The Significance of Mechanical Engineering in the Construction Industry


June 26, 2015

Mechanical engineering science covers every aspect of building design, from structural integrity to material selection, with both of these branches finding their place in engineering principles and engineering mathematics. Similarly, all machinery within the building is considered part of a mechanical engineers domain. This includes HVAC equipment, the ducts and ventilation shafts that take off from output assemblies towards the different storeys of the structure, and all of the associated pumps and pipes that tie these independent systems together.

On apportioning the mechanical components of an engineering firm's project, the work is traditionally divided into planning stages and followed by the mechanical design phase, a process that leads to the incorporation of services into the construction process. Imagine planning all of the services of the building and integrating the designs into the construction work. Prefabricated wall panels will naturally adapt to the design by incorporating access panels for pipes and utility ducts. The same process applies to foundation work and the construction of below ground structures, with the plant room scaled to accommodate mechanical assemblies. A more abstract mathematical phase addresses service constraints by focusing on building performance needs. One example of this engineering approach comes from heating requirements and energy expenditure, with these factors playing a direct influence on everything from the capacity of the main boiler to the size of the air handling units that process climate control functionality.

Computer model simulations have forced some mechanical engineering duties to enter the cyberspace domain. Energy and comfort modelling studies achieve a level of predictive planning that's difficult to match through alternative means, but the eye of mechanical engineering still has a direct correlation with aesthetics. Try illustrating that last point by taking a peek at a hypothetical case where building mechanical systems are expected to integrate seamlessly with the architecture of the structure. Mechanical engineering comes to the rescue by partnering design with physics and pairing visual appeal with building envelope design. Thus, the principles of the engineer work on a number of levels, on the actual infrastructure of the building as seen from a purely physical viewpoint, and on an aesthetic level when planning systems and services that are critical for comfort and safety. A sampling of those services include:

  • Water pipes and sewage systems
  • Sprinkler systems
  • Analytical planning that provides pumps and plant equipment to drive the aforementioned services
  • The 'big picture' design capacity to analyse structural integrity
  • Building material selection. Planning for load-bearing assets

The twenty-first century mechanical engineer creates environmentally sound strategies. Natural light ambiance and natural ventilation is a key part of this plan, as is the innovative energy-saving features that include renewable energy resources. You'll find engineers poring over biomass designs and geothermal options, with advanced strategies evolving from computer models.

Mechanical engineering covers a diverse selection of physical attributes when approached through the construction industry sector, but focus springs from the application of physics-derived problem solving techniques and a sound design strategy that's born of intelligent analysis.

Connor Pincus Group. Consulting Engineers.

Address: 1196 Toorak Road, CAMBERWELL, VIC 3124

Phone: (03) 9835 5000
Fax: (03) 9835 5050

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