What makes a good design in building services engineering?

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As building services engineers, we consult, design, and review Mechanical, Electrical and Public Health (MEP) systems that make buildings safe, comfortable, and fit for purpose. At Drac Consulting, we design solutions to the complex requirements associated with refitting, refurbishing, or constructing a new building. We ensure that the building meets the needs of the clients and its occupants, paying attention to the future use of the building.

In this article, we explore what we believe are five of the most important elements of creating good design systems for a building project and how we achieve them.


First on our list is Safety.

A building must be safe for its occupants, and one of the main components of a really good design is to identify the potential hazards and mitigate the risks.

When we design a system, we ensure that the physical and mental needs of the occupants are identified and included into the design. We also consider any future maintenance activities and take steps to reduce any risks. It may be as simple as relocating a piece of equipment to a more accessible location. At DRAC, safety is non-negotiable!


The second aspect to consider is the functionality of a building design. One of the primary purposes of any good design is to meet the needs of the clients and the building occupants. Functionality ensures that a building is fit for the intended purpose. To determine a building’s functionality, we must first understand its purpose. To achieve this, we engage with the client and occupants to discuss and agree on the feasibility and buildability of the project.


We strive to incorporate sustainability practices into all our designs and engineering processes, considering the carbon footprint of a building, and utilising environmentally friendly and locally sourced materials to minimise waste. To reduce the number of materials used, our MEP service routes are as short as possible, and any equipment used are sustainably manufactured and maintainable. Efficiency forms part of our design process, creating designs in a timely manner, simplifying the design where possible, utilising existing components or systems, and incorporating feedback from all stakeholders to ensure that the design meets all building requirements.


Fourth on our list is to design systems that make a building efficient to maintain and repair. It should be intuitive and straightforward so that users don’t have to require extensive training to operate the systems within the building. We consider the positions of service routes and equipment locations thoroughly. The frequency of maintenance, access and egress, and the type of tools used to maintain the equipment and other external factors are assessed before the final locations or positions are confirmed. We strive to ensure that any components needing replacing or repairing are done without significant inconvenience to its users or at a high cost and other resources to the owners.


Finally, the design systems must make a building look and feel good. Aesthetics should never be overlooked. It refers to the visual design elements and features such as colour, texture, shape, lighting, and decoration. If a design system or a building looks visually appealing, it can enhance the user experience and create a positive impression of the design and the building. In our experience, aesthetics play a role in the adoption of a design system, especially for consumer-facing buildings. There just caution.  Aesthetics should not come at the expense of functionality, efficiency and or safety. A visually stunning design will ultimately fail to meet the needs of its users if it is not safe, efficient, and functional.

In conclusion, good design systems of a building should be functional, safe, efficient, and maintainable, and should give the building a great look and feel. As building services engineers, we strive to create designs that meet these criteria, and we work with stakeholders to ensure that the design meets all relevant requirements and standards. By doing so, we create solutions that not only solve problems but are also effective and efficient in their implementation.

#GoodDesign #Sustainability


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We prioritise the safety of our employees, clients, and communities. We create a safe and healthy working environment by implementing best practices that promote the well-being and safety of everyone involved in our projects.

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We follow best practices for every project, creating high-quality, efficient building systems and designs.