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Interior designers work to produce practical and sustainable buildings for the design and construction industries. Knowledge of building systems, their combination, and solving problems related to systems are the essential skills that an interior designer must possess. Construction is an object of management in which people and the tasks they perform are in constant interdependence and interconnection. Coordination is used to ensure the synchronization of activities and interaction of different parts of the construction system. Coordination is the process of dividing activities over time, providing other parts of the construction system to fulfill its objectives.
Problems of ensuring effective coordination of all units of the construction system are directly related to the level of development of communications, the need to maintain a constant exchange of information. When an interior designer transmits instructions or other information through the media, he must be sure that his message will be properly understood and received on time. The reverse process of information transfer is also essential.
At this stage, there are failures; employees do not always know what information other employees or interior designers need to make confident decisions. As the source of information for decisions, this is a severe problem in all parts of the construction system. Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) are three building systems that need proper coordination, and interior designers are starting to actively use MEP solutions for more accurate and efficient design and calculation of installations.
Different Building Systems
Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems could be coordinated together by joint discussion of all participants in the construction to agree on all the details and possible problems during construction. The interior designer is a direct participant in all negotiations because most processes are carried out under his leadership. An interior designer needs to understand all the stages of combining mechanical, electrical, and plumbing techniques (Binggeli, 2016). After all, if a designer knows how to install all types of systems, he/she can then correctly make a plan for the most convenient placement of interior elements. Therefore, the designer must be familiar with the stages of construction no less than an architect, electrician, or plumber.
Types of mechanical systems in construction belong to power supply systems, heating, water supply and sewerage systems, ventilation, low-current systems, gas supply systems, automation systems, air conditioning, and refrigeration systems. Internal engineering power supply systems are one of the essential engineering systems of a building. Both the safety of the construction and its fire safety, and the comfortable operation of the building depend on its correct performance (Mehrbod et al., 2020). Today, almost all household appliances and most of the devices used daily need electricity – from commonplace lighting and heating to trifles like recharging the phone, computer, and TV.
Engineering heating (heat supply) systems are the next most crucial engineering system for countries where it is cold (Mehrbod et al., 2020). Individual heating can be either apartment heating (directly in each apartment there is a gas water heater, which not only heats the water but also heats the condo) and house heating (roof boiler rooms that only heat their own house), or when a boiler room is being built on several adjacent homes.
Mechanical systems of water supply and sewerage are engineering communications of buildings that provide a reasonably high share of comfort during the operation of the building (Mehrbod et al., 2020). Engineering ventilation systems are present in one way or another in any building – even in the cellar, a ventilation system is used to remove excess moisture. The main task of ventilation, as an engineering system of a building, is to remove air that appears as a result of human activity (exhausted exhaled air) or the operation of a room (high humidity and odors) and replace it with fresh, clean air, so that then repeat the process from the beginning.
Ventilation is conventionally divided into two large groups – natural and mechanical (Mehrbod et al., 2020) l. The difference between the first and the second is in the presence of a fan. Natural ventilation works due to the pressure difference (warm air is lighter than cold air and rises upward, from where it enters the ventilation and goes outside, and instead of it, fresh air comes from the street through non-density windows, ajar windows, doors, goals (Mehrbod et al., 2020). As a rule, there is a fan on the exhaust ventilation, which takes in the exhaust air, and the inflow is supplied in an organized manner by its separate fan with preliminary air treatment – heating, cleaning, humidification.
Low-voltage mechanical systems are mainly mechanical systems responsible for comfort, communication, and information – television, intercom, and telephone. Also, improving the comfort of the building aims to access control systems, monitor the central mechanical systems, uninterrupted operation and control, and the Internet and other systems. (Chalifoux, 2019). As a rule, low-current systems allow increasing the comfort of using a building and quite significantly optimize (save money) on the maintenance of other mechanical systems. In modern facilities, a significant role is given to security systems. The fire alarm is one of the fundamental mechanical systems of a building.
This system allows one to receive a signal about the start of a fire to the building maintenance service, through a warning system to notify people in the building about the beginning of a fire, directing them to the exits of the building and thereby avoiding casualties among people poisoned by carbon monoxide or killed in a fire (Chalifoux, 2019). This system has various options for sensors and controllers selected for each building, depending on specific tasks.
