What we do
We provide comprehensive, multi-disciplinary building services and environmental design consultancy across all RIBA stages, operating throughout the UK and internationally, with projects in Europe, Russia, Asia and the Caribbean.
From initial design to occupancy, we use BIM as a process to enable collaborative working. BIM enables us to deliver efficiencies throughout the design and construction of a project and hand over a comprehensive digital asset. Our engineers are digital designers and work closely with all parties involved in the project to provide information that is accurate from both a visual and engineering perspective.
Mechanical, Electrical & Public Health
Design, Co-ordination and Management
From concept design to managing delivery and post occupancy, our experience extends to commercial, residential, mixed-use, education, sports facilities, health and well-being, masterplans, cultural arts and heritage projects as well as exceptional owner-occupier residences and artist studios.
MEP costs are a significant proportion of build costs. However, there is considerable scope to reduce this through careful design. We achieve this by the use of passive design and minimising complexity.
Our understanding of the bigger picture and attention to detail ensures designs are right-sized saving valuable space and costs. And our approach to space planning and services integration minimises space requirements further.
Masterplan, Utilities and Infrastructure Design
We cover all aspects related to utility and infrastructure, connecting power, heat, water and telecoms.
From engaging with utility-providers and identifying site constraints or connection solutions, to the detailed design of energy supply infrastructure, energy centres and large-scale renewable energy projects.
We advise on masterplan massing forms and layouts through specialist technical input on energy, environmental design and pedestrian comfort, with our design input benefiting from parametric design and specialist modelling services. We also help define infrastructure phasing strategies as masterplans often evolve with time.
Post Occupancy Evaluation
Often buildings do not perform in line with the original design intent or the client’s expectations. Poor thermal comfort, unworkable controls and high fuel bills can be common problems. And the energy “performance gap” between the design stage and the completed building is widely known.
We provide building owners, occupants and facilities management teams with impartial advice and practical guidance that help them better understand their buildings and determine what steps should be taken to improve performance.
Services are tailored to suit the specific building requirements and can include post-occupancy performance measurements, commissioning documentation review, condition surveys, BMS reviews seasonal commissioning and Soft Landings.
Economics is a principle driver of sustainable development and cost data is vital to the design process. If this data is available in the very early stages it can inform key decisions.
We adopt a “value-led” approach. This means our focus is not only on costs but on the enhancing the end value of the project. Our Whole Life Cost models and Discounted Cash Flow models allow clients to see the pros/cons of a variety of technical options. This allows the right decisions to be made in the early in the design process.
Energy is big business. Our modelling presents the benefits of capturing multiple income streams such as financial incentives, subsidies and energy managements contracts.
- Design, Co-ordination and Management
Concept Design, Building Physics and Simulation
We work closely with architects and other designers to develop the environmental concepts and strategies in the early stages of a project.
Integral to our design process is our knowledge and understanding of building physics combined with mechanical and electrical strategic thinking. Our ability to translate modelling, simulation and design data into meaningful architectural terms allows an architect to evolve their massing, form and spatial distribution in the early stages. This is essential to capture opportunities to enhance occupant comfort and minimise energy use and carbon.
We carry out a wide range of specialist simulations to solve the unique challenges each project presents. These range from detailed “proof of concept” airflow simulations to masterplan scale comfort studies. This means projects are not just technically delivered but also optimised for energy, comfort and cost performance.
Our Low and Zero Carbon Technology Feasibility Studies set out site opportunities at the very early stages of a project. This initial information is often crucial as it allows the energy strategy to move in the right direction from day one.
As well as providing costs and returns, we set out clearly the pros and cons between technologies. We also highlighting common pitfalls and opportunities for synergies between technologies e.g. energy storage and Demand Side Response.
Overheating analysis are often required in the early stages of a project, as a prerequisite of a major planning application and to optimise the environmental performance of the building. We offer full building energy dynamic thermal modelling in accordance with the CIBSE TM59 and TM52 standards.
Natural Ventilation & CFD Airflow Studies
Well-considered natural ventilation strategies can have a significant impact on building performance. We use a combination of dynamic thermal models and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models to develop strategies and quantify the benefit of design interventions such as natural ventilation and night-cooled thermal mass.
We provide daylight modelling as part of the environmental design process. The high accuracy and visual clarity of these models can meaningfully inform the design process. Many options can be assessed, such as size, type and orientation of windows as well as means of getting daylight deeper into a building such as light-shelves or clerestory, sawtooth or conventional rooflights.
Energy Assessments, SAP and SBEM
As part of our integrated approach we ensure each project has a robust energy strategy which is site specific, cost effective and works. A well-considered Energy Assessment report for a planning submission is essential to achieving great energy performance. As part of this exercise we build SAP models for residential projects and SBEM models for commercial schemes.
Sustainability Statements & BREEAM
Sustainability Statements are a great opportunity to add value to the scheme. It can also be a way to promote the benefits a scheme brings to the area ultimately helping achieve planning consent. The exercise includes a detailed policy review and a summary of how the scheme responds to each aspect including, where appropriate, a BREEAM pre-assessment.
Considering the opportunities for green infrastructure can have many benefits, integrating greenery into building design is a natural way to provide seasonal solar shading, improve pedestrian wind comfort and provide summertime temperature control through evapotranspiration.
The link between health and wellbeing and local greenery (‘biophilia’) is now well understood and provides significant benefits to occupants. Green infrastructure can also provide natural water filtration and can serve as flood protection / Sustainable Urban Drainage (SUDs). The creation of new carbon-sequestering habitats can also offset the embodied energy from construction.
- Concept Design, Building Physics and Simulation
Building Information Modelling (BIM)
3D Modelling is our preferred route for all project work to improve co-ordination and design team integration. Where projects are developed in 2D, we create independent 3D models to allow the design team to visualise key coordination areas, or elements such as plantrooms and risers, to highlight issues and reduce space requirements.
BIM enables real-time collaboration within the design team and unambiguous information exchange. This means abortive work and delays are avoided during the design process as well as identifying and eliminating clashes, conflicts and redesign during construction.
BIM also allows the design team and the client to experience a high-level of visualisation during the design development process so the spatial impact of building services can be easily understood.
Architectural and Structural Models for Coordination
When project architectural and structural drawings are created in 2D we offer a service to convert these into 3D models for co-ordination purposes.
Large buildings can have thousands of metres of ducts, pipes and cables. Using BIM as a tool we are pioneering a layout optimisation service where we accurately quantify materials from the 3D model for multiple servicing options to identify the most cost-efficient solutions.
Using this approach also enables energy consumption to be evaluated. For example, reducing the number of fittings and lengths in the system will decrease pump or fan energy.
Layout optimisation helps to reduce construction costs by reducing the risk of co-ordination issues and by decreasing uncertainty during competitive contractor pricing or value engineering. Layout Optimisation also allows construction materials and installation time to be minimised.
Co-ordinated Working Drawings & As-built Drawing
We have the in-house skills to develop detailed design drawings and Revit models to produce fully co-ordinated working drawings. These include manufacturer specific BIM objects and will incorporate a higher level of inter-service coordination and clash detection as well as enabling fabrication, and off-site manufacturing.
Any changes between tender and installation can also be incorporated to ensure the design is kept up to date. Information can be kept up to date throughout the construction stage to provide As-built Drawings at completion.
- Building Information Modelling (BIM)