so it can be challenging for clients to keep up to date. Many of the above innovations come at a capital cost premium but have the benefit of reduced operation cost. They can also bring additional benefits such as reduced space requirement, increased functionality, reduced CO2 emissions, increased safety, improved quality and construction programme benefits.

The value equation can be loosely defined as Benefit/Cost = Value. It can be challenging to establish value but this is what we at Rose Patrick specialise in. We were recently sub-consulted by a quantity surveying firm to carry out an exercise to compare the cost impact of fan-wall air handling units (AHUs) as proposed, versus a traditional single-fan AHU unit on a project at “developed design” stage.

We compared the two systems and how they interfaced with other elements of the building, both in terms of capital cost and over the whole life-cycle of the building. The real cost and benefit could not be fully assessed by comparing the AHU systems in isolation. In this case some of the less obvious impacts of the proposed AHU design solution were:
• Reduced space requirement – the units were half the length of the traditional AHUs so there was a significant cost saving to the build cost associated with GIA reduction to plant rooms;
• Increased point load meaning additional local structural load;
• Reduced electrical load – reduced electrical infrastructure (all plant had back generation – N+1 facility);
• Reduced operational and maintenance cost;
• Built-in redundancy via modular/ multiple-fan construction (if one out of the nine fans broke down the AHU could still operate at 90%+ capacity);
• Quieter operation, lower vibration. Once all the “externalities” were taken into consideration, we were able to substantiate that the proposed AHU solution, even on a capital cost only comparison, added more value to the project than the alternative It also had a significantly lower payback period over its life-cycle.

The new Irish Government forms of contract requiring the quantity surveyor (QS) to manage MEP cost to relying on the consultant engineer. We see this trend emerging in the private sector also. Consequently, we provide an independent specialist MEP cost management service that can fall between the two stools of the quantity surveyor (QS) and the MEP consultant engineer.

Our team provides support to:
• Professional quantity surveying firms who may not have the technical capability, or simply need
additional MEP QS capacity on an ad hoc basis;
• Consultant engineers who have been commissioned to take on the MEP cost management;
• MEP contractors with take-offs, pricing tenders and other commercial services;
• Data centre and pharmaceutical sector clients with commercial management where construction projects typically have a high MEP element (70%+).

The Rose Patrick team concentrates solely on MEP cost management, understands the technical information being reviewed, and has the experience to interrogate it. This is vitally important as it allows for a high-level root and branch logic check of each system prior to the detail measure. This ensures that any obvious inadvertent design omissions or errors can be flagged (mitigating costly post-contract variations). The quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) process applied acts as a de facto second layer of QA/QC on the design, prior to it going to tender.

There have been some huge developments in software used within the construction industry over the last five years and Rose Patrick’s cost estimating platform, CostX, allows the team to perform accurate and efficient measurement from 2D drawings. It also means that quantities from BIM or 3D models can be automatically generated using one of the most advanced electronic take-off systems available on the market. The platform also features powerful spreadsheet-based workbooks that are live-linked to the drawings in question, giving full traceability.

Typically, Rose Patrick benchmarks design, as well as cost, to build an intelligent MEP knowledge database. This allows the team to develop informed MEP cost models at a very early stage in the project cycle. Intelligence is the application of knowledge. See how Rose Patrick applies this principle at www.rosepatrick.ie.

Million Home Retrofit Opportunity

Denis Naughten, TD, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment with Jim Gannon, Chief Executive, SEAI and Ms Victoria Burrows, Project Manager, World Green Building Council.

To tackle this challenge and to support the learning process, SEAI has unveiled the Deep Retrofit Pilot Programme, with support funding from the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment. This new multi-annual pilot programme – with an initial budget

of €5 million in 2017 – will focus initially on the residential market and reflects both the depth and scale of the challenge which will require a broad multi-disciplinary approach.

The pilot is the first of SEAI’s multi-annual pilots which will investigate the challenges and opportunities that deep retrofit presents to the pre-2006 domestic housing stock. The learning from these pilots will inform SEAI’s approach and support towards the large-scale deep retrofit of buildings in Ireland.

Funding will be provided to projects that demonstrate an integrated, comprehensive strategy for significantly improving home energy performance. Conor Hanniffy is the Programme Manager for the scheme. With a background in mechanical engineering, Conor has over 18 years programme management experience in private and public sectors. He previously managed SEAI’s Accelerated Capital Allowance Programme for energy efficient equipment, and the Building Energy Rating (BER) Programme.

To support the early development of the Deep Retrofit Pilot Programme, SEAI has published both a definition, and the guiding principles, behind the concept to assist in providing a clear market target. Guidance underpinning high-quality delivery of deep retrofit pilot projects will include Standard Recommendations 54 (SR 54).

What is deep retrofit?                                                                                                                                         Deep retrofit is the significant upgrade of a building toward nearly zero energy requirements where it is practically feasible and achievable. SEAI has also provided the following guiding principles to support this definition:

— Minimum A3 Building Energy Rating (A3) requirement with a minimum of 150kWh/m2/yr uplift in the BER energy value;

— Whole-house solution focused on a fabric first approach;

— Deployment of renewables transition away from fossil fuels. The pilot scheme will only support renewable energy sources as a method for heating and electricity generation.

