Building performance engineering (M&E)

Working at the heart of your design team, we deliver contemporary mechanical and electrical engineering design that is simple to use, energy efficient and delivers value from building services.

We offer the expertise required for world-class building services design, including:

  • Mechanical and electrical systems
  • Building physics
  • Acoustics
  • Air quality
  • Façade performance
  • Climate based daylight modelling
  • Occupational analysis 
  • Public health engineering 
  • Vertical transportation
  • Utility management services
  • Low-and-zero carbon technologies
  • Environmental assessment methods (e.g. BREEAM and LEED).

A different approach

Our approach is to work collaboratively within the client and design team from the earliest concept stage. We proactively assist in the development of the brief so that we understand our client’s drivers and requirements and can support them to optimise the M&E design for their building. This ensures that M&E is ‘built-in’ and is simple and efficient, adding value throughout its life.

Who we work with

From across all sectors, we work for end user clients, investors, developers, contractors, architects, project managers and engineer-led project teams.

Our focus on four key areas

With all our clients, our focus is on four key areas: contemporary design, value, simple solutions, and detail.

1. Contemporary design

Our focus is on systems that maximise energy efficiency, minimise space, and deliver a great user experience.

We utilise digital modelling tools early in the design process to analyse not just the building services systems but also to fully optimise the building physics of the site to consider structure, form and fabric, all of which impact on the comfort and sustainability of the building.

BIM is at the heart of our project development as we progress the project through design, construction and into operation.

2. Value

We have a first-hand appreciation of the extent to which M&E can define value in buildings. We have developed innovative and unique approaches that enable us to maximise value for our clients through design responses that specifically address the priorities, risks and opportunities of the scheme to ensure the optimal solution is found for the development.

3. Simplicity

We are committed to delivering long-term solutions which work with and for the client, designing simple, user-friendly, efficient systems.

4. Detail

We encourage the detail of the building to be brought forward at the earliest opportunity, with particular focus on early stakeholder engagement, simulation modelling, space planning through coordinated 3D design and FM integration (soft landings). This de-risks a project, reducing the number of assumptions that are made, and removes unnecessary cost from the proposed construction. 

By getting it right, building services design has an important, positive effect on the value and the perception of a building.

Read more about some of our specialist capabilities and our delivery to specific sectors:

Acoustics

Our acoustics team brings a wealth of experience and specialist knowledge to our overall client service delivery.

Our team has experience of working on a broad range of projects including large residential developments; state-of-the-art offices; detailed design of new schools and the architectural development of recording studios, cinemas and concert halls. Whether it’s the control of heavy metal music, the design of tranquil living, learning, and working environments, or the enrichment of orchestral scores, our specialist acousticians can provide a detailed and bespoke engineering solution to meet a client's particular needs.

Using sophisticated computer modelling software, ensuring an accurate and complete solution, we deliver fully detailed technical reports complete with computer generated Sound Pressure Level (SPL) mapping and Speech Transmission Indexing (STI), where appropriate. Working closely and collaboratively with the design team is part of our team’s standard working practice. Involving our acoustics team early in the design process allows us to offer creative, integrated and innovative solutions. Our passion for perfect sound is realised through the prestigious projects we successfully deliver.

Air quality

The issues associated with air pollution have become increasingly apparent in recent years and can form an integral part of planning applications.

We provide air quality assessments for planning applications in accordance with Defra technical guidelines. This involves the assessment of local pollutant sources such as road traffic and industrial sites, including the influence of typical local weather conditions using air dispersion modelling.


Commercial, retail and leisure

We’re acutely aware of the pivotal role that M&E plays in defining the value of commercial assets. This is not just through cost/capex, but also the influence that M&E designs and systems have on service charges, flexibility, energy sub-division, net to gross ratios and accreditations such as an EPC, or BREEAM and LEED ratings.

Our approach is to find and recommend the best solution for the property in terms of yield. Sometimes this means working very hard to find the best way to implement M&E services, but delivering best value is the critical goal.

Defence

Over a period of almost 15 years we have undertaken in excess of 300 projects through design term commissions for a variety of MoD service providers on both new build and refurbishment projects. 

We provide support from the concept stage through to on-site construction, delivering innovative and sustainable designs, building efficiency and pragmatic solutions.

We have an excellent understanding of the MoD’s procurement routes, procedures, working practices, standards and approval processes. We have established strong relationships with incumbent personnel and have built a detailed knowledge of many key MoD establishments.

Digital Services

Better communication breeds interactivity and creativity. Our Audio Visual and IT consultants work with clients in many diverse market sectors, from military briefing rooms to residential apartments. Our approach starts with the client and introduces technology as the enabler, we also work to keep the technology as transparent as possible, removing barriers for non-technical users.

Hydrock is leading the way with integrated multi-disciplinary design teams, bring together Audio Visual, Information Communication Technology, lighting and acoustics to provide fully featured integrated solutions for all our clients’ needs. We use the latest design and modelling tools to produce optimum solutions.

As a rapidly growing business, we understand that good communication and team collaboration are the keys to success in the information age. We draw upon this knowledge and experience as we strive to understand our clients’ needs, and design user friendly systems that they come to rely on.

Our digital consultancy services include, unified communications, telephony, audio reinforcement, video playback and ICT network design. The more we can understand your requirements, the better the solution.

Geographical diversity should no longer be a barrier in the information age. As travel becomes ever more expensive, our use and dependence on technological solutions will increase to break the barriers down.

Education

Building services design in the education sector is driven significantly by end user requirements, although the way schools, in particular, are procured allows for this less and less.

