8C — December 18 - January 14, 2020 — Industry Leaders — Owners, Developers & Managers — M id A tlantic Real Estate Journal


Industry Leaders

By Brian Wisniewski, PE, AKF A Modern Approach to MEP/FP Consulting


s building owners and management de- velop return to work

uncertainty regarding what the future landscape will look like, but without question the current pandemic will have lasting impact on how we approach building design. Too often, MEP/FP engineers are not engaged early enough in the design process to make a substantial impact on the project; an industry pivot is needed to redefine the MEP/ FP engineer’s role. IAQ, space pressurization (negative and positive), isola- tion rooms, MERV filtration ratings and adaptability

are all the buzz among de- sign professionals. With the plethora of information and articles on these topics, it is difficult for building owners, management and facilities staff to determine the most efficient and cost-effective solution to their specific con - cerns. There is certainly not a “one size fits all solution” when it comes to IAQ and the working environment, whether the mechanical sys- tems are new or existing. AKF has been a leader in Mechanical, Electrical,

Plumbing/Fire protection (MEP/FP) design over the past three decades and 2020 has certainly been an un- precedented year for all. As new challenges present themselves daily, we are re- quired to adapt quickly and develop solutions that re- quire outside-the-box think- ing. Increased focus on the client experience, along with industry leading expertise, has led AKF to sustainable growth through our progres- sive approach providing end user driven solutions.

At AKF, a signi f icant amount of our efforts this year have shifted towards the design, retrofit, and upgrades of HVAC systems in response to COVID-19. Health and occupant safety have always been a dominant factor in our design approach, espe- cially in the healthcare space. However, it is no longer just healthcare institutions and clients scrambling for solu- tions to complex problems; the commercial space has taken notice too. The trend towards the open office work - place over the last decade now presents complications as it relates to IAQ and oc- cupant safety. Increased population density, energy conservation measures and the lack of physical separa- tions have created a new, unique set of challenges. While developing specific COVID response strategies, design elements that were once value engineered from projects or deemed unneces- sary have resurfaced and are being reevaluated. More so than ever, building opera- tors, managers and owners are revisiting items such as system redundancy, future expandability, space flexibil - ity, space pressurization and airflow distribution. Providing the best solution requires a new approach from the MEP/FP consultant. Often, the word “consulting” is overlooked when it comes to the standard MEP/FP engineering mindset and ap- proach, prohibiting us from creating the value we can de- liver to the client. We are able to create additional value advising our clients, taking complex problems, system- atically breaking them down and communicating solutions in a manner that is straight- forward to understand. This allows our clients to make informed decisions that are budget conscious, meet end user needs and provide an adaptable system with the future in mind. Clear and open communication is the foundation from which we build on these concepts. At AKF, we pride ourselves not just as experts in our respec- tive fields of engineering, but as great communicators and client advocates. Brian Wisniewski, PE is a senior mechanical engineer at AKF Group. MAREJ

pl ans and evaluate ex- isting build- i ng i nf ra - s t ruc ture , a g r e a t e r interest and importance on i ndo o r a i r q u a l - i t y ( I AQ )

Brian Wisniewski

and mechanical systems has emerged. The current workplace climate is full of

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