When working in Dublin my perception was that everywhere the far side of the Shannon was some sort of wet, green wasteland. I pictured it as littered with Supermac’s where people spat on their hands to signify closing a deal (I’m sure my friends and colleagues in Galway will love me saying that!).
As the workload in Dublin got ever-higher in recent years, when the alarm went each morning I thought to myself, how long could I sustain myself financially if I didn’t go in to work at all. People often use the term “firefighting” when describing the modern workday grind but I don’t feel this does it justice … it’s more akin to stepping inside the reactor at Chernoybl every Monday and firing it up each week!
I used to think that unsuccessful people are unsuccessful because they sit around doing nothing. However, my experiences so far have taught me that it’s often more likely caused by taking on far too much, and never quite bringing any tasks or projects to fruition. That said, I can’t deny that I very much enjoyed my time in Dublin but I always felt that, in order to grow and develop into a more well-rounded engineer, I needed an opportunity to work outside of the capital.
So, when the opportunity presented itself – by opportunity I mean my partner telling me we’re moving to Galway next year – it gave me a unique chance to reinvigorate my passion for the industry while also maintaining a healthy work/life balance which was becoming increasingly difficult to do in Dublin.
I’ve been working with O’Connor Sutton Cronin and based in their Galway office since June of this year, although my role does involve the occasional trip to Dublin. To date I’ve found that projects in Galway don’t move at quite the same pace as in Dublin. Even more important still is that project management programmes operate in an environment where contractors, clients and designers work closely and form a reasonably-happy union. By contrast, some projects in Dublin were like a marriage gone wrong, even before the project arrived on site!
In my current role I’m split between our Dublin and Galway bases, the brief being to work with my colleagues to secure more projects in Galway by providing a quality level of service to our clients and design team partners
But so much for the work environment. What about the environment full stop? It has been an adjustment acclimatising to Galway weather. If Bob Dylan was right and the answer is indeed blowing in the wind, then someone from Galway must have heard it by now! I’m told the August we just experienced was “exceptionally bad” and that it’s not normally as wet. As wet? According to Met Eireann it rained 20 out of the 22 working days in August and, if I’m to be honest, I can’t recall either of the dry days.
Despite the perpetual wind and rain though, Galway is a city with an electrifying atmosphere and enchanting streetscape and scenery, not to mention the vibrant and friendly locals. It is an inclusive place bursting with art, music, culture and craic. It’s easy to see why visitors from all around the globe – including this one particular visitor from the east – have such an affection for it.
PS: I’m still Chairman of CIBSE Ireland YEN (Young Engineers Network) and continue to spread the CIBSE Gospel in the Galway region. Drop me a line at email@example.com to get involved.
Expect another letter in the new year.
The bad habit of using “cut and paste” specifications is leaving some clients with poorly-performing and, in some cases, unsafe buildings. More and more we are seeing a different technical solution from the one agreed by the design team being included in the written specification because it has simply been copied across from a previous working document. This is a particular concern where the building services are crucial to health and safety – such as in fire and smoke control – but is a common problem right across the sector.
If the specification does not reflect what was agreed during design meetings, clients are well within their rights to take legal action because they will not receive the building they were promised. Also, if the specification is poorly-written or unclear, it is open to “interpretation” by the contractor. He/she can justifiably argue that what they have been presented with cannot be applied to the project in hand. They will argue that it cannot be built unless it is radically revised.
While there are many issues currently surrounding building services that are outside of the consultant’s control, this is one problem the industry can solve for itself by insisting on a better standard of specification writing. However, the status of the specification writer has been relegated in importance over the years, partly because of time and fee constraints.
Disputes This is causing confusion, pricing errors and contractual disputes, in addition to undermining the industry’s and the Government’s aim of reducing the cost of construction, speeding up delivery and improving quality. Embracing digital processes would help enormously, but many of the specification templates used in the building services sector are so out-of-date that they cannot be easily translated into the formats required to support modern construction methods, and for integrating into Building Information Modelling (BIM).