Engineering gas supply systems are a type of mechanical systems of buildings that are present at a vast number of objects, which, in principle, is not surprising, given that it is the most widespread and one of the cheapest types of fuel for heating, heating, and cooking (Chalifoux, 2019). As a rule, the gas supply is the most popular heat source for heating a home. Engineering automation systems are present in most industrial and civil engineering buildings. These systems are responsible for the efficiency, safety, and comfort of the operation of other mechanical systems (Chalifoux, 2019). The design, installation, and cost of these buildings and structures’ mechanical systems directly depend on the technical specifications and the customer’s wishes.
In recent years, mechanical systems for air conditioning and refrigeration have been present in an increasing number of buildings and structures. These systems in civil construction are focused on comfort, in industrial, primarily on technology, and only secondarily on comfort. Air conditioning means direct air treatment (cooling, dehumidification, humidification), and cold supply is a set of measures for obtaining a refrigerant (chilled water or freon) for the possibility of air conditioning.
An electrical system is a set of power plants, electrical and thermal networks interconnected and connected by a standard model in continuous production, conversion, and distribution of electricity and heat under the general control of this process. There are often problems in this area because the interior designer can plan lighting in a specific part of the room, where electrical cables cannot be placed. Therefore, at this stage, it is essential to communicate and coordinate every detail.
The construction of electrical networks is the most responsible and challenging job in constructing engineering communications systems. For such work, it is imperative to have the appropriate permissions. The guarantee of the normal uninterrupted functioning of the electrical network one has built will comply with all the rules and measures that it involves. The primary and most crucial issue in constructing electrical networks is detailed design (Rodriguez et al., 2020).
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It is necessary to install any communications since only a correctly and detailed plan can complete a picture of what problems may be encountered during the construction phase (Rodriguez et al., 2020). The design stages include developing a technical plan for a building or external routes for the delivery of electricity, determining the capacities required for use, the development of the project itself, and the resolution of the specification of energy supply systems.
Electronic systems in construction belong to the laying of cable lines, electrical power devices, grounding devices, the structure of distribution systems. At the end of all work, it is necessary to carry out commissioning operations. To carry out them, one will need specialized equipment, the appropriate qualifications of the master, certain materials (Rodriguez et al., 2020). These operations include debugging and testing the installed equipment, taking measures to achieve maximum performance of the erected utility network, changing the insulation resistance, external inspection of the integrity and reliability of the fastening of the networks.
Plumbing installation in a building is usually carried out in three stages. First, this is the installation of the main external supply pipe and the main collector; secondly, the installation of internal piping, ventilation and sewerage; and thirdly, the installation of water-consuming devices. The structure of the main supply pipe and the primary collector is carried out simultaneously with the digging and fabrication of the foundation (Rodriguez et al., 2020). Pipes for water and wastewater are called main pipes. Since water flows through the plumbing and sewer pipes, both must be located underground to prevent freezing in winter. It is more profitable and more rational to carry out excavation work at the same time.
The main supply pipe is usually laid from the house to the water meter. In some areas, the meter is located in the basement of the house. However, today the trend is to find the meter next to the street. In this case, it is easier for city services to read information and maintain meters. The city water main connects to the meter, and the builders connect the meter to the building. Water is not supplied until piping is installed and approved.
The installation of the main supply pipe and sewage collector is mandatory. Water supply and sewerage lines are laid on the future building site, after which they are shortened (Rodriguez et al., 2020). This means that pipes should only be located where they will be used later, such as in the kitchen or bathroom. A small margin is made for lines to ensure further installation. The pits are filled up, and supports, foundations, and floors are erected over the shortened pipes.
The second stage of plumbing work begins after laying the floors and erecting the walls. The remaining pipes, headers, and ventilation are installed as the building is erected. Since pipes and manifolds are hidden in walls and under the floor, they must be installed before the inner wall cladding. If the building is built on concrete slabs, most of the plumbing is located underneath. The pipes must be laid with a vapor barrier in mind, and space must be left around them (Rodriguez et al., 2020). This is necessary because concrete has a high coefficient of expansion and contraction with temperature fluctuations.
