Dubai, UAE: For any building to be classified as nearly zero-energy buildings or rated by LEED, it has to meet certain benchmarks. To achieve this, clients, designers, building contractors and sub-contractors have important roles to play, and so do MEP consultants. With the UAE government introducing vision statements to raise the bar of building development, the MEP consultancy in the GCC region does not appear to have embraced the change as much as it was expected.
Scott Coombes, Director at UAE-based consultancy firm, AESG, says that the UAE has responded much better and taken measures in the direction compared to other regions. He says, “We have seen some recent exciting tenders for nearly zero-energy buildings, and with Al Sa’fat [the Green Building rating system being introduced by Dubai Municipality, this month], and the sustainability initiatives in Abu Dhabi and, again, with Dubai keen on 3-D-printed buildings, we are seeing potential opportunities.”
However, he is quick to add that MEP consultancy firms are yet to make significant changes to meet the requirements of the vision statements. “They appreciate the change,” he says, “but at the end of the day, the majority of the firms are catering to what their design brief is, what their clients are looking for.” He stresses that clients don’t encourage deviation, and as a result, the MEP consultants don’t push boundaries. He also makes an interesting observation when he says, “the Middle East markets cater to fast-track projects as opposed to investigative feasibility studies”.
Supporting Coombes’ statement, Mario Seneviratne, Director of UAE-based Green Technologies, says that MEP consultants will adhere to the design brief, and unless the client says Green Building or introducing innovative building-efficient measures, the MEP consultants will simply go by the clients’ demand. In short, “The client has to drive the initiative,” says Seneviratne.