No matter how much technology changes, specification will remain at the heart of mechanical and electrical engineering. How we communicate is vital if we are going to get the details right from the outset, and remove the ambiguity of interpretation that leads to compromised designs. That is why we need to adopt a consistent approach and use a format that is intelligible to all.
The lack of consistency in the way our supply chains exchange information is also increasing contractual risk, and will come under greater scrutiny in this post-Grenfell period. The current approach also encourages people to dump information at different stages of the project and then start again. This builds waste, delay and extra cost into the project process.
Contractors are often confronted by hundreds of pages of information that is not relevant to their specific role. This adds to the confusion. If we are being charitable, we could put the problem down to people not having enough time to spec the work properly, or not fully understanding the brief, but there is also an element of laziness – and in the worst cases dishonesty – involved.
The importance of a clear specification does not end at handover. In fact, the need for clearer detail becomes even more apparent during the building’s operational life. Unless the art of specification writing is given the status it deserves, the original design intent will be lost and the building will fail to meet performance targets.
The specification also needs to be simple and straightforward, and not full of onerous conditions and “weasley” protect the specifier’s back. In the end, this is simply writing a blank cheque for lawyers.
Variations Specifications need to be clearer and free of ambiguity because the risk of disputes and project “variations” is far too high. Late changes to the design are the enemy of good engineering and we need clear and concise writing. The variable quality of specifications also makes it hard for estimating teams to understand what they are being asked to price. This leads them to either overprice work or to make mistakes that create problems further down the chain.
Many specifications also fail to reflect current industry standards and best practice because sections have been copied from out-of-date documents. This also leads to conflict between the contracting parties, further delaying the project and pushing up the cost.
If the Hackitt Review following the Grenfell tragedy has taught us anything, it is the importance of having a culture of collaboration in place from the outset – and before the specification is even written – so the necessary information exchange can take place and there can be technical clarity and rigour from day one. That must be the goal we all strive for … to make buildings safe and efficient. It will also cut waste from the process, which will lead to greater financial profit for everyone involved, including the end client.
It is crucial that fire safety designs in particular are precise and specific about the measures required for the building in question. Fire and smoke protection systems need to be considered as a complete package. That must be reflected in the specification to avoid the unhappy situation of contractors breaking up the component parts of the system and letting them out as separate tender packages in a bid to drive down the cost.
Active and passive fire protection measures have a symbiotic relationship and depend heavily on how they are installed in relation to each other. However, if the specification allows contractors to re-interpret the original design intent while looking for capital savings, they may not work as intended in the event of a fire. In the wake of Grenfell, the industry has a responsibility to put an end to that sort of behaviour.
Writing a specification is not something to be regarded as a bit of an inconvenience that can be delegated to someone with less experience, but more time. The art of specification is fundamental to the original design intent. Undervaluing it will undermine a building’s performance and safety.
However, Jacinta is no stranger to such accolades. She was only the fourth female in 119 years to be elected to the Board of Trustees for the Institute of Refrigeration (IOR) in the UK, and in January of this year was named ACR Woman of the Year. She is also a member of the Steering Group for the WiRACHP (Women in Refrigeration Air Conditioning & Heat Pumps) Network. Although WiRACHP is a more industry-specific organisation, its primary focus is very similar to that of WES.
The WE50 awards take place each year to coincide with International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) on 23 June, a day endorsed by UNESCO patronage since 2016. INWED celebrates the achievements of women in engineering and related roles, and highlights the opportunities available to engineers of the future Concrete Society.
The WE50 were judged by a panel of industry experts and head judge, Dawn Fitt, commented: “As a former engineering technician apprentice it has been a pleasure, and encouraging, to see at firsthand the fantastic achievements of both current and former apprentices. This is particularly heartening given the push to increase the apprenticeship numbers within the construction industry.” If you are ever thinking about working in construction, then check out these great construction jobs.
