Are GCC's FM teams aware of how MEP can help them?

The oft-forgotten role of HVAC and MEP in FM

COMMENT, SPECIAL REPORTS, Facilities Management, Sectors

Four years of covering the Middle East’s construction and property sectors have validated the maxim, ‘architecture is everywhere’, for me. Last month’s fire at Dubai Marina’s Sulafa Tower, however, made me wonder whether regional property professionals also understand the ubiquity of FM operations.

The fire is believed to have erupted on the 81-storey tower’s 76th floor at around 3pm local time on 20 July, according to designmena.com. An official cause is yet to be determined, but in the weeks to come, Dubai’s construction industry will undoubtedly revive the longstanding debate regarding the safety of aluminium cladding. While this is an important narrative for the FM industry to participate in, we must also address some significant operational concerns that the Sulafa Tower fire has brought to fore.

“When the fire alarm went off, I thought it was a false alarm, but it kept going,” Dr John Graham, a resident of Sulafa Tower, told designmena.com.

Dr Graham’s statement highlights the problematic recurrence of false alarms in the Middle East’s buildings, and its impact on FM service delivery and perception cannot be overstated. Operator help desks are the first to receive complaints – and flak – about the panic raised by false alarms, and resolving this trend will go a long way in improving the quality of FM in the region.

FM service providers aiming to drive this movement must not overlook the significance of MEP operations in building management. How often have you seen a colleague sneaking up on the office thermostat to thaw the room temperature, or shared awkward moments of silence during slow elevator journeys? Where did you last find a well-ventilated public bathroom?

FM operators frequently contend with disgruntled occupants, but only those who recognise the significance of MEP collaboration will efficiently troubleshoot these problems.

HVAC and MEP systems are a critical ingredient of comprehensive service delivery. Operators that are well-versed in these competencies will pave the way for superlative fire safety practices, appropriately temperate rooms, efficient elevators, and clean bathrooms.

fmME’s Special Report this month brings together a wide range of experts – from fire specialists to 3D building experts – to discuss how HVAC and MEP operations must be absorbed so that regional FM may truly be ‘everywhere’.

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