Integrate MEP systems at the design stage

Westin Doha Hotel & Spa benefitted from the integration of MEP systems at the design stage, a practice that should become standard across the industry

Darrel Strobel is managing director of MEP engineering at KEO International Consultants
Darrel Strobel is managing director of MEP engineering at KEO International Consultants

Success can be achieved when mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) systems are integrated into the overall design process, as can be witnessed by the recently completed Westin Doha Hotel & Spa, a two-time winner at the Construction Week awards.

Throughout the project design development, KEO focussed on delivering MEP systems with continuous value engineering to optimise systems performances with an emphasis on reducing energy and water usage. Sustainability measures were holistic between architectural and MEP designs, with lifecycle analysis undertaken to demonstrate capital cost contributions versus operational costs reductions that yielded reasonable payback. State-of-the-art technologies were deployed for both mechanical and electrical systems, with energy and water efficiency and customer comfort key objectives throughout the design process.

The overall design has been conceived as a luxurious, green oasis for visiting guests, and offers an exclusive, indulgent setting and retreat. The hotel architecture revolves around a series of modern guest blocks that are interconnected to the public areas. There are 365 luxury rooms, including standard rooms, suites, penthouses, and presidential suites. There are also five standalone bungalows, each with their own private plunge pool and landscaped frontage.

A continuous stream of water, which originates at the entrance driveway, meanders through the entrance foyer and continues its way through the resort, terminating in a unique wave pool. The theme of flowing water is designed to provide a cooling effect for guests at this urban oasis.

The sense of a verdant sanctuary is emphasised by generous areas of mature exotic trees and shrubs, interspersed with approximately 30 different water features and swimming pools. These include an infinity pool, which is a prominent feature in the centre of the leisure area of the resort, and a koi pond, which is positioned at the entrance of the world-class Thai restaurant, both authentic design features within the resort.

MEP control systems, including IP-based technologies, were designed and integrated to reside on the same platform. Lighting controls, guestroom management systems, building energy management systems, local lighting, and HVAC controls were provided throughout the facility. The façade lighting utilised LED technologies to create a welcoming entrance and overall aesthetics for guests arriving at night. Landscape lighting integrates well with the beautiful surroundings. Inside the hotel, the thermal comfort coupled with comforting artificial and natural lighting provides a rewarding experience for visitors.

Thermal modelling was applied to design the smoke management system and solar thermal water heaters throughout the hotel complex. Water closet sensors providing automatic flush and a grey water system for irrigation were design features that enabled water use for the project to be minimised. Connection and recirculation of the water features ensured reduced water use. Acoustic treatment to all drainage pipes within the occupied areas minimised noise produced by the water flow, thus maintaining a quiet and tranquil environment.

Best practice techniques have been utilised during the design process and, where practical, MEP systems were designed to exceed the local and international code requirements. Locally sourced materials were specified, to minimise transportation, enhance the local economy, and reduce the carbon footprint.

The integration of MEP systems and their controls into the design process offers a more sustainable outcome whilst meeting the high aesthetic and acoustic demands of a luxury development, resulting in an authentic green oasis in the heart of Doha.

Darrel Strobel is managing director of MEP engineering for KEO International Consultants.

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