Clearances around pipes, such as large radius bends for copper pipes, will allow the lines to move as the plates expand and contract (Rodriguez et al., 2020). Some builders choose to lay all pipes over slabs to facilitate repair and maintenance, while others place plumbing in the attic. When installing plumbing in the attic, special attention must be paid to insulation to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting in the winter. Water, in this case, can cause significant damage to the building.
The Potential Conflicts between the Systems and Resolution
During the construction of a house intended for an office, potential conflicts between the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems arise. For example, today, mechanics worked at the facility, installed ventilation, tomorrow plumbers came and welded pipes, then automation specialists appear to supply the necessary valves and sensors. However, they conclude that the system needs to be refined; it is impossible to automate it according to the customer’s principle since there is nowhere to install the sensors. If there is no coordinated action between all the teams working on the project, it is not always possible to satisfy all the customer’s interests.
Usually, each specialist thinks in his narrow category, but only a broad view of the engineering system as a whole and its functionality can ultimately give it reliability and efficiency. MEP solutions are a comprehensive approach to installing and managing utility networks or technological processes (duct, piping, electrical and basic automation) (Burton, 2017). They allow one to get away from the classic inconsistent scheme of work in several stages. It is MEP solutions that can cover the entire range of customer requests. For example, implement a process for monitoring and controlling hot water supply at the facility so that there are no leaks and excessive collection of temperature in the summer.
According to the principle of MEP solutions at the initial design stage, all the necessary functional elements are provided – actuators, control cabinets, and other devices. The air exchange system, for example, can include the function of maintaining energy savings. Installation at the facility is carried out by a specialized contractor who can design complex systems, build them, and put them into operation (Burton, 2017).
Such specialists are called MEP contractors; these are the people who come and install the entire engineering unit at once. As a result, there are fewer construction errors, less time to complete the project, and no inconsistency (Burton, 2017)). The plans of the project office of the chosen building were to create a catalog of ready-made solutions for specialized units that have already been designed and are ready for implementation. The customer determined the necessary parameters and functions, for which the interior designers selected options from ready-made standard solutions.
Interior designers have created large engineering units for mechanics, electrics, and automation and built work based on solutions that would cover all the functionality required by the customer and not just a separate direction. For example, interior designers did not just select a ventilation unit with the expectation that it would maintain its parameters but would also be modern, efficient, and energy-saving to solve all the tasks of the customer at once (Burton, 2017).
Unique construction CAD systems help standardize the work on MEP solutions, which design engineering networks in a single complex with individual elements, for example, electrical cabinets, indicating where to place them correctly. Once an MEP solution is created in a 3D model, it is easier to document it (Burton, 2017). Of the examples, the manufacturer supplies a refrigeration center for the facility and sends along with the cabinet all the documentation for the MEP solution; that is, the manufacturer has already designed the refrigeration technology, selected all the automation elements in which this technology will work, wrote the appropriate software and provided a set of executive documentation (Burton, 2017). All that remains for interior designers is to connect the product.
The MEP solution is easy to operate and maintain. Mechanical systems MEP solutions were successful because they the best conflicts resolution between the systems as they create Comprehensive coverage of customer needs in the use of modern and reliable technology at facilities to implement automation and control (Binggeli, 2016). Such solutions provide high-quality performance, removing the risk of errors.
In charge of the conflict resolution were an architect and interior designer. An architect is an intermediate link between a structural engineer and a designer. He/she knows the structure of the building, the arrangement of engineering systems: heating, lighting, and sewerage. In his work, he takes into account physical activity, functional and aesthetic laws. His task is to make a building that will not fall apart, will not go underground and will not be knocked out of the overall architectural appearance of the city. In addition, the new building will meet the customer’s expectations. It is important to note that interior designer and architect are combined professions.
The skills of both are essential in resolving any conflicts that arise while working on a project. MEP solutions build, Saving time for both the customer and the contractor. In building up to standard solutions, interior designers can create an album of finished projects, gain experience, and generate complex proposals (Binggeli, 2016). MEP solutions allow a company specializing in mechanical systems to position its staff of interior designers as a team of professionals capable of covering several areas in their work at once and performing tasks in an integrated manner.