Jacinta is the living embodiment of this route to success. She is a qualified refrigeration engineer and has been working in the industry for over 16 years. She began her apprenticeship with an RAC contractor in Dublin while, for the off-the-job phases of her studies, she attended both what were then DIT Bolton St, Dublin and FÁS Cork.
Since then she has progressed from the practical, hands-on side of the industry through to various roles including technical, design, sales and managerial positions. Her role with Critical Project Services (CPS) is to develop the European business through the management of clients who have new-build, retrofit or upgrade requirements on their data centres.
CPS is a management consultancy business dedicated to the mission-critical industry. It predominantly delivers project management, program management, site selection, project control, D&B, procurement, commissioning and assessment services.
Jacinta comes from Mayo where her family have refrigeration, electrical and haulage businesses for over 50 years. She has been immersed in male-dominated industries from the very beginning and it was quite normal for her growing up to explore all things engineering. She now realises how fortunate she was to have had those opportunities and that encouragement. Consequently, promoting women in engineering roles – whatever the discipline – is important to her.
The other passion Jacinta has is for driving. She caught that bug from an early age, to the extent that she has a licence and the qualifications to drive coaches and even articulated trucks. She has a weakness for “anything speed” and says watching truck-racing is her favourite. Her highest tandem parachute jump was from 13,000ft, while she also has a wing-walk under her belt. In addition, she likes climbing mountains, yoga, travelling and going home to Ireland to see family and friends.
“As an RAC engineer myself I know how rare women with this qualification are. Indeed, during my time as an apprentice in Ireland I was the only female doing RAC. Hopefully, that scenario will now change thanks to new initiatives designed to attract not just females, but also males, into refrigeration apprenticeships.”
Jacinta’s story illustrates the importance of the apprenticeship route into engineering, and also clearly demonstrates its value in career development/advancement opportunities. However, there is still a lot to be done. The industry needs to recognise this and act accordingly if it is to attract more young – and enthusiastic – people into the sector.
The Traynor name has been prominent in the industry since Greg’s father (Noel Snr)followed a career in all aspects of building services engineering further to an apprenticeship in a major contractor’s office in Dublin in the 1930s. Noel Snr subsequently moved to Northern Ireland during World War II, designing services for American bases and hospitals, returning to Dublin after the war to build the new sanitoria with the Department of Health. Greg qualified from UCD in Mechanical Engineering and Building Services Engineering in Southbank Polytechnic (now Southbank University). He followed his father into consulting engineering and lived and worked in London and San Francisco. Much of this international experience was incorporated into innovative designs, particularly in industrial projects, on his return to Dublin.
Noel Snr and Greg founded the practice of JN & G Traynor & Partners in 1974 and over the next 38 years – until his retirement in 2012 – Greg enjoyed the challenges, the innovations, the latest technologies and more importantly, the people who worked in all areas of the industry. Greg’s brother, Noel Jnr, and his sister, Michaele, also spent time in the practice.
I began working in the practice in 1995. It was immediately apparent that if you had a problem with a job and a spot of reassurance or lateral thinking was required, a conversation with Greg would either solve the issue or give you the confidence that you were making the correct decision. I recall one incident in which I was given the task of designing an escape route pressurisation system for a large multi-storey building. Greg was away at the time and I spent two days poring through the relevant British Standards and estimating the size of air gaps between landing doors etc.
The client was on the phone every couple of hours looking for the fan size and panic had set in. Greg arrived back late on the afternoon of the second day and, after the customary “Allo Allo Allo” delivered in a deep baritone voice, was met with panic from me and the client on the phone frustrated and annoyed. At this stage I had about five completely different fan ratings. He calmly asked me “what’s your best estimate at this stage?”. I told him my best estimate and he said “that sounds about right – double it!”. It worked. He adopted this calm approach at all times to all situations. Perhaps this is missing from the industry today.
