Intertek, a leading provider of quality solutions worldwide, predicts a major increase in Building Enclosure Commissioning (BECx) in the Gulf region over the next five years.
As the region continues to witness its highest value of infrastructure and construction projects planned to date — over $172B in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) construction projects in 2015 alone — it is also experiencing stricter building codes and regulations aimed to raise the overall quality standards of building materials and projects. Building Enclosure Commissioning allows governments, private owners and investors to ensure that they are investing in better quality products and buildings which keep people safer and increases the lifespan of their assets.
BECx is a holistic quality assurance program that confirms that the building envelope is built as per the owner project requirements (OPR). During the process, a team of third-party experts documents that the necessary steps have been taken into consideration by the design and construction teams to deliver a fully integrated exterior enclosure that meets or exceeds the requirements of the initial intent. It addresses concerns such as air and water leakage, thermal heat gain, and structural performance. Other building physics such acoustics, moisture control, and building movements can also be considered through the same process. BECx reduces the cost of construction and maintenance by ensuring that potential problems are captured early in the process, such as during drawing reviews and mock-up testing, prior to manufacturing and construction on site.
“The focus of the GCC countries in the last few years has been on sustainability in the construction of their infrastructure and buildings,” says Gilles Vandevoorde, General Manager of Building Sciences, from Intertek, who addressed delegates at the recent Façade Design and Engineering UAE Summit. “This change in focus requires advanced testing, and certification of products and assemblies, in the lab and in the field. It is estimated that 65 percent of post-construction expenditure goes towards water-related damage or problems. Specifically, moisture damage contributes to 90 percent of all building and building material failures. Through the BECx process, a building is much more likely to avoid such issues from occurring.”
“We have witnessed an increasing interest in energy-efficient, environmentally conscious, and higher-performing buildings” adds Hussain Al-Atrakchi, Regional Managing Director for Intertek in the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan.
“Companies like Intertek, work with developers and owners to assure the delivery of sustainable and safe buildings at a reasonable cost, while complying with local and international regulations. Although BECx is an additional line item on the project, the benefits of the process often outweigh the cost and can be a significant cost-saver over time.”
The awareness on BECX benefits is gaining momentum. In the last few years, regulations have become more stringent and it is the foreseen continuing trend in the region to implement pro-active strategies that will contribute to the quality and safety of products that could affect people’s lives.