Who is scheme aimed at?                                                                                                                                   With a target market of one million homes, the pilot scheme will target building archetypes which are representative of building stock. SEAI invites projects to be delivered via community groups, local authorities, energy agencies and private-sector deep retrofit service providers who can provide end-to-end project delivery.

How are the projects funded?                                                                                                                               SEAI will provide up to 50% funding of the total capital costs and project management costs (including design fees). For voluntary housing association homes, and the homes of those that are in energy poverty (defined as meeting the Warmer Homes eligibility criteria), SEAI will provide a much higher rate of funding, up to 95%. This is only available as part of a wider project that includes a mix of non-energy poverty homes (75%) with the energy poverty component subvention applied to 25% of the total number of homes in each project.

The pilot provides an opportunity to show how the deep retrofit of dwellings can be achieved using a “fabric upgrade first” approach (insulation, windows and doors) coupled with renewable energy technologies. It will also provide an opportunity to demonstrate the  importance of ventilation systems for ensuring sufficient indoor air quality where the building’s airtightness has been improved.

SEAI will also provide a significant contribution to a mandatory pre-works and post-works BER to demonstrate the upgrade, and an air-pressure test package to maximise the impact of energy efficiency works.

Toward zero deep retrofit conference                                                                                                               SEAI recently hosted its inaugural deep retrofit conference which brought together over 200 key stakeholders. This included policy-makers, state bodies, researchers, project managers, property owners and landlords, technology providers, financiers and contractors.

This event will act as an annual review and information sharing platform as to best practice and innovation, research findings and delivery of deep retrofit in Ireland across all demographic areas, technologies and building types.

A broad range of international and national speakers shared insights and experience from the following perspectives — vision and policy; behavioural insights; building capacity; and leveraging the opportunity.

All presentations and the recorded webcast are available at:—                               www.seai.ie/Grants/Deep-Retrofit-Programme/

Home Heating Heroes Do It Best!

Joe Durkan, EEOS Programme Manager, SEAI

Plumbers and installers are the “go-to” guys in these situations. Whether it is emergency repairs, upgrades or a completely new installation, homeowners rely on their knowledge and expertise to advise them on the right approach. They represent the interface between  the home owner and the wider world of energy efficiency. They have become, in a sense, energy ambassadors.

This is because, in order to ensure that the heating system is correctly specified, the plumber first needs to be able to accurately determine the actual heating demand of the home based on the details of the property and the needs of the occupant. This is where a great opportunity lies, because in order to calculate the heating load, the specifier needs to assess the building fabric, ventilation system and existing distribution system in the dwelling.

In the case of new or yet to be built dwellings, all of the information to determine this data should be readily to hand. Details of the construction, such as the levels of insulation, build type, ventilation systems etc, should all be known and these, in conjunction with the Building Energy Rating (BER) heat loss calculations, will help accurately determine what the heating requirement will be.

However, the majority of heating system installations are more likely to fall into replacements or upgrades. In these cases, especially when a BER isn’t readily available, the specifier has to determine the heating demand the old fashioned way. CIBSE’s Domestic Heating Design Guide (www. cibse.org/knowledge/knowledge-items/ detail?id=a0q20000008I7odAAC) is the key tool in these situations. The guide shows how to identify the principle heat loss areas in the dwelling, and how to calculate the relevant u-values, ventilation rates and distribution losses necessary to determine the heating requirements of each room and the overall hot water and space heating demand.

Minimising this overall heat demand is the key to an economical and efficient heating solution. Ultimately, the type of heat source is secondary to the more important considerations of ensuring that the heat demand can be met efficiently and economically, and that all elements are installed to the proper standards.

The information gleaned in the initial the homeowner could carry out, such as insulation or controls upgrades, that will reduce the overall heating demand. This is the opportune time to consider these works, and carrying them out in conjunction with the heating system upgrade will be more economical. The overall result will be greatly-improved levels of comfort and reduced heating bills (courtesy of the appropriately-sized heating system).

Almost certainly, the new heat supply (whether it’s a boiler, stove or heat pump) will require a lower rated heat output than the unit it is replacing. This is because the overall efficiency of heating appliances has improved dramatically over the last number of years. Therefore, it is vital that the installer accurately determines  the heat load required to ensure that  the replacement unit is correctly sized to operate at maximum efficiency.

Click on the image right and see full article on Pages 14 and 15.

Enda Gilroy Joins Ethos Engineering

Enda Gilroy, Senior Mechanical Engineer, Ethos Engineering

Enda Gilroy, Senior Mechanical Engineer, Ethos Engineering

Enda Gilroy has joined Ethos Engineering as Senior Mechanical Engineer. Ethos Engineering is a highly-motivated and driven company, comprising a team of talented, commercially-aware engineers with excellent industry experience.

The Ethos Engineering working environment encourages all staff to approach projects with originality, creativity, common sense and enthusiasm, the objective being to produce designs that are detailed, innovative and practical.

The company prides itself on its “can do” philosophy, and on its in-house LEED, BREEAM, BER and sustainable credentials.

Its excellent client retention, coupled with an ever-expanding new-client portfolio, bears testimony to the importance of these strengths.