Taka Solutions is delighted to announce the arrival of our new Director of Engineering, Craig MacMenomay.
Craig is a multi-disciplined engineer who has worked in the design office as well as on construction sites for both large and complex projects across many market sectors here in the Middle East. His background and degree is in architectural engineering, which gives him a broad understanding of how buildings are designed, put together and operated.
Arguably the leading healthcare engineering specialist in the region, Craig has a wealth of experience in hospital projects in the Middle East and USA. This expertise will undoubtedly have a significant impact as Taka looks to bring the benefits of its energy efficiency solutions to healthcare facilities across the region.
What better way to get to know Craig better than with a quick Q&A!
What attracted you to Taka Solutions?
“In my previous firm, we focused most of our attention on designing new buildings, but we did occasionally get into building forensics, trying to find ways to make existing buildings run better. It’s rare that a design firm gets that opportunity, but when it comes, it adds a whole new dynamic as you think through how the design and the operation of the building have to be meticulously weaved together to maximize the efficiency of the building. I have known Taka Solutions for a few years now as a business that saves energy. When I was invited for this opportunity, I got the chance to talk to the employees there, and you can see that their philosophy goes much deeper than that. Listening to the analysts and engineers at Taka Solutions, you can see that their motivation really is not just energy efficiency, but there is an underlying desire to make buildings run better. This attitude has been extended to all of their projects, and it certainly makes this company a unique dynamic in this part of the world.”
What are you looking forward to the most in your new role?
“Every new role is a challenge, but it is an exciting opportunity to work with a group of young, talented engineers who have really built this company from the ground up. Taka Solutions embraces technology in a way that I have never seen in a consulting firm, which is most certainly a good thing. Again, I think this is something which has to be cast into the DNA of the company, which is to always be looking for ways to do things better. I am sure they will teach me many new things through these first few weeks and months.”
What would you say is your biggest achievement, or the one of which you are most proud?
“I think the crowning achievement for most engineers is the first time that they really take responsibility for a project. In Florida, where I was first practicing, you have to submit all new construction documents to the Authority for permitting. It’s a rigorous process where you have to go through and sign, date, and then physically emboss every sheet that goes to the Authority. I remember that the project was a small retrofit for a school building – not really a big scope of work, but it is quite a thing to see your name embossed in raised letters as it leaves the office. It gives quite a sense of responsibility.”
How many hospital projects have you worked on?
I have worked on about 10 different hospital projects in the Middle East and in Florida (in the United States). The smallest project was an orthopedic hospital in Florida, which was limited to day surgery. The largest hospital project I have worked on is the new hospital in the Sheik Shakbout area of Abu Dhabi, next door to the existing Mafraq Hospital.
How can Taka add the most value to healthcare facilities?
“Hospitals are best thought of as large machines, but they can be expensive to operate and maintain. If you look at the typical energy costs of running these machines – you can see a wide range of energy consumption. There was a survey back in 2011 from the Health Facilities Management / ASHE where hospital operators reported running costs between $2.50 and $8.00 / square foot (98 AED – 315 AED / square meter). When you go look into components that make up these buildings, and you see over two meters of plenum space dedicated to ductwork, cables, wires, and pipes, it’s quite easy to see how it might be difficult to run and operate these kinds of buildings. On the flip side of this equation, though, any efficiency measures that you take up for a hospital have to ensure that there is absolutely no compromise on patient health and safety. It’s a difficult balance, but there are always methods to reduce energy consumption without reducing patient care.”