Impact Of Mechanical & Electrical Systems In Modern Construction Industry

Mechanical and electrical (M&E) is an oft-forgotten part of the construction industry. The fact is, it is one of three most important components of the building, besides architecture and structure. If the architect prioritises beauty and the structure is focused on strength, then the M&E puts forward the function. No matter how beautiful and strong a building is, if it is not supported by a good M&E system, then the building is not functional.

Until the late 1980s, in the private sector, M&E came under architectural consultancy, together with structural and other consultants. Contracts were only between clients and architects. The sub-consultants might be from in-house divisions or outsourcing companies. From 1980 to 1990, when M&E consultants sprang up, the design structure changed a little. If the previous sub-consultants did not appear in the header of the formal architecture drawings, then at this time their name might be published.

Air-conditioning technology with variable refrigerant volume/flow (VRV/VRF) will also help the architects in the design process – Photo by Shutterstock/ Arseni Shapurau

From 1990 to 1998, when Indonesia was hit by a major monetary crisis, there was a significant change in the appointment of M&E consultants in projects in Indonesia. At that time, the contracts were done by the clients with each consultant equally. Architectural consultants were still design coordinators, but their positions were parallel to M&E consultants, structural consultants and other consultants. The clients could pick each consultant themselves, and the client’s payments to the consultants were made directly. This system made a return in 2005 after the post-monetary crisis and has been used until now.

In the 1999 to 2004 era (post-monetary crisis), there was a slightly complicated system of appraisal, which was a merger of prior systems. There was caution on existing consultants in terms of contracts, payments and design coordination. Payments were made directly to sub-consultants, but contracts from clients were only made to architecture consultants, who managed other consultants, including M&E.

From the existing system, it appears that if M&E consultants are independent, then they will be able to show their performance. A clear and long-standing example where M&E consultants are less performing is on government projects, because they cannot come forward and only act as a supportive element.

Founder and principal of PT Sigmatech Tatakarsa; and Member of Building Expert Team – Mechanical Electrical (TABG-ME) DKI Jakarta

Setyo Triyono has been in the M&E industry since graduating from Bandung Institute of Technology (1982). He worked as a supporting engineer at PT Berca Indonesia before he moved to PT Arnan Pratama Consultants as director of engineering for 11 years. In 1995, he worked at Kinhill Spence in Adelaide, South Australia, for two years. He founded PT Sigmatech Tatakarsa, an M&E building services consultant, in 1997.

From 2009 to 2015, he was elected as general secretary of the Indonesian Electrical Experts Association (Himpunan Ahli Elektro Indonesia, HAEI). Since 2014, Setyo has been officially appointed by the local government of DKI Jakarta as a member of the Building Expert Team – Mechanical Electrical (TABG-ME). He also serves as an M&E expert at talk shows or seminars at many events in Indonesia.

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