Fri, 09/02/2018 - 05:30
Environmental Engineering Excellence
Fenestra Malaysia’s façade expertise has transcended into one of the region’s most renowned consultancy services, with technological innovation and sustainable durability driving the Company’s rapid growth
Writer: Matthew Staff
Project Manager: Tom Cullum
In a booming Asian façade sector, the need for elite, experienced, knowledgeable consultants is becoming a construction sector staple, and few have met these calls as prominently as Malaysian-based firm, Fenestra.
Commencing in 2010 as a natural continuation of a successful practice established by Connell Wagner in the country less than a decade previously; the resultant business has grown over the intervening years to become the biggest of its kind in the region.
Such rapid growth is testament not only to Fenestra Malaysia Sdn Bhd’s expertise on the subject of façades but the levels of innovation displayed across numerous high profile projects within the domain.
Focusing especially on sustainability and environmental preservation, the consequential durability of the solutions and advice offered has made Fenestra a natural go-to entity for construction companies, facilities managers, and owners alike.
On the design and engineering front, “our usual scope of work includes an assessment of the structural adequacy and allowances made for building movement and tolerances, advice on the thermal performance of façade elements, assessment of requirements for weather tightness (water and air infiltration), and advice on acoustic and fire rating implications of various façade system options”, the Company introduces. “The buildability considerations and practical construction are central to the way in which we design and work.
“We, in collaboration with our global associates, are able to offer our services in the design of advanced envelopes such as double skin façades and automated shading devices. We draw on the innovative application of standard technology to optimise and improve the performance of the building as a whole.”
Particularly renowned for its influence on structural and sustainable design - as well as the interface of building services and façades - Fenestra’s façade portfolio ventures further into construction management and forensics too. While the former serves as a value-add assurance to sub-contractors, technicians and construction operators, the latter contributes to inