Re: Re: Any experience I should look for for energy efficiency specification?
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Its a terrible indictment of the architecture profession that the vast bulk of its members have little understanding of low energy building and materials science.
I’ll attempt to stand up for architects here. Lets see how it goes…
It is a wave crashing over us all in the construction industry. For the first time ever, plumbers and electricians will have to coordinate to enable much of it to happen. I don’t know if the architect ever needs to get involved to that degree. But what is for sure, I think, is that contracts managers and site agents on sites, need to do this course now and get more involved, more motivated. In busy times, there is a tendency for anyone, who takes their ‘eye off the ball’ and wander off into fancy concepts like sustainability, to get severely cracked across the knuckles. The builders and the architects will have to come together on this one. Otherwise, it will all come upstuck in a big way. Perhaps, the best way for it to happen, is for the architects to butt out of it altogether in areas – and as I describe, provide a re-training so that the electrician knows more about what plumbers are doing and visa versa.
In the end though, if your client will not get on board too, it is all wasted effort. No matter how skilled your electrician and plumber are in ‘green technology’. That is why I am dubious of architects being too ‘up to their necks’ in it. They may begin to propose quite expensive solutions, not having a detailed knowledge of how renewable systems work etc. They will become very easy targets for heat pump or glazing system salesmen and the like. And end up costing their clients a lot of extra money, in the ‘name’ of sustainability. There were some very interesting ‘Probe’ studies done into office blocks a while ago, by the chartered institute of building services engineers. Who found that all of the passively cooled office buildings were notoriously dis-functional. Occupants didn’t feel the system was working. Perhaps it wasn’t a bad thing, the Architect on radio didn’t know what a passive building was.
To be honest about it, Architects could do with some general training in cost control – sincerely – not specifically in the sustainability area, but in general. Then, perhaps they would be able and ready to confront the said sales persons. During the Celtic tiger, be it public or private development, the system of building procurement rarely worked well. Architects are rarely given enough time in the boom years to work on their design properly, and get it to come down in price. Concepts got thrown together very quickly for clients, and sometimes for very little fees. I think we really need to move a little higher than architects in the hierarchy. They have precious little say in things, during good times. And perhaps even less in the current times. That would be my own experience.
Brian O’ Hanlon