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‘Lack of technical knowledge, cost-driven solutions lead to inefficient design and performance’

CEO of Aspire Consulting outlines challenges facing specialised consultants in the Middle East’s refrigeration industry; discusses gaps hindering better engineering practice

| | Jul 3, 2019 | 5:38 pm
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Dr Zahid Rizvi

DUBAI, UAE, 3 July 2019: Consultants bear a significant responsibility within the HVACR industry, when it comes to promoting energy-efficient solutions, said Dr Zahid Rizvi, CEO and General Manager, UAE-based Aspire Consulting. Dr Rizvi underlined the important role consultants play as specialists initiating decisions around plant design in providing sustainable solutions that will effectively manage power consumption and mitigate buildings’ negative impact on the environment.  However, Dr Rizvi pointed out that a significant challenge facing consultants in the Middle East refrigeration industry is the lack of appropriate training and weak communication channels among system installers, and commissioning and maintenance engineers. The lack of technical knowledge, combined with cost-driven solutions, he stressed, inevitably lead to inefficient systems design and performance.

Dr Rizvi said that a number of other factors are aggravating the knowledge gap in the market. As an example, he pointed out that in tight market situations, when projects are mainly driven by cost, feedback and evaluation on performance are rarely considered after the project has been completed. “This situation does not lead to enhanced learning, at all engineering levels, and slows down the much-needed improvements,” he said, adding that there should be an appropriate mechanism, wherein consultants are able receive feedback on projects.

Dr Rizvi also touched on the importance of being discerning when it comes to accepting projects. “I strongly believe a consultant should only take on the type of projects they are experts on and not chase projects, as the outcome will inevitably reflect this,” he said. “Consultants have a responsibility to deliver optimum engineering solutions in their line of expertise and communicate accordingly with continuous engagement, with client and the remaining team of project engineers.” Dr Rizvi said that considering the fact that the market situation will inevitably apply a degree of pressure on consultants, in terms of financial constraints and delivery deadlines, there should be a measure of protection given to consultants. A possible solution, Dr Rizvi said, is a mechanism, where industry engineering standards are linked to fee structures, which would drive the community towards better engineering practices.

Dr Rizvi also addressed the apprehension that consultants may feel when it comes to specifying new product innovations offered by manufacturers, pointing out that the biggest bottleneck in the adoption of new technology is the alignment, or lack thereof, between the manufacturers’ R&D teams and the consultants. “Many manufacturers seem apprehensive in sharing data or engaging with consultants in the process of new products and design research,” he said, “but this can be easily overcome with confidentiality agreements. In the end, both manufacturers and consultants need to be aligned with the products and the special needs [of the market], and not involving the consultants at roll-out stages will not serve the best purpose for manufacturers, in my opinion.”

Underlining the value of stronger communication channels, Dr Rizvi emphasised that while it is important to innovate and think ‘out of the box’, if engineers in charge of the execution of the project are not properly trained, inevitably there will be a breakdown in the chain, which will affect the intended performance and maintenance of the system and lead to delayed timelines and higher cost towards completion. Dr Rizvi said that he believes consultants need to bear responsibility and take the lead in closing these knowledge gaps, which serve as a barrier to better building performance.


#hvac #refrigeration

Hannah Jo Uy is Assistant Editor at Climate Control Middle East magazine. She may be contacted at hannah@cpi-industry.com

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