As stated previously, Greg had a keen interest in people in the industry and enjoyed meeting other consultants, contractors and sales representatives. No matter who you were and whether you came to the offices by appointment or unannounced, there was always a coffee or tea on offer. The conversation at these meetings invariably strayed from the topic in hand into industry scuttlebutt, mutual acquaintances, musicals, literature or one of the vast arrays of interests that Greg found time for while managing a busy practice.
Greg devoted much time to the industry outside of work and sat on many committees of Engineers Ireland and CIBSE Ireland. He was Chairman of CIBSE Ireland in 2000- 2001. His father, Noel Snr, was also Chairman of CIBSE Ireland in 1970- 1972. Greg took a keen interest in the formation of young engineers and always promoted the profession to prospective students. His adoption of low energy technology was ahead of its time and his experimental mind lead him to implement low energy technology (MVHR, LED Lighting & Ground Source Heat Pumps) in the refurbishment of his own house.
The systems were controlled and monitored by a complete building management system and he took a keen interest in the validation (or not) of the manufacturers claims against this measured data. Greg had a keen interest in technology, both in building services technology as well as office technology. The practice was one of the first to adopt CAD systems (Microstation and later AutoCad) and even though the practice had a small staff, regular updates to computer systems and servers were made to the consternation of Noel Snr: “What do you want another one of those boxes for”.
I don’t think the practice actually needed these regular upgrades but each new upgrade brought additional computing power for Greg’s interest in acquiring knowledge by Web researching. We would often divide the workload on a tender with Greg taking charge of the specifications and I designing and drawing. After a number of hours into the work, I would wander over to check a point with Greg but he could not be be disturbed as he would be half way through an academic paper on some obscure topic from an even more obscure American university.
He had a very high intellect and had a breadth and depth of knowledge that I have never come across before or since. No matter what the problem or issue, work-related or not, consulting the “Oracle” was always the wisest thing to do.
The advent of high-speed broadband into the office brought many benefits but also some drawbacks. Once again, when specifications were being prepared by Greg, the Web would be consulted for details of an air handling unit and ten minutes later the screen would be showing something connected to science, nature or the arts. Greg had a great love of all things artistic and was a member of various musical societies and appeared in a number of shows over the years. He also had a great love of literature and enjoyed using quotes when the opportunity presented itself. When, as a junior engineer,
I had completed a report Greg would wander over and note that he would review the report to add: “Merely corroborative detail, intended to give artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative” (W.S. Gilbert, The Mikado). His narrative was not confirmed to artistic classics and when a statement was made that “surely the radiator can’t be that size” this was often met with “it is, and don’t call me Surely” (The Naked Gun).
Greg was something of a hoarder of books and magazines of all descriptions. The office had collections of IHVE, CIBS, CIBSE, IEI, Engineers Ireland and ASHRAE magazines dating from the earliest editions. Engineering books and catalogues dating from the late 1800s were also collected. Upon moving out of the office in Lansdowne Terrace in 2008, this collection had to be sorted and decisions made whether to bring them with us, donate them or bin them. A couple of hours into this sorting, we would be merrily filling black sack after black sack.
Checking on Greg’s progress would invariably find him engrossed in a fascinating article from an early edition of a magazine or a concert programme with little or no progress made with the task in hand. We discovered that this work was best carried out when Greg was out of the office and the bags taken away before his return! Greg retired in 2012 and divided he time between Toronto and Dublin. He never lost interest in the industry, particularly the people in it, and each time we met he would ask about the practice, the latest technologies and, most importantly, the industry gossip and who was still “vertical and mobile”. Greg’s passing has left a void in the industry in a place reserved for a true gentleman.
Go n-éirí an bóthar leat
Go raibh an ghaoth go brách ag do chúl
Go lonraí an ghrian go te ar d’aghaidh
Go dtite an bháisteach go mín ar do pháirceanna
Agus go mbuailimid le chéile arís,
Go gcoinní Dia i mbos A láimhe thú.
PS: The issue of Building Services News containing this appreciation can be downloaded in pdf format by clicking on the Cover image below Greg’s picture.
