Andrew Reid & Partners (Consulting Engineers) Ltd
HDR | ANDREW REID
240 Blackfriars Road,
Tel: +44 (0) 207332 0500
- 2020 International Trade
Engineering consultancy HDR | Andrew Reid has been recognised with a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade. Formed in 1970, the company specialises in the design and commissioning of mechanical and electrical building services.
Speaking of the award, Managing Director Mike O’Mahony commented: “We are delighted to win this prestigious accolade; it is wonderful recognition of the exponential international growth we have developed over the past eight years and in particular the last three, which has facilitated new companies being opened in Denmark, The Netherlands, Singapore and Australia. This is a trajectory that we will continue to maintain with plans to expand our geographical reach further through the ongoing development of our people and systems, and by continuing to add value to our clients wherever they are located.”
Setting systems to work consistently is a vital cog in bringing buildings to life and ensuring they perform at their absolute optimum. Incorporating a robust and thorough commissioning process in a development project is recognised as best practice worldwide. Building services systems should undergo a series of validation exercises and controlled, coordinated tests in several operating and failure scenarios to confirm that they will work as reliably and efficiently as the designers intended. It should be proven that the building can withstand the rigours and exceptions of everyday use.
The words ‘controlled’ and ‘coordinated’ are key here. For example, in modern commercial offices and data centres, commissioning is a complex and highly technical process that requires considerable attention to detail and ongoing day-to-day – even hour-by-hour – planning. It takes significant time, effort and personal resilience to get it right, and, for that reason, commissioning is often a blind spot in the industry. The complications experienced by commissioning engineers can understandably be overlooked in the desire to complete the project on time and without penalty. However, a hurried ‘fix’ could instead result in significant delays or reputational damage that may affect organisations for several years hence. It can also present operational problems and reputational issues for customers that might have a material impact on their business. Ill-judged compromise during commissioning at any stage can lead to expensive mitigation solutions further down the line, which is why following a robust commissioning process is so important.
Every building HDR | Andrew Reid works on is unique. Sometimes the differences seem small: from minor system adjustments to material differences in system resilience; every project comes with a unique set of variables to consider as a whole. However, there is always one common factor – without adequate investment in commissioning, successful completion is unlikely to be achieved. Thus, it is ideal to introduce commissioning services at an early stage – in this way, every aspect of how a unique building is to be constructed and set to work can be assessed. Potential issues can then be identified and resolved with the project stakeholders and operational requirements can be factored into the process at the earliest opportune moment. Adequate time to commission and test can be built in to provide a bespoke project schedule that considers every eventuality.
The most effective way to ensure this process is successful is to actively engage everybody involved with it, creating a collaborative, open and respectful culture. It’s about learning and evolving construction practices and technologies in order to continually improve the approach to commissioning and testing. This continual refinement ensures an excellent service for clients every time, improving the efficiency of the industry.
The commissioning process is a vital process within modern construction projects; the adoption of smart technologies and ever-growing critical infrastructures demands it to be. Smart buildings are living environments with a vast array of digital/ IoT devices that can interact with their occupants, learn from them and adapt to their changing needs, offering businesses a new and powerful source of competitive advantage. Truly smart buildings interact with the people, systems and external elements around them, learning from past experiences and real-time data inputs to adapt to the needs of the people and businesses within them.
An example of effective implementation of smart technology is the flagship headquarters of a global technology company in London’s Kings Cross, for which HDR | Andrew Reid was appointed the Independent Commissioning Manager. Completed in March 2020, this 11-storey, state-of-the-art smart building uses systems that communicate via an Internet Protocol (IP) connection to the client’s network, meaning it can analyse data, act on the data and add context. This enables the building to (amongst other things) learn about and adapt to users’ preferences, provide predictive maintenance and fault detection diagnosis and also give data on occupancy that is able to perform space utilisation approach.
HDR | Andrew Reid worked closely with the project Master Systems Integrator (MSI) to produce and deliver a commissioning plan which detailed the strategy and approach to the operational integration, testing, commissioning, management and validation of the building’s systems. These ranged from the HVAC controls, electrical systems, security and lighting control through to plumbing and public health systems monitoring and fire detection. Using the latest machine learning technology ensured up to a third of energy could be saved, increasing overall energy efficiency an occupant comfort.
The Importance of Commissioning
In this and all projects, the multiple benefits of a diligently managed commissioning process should be recognised. These include legal compliance, repeatable compliance with design requirements, improved workplaces and user experiences, as well as more sustainable design, better operation and energy efficiency. Then there’s a reduction of future operational risk, overall maintenance and utility costs plus life-cycle cost effectiveness and efficient use of investments.
Going forward from the recognition this awards brings, HDR | Andrew Reid will continue to be a leading brand in providing practical solutions to ever complex building services engineering issues.