The real estate business is highly competitive, and buildings that offer added value are the most attractive for tenants. The appearance of a property is important, but the performance of building systems also matters. Many tenants give high priority to aspects like lighting quality, indoor temperature, energy efficiency, and reliable fire protection. An engineering firm can help developers improve these aspects.
A qualified engineering firm can also help with building code compliance, which is a legal requirement for building construction and occupancy.
These codes change by country and by city, and their requirements can be very stringent.
Importance of Code Compliance in Building Projects Ideally, a construction project should meet building codes with minimal changes. Preventing modifications during design and construction is in the best interest of developers since these changes waste time and capital.
Changes during the design stage are less disruptive since they only affect building plans and specifications. However, if numerous design changes are needed to meet codes, they can delay construction activities.
Change orders during construction are more disruptive because they bring higher costs. Since existing work must be repeated, the project cost increases. When a building exceeds its construction budget, it is often due to excessive changes.
Experienced engineers can design buildings according to code on the first attempt, or with minimal corrections. If the same engineering firm is hired for supervision, they can ensure the completed work matches the approved design. This saves both time and capital while ensuring the building project meets its scope.
How Developers Can Help Tenants Save Energy and Water
According to Michael Tobias, utility bills are among the largest expenses for tenants, and the prospect of paying less for energy and water is very attractive. When real estate companies invest in energy efficiency and water conservation, these features can be used for marketing purposes.
Michael Tobias is the founder and principal of Chicago Engineers, an Inc 5000 Fastest Growing Company in America. He leads a team of 30+ mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineers from the company headquarters in New York City; and has led over 1,000 projects in Chicago, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland and California, Singapore and Malaysia.
In most residential and commercial buildings, heating and cooling account for the largest share of energy expenses, Michael Tobias shares. The largest of the two expenses change depending on the local climate, but their sum outweighs all other energy costs. Energy efficiency measures that improve space heating and air conditioning systems can achieve the highest savings.
Lighting systems can also have high consumption, especially when they are used for many hours each month. For example, office lighting and outdoor lighting tend to have the highest operating costs. Common area lighting in apartments and condominiums can also have significant energy consumption.
The LED lighting is much more efficient than conventional lighting systems while having a longer service life.
An LED upgrade not only saves energy but also lamp replacements.
For water conservation, an effective measure is using low-flow plumbing fixtures. In the case of existing buildings, the plumbing system should be inspected to fix any leaks. Old plumbing fixtures also wastewater, especially if their seals have worn down.
Offering Reliable Fire Protection for Tenants
If you compare local building codes, the requirements for fire protection systems will probably be the most demanding. Other building systems such as lighting and ventilation cause disruption and inconvenience when they malfunction. However, fire protection systems have no margin of error, and the consequences can be severe if they don’t respond.
Automatic sprinklers are among the most effective fire protection systems since they can quench flames when they are still small. Movies have spread the wrong idea that sprinklers shower the entire building with the smallest sign of fire or smoke, but this is not the case. In real-life applications, only the sprinklers directly above a fire activate, since they respond to heat.
Well-designed fire protection systems benefit real estate companies even if a building never suffers a fire incident. Insurance companies normally offer better plans and reduced premiums for buildings with reliable fire protection. The insurance savings that are accumulated over time can be significant.
September 9, 2019