It's function over form when it comes to refurbs and fit-outs

Refurbishment works need to go beyond enhancing the look and feel of a project, the consideration for priority is: 'function over form', Aliaxis' Jane Jacobsen explains

NEWS, Facilities Management, Aliaxis marketing manager, Fit-outs, Refurbs

When it comes to fit out it’s always function over form, according to Aliaxis marketing manager Jane Jacobsen. She says: “FF&E (Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment) might be where the fine detail and style get amplified but functionality and quality comes first.”

Aliaxis’ product portfolio includes facets that make use of long-lasting technologies. “High quality products are what the industry is on the lookout for,” Jacobsen tells fmME.

She adds: “Many of the latest trends show simplistic and modern styles, which highlight fine detail in an overall modest and timeless look. The simplistic look and classic style is back and is something Aliaxis specialises in with the Sanit range, for example.”

Elaborating more on the quality of products used during refurbishment projects, Jacobsen says high quality durable piping systems, for instance, help in the long run. “It’s one of the reasons why our piping products were chosen for the refurbishment of The Address Downtown Hotel in Dubai. Our German manufactured PPR hot and cold water supply system, called Wefatherm, has proven to be the right fit to refurbish the building in this case,” Jacobsen notes.

Another important consideration forrefurbishments are the technicalities in keeping sound levels low from drainage systems. “While drainage systems above the lobby are often required to be sound-proof, in some cases — such as a guest room in a hotel — other sound-isolating products, such a partition walls, might be enough. Therefore the client might only require simple PVC drainage or HDPE drainage in the rest of the building,” she says.

The defect liability period (DLP) varies from project to project for a refurbishment, and is unlike the 12 month period regularly offered in new projects. Jacobsen says: “Warranty is almost as important as quality. A refurbishment is a high investment for an owner and including products that prove their quality by long-lasting warranty is therefore a key decision factor.”

Meanwhile, sustainability is another crucial aspect being considered by owners associations and decision makers in the run up to refurbishments. Jacobsen adds: “Sustainability and energy saving have been of great concern for many and water consumption in Dubai is one of the highest in the world. Most of it is consumed in restrooms. Technologies that support water saving are therefore in high demand. Sanit has developed an easy adjustable flush valve that can be reduced to a small WC flush of only two litres, which helps achieve LEED requirements for upcoming or existing projects.”

Jacobsen also adds that it is not often that FM service providers to get involved when a project is in the works. “It is not very common for an FM company to be involved as it is mainly about installation with the MEP contractor. However, there can be cases where this might be the case,” she says recognising the importance of FM service providers.

She adds: “In general, good synergy between supplier and operator is important for any construction project. Nevertheless, especially for projects in hospitality, synergy can be challenging as many different parties are involved. Many operators end up hiring external companies for project management to communicate most efficiently between all parties. As a supplier we are looking out for potential issues during installation and other after sales support, they are prime activities of our local team.”

Cutting corners and poor quality FF&E and MEP works is a recipe for disaster which the FM service provider is left to contend with. However, FM companies conduct thorough due diligence before signing on the dotted line. “If you consider hospitality projects, they usually have strict guidelines for their first soft refurbishment up until when the plumbing elements in a hotel are due to be refurbished. This is why we don’t believe clients are willing to compromise on quality,” Jacobsen concludes.

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