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Revealing the talents you may not see

Building Services By Mohamed Abdelwahab, Principal Engineer, Building Services – 29 March 2024

MEP magazine cover on a marble rock with ferns in a SPA like ambience


Mohamed Adbdelwahab in cundall's office lobby.

Mohamed Abdelwahab

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Behind the facades of the architectural marvels of the Middle East are the skills which bring those buildings to life – the invaluable talents of building services (MEP) engineers. MEP Middle East magazine recognises that the invaluable contributions of MEP designers can often stay in the shadows, so in the March 2024 cover story shone a spotlight on building services engineering professionals from across the industry.

Below is what some of our MENA colleagues had to say:

Nalini Asok, Engineer, Dubai

With over 12 years of experience, Nalini embodies adaptability and technical acumen in MEP engineering. “In the field of MEP engineering, sustainability is no longer just a buzzword. It is every engineer’s responsibility to consider best practices in sustainability and positively impact designs,” she told MEP Middle East.

One of the most critical aspects of designing an electrical system is the integration of energy-efficient solutions. This not only optimises energy consumption, but also aligns with sustainability goals.

“I recently had the opportunity to work on the lighting and electrical design of a large-scale multi-purpose event space with a range of potential functions including operating as a concert hall, exhibition space, and sports venue,” recalls Nalini. “Working on the design to suit any of these functional scenarios was quite challenging, taking into consideration the various layouts and seating arrangements without compromising on the lighting scenes and electrical loads.

“To complement this, the space has been designed with occupancy sensors and smart controls. This is also a portfolio project dispersed over seven different locations. Through an adaptation of the basic design, every site had to be assessed for the electrical design and development.”

Mohamed Abdelwahab, Principal Engineer, Doha

With extensive experience managing intricate projects, Mohamed excels in stakeholder collaboration and sustainable design integration. “One standout project for me was managing the design of a VIP Palace in Doha, which involved facing several significant challenges,” he says.
“These were addressed through close stakeholder collaboration to develop a comprehensive project plan that implemented a phased approach, allowing construction to progress alongside ongoing design development. This strategy maintained project momentum and minimised delays.”

Mohamed and the team successfully delivered critical design packages and ensured construction activities adhered to the schedule.

“Our approach prioritised sustainability, incorporating energy-efficient solutions to enhance occupant well-being. We also provided the client with a detailed design management plan and a responsibility matrix to maintain project alignment and enable effective decision-making. “The project provided valuable lessons in proactive communication, stakeholder management, and the integration of sustainable design principles throughout the project lifecycle. Our ability to overcome the initial challenges showcased our technical expertise, project management capabilities, and capacity to deliver successful outcomes in complex and high-profile projects.”

Rowena Ortega, CAD Co-ordinator, Dubai

For Rowena, translating vision into reality is both an art and a science. Her journey at Cundall began in 2008, when she joined the business as a Document Controller. Over the years she broadened her skill set and transitioned into undertaking CAD design. She now does BIM modelling work for the Dubai office.

“Engineers and technicians have one primary goal: to deliver the best outcome for our client. However, we approach our work from different perspectives. Engineers design systems, but it’s our role as technicians to transform those designs into tangible 2D and 3D drawings,” Rowena says.

She emphasises the importance of aligning designs with the rules and regulations set by international bodies, as well as government guidelines where the project is located. In addition, understanding the client perspective is crucial, she explains.

“There are times when we need to finish the project in a short period, yet as technicians, we must always deliver the best result to our clients. So, when I do 2D drawings or 3D modelling, I always put myself in the clients’ shoes and ask: ‘Would I be happy if I received these drawings? Do I understand what these drawings are?”

View the full article featuring other inspiring MEP heroes here.