Optimising MEP systems adds value

Value engineering stands to play a critical role

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VE Solutions founder Arkady Siterman and director of development Eugene Siterman
VE Solutions founder Arkady Siterman and director of development Eugene Siterman

 Optimising MEP systems can effect an immediate 10% to 15% cost saving and a 20% to 25% energy reduction on a typical project. This means that value engineering stands to play a critical role in getting developers to relook at shelved projects.

VE Solutions founder Arkady Siterman and director of development Eugene Siterman aim to correct the general misunderstanding around the concept of ‘value engineering’. “We feel that the definition has been misquoted and misunderstood in the marketplace.

“The first thing one thinks of is a cost-cutting exercise, but in reality this is exactly what it is not. Our definition – which applies to MEP but any form of value engineering – is the art of applying engineering principles to achieve utmost value with the least possible resources.”

Arkady comments that the total project savings achievable through such a process are significant: “Basically what we have seen on all projects is that a 10% to 15% cost saving and a 20 % to 25% energy reduction can be effected in terms of value engineering.”

The biggest scope for savings lies in oversized systems, which present problems in terms of consolidation of equipment and inefficient layout of engineering communications. Such systems have often not been designed in accordance with the prevailing local climatic and market conditions.

“Some people think oversized systems are better in a hot and humid climate. Actually the opposite is true: when a system is oversized, you cannot control the humidity level effectively. Sometimes you walk into a room in a five-star hotel and smell mould. This is a big problem, and it is the result of a system being oversized and not working continuously,” explains Arkady.

This not only impacts on MEP, but on architectural and structural aspects as well. “Oversized systems require more space for mechanical equipment, and more space in the ceiling for ductwork and piping. It impacts on everything.”

Eugene acknowledges that, “in a perfect world, there would be no need for value engineers, in fact. But having us as part of the team helps keep them on their toes. It is a positive impact. We are not here to criticise and say you did it wrong. We are not trying to supplant the professional team.

We complete the circle, integrating the established design process with cost management. It is not just about simply estimating the design aspect, but managing this to ensure that the entire project is cost-effective as a result. This is essentially the target the entire team should be striving for.”

Read the full interview in the November issue of MEP Middle East.

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