Duties of an Interior Designer to Avoid Conflicts
In order for conflicts to can be resolved successfully, an interior designer has to understand precisely what the problem is and at what stage the mistake was made. The main task of conflict resolution between the systems is to select them in the most popular categories, develop installation schemes, and customize production (El-Ghobashy & Mosaad, 2016). Ultimately, this will optimize the company’s costs; there will be no need to design equipment from scratch; all that remains for the customer is to form a product from ready-made assemblies to complete the installation (El-Ghobashy & Mosaad, 2016). Therefore, the work of an interior designer is significant in coordinating all stages of construction.
Also, in order to avoid inevitable conflicts, the interior designer must clearly understand the range of responsibilities because often misunderstandings arise against the background of an unregulated workflow. One of the areas of environmental design is interior design. Interior design is developing and implementing private or public interior design (Allen & Macomber, 2020). The design process is project documentation, by which repair and construction work is carried out in the room.
Interior design development consists of an endless list of stages, regardless of whether one is talking about the interior design of a living room, children’s room, youth room, restaurant, or office (Allen & Macomber, 2020). Most clients who come to an interior design studio have an intuitive idea of arranging rooms in an apartment or house. However, only an experienced professional will help determine the location and combination of functional areas of a cottage or apartment most logically and conveniently.
After the final approval of the layout with the customer, a quick, creative process begins. The key to success at this stage is a clear expression of the will on the part of the customer and its expressive implementation (Yildirim, 2016). The intermediate results of the development of the interior design project are visually presented to the customer in the form of a three-dimensional model, which is created using the most modern computer programs and edited according to the customer’s comments until the ideal sketch design is reached (Yildirim, 2016). The interior design sketch is a three-dimensional photorealistic perspective view of all the projected rooms in color.
It includes a measurement plan of the room, a drawing diagram that reflects the room’s actual dimensions (Yildirim, 2016). Also, interior sketches have pre-project proposals, are possible options for the reconstruction of the object, taking into account the specifics of life and the customer’s wishes, which are the arrangement of furniture and lighting solutions. The interior design is guilty of creating a detailed plan for composing the possession of the concept to the design project – 3D visualization of the skin design. The interior design project also includes the transformation of materials for the internal processing – the conversion of materials for the internal processing from the values of the number and meter.
The designer develops a project that includes a deep understanding and prediction of the results of future work by the author of the interior and drawings and diagrams that represent the designer’s ideas to the customer. The drawings illustrate the essential elements of communication in the room (Yildirim, 2016). In addition, here, the interior appears in the unity of technical and engineering solutions and structural and architectural: the drawings highlight the reconstruction of the premises and all sorts of redevelopment. Renovation and design of the premises require a competent approach of a specialist.
As a rule, the designer sees several options of the decision of an interior which can differ both on an arrangement of partitions and engineering communications indoors, and on the general style, and also color, the invoice, and other privacy features.
Thus, from measurements to the beginning of construction works, many vital questions are solved. The designer’s knowledge extends not only to the aesthetic component of the repair – all sorts of stylistic design solutions, selection of furniture, and development of entire projects for its creation and all the variety of modern building materials. The interior designer also knows what can be done in a particular room regarding the interior in various modifications of its style and design, and most importantly, how to do it (Yildirim, 2016). Therefore, the wishes and considerations of the customer are designed to push the designer on the trail of the most accurate and beautiful interior design.
MEP systems are an essential element of construction services. MEP systems are often developed by interior designers and contractors and can create significant coordinating and detailing issues. It must meet numerous design, installation, commissioning, operating, and maintenance objectives and standards. An interior designer is a crucial person in the coordination of Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems together because he is fully responsible for how and in what place will be placed some aspects of the interior.
However, there may be some misunderstandings when working on the project. For example, while working on an office that set a precedent for this study, a potential conflict could arise due to the lack of coordination of a phased work plan between members of the construction team. Problems often occur due to a large number of staff and opinions at the expense of construction. Therefore, the best option for resolving conflicts may be to find one person who understands all stages of construction and will be able to manage the work. Such functions can be performed by trained MEP contractors or certified interior designers. Coordination ensures the integrity and sustainability of the process, thus helping to address potential problems.
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