The Zeroth Energy System is an innovative community heating network particularly suited to apartment complexes. It contains heat pump technology and utilises a refrigerant-free, water-to-water energy loop to provide heating, cooling and hot water. The unique design and operating temperatures allow a broader range of heating or cooling equipment to be used compared with current building design practice.
The site trip and CPD presentation involved a classroom-type interactive presentation followed by a tour of the purpose-designed, apartment-style demo installations. However, it was a site visit with a difference. It was not death by Powerpoint but rather a workshop format with the 16 young engineer participants divided into teams who competed for points based on the Zeroth presentation.
Scores were allocated and recorded at the end of the “workshop” element, and then carried over to the go-karting competition at the WhiteRiver outdoor go-kart racing circuit located just a few minutes drive from the Glen Dimplex complex.
On arrival the group once again assembled into their respective teams and, having been kitted out and briefed on the rules and safety regulations, got down to the serious business of racing. The excitement of the day was multiplied in spades by the fact the heavens opened just as the racing began, making driving conditions on the outside circuit like skating on ice!
The computerised timing system and the individual lap time printouts charted everyone’s progress so there was no possibility of cheating, save for the nudging that occurred on the track. On conclusion of the racing the exhausted participants re-assembled to witness the team scores being tallied and added to the scores from the earlier workshop session to determine the overall winners.
While it may be clichéd to say so, it was not about the winning on the day, the interactive formula of the occasion ensuring that it was all about the taking part … it really was a case of CPD learning made fun.
If you are interested in joining CIBSE YEN Ireland Branch – and participating in future YEN events – contact Ryan Loney at email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our industry now stands on the brink of the fourth industrial revolution. Led by data and technology, new tools are emerging, including self-monitoring infrastructure, offsite and modular construction, drones and virtual reality which enable engineers to monitor buildings from their desks, and digital design which takes minutes, rather than weeks. All of this is intended to help build the “smart” infrastructure society is demanding, such as more efficient turn-up-and-go transport networks and sustainable, yet affordable housing. The only problem that our industry has been facing over the years is the accumulation of waste during the construction process, we have been recommended many services, like these industrial roll off services, to help us with the proper disposal of the materials we don’t know how to get rid of.
Engineering and technical consultancy remains the backbone of the economy as infrastructure investment is critical to ensure post-austerity growth. In this economic and political environment, our industry is more important than ever before. However, with the demands we are now facing, is our sector, collectively, ready to meet this challenge? It is clear that in order to do so a change is required – not just on a technical or project level, but on strategic, market and industry levels too. The best way to start with constructing these buildings is by making sure that the materials are very good quality, like this custom metal fabrication.
It’s evident that within this new prism there are significant opportunities for firms to improve outcomes and deliver better-quality services for the end-users of infrastructure, but this must be enabled by the actions of the government and private sector clients. They are ultimately responsible for creating the environment which will allow us to bring forward the best the industry has to offer. Exploiting these new technological opportunities will improve the productivity of our sector and its export potential. A grеаt piece оf tесhnоlоgу is thіѕ Bluetooth Barcode Scanner, make ѕurе уоu check thеm оut tо соnѕіdеr buуіng thеm fоr уоur business.
I unveiled ACE’s Future of Consultancy campaign in November 2018. This is a multi-year, two-phased campaign which will firstly scope new areas of opportunity, identify and explore new business models for consultancy, and analyse the sector’s changing needs in terms of skills.
Secondly, the campaign will pull together findings from phase one and focus on enhancing existing revenue streams and the development of new ones. We’ll also be looking at piloting tomorrow’s training, apprenticeship schemes and contracts, and creating effective and fit-for-future-purpose industry forums and partnerships to support a vibrant, profitable and sustainable sector. There are very good PolyPhotonix engineers that work in the design, production, and use of laser and fiber optics technology.
