This year will be a year of significant change for the MEP industry. Intelligent buildings, IOT and security, both traditional and data, will be at the forefront of all designers’ minds as will the need to remain agile.
The biggest opportunities in the market are likely to be data driven. Data centre increases will continue and intelligent warehousing space will be an area of growth, with robotic systems and intelligent building systems being key. I believe that security will be an area of focus and growth, both physical security and data security. The importance of maintaining building systems security will be crucial and designers will need to be aware of the actions and limitations of the current systems available on the market and will need to educate clients on how best to protect themselves from physical and cyber threats.
I also see a growth area in the refurbishment and re-purposing of buildings. As building stocks mature it will be necessary to undertake complete and partial refurbishments which require more of a surgical design skills approach as opposed to designing from a blank sheet.
Traditional greenfield residential and commercial development projects, which have been the majority of new projects over the last few years are likely to evolve into bespoke end user projects such as art galleries, museums and offices. And, with traditional retail moving towards online shopping the creation of data centres and intelligent warehousing will be at the forefront of designers’ minds now.
The biggest challenge to our business over the next 12 months is likely to be the level and pace of change in the global environment, which will drive a high level of change in the construction market. I believe that it will be a year where we have to expect the unexpected and, to succeed, we will need to be strong and agile. We will need to build teams that relish change and thrive in different working environment, teams that can constantly learn and develop to meet the changing requirements of clients.
In order to be prepared for this ongoing development we will need to ensure the continuous improvement and development of team members particularly in BIM and the digital environment. The ability to adapt to change is key in this market and continuous professional development is the bedrock to thriving in a changing environment.
There is no doubt that it will be a year of great change with intelligent buildings, IOT and security, both traditional and data ushering in an era of advanced technological advancements.
By Alaa Abdelmohsen Sayed, Associate Partner