Just five minutes on any one subject each month – a quick and concise view on a topic of importance across the professiona of architecture.
0.00 You were among the first in the industry to deliver projects catering to the Estidama rating after its launch in 2010. Has there been a change in the industry’s response to the rating since then?
As we had the first project to be registered on Estidama, it was quite a challenge then. But now, though it has been difficult at times, the programme is in a very good shape and we are achieving way beyond its minimum requirements. The products in the market have adapted, and along with that, the envelope designs, solutions and technologies in the market are also helping designers to create better buildings. In the construction industry, be it labourers, engineers or clients, everyone is now more aware of sustainability.
2.15 Can you explain how the Estidama rating has an impact on every stage of the building cycle?
Estidama’s role doesn’t start from construction—it starts from design. We need to make sure that the client understands what are the requirements for operations—for instance, the smoking policies that need to be considered, the operational waste management strategy that needs to be provided, etc. Then, during construction, we start looking into these various plans, such as the monitoring and auditing of energy and water. It also goes beyond just the overall picture of Estidama—we need to consider the end user as well. Because you could design the best building, but if the end user wastes stuff and keeps the lights on all the time, you don’t end up saving anything. So, training and making the end user aware of how to consume the building is also a very key point.
3.15 What is the focus of these trainings in the handover phase?
Besides maintaining the overall quality of the building, we also need to make sure that the team understands what needs to be done in the case of recommissioning. Even though it is an optional credit in Estidama, it is very important. Because you could commission it for a certain number of occupants, but at the end of the day, that may not always be the case. And then there’s the degradation of the equipment, like chillers; all of that also comes into play. So we need to explain to them how to recommission and what are the things they need to look at during the operation of the building as a whole, long-term cycle.
4.05 Are there any improvements you’d like to see in Estidama?
Personally, it’s been a learning curve. But Estidama has been introducing new regulations on almost a daily basis. So it’d be nice if they would actually finalize it, and have revisions to it made only every X number of years, much like how LEED does it, rather than coming to us with new requirements on an ongoing project. Sometimes, it can get really difficult for us to go back to the design stage and change it, and such an effort also requires an addition of cost and time—so, it’d be very nice if we didn’t have to go through that again.