By Jill Best

An experienced MEP firm understands the impacts that we have on a building and the building owner. This starts at design, continues throughout construction and the maintenance of the building. The Owner is putting a huge investment into a new or existing building. Being able to translate their needs into a design can be an art.

Understanding the owner’s needs and wants is critical. What is the budget?  What is the function of the space? What are the owner’s expectations? What is the maintenance staff experience? What level of energy conservation is expected?

Being able to set your MEP firm apart from others includes the ability to understand the owner requirements and then provide a design that meets their expectations. We strive to have a satisfied building owner at the end of every project.

So – what is the special sauce to a satisfied the building owner?  It is critical that the owner understands the MEP impacts and designs of the project. In some cases, we are working with a team of consultants and do not have direct contact with the owner, which can make this extremely difficult. How can we communicate these impacts?  First, we have to simplify the complexities of the MEP building systems. Engineering does not equal simple. Engineers can be extremely complex and hard to keep up with at times. Therefore, we must be able to communicate the details of the designs in ways that non-engineers can understand. How great it would be to have an engineer google translator!

Some owners enjoy the complexities of engineering and are interested in trying to understand why we are providing the systems and designs that we do. Others want us to make the decisions for them that will meet their requirements.

When it comes to mechanical and electrical systems it can be subjective. Not many people think about the HVAC, plumbing or electrical systems of a building until there is a problem. Budgets and other constraints can translate into the following reactions. “It is too hot/ cold in this room.”  “The water does not get hot fast enough. “Who picked these light fixtures and why are they not dimmable?”

In addition, we are required to follow the building codes related to our disciplines, and these are not always in line with the owner requirements. Having the ability to communicate these codes – what they are and why they are required – is critical to helping the owner understand decisions.

How do we communicate this information to an owner?  One way this can be accomplished is by providing system evaluations that can be easily explained. We take pride in our ability to evaluate a new or existing building and present the results in a non-complex, easy-to-understand format. Our goal is to provide a platform of clarity for the owner by offering system comparisons, estimated cost of systems, as well as a life-cycle cost analysis. This gives the building owner the tools to make the best design decisions. The owner’s expectations, budget and architectural constraints can dictate the decision to choose a specific system. It is critical that we go through the steps in this process and present our findings to the owner. They need to know where their budget is being invested. Without this communication, there are possibilities of dissatisfaction which is what we strive to avoid.

As engineers, we strive to meet the owner’s needs. The MEP systems bring comfort and life to the building therefore, we need to ensure that we understand the owner’s requirements and constraints throughout the design process.  If their expectations, vision and desires are unclear it is almost impossible to meet their requirements. To accomplish this we need to communicate with the architect and empower them, so they know the importance of getting us in front of the owner. This is the secret sauce to a satisfied building owner!

May 15, 2019

The Secret Sauce to a Satisfied Building Owner

By Jill Best An experienced MEP firm understands the impacts that we have on a building and the building owner. This starts at design, continues throughout construction and the maintenance of the building. The Owner is putting a huge investment into a new or existing building. Being able to translate […]
April 24, 2019

Building Systems – Always Phased

By Ben Gries, PE There is one chance in a building’s life to have all systems addressed at once; that is during its original design and construction. After that point, any renovation, replacement, or improvement will only alter a portion of the original building systems. The HVAC, plumbing, and lighting […]
April 15, 2019

Why Do We Need Project Managers?

by Jonathan Moore Why do I need a Project Manager in my consultant’s office? In today’s world, a Project Manager (PM) is a necessary member of your engineering team because of the evolving nature of the design marketplace. The PM fills a crucial role in our industry and in our […]
February 5, 2019

Do you need a property condition assessment?

by Ben Gries, PE, LEED AP One of the biggest risks when buying a building is unforeseen problems with the property. Of those unforeseen issues, the Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP) systems represent a significant risk. Power outages, cold/hot work spaces, and leaking pipes are just a few of the […]
January 16, 2019

How much energy should your building use?

by Ben Gries, PE, LEED AP How much energy should your building use? Is its usage comparable to similar buildings? How can you reduce it? These are relative questions and sometimes hard to quantify and assess, especially if you only own or occupy one building. However, the answers could identify […]
January 10, 2019

What’s the right HVAC system for your building?

by Ben Gries, PE, LEED AP Choosing the right HVAC system for your building may not be an easy task, complicated by the fact that there is no “right” answer. There are many types of HVAC systems and all have unique attributes. It is important to consider the application, use […]
December 13, 2018

Standing Out as a Professional

by Ben Gries, PE, LEED AP In an engineering firm, professionalism is key to earning the trust of clients. Professional engineers are hired because of a distinct skillset earned through years of education and experience. Professional engineering firms provide skills and consulting services, and clients trust them for advice and […]
December 13, 2018

Planning for MEP System Capital and Operating Expenses

by Ben Gries, PE, LEED AP Understanding the costs of conducting business is critical to the profitability of that business. One aspect that is often overlooked is the maintenance and replacement of Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) systems. These systems are easy to overlook because the expenses to maintain them […]
October 31, 2018

Kerr-Greulich Engineers, Inc.’s Projects Recognized in AIA Kentucky 2018 Awards

October 2018 Four of Kerr-Greulich Engineers, Inc.’s projects won 2018 Awards for Excellence in Architectural Design from AIA Kentucky. The Honor Awards recognize architecture designed by Kentucky architects that demonstrate design excellence while promoting awareness and appreciation of the diversity, quality and score of Kentucky architecture. South Central Regional Library […]
October 2, 2018

Why Hire an Engineer?

by Ben Gries, PE, LEED AP Why hire an engineer? Are they necessary? The answer is, not so simple at times. Law stipulates that a professional must design certain projects — healthcare facilities, high-hazard buildings and buildings that have an occupancy of more than 100 people, to name a few. […]
August 22, 2018

Western Kentucky University

For nearly two decades, Kerr-Greulich Engineers, Inc. (KGEI) has collaborated with Western Kentucky University’s (WKU) Planning, Design and Construction department. WKU continues to progress on their $500 million campus renovation plan addressing the continued growth of the university. KGEI is proud to be a part of a large number of […]
August 16, 2018

The Importance of Building Envelope Testing

by Ben Gries, PE, LEED AP Energy codes have advanced to the point where small breaches in envelope integrity can lead to claims of HVAC size insufficiency. Each version of energy codes reduces building energy use below the level of its predecessor. This has been accomplished through improved building envelopes, […]