All of this will help our members, no matter what their size, seize the opportunities that lie ahead of us. However, for this to happen, we will need to build a consensus for change, not just among ACE members, but with wider stakeholder and government bodies too. There are many possibilities open to us in supporting our clients, and we have divided these into three areas based on the asset lifecycle:
Strategic planning and placemaking A better understanding of user requirements helps clients to “optioneer” the best solutions, making trade-offs in what they value to get to the best-quality design for a community. An increase in data and digitally-enabled modelling gives consultancy the tools to apply its expertise in a more strategic way, requiring a maturity shift in client mentality away from capital cost to the ultimate objective of defining outcomes. Their willingness to pay for these outcomes enables industry to bring forward more productive solutions such as offsite manufacturing at scale across a programme.
Delivering integrated projects This touches on the importance of core disciplines of successful delivery in information management, programme management and production management, but we can go beyond this by exploring our remit as consultancy businesses in integrating funding streams across multiple clients, and perhaps finance across the whole asset lifecycle.
Data-led asset performance Combining data and technologies available in both buildings and infrastructure to understand and optimise asset system performance, often against changing user requirements, means bringing to bear our tools and expertise to share learning and optimise the benefits across sectors and clients at a system level.
While these areas themselves are not new, the opportunities we have to support our clients within them will change as a result of the tools and data available to use in a digitally-enabled environment.
The value is in bringing together our collective offer in an integrated way to get the flow of data, products and expertise working around the whole life-cycle, and seamlessly across multiple clients. A truly valuable client partner will understand and mitigate risks, not just on a project but in how assets contribute to the network and in turn the network of other clients. The quality of your products is of the highest importance so we strongly recommend that you use a quality inspection service as these can ensure that your products are of the highest quality.
For large firms this means building on the existing model of mentoring, using the best steam generator, deburring machinery, heaters, developing and championing expertise within your firm and your supply chain partners to ensure your integrated offer is a compelling one. For smaller firms it’s about understanding where you add value in this model, often in multiple phases and perhaps in areas of the life-cycle that you don’t currently get invited into.
This collective vision about how we can add value makes for a more compelling proposition for those looking to a future career in the industry. Between us, we offer different corporate environments, employment structures and a variety of work for a fulfilling, life-long career within the industry. If we can develop and articulate a more integrated industry with a vision to an individual, we can find a place within it to suit their needs and ambitions. In turn, this makes us inclusive, representative and sustainable for the future – without a skills crisis.
The objective is to enhance the experience of the participating engineer and contractor so that they each gain insights into the working practices of the other discipline (contractor/design consultancy), and to expose them to the everyday challenges faced in project management, but from the other side of the fence!
The participants in the inaugural programme are Tom Egan Project Engineer, Winthrop Engineering& Contracting and Kerry Taylor, Design Engineer, Axiseng consulting engineers. The project is Spencer Dock in the north Dublin docklands.
The workshare exchange programme commenced in May and is scheduled to run to the end of July. During this period Kerry and Tom will carry out their normal duties on the project, but will also work in the respective exchange company for one day a week over the course of the three months. To guide and support them within each company there are two mentors – Richard Vaughan, Principal Engineer, Axiseng and Thomas Sheridan, Project Manager, Winthrop Engineering & Contracting.
At the end of the exchange programme the two participants will provide feedback to the participating companies covering topics such as:
• Scope of exchange work;
• Key lessons learned;
• What I will do differently as a result of this programme?
• How has the programme shaped my view of building services?
They will also be presented with a CIBSE Ireland Exchange Programme certificate.
In addition, there will be a major spread in the August/September issue of Building Services News. Here both Kerry and Tom will detail their experience of the workshare exchange programme, articulate their respective learning outcomes, explain what they would change, and suggest ideas for further development of the programme going forward. ■
What is the IGLC? The IGLC is an integrated international network and community of researchers in practice and academia that has collected a specific repository of research from the members of the community and their associates. It showcases new thinking, knowledge and practices that have been developed, funded and implemented by pioneering researchers in lean organisations in the architecture, engineering, construction and facilities management (AECFM) sector.
