Did You Ask the Right Questions?

When undertaking a renovation or new construction project as an owner do you know what questions to ask regarding the design of the MEP/FP systems? What is different about this project that was not on the last one that no one was expecting? The advantage of an experienced MEP engineer is that we have seen more, done more than just your last project.

Good architects ask the owner’s the questions they know of from the last project. Great architects ask the engineers what they should ask about the MEP/FP systems so that the owner gets the maximum benefit from their investment.

A good question to start with is: What is the occupied and unoccupied times of the building and the various spaces? Often times this is a great energy saver. If spaces are zoned together they can be shut-off when not in use, saving energy over the life of the building.

Another example of a typical owner’s question is: How do you report alarms? There are many options or requirements related to technology or operations that evolve over time. Many building automation systems can report alarms to text messages as an option, if you ask for it in the specifications. Communicating this to the specifying engineer is important if you have a response system in place.

Yet another example is the vastly changing and evolving lighting controls market. These systems have become increasingly interactive and can stand alone from the building automation system or be integrated together. Communicating what you want is important as options and pricing can vary wildly.

If you are planning a renovation or new construction project and want to know other questions that you should ask, contact Doug Barnhart, PE at dcb@ba-inc.com or (717) 845-7654.