Taking care of business
If there’s one thing that’s consistent about the engineering community, is that it’s inconsistent.
If there’s one thing that’s consistent about the engineering community, is that it’s inconsistent. I say that—not to confuse the situation—but to prove that it’s tough to be in the building engineering community these days. The biggest reasons:
1. The market is expanding and contracting like crazy, making it hard for customers (your clients) to prioritize their facilities’ needs. They want the cheapest, best, and fastest engineering and products available, but are unsure about future market conditions, and don’t want to commit the money at the moment.
2. The push for energy efficiency and management are moving forward quickly. This is forcing building owners to take a closer look at their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and overall efficiency. Several cities already have passed codes that require energy audits of commercial facilities, and many legislators are jumping on the efficiency bus (battery-powered, of course) and pushing local companies to follow suit. This also is forcing manufacturers to get leaner and greener with their products.
3. Renovations of existing buildings are about one-third of today’s engineering market. To keep your engineering firm healthy during this inconsistent time, you must have a robust amount of renovation work.
4. Codes and standards change (it seems) daily. Though many codes are on a three-year cycle, the associations and entities that write these codes cannot write them fast enough to keep up with technology or other requirements, confusing engineers even more.
5. Systems don’t always talk to each other nicely, making it tough for the engineering team to integrate the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection systems on one easy-to-use dashboard or other interface. Interoperability between systems and a lack of Web interfaces makes engineers tear their hair out, and building owners and operators frustrated.
So how can the Consulting-Specifying Engineer team help reduce your frustration? Well, we can’t control the market, but we can help you by providing as much information to help you stay ahead of the curve.
Engineers are starting to offer building owners energy management strategies, such as detailed reporting systems, that will help the owner better manage power and water use. Because nonresidential existing buildings were not built to meet these stringent energy management goals, renovations are gaining traction. This may also include commissioning and retrocommissioning. We’ll be sure to keep you informed on the latest trends.
The editorial team also will keep you up-to-date on new codes and standards, or changes to existing code. We’ll introduce you to new software and solutions to help you give your clients near-seamless operability. And finally, we’ll provide you with new products and technologies as quickly as they become available.
So we’d like to make your job a little easier. Please send me a note and let me know what you’d like to read about in Consulting-Specifying Engineer, or what you’d like to download at www.csemag.com. Our team will help make your job’s inconsistencies a little less painful.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.