'Glass towers in the desert' will always be iconic

Sustainability won't kill off iconic buildings

"The point is not to avoid glass totally, but to respond to the engineering challenges."
"The point is not to avoid glass totally, but to respond to the engineering challenges."

 The move to sustainability will not sound the death knell for iconic buildings in the region, according to VE Solutions founder Arkady Siterman and director of development Eugene Siterman. “We are of the opinion that the glass tower in the desert, and iconic buildings in general, will always be there, as these bring character to a region and a city.

“The point is not to avoid glass totally so as to reduce energy consumption, but to respond to the engineering challenges posed, by working with the architects and developers to create materials and high-efficiency systems to overcome the potential negative impacts.

“That is how a lot of technology evolves, through human desire to go beyond and achieve something more.” However, in order to realise such innovation, it is important to integrate value engineering consultants right from the beginning of the process.

“It is a mindset change. Designers spend a lot of time on a design, and then we come to the table and tell them to do something different. It is human nature to reject this. However, it is still easy to change when it is pencil and paper. When the job is done and you have to redesign, that is when people start to resist the process. The reality is that at the end of the day the designer simply cannot do everything,” says Eugene.

Arkady says there are two main issues associated with value engineering: design functionality and design constructability. “Basically we co-ordinate both. We analyse the design and introduce systems that are easily installed and operated, so it improves the final quality. The simpler a system is, the easier it is to install and operate. We cannot control the installation quality itself, but reducing the installation complexity goes a long way to mitigate this.”

The company also recommends suppliers and manufacturers with a reputation for reliability and quality. “This is a big plus for those people who have to maintain the equipment after the construction has been completed,” says Arkady. Another corollary of value engineering is that it allows developers to be creative and continue to tackle iconic projects, even in the current market constraints.

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

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