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The Great Reboot

The UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment recently described the approval and implementation of the country’s new Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), tied to achieving the climate change mitigation goals of the historic Paris Agreement of 2015, as a key milestone, adding that the “move falls under our national economic and energy diversification drive, manifested […]

| | Feb 23, 2021 | 8:43 pm
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The UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment recently described the approval and implementation of the country’s new Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), tied to achieving the climate change mitigation goals of the historic Paris Agreement of 2015, as a key milestone, adding that the “move falls under our national economic and energy diversification drive, manifested in the country’s current energy transition”.

Beyond doubt, performance of buildings is an integral part of all conversations around energy use in the country. And the construction and HVACR industries have a significant role in the efforts aimed at lowering indirect emissions. Dismally enough, the role remains unfulfilled, though, for more reasons than one, with the fault-lines in place for several decades and not as a result of the pandemic and the resultant reorganisation of business priorities for survival.

Building performance is dependent on a wide range of factors coming together and working in harmony. This may sound a tad trite a statement, but the manner in which some or many of the factors are ignored or are not allowed to gel, speaks of a larger problem. Take, for example, the acutely felt need for measurability, for accountability to turn things around. The two are nearly conspicuous in their absence in vast swathes of the real estate landscape. Take the other felt need – of delivering projects using value for-money solutions. What we have are numerous instances of unrealistic budgets from developers, leading to construction and installation practices counterintuitive to climate change mitigation efforts.

As a senior MEP consultant ruefully puts it, the entire system of budgeting and financial modelling is wrong, and we end up chasing shadows. This has a negative impact on the products that are sourced and the engineering resources that are handpicked to execute the various project management, design, construction, installation, commissioning and FM-related functions. As long as an avarice-motivated financial approach remains well-entrenched, no number of technologies – be they hardware or cloud-based solutions – can set things right; and that is the hard truth.

As vital industries, construction and HVACR have an inalienable responsibility of supporting the NDCs. And if what we need is a Great Reboot, then so be it. With a relative lull in New Construction, this could be an ideal time for the construction industry to reconsider some of its approaches to project development, including possibly self-defeating. After all, the stakes are high, and could lead to optimisation of costs and better performing buildings.


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