26 Mar Building engineers care for people using buildings
Building engineers are expert professionals who use technology in the design, construction, assessment and maintenance of buildings, so that the performance and quality of the building is as optimal as possible. This means that, whether it is residential, commercial, or public, the building is made to function for the purpose intended, and the people using it feel satisfied.
Before anything else, people expect buildings to provide shelter, and to protect them from the natural elements, the weather conditions and a harsh climate. They also need those same buildings to be safe and to provide them with good air quality, temperature, humidity, lighting and so on.
It doesn’t stop there. As physical structures, buildings also serve many functions that are related to well-being, comfort, and enjoyment. It is well known, for example, that light effects the rhythms, sleep and mood of human beings, and that poor lighting has negative impacts on the well-being of a person. Ventilation is another factor effecting human health and well-being, and buildings are not always designed to provide an adequate amount of ventilation.
One very important aspect of buildings that engineers think about at every stage of their work is fire safety. Fire hazard is in fact one area where a building engineer needs to apply a lot of know-how to assess the safety of the building itself – in terms of architectural layout, escape routes, and materials used, and to recommend fire prevention measures and fire-fighting techniques that can be employed in an effort to minimise the risk of a fire accident as much as possible.
Building engineers also look at buildings as spaces where people can feel comfortable and can enjoy themselves, alone or with others. Think about how important it is to have the right temperature and lighting in the family dining room, or how essential it is for workers in industry to feel comfortable rather than stressed at all times during their hours of work.
Another thing that people expect out of their property is that it turns out to be good use of their money, and that it gives them a reasonable return on their investment in terms of benefits that they will get. This is usually a balance between the costs that you put in to build or improve a property, and the value you get over a number of years. Therefore, it is very important to keep the costs as low as possible, and to invest in systems that are reliable and work for the purpose in mind. Making sure you get your value for money is something that building engineers can also help you with.
The same principles apply to other facilities and infrastructure, whether private or public, such as energy plants, waste management facilities, roads, bridges, breakwaters, sports and leisure complexes, and recreational parks. When building engineers are called in at the early stages of development of these buildings and structures, their role is to make sure that they are planned properly, and are equipped with all the necessary features for the safety, full accessibility, ease of use, comfort, and entertainment of their users.
As we said right in the beginning, building engineers do not come in only at the early stages of planning and design of buildings. Apart from being instrumental even during construction, to see that the systems that are being installed are fit for purpose and shall serve their function well, building engineers remain closely connected and hugely responsible to take care of the performance of the buildings, so that the buildings, in turn, can guarantee the safety, protection, well-being, and comfort of their occupants. This is the reason why the role of building engineers is ongoing, and does not stop once the building has been finished and is ready for use.
Just as it pays for us to get the doctor’s prescription to rid of problems and stay physically fit and healthy, or to follow an accountant’s instructions so we keep our personal and business financials in good state, it is worth asking a building engineer to take care of our buildings, so we can put our minds at rest that those buildings can serve us as we seek safety, well-being, health, comfort and enjoyment in our lives.