as a part of Architectural Design
MEP (mechanical, electrical, plumbing)
We would like you to share with us your experiences from the construction sites
Are the finishing works a cheap envelope around the expensive MEP installations?

One of my colleagues, a designer and supervisor for MEP (Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing) works, once told me that our building works are a cheap envelope for their expensive installations. He was joking, but what is the truth? These are the facts from the five stars hotel project with 165 rooms on 21 floors (percentages of the total value of the works) built a few years ago:
12% structural works,
13% building envelope (façade and roof)
19% finishing works
33% MEP installations and equipment
2,5% elevators
18% fitted and mobile furniture, interior works, decorative lights, artwork, kitchen equipment etc,
2,5% external arrangement.


Lighting design

Good Lighting Doesn't Just Happen... It's Designed. So it says on the web site of the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD).

I learned what Lighting Designer services mean on the project InterContinental Ljubljana, due to explicit request of the interior designer. Although it was an extra cost, which was not planned in the budget, it was worth every euro.

Lighting Designer checked the lightning calculation, prepared the design lighting layouts for all public areas and specifies the technical characteristics of the lamps through Lighting Equipment Schedule. He also helped us answer the questions during the tender procedure for the procurement of lamps and execution of works.

In short, the results were easily visible, well-balanced and elegant light raised the interior to a higher level. I recommend that when you are in a position to select Interior Designer, discuss with candidates what their point of view is on this issue.

One page from Lighting Design is on the attached photo.


Table-top presentation

If the interior design is made for a building for which it is a very important part of the whole project, such as hotel, theatre etc. and the Employer is a corporation in which decisions are not made by one person, then interior design should start with a Table-top presentation.

The goal of the Table-top presentation is for the interior designer to present how he/she sees and feels the space, to exchange ideas and thoughts with the Employer team in a brainstorming discussion, so that everyone is sure that they are on the same page regarding the direction in which the design will develop.

The Table-top presentation consists of preliminary layouts and wall elevations in the form of sketches, with pieces of furniture, lamps, floor finishes, walls and ceilings etc, shown in the photos. Samples of materials (textiles, wallpaper, ceramic tile, pattern carpets, stone, etc.) and smaller pieces of equipment are welcome.

One page of the table-top presentation made by design office "wrightassociates" for the InterContinental project in Ljubljana is shown below.


How to briefly describe the building

If you are an architect, contractor or project manager on the construction site and someone asks you to briefly say something about the building under construction - where will you start? It will be easier for you if you have a prepared concept...

Here I will share a general concept that I learned from my professor Kresimir Martinkovic:

1. Intended use (for example hotel, office building etc.)
2. Position (town, district, street...)
3. Size (sqm, number of floors, height...)
4. Shape (geometry, style, type, colour, decoration, context...)
5. Materials (structure, façade, finishes, services...)

I use it very often in reports, presentations, technical descriptions. Feel free to try it and see if it works for you…



ISO, International Organization for Standardization (www.iso.org) is an independent, non-governmental international organization that develops and publishes standards. ISO is composed of more than 160 national standards bodies.

IEC, International Electrotechnical Commission (www.iec.ch) is private non-profit international standards organization that prepares and publishes international standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies, with membership of more than 170 countries around the world.

ISO and IEC cooperate closely with CEN (European Committee for Standardization) and CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization), which are similar organizations whose members are national bodies from European countries only. The goal of this cooperation is to prevent duplication of effort and waste of time in the preparation of standards, with the aim of applying the same standards everywhere in the world. When an ISO is adopted by the European Union, for example, it becomes an EN-ISO.


How European standards (EN) are created?


Although technically anyone can propose work that will result in a European Standard, most standardization work is proposed through the CEN and CENELEC Members. CEN (The European Committee for Standardization) and CENELEC (the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization) are two distinct private international non-profit organizations. More than 200.000 experts from industry, associations, public administrations, academia, and societal organizations are involved in the CEN and CENELEC network.

Once a project to develop an EN is accepted by the relevant Technical Body, or by the Technical Board, the member countries shall put all national activity within the scope of the project on hold. This means that they do not initiate new projects, nor revise existing standards at national level. This obligation is called 'standstill' and allows efforts to be focused on the development of the EN. The EN is developed by experts within a Technical Body.

When the draft of an EN is prepared, it is released for public comment and vote, a process known as the 'Enquiry'. During this stage, everyone who has an interest (e.g. manufacturers, public authorities, consumers, etc.) may comment on the draft.

If the results of the Enquiry show that the draft EN requires technical reworking, and the results of the Enquiry are not 100% approval then the Technical Body updates the draft and resubmit it for another weighted vote, called the Formal Vote.

Following the approval of the EN, either from the Enquiry or the Formal Vote, the EN then is published. A published European Standard must be given the status of national standard in all member countries, who also have the obligation to withdraw any national standards that conflict with it.

To ensure that a European Standard is still current, it is reviewed within five years of its publication. This review results in the confirmation, modification, revision or withdrawal of the EN.


Stainless steels

There are various grades of stainless steels used in construction industry. They are marked differently according to national or international standards, most often according to European standards (EN 10027-1 and EN 10027-2) or ASTM/AISI standards (American Society for Testing and Materials / American Iron and Steel Institute).

The following types of steel are most often used in construction:

X6Cr17 (according to EN 10027-1), 1.4016 (according to EN 10027-2) or 430 (according to AISI) belongs to the group of economical stainless steels, are not suitable for welding, have lower plasticity and low strength properties. In construction they are used only for interior elements.

X5CrNi18-10 (according to EN 10027-1), 1.4301 (according to EN 10027-2) or 304 (according to AISI) is an ideal grade for most various applications due to its high corrosion resistance, good processability, material strength, very good welding properties and resistance to natural environmental influences, in combination with its aesthetic appearance and relatively low price. Stainless steel sheets of this material are used for façade elements, elevator cars, escalators and more. Polished and mirror-polished tubes, bars and solid material are used for railings, handrails and the like.

X5CrNiMo17-12-2 (according to EN 10027-1), 1.4401 (according to EN 10027-2) or 316 (according to AISI) is one of the most popular steel grade for applications in architecture, for façades, roofs, all types of cladding and other architectural elements, especially for outdoor. This grade has excellent mechanical and anti-corrosive properties, even at more extreme temperatures, resistance to various aggressive media, is easy to process, to weld and has increased ductility and formability.


Monthly reports

Nowadays, no one has time to read too long documents. That is why the Monthly reports should be short and represent the essence of what happened on the project in the previous month. Monthly report is the right place where you can inform the Employer about the status of the project and list the key issues that require his reaction.

During the preparation of Monthly report, we also have the opportunity to check whether we control issues that we do not have time to control on a daily basis, such as bank guarantees, insurance policies etc...

My Monthly reports are about 5 pages long, one of the topics below on each page:

- status of general documents (construction permits, consents of utility companies etc.),
- design status,
- progress of works, Time Schedule,
- financial status (interim payment certificates, offers for additional works etc.),
- conclusion and proposal for action.


Older posts are available on Construction Tales facebook page, the link is in the upper right corner.
my exploration of music from my region