Team efforts save time

A US-based green building expert has said that construction schedules could be cut in half and projects made more cost-effective if the local industry adopts an integrated approach to building design.

Construction schedules could be slashed if project teams meet earlier in the design stages.
Construction schedules could be slashed if project teams meet earlier in the design stages.

A US-based green building expert has said that construction schedules could be cut in half and projects made more cost-effective if the local industry adopts an integrated approach to building design.

John Boecker, head of the curriculum department, US Green Building Council, made the comments at a technical review workshop held in Dubai, designed to bring the local industry up to speed with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, which is being used by the Emirates Green Building Council as a starting point to develop a set of guidelines specific to the UAE.

"In the conventional [design] process, teams work on their own systems and don't really meet again until the end of the schematic design stage," he said.

"At this point, because they have all designed separately, it costs too much, so we engage in value engineering."

But Boecker added that if stakeholders in the procurement process came together earlier, it would enable a more efficient way of working in the long term.

"Before anybody picks up a pencil, all these professionals should meet," he said. "For example, the light reflection value of paint can affect the number of light fittings needed in a building. And communication between the architect and electrical engineer can increase the reflection level of the paint and reduce the number of light fittings needed.

"In turn, this can reduce the size of the M&E system needed in the building, and therefore reduce cost."

Boecker added that this approach redistributes efforts within the procurement process but does not mean that a project's timeframe would be increased.

"This approach may increase the length of the concept design stage, in order for the extra analysis to be done, but it will reduce the schematic and design development stages, and will cut construction time in half."

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