Many of the lean principles, methods and practices used by the pioneers of today’s AECFM sector such as US M&E specialists Southland Industries are documented in the IGLC repository (e.g. Last Planner® System; Target Value Design; Virtual Design and Construction).
These methods are used to engage trades early in project delivery to leverage their knowledge and experience and produce better project results, including more profit by significantly improving coordination and sequencing of work which results in much less rework! Many of the pioneers and thought leaders of lean construction will be part of the week-long event.
IGLC 2019 This year’s event promises to be the largest IGLC yet. The week is split into four key parts – workshop day, industry day, 3-day research conference, and a 2-day PhD Summer School.
Workshop day This will be located in Dublin Castle and has 10 different options to choose from. The workshops are designed to help those either beginning or at more advanced stages of their lean journeys. Participants will learn from, and interact with, internationally-recognised lean leaders in design and construction. Topics will include an introduction to lean; target-value design; gemba walks; simple framework for integrating project delivery; the better building model; choosing by advantages; creating enthusiasm for lean on your project; facilitating effective lean sessions; takt planning and the role of language and moods in successful project delivery.
Workshop day wraps up with “meet the authors” where the likes of David Umstot, Rafael Sacks, Hal Macomber, Klaus Lemke, Dean Reed, Atul Khanzode, Tom Richert and Marton Marosszeky will answer some more of the burning questions raised by the workshop participants during the day about implementing and sustaining lean.
Industry day This will take place in Croke Park and will have four sessions run in a single stream with “Ted Talk ”style 18-minute presentations and audience engagement. Participants will hear about lean leadership and culture in Ireland from Ardmac, DPS, Mace and more. From an international perspective, current best practice case studies will be shared from the UK, US, Peru, Norway, Denmark and Germany.
The presentations and panel discussions will explore how purpose, culture, mind-set and team building are at the heart of successful project delivery. Industry day also includes dedicated panels to address the burning questions gathered throughout the day from the audience. The panelists include lean coaches David Umstot, Jason Klous, Randi Christensen, Cynthia Tsao and Steve Ward, in addition to the “godparents” of lean construction Glenn Ballard, Iris Tommelein, Lauri Koskela and Luis Alarcon.
The 3-day research conference Again to be held in Croke Park, the conference will be chaired by Professors Christine Pasquire and Farook Hamzeh. It is structured to engage Irish and international industry with the latest output and developments in lean construction from around the globe. These are either in use, ready for market, in exploratory and developmental stage or blue skies research that will shape the future of lean construction and project delivery.
Papers are being submitted under the following themes: (1) Contract and Cost Management; (2) Enabling Lean with Information Technology; (3) Lean and BIM; (4) Lean Theory; (5) People, Culture and Change; (6) Product Development and Design Management; (7) Production Planning and Control; (8) Last Planner® System; (9) Language Action Perspective; (10) Production System Design; (11) Safety, Quality and Green-Lean; (12) Supply Chain Management and Off-Site Construction; (13) Learning and Teaching Lean.
Previous IGLC conference proceedings are searchable by key word or authors at www.iglc.net
2-day PhD Summer School The week concludes with a 2-day PhD Summer School in the Grangegorman Campus of Technological University Dublin. The Summer School provides an opportunity for 12 PhD research students (Irish and/or international applicants) to present their work and receive feedback from a panel of senior lean construction academics and experts. This two-day event supports in-depth discussion of current research in the field of lean construction.
See full details on IGLC 2019 at www.iglc2019.com
There continues to exist a grey area between the consultant’s design aspirations and the final built product. Most importantly, whatever about the consultant and the contractor, neither the client nor the architect recognise this void and consequently there is no budget allocated to bridge it. Besides, it’s difficult to know if a bridging service has been successfully rendered until the building is operating comfortably and energy efficiently.
