Engineering and the next generation of facilities management
John Duve MIEAust CPEng NER, group engineering and design manager, Benmax
Partnering with the right engineering contractors and choosing those with well-rounded expertise can make all the difference to a project’s success or failure.
Engineering contractor Benmax had a formidable task: upgrading the HVAC system in a temperature-critical environment at the National Library of Australia.
The National Library is an Australian icon, housing our largest collection of reference materials. This project – essentially ‘removing the lungs’ of the building to upgrade them without disrupting operations – is a major undertaking.
John Duve (pictured above) is the group engineering and design manager for Benmax. Duve is currently overseeing the project’s design and timeline planning alongside in-house facilities teams. “The National Library is a unique building, and we’re removing componentry as we upgrade the HVAC system. As we go through this process, we need to collaborate and coordinate with the library to make sure that anything we take offline is planned well in advance,” he notes.
Since the National Library was constructed in 1968, the building industry has developed in its technology, efficiency and accuracy – including engineering design.
“We’ve gone from pen and paper processes to scanning and 3D modelling. The environment is more complex now than it was even 20 or 30 years ago.”
As a graduate mechanical engineer for Benmax, Hayden Loveday (pictured below) is on the frontline of this efficiency. Loveday is working on the 3D scanning of major plant rooms to develop accurate designs for the HVAC upgrade. “Some of this equipment has been in the National Library for more than 50 years, so we need to know accurately where it’s positioned. Working on this project is an amazing opportunity, as this is such an important building. By upgrading it, we’re helping to maintain part of Australia’s culture,” he says.
This means it’s as important as ever for Duve, Loveday and their teams to keep up to date with technology and professional development. This is true of all engineers, but it’s both required and encouraged for Engineers Australia members.
Engineering contractors who are members of Engineers Australia meet quality standards to design and upgrade buildings and assets that will last lifetimes. Engineers Australia provides job-relevant training, as well as qualifications and national frameworks to ensure quality, including the Chartered credential.
“I’m a Chartered Engineer and listed on the National Engineering Register: two important marks of quality that allow me to sign off on engineering documentation with confidence,” says Duve.
With the HVAC upgrade project spanning the next five years, one thing is certain: there will be plenty of documentation to sign off. When you partner with an engineering contractor, look for people who are members of Engineers Australia, giving you confidence in the integrity of their work.