Three New Forums for Facilities Engineers
The engineering profession in institutional facilities has entered a new era, and the development couldn’t come at a better time for managers looking for guidance about challenges in their particular types of facilities.
In February, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineering (ASHRAE) formed new committees to focus on the unique engineering challenges that exist in health care, education and judicial facilities.
“Creating these separate committees will allow us to address these specific areas of technical expertise with focused groups unencumbered by competing building function discussions,” says Mark Hegberg, chair of ASHRAE’s technical activities committee.
Prior to the formation of the new committees, engineering issues in these facilities had been addressed by the association’s technical committee on large-building air conditioning applications.
The new committees are welcome developments for managers. Even though these three groups of facilities have many common engineering challenges, they have some very important differences that will benefit from closer examination by specialists inside and outside of facilities.
For example, all engineering and maintenance managers pay attention to indoor air quality in their facilities. But the issue is far more pressing in health care facilities, where many patients are especially vulnerable to airborne infection and disease. The committees also will enable ASHRAE to explore new areas of research on emerging issues that are specific to each type of facility.
But as is the case with any new endeavor, its effectiveness will depend in large part on the willingness of engineering managers in the field to get involved in the process by raising questions, sharing their experiences, and offering their insights.
The committees only offer a forum. Determining the content of the forum and its ultimate effectiveness will depend on how willingly managers embrace it and take advantage of the opportunity.