Without a budget, an optimally-configured installation remains mostly illusive. Neither the consultant nor the contractor can be expected to invest in this space without compensation. In any case, it’s a highly specialist “grey area”. And even if the gap was bridged, with such a huge budget to be allocated, there is always that risk of fraudulence looming on the consultant’s head. But thanks to the emergence of companies like Fully-Verified, the risks associated with transactions have been mitigated.
It needs to blend the consultant’s concept creativity, practical installation knowledge and building automation programming into a single service offering. Our experience is that clients will only take this seriously if they are assured they will benefit from energy savings. If they can get their heads around the concept of an EPC (Energy Performance Contract), then they know they are guaranteed the savings, or at least a risk-free attempt, at getting them.
Perhaps we’ve asked too much from installation contractors in the past by pressing them to meet us half-way through the “grey area” in order to salvage a modicum of the lost energy performance buried in the finer operational set-up of buildings’ M&E systems. To spare everyone the pain, we widened the remit of our consultancy practice to bridge the gap between concept and competition.
Through EPC Contractor Symphony Energy, we forged a new EPC offering that guarantees a sizeable energy saving release from existing building M&E systems. This idea has been tested and has proven highly-effective on several projects. Savings of 50% are typical, although a number of projects have the energy dial crossing the 70% and 80% savings thresholds. So, before subjecting owners of existing building stock to high retrofit costs in an effort to play catch-up towards NZEB, first explore what can be done to get a deep retrofit effect without needing a deep retrofit budget.
Consultants working on new projects need not wait until their designs are struggling to deliver the desired energy performance in reality. NZEB ought to be more a concern for clients than their project teams. The pragmatic approach for everyone’s benefit is to ensure the client allocates room in the project budget to better achieve the desired energy performance at, and post, completion. This provides a high level of assurance that NZEB levels are achieved, and perhaps exceeded, for new projects. By having an EPC contractor involved in the project from the early design stages, the crucial link between concept and actual energy performance is, quite literally, guaranteed.
The stakes are high for anyone offering an EPC as the client can only win, but the provider may take a loss, perhaps a heavy loss. To mitigate risk, we had to be confident in our predicted engineering solution outcomes. We also needed to have integral involvement in developing control algorithms that precisely matched the engineering concepts under every conceivable operating scenario. We needed to be proficient in coding so we could at least recognise programming issues and live test the code to iron out any bugs that would stifle the intended outcome.
Ultimately, we found ourselves searching the global market for high-grade PLC/BEMS equipment that is built on open systems architecture so it can act as a systems integration point with all other BMS systems, and with practically all other open protocols associated with M&E equipment.
Such protocols range from BACnet, Modbus, Lonworks to OPC, Dali, KNX, EnOcean and mBus. Using Loytec equipment, we’ve been able to integrate existing BMS and other M&E equipment to provide a single composite operating platform. With code programming in IEC61131-3 and other standard web software, it’s been possible to deliver exactly the engineering solution from concept to completion.
A tailored smartphone app is developed for each building or site. This empowers the facilities and maintenance team with good visibility into the operation of their buildings and the ability to swiftly intervene where necessary. The app also enables manual control over various individual items of equipment, making maintenance procedures more efficient.
Our quest to conquer the energy gap in the “grey zone” has yielded some high-value operational and management benefits over and beyond the deep energy savings. The broader integration of the M&E systems data with a wider array of IIoT data and machine-learning enhances the automated identification of the control system’s dynamic, integrated, optimum performance points.
Herein lies the next generation of energy savings that are key to nailing NZEB targets and beyond. Now, all of this diverse data is gathered together with a suite of powerful analytical tools on a cloud platform. Apart from providing wider market access to these now-proven extraordinary energy savings capabilities, this empowers a major advancement for energy, facilities and maintenance management proficiency.
The cloud platform also makes it easier to identify and assess a near endless pipeline of future energy-saving measures, thereby serving to deliver upon the continuous improvement requirements of ISO50001 more effortlessly.