Complex Made Simple

5 Trends for the Building Industry in 2018- Part II of II

Article by: Saeed Al Abbar, Managing Director at AESG

In Part I, we reviewied Al Abbar’s 2 of the 5 trends that really capture the building and construction needs of 2018, namely: Zero and Near-Zero Energy Buildings & Fire and Life Safety.

In this article we look at the remaining 3 trends that construction industry needs to be looking at in 2018.


Though commissioning has rarely been given its due attention in the past, it is in my humble opinion the most essential part of the project as it brings all the systems and services together and ensures they work in harmony.

I always use the adage that no airline would receive an aircraft that has not undergone a rigorous testing, commissioning and integration regime.

Read: 5 Trends for the Building Industry in 2018- Part I of II

Modern buildings, which in many cases have more system components than a jumbo jet and represent a similar level of investment, therefore also need to receive the same care and attention when being brought into service.

Not only does inadequate commissioning pose a significant risk to the safety and health of those within the building, but buildings not properly commissioned will use upwards of 25% of the energy they would have used had they gone through an exercise of optimisation and integration of systems.

As the market has matured over recent years and a number of developers have observed the losses they have incurred during operation of inadequately commissioned buildings, we are now seeing greater focus on this area and most developers are now employing the services of third party commissioning specialists to manage and oversee the commissioning process right from the start of design until handover.

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Value Engineering

With oil prices unlikely to bounce back to previous highs, a premium will be placed on value engineering and innovation. Reflecting the importance of this has been the emergence of consultancy service providers and contractors whose approach to value engineering is led by technical specialists and supported by cost consultants rather than the other way around.

This has proven to be more effective as it enables value and system function to be clearly understood and defined so that value engineering does not become a simple cost-cutting exercise.

Many developers have experienced the issues with what I term ‘vandalism engineering’ associated with simply removing cost items from a BOQ without due regard for whether the building will still function as intended.

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Management of existing assets

A number of high-value buildings in the region are aging so there is a greater need for managing these assets to maintain their quality and performance. We have seen a lot of demand for recommissioning the mechanical, electrical, fire life safety and even façade systems of older buildings to bring them in line with modern standards and codes.

A developing trend has been for property owners to request recommissioning for their buildings, which requires a holistic diagnosis of all systems in the building to ensure their proper functionality.

This includes a thorough review of vital systems such as air conditioning, the BMS, and fire and life safety systems. Organizations that decided to take this up in 2018 would do well to treat BMS as the starting point, as this is not only where building systems are orchestrated but BMS will also help pinpoint where systems are not working in harmony.

The industry is moving forward at a rapid pace and innovation is finally taking a firm hold on the building sector.  Those that ignore these tides of change will simply be left behind.