Planning a construction project can be a minefield, and not just when you’re building on rocky ground. There are all sorts of factors to be considered, not least when it comes to considering what professional support you need. You’ll obviously need an architect, although some individuals decide to do without – and it’s easy to see the difference once a building is completed. Some try to do without MEP Consultants but unfortunately the disadvantages of using an electrician and a plumber without proper professional support only become obvious later. Apart from the immediate visibility of pipes and wiring, some of the problems that arise from not using a consultant only come to light once you try to live in a building.
Major building projects are invariably going to use a variety of consultants and, increasingly, they will include green building consultants and sustainability engineers. Incidentally, if you haven’t come across the term before, sustainability engineers look to the future, focusing on the conservation of natural resources, efficient and environmentally-friendly energy and plumbing systems, recycling and the like.
Because society is now waking up to the fact that construction and other man-made activities may have serious consequences for mankind, green building is now in vogue, which means that an increasing number of firms are vaunting their green credentials. However, the challenge is setting apart those specialists who are indeed professional and trustworthy from those that are perhaps not quite so knowledgeable or expert. Here are a few tips that should make your search for the best green building consultant for your project somewhat easier – whether you’re building a house or involved in a development project.
If you’re looking for professionalism, you need to take a hard look at reputation. All firms have to have a first project in a relatively new field but, unless you wish to be a guinea pig, you should look at a firm’s track record. How many green building projects have they already handled and are they prepared to give you references from previous clients? What impression do you get from their website and the list of projects they’ve already completed?
You should make sure that, one way or another, you’ll be collaborating with true professionals. Even brief CVs of key team members can give you quite a good idea of their qualifications and experience. Green building is as much a science as any other aspect of engineering, one that offers the best current solutions to a number of construction problems, so you’ll need to see what training their Sustainability Engineers have had in the sector.
There’s also no better way of checking a firm’s credentials than its previous experience in obtaining LEED certification, awarded by the US Green Building Council. A green building consultant who has already successfully won LEED certification for a project provides external evidence that he or she is really informed about green building. Incidentally, LEED-certified buildings are resource efficient. They use less water and energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and, as an added bonus, they save money through reduced running costs.
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