Our overarching principle is to engage with stakeholders and unravel the myths surrounding M&E design. It’s about getting things back to simple passive solutions. 

We look to exploit the natural benefits of building physics to the maximum and ensure the services which are required are easy to use, require low maintenance and remain flexible to accommodate the ever-evolving way in which education is delivered.

Fire engineering

From concept to construction, our fire engineering expertise can help to optimise design and ensure complex buildings are compliant with regulations.

Our consultative approach allows us to reconcile the functional requirements of the building with the architectural aspirations of the client, developing a fire strategy that ensures the safety of occupants whilst delivering the best economic solution.

Fire strategy is a critical component of any new building. Our fire engineering team has excellent relationships with approving authorities allowing timely resolution of fire safety design propositions throughout each stage of design development.

Our team has extensive experience working on residential, commercial, industrial and high hazard process construction projects.

Healthcare

We design technology-rich healthcare facilities that anticipate future needs and support long-term development.

Our approach is to engage early with the project planners, architects, designers and support teams and use dynamic simulation and modelling to offer a fully integrated building services solution which is economical, sustainable and flexible. This provides clients with insights on the implications of design, construction, maintenance, energy and operational costs from the outset.

Heritage

Our extensive experience of heritage and regeneration projects, including listed buildings, means we can identify the best solution in terms of function and aesthetic, whilst maximising project value. We minimise risk by promoting collaboration between disciplines at the outset of a project.

Our team understands the unique challenge that comes with sympathetically integrating services into a building of historic significance. There are two approaches, invisible or exposed, and sometimes they are applied together.

Traditional methods of running services behind walls and boxing may not be possible, so subtle, invisible methods need to be applied, for example painting items to blend in, hiding smoke detectors in ornate ceiling roses, or simply using plain fittings that are so common-place that the casual observer doesn't notice them. Alternatively, exposed services can celebrate aspects of a building, highlighting an industrial past, or be exposed to accentuate that they are a new addition. The juxtaposition of old and new is very fashionable in bars, offices and apartment developments.

Industrial

With industrial and hi-tech logistics buildings, the goal is to service the process requirements of the building with faultless reliability.

We make it our business to understand how each specific industrial process works for each client and the effect that any disruption would have on their operation. This allows resilience to be built into critical systems and services without needless over-engineering of the entire facility.

We help owner-occupiers of facilities to understand the relationship between capex and opex in building services design. We use a lifecycle assessment method of design decision-making to illustrate the operational effect on a client’s business from key strategic decisions.

Our approach using system performance calculations means that clients can have confidence that they are making the right decision when assessing different options for their building services.

Post Occupancy Evaluation and Wellbeing

Throughout the design and construction process, numerous complex decisions are made in order to meet a building’s requirements in terms of cost, installation, buildability and health and safety. 

Increasingly stringent environmental performance standards and regulations (BREEAM, Part L, Planning policies, etc.) have created a gap between design stage predictions and actual measured performance: The technical consequences are design parameters which may be unrealistic and unsuitable for the end user, giving the perception of poor building performance.

In a workplace environment, inefficient use of utility services has an obvious financial consequence, but the hidden costs of diminished productivity and poor staff retention can be far greater. 

At Hydrock, we have developed a structured Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) process to independently assess the operational aspects of a building, identifying practices that indicate construction or system problems, avoidable waste, or environmental issues that can impact on wellbeing. 

This process can be carried out as a standalone exercise post completion of a new building, or as a means of measuring performance and identification of best value for future investment within an occupied building.   

Hydrock can carry out this process tailored precisely to meet a client’s needs and as an independent and impartial advisor.

Residential

The potential to add value for a developer from building services on a residential scheme is significant.

In a residential scheme we focus on three key objectives:

  1. Adding value to the asset through the look and feel of services and by promoting marketable features such as demonstrable reductions in occupier energy bills.
  2. Reducing the service charge through the use of innovative techniques without adversely affecting values and capex.
  3. Delivering low capex by using our knowledge of the compliance process, we de-mystify and significantly simplify residential M&E design to eliminate unviable technologies that are not actually essential to statutory regulatory compliance.

Utility management services

The role external services infrastructure plays in defining the value and viability of any development is evolving. Clients are increasingly recognising the value of both identifying service infrastructure opportunity as well as risk mitigation, making effective utility management services a priority.

Hydrock offers technical consultancy and project management across a number of utility services, including the development of utility strategies for both public and private sector schemes.

Our utility management services includes the provision of procurement strategies for new connections and diversionary works, budget estimations, utility mapping, load calculations, capacity assessments, service disconnections, and wayleave/easement enquiries, as well as the project management and coordination of these services.

The relationship between this and other BPE services such acoustics, air quality, post occupancy evaluation, AV, and IT is evident: it is these services that bring a building to life, creating and retaining significant value in the process.

Vertical transportation

Vertical transportation describes the important process of moving people efficiently between floors in a building. We bring a wealth of experience and specialist knowledge of this important aspect of building design to our overall client service delivery.

Our team has experience of delivering vertical transportation on a broad range of projects including commercial office, hotel, residential and large scale high-rise mixed use developments. We contribute from early concept design through to tender and construction, and we provide a detailed and bespoke engineering solution to meet a client's particular needs, for example the design of lifts that incorporate destination control managed by front of house staff.

Involving our vertical transportation experts as early in the design process as possible allows us to offer key advice to the architectural team that can reduce the area taken up by the lift installation and the associated cost whilst maximising performance, energy efficiency and adding value to the project.

Whether part of the integrated building services design or as a standalone consultancy appointment, our approach is to work closely and collaboratively with the design team to provide creative, integrated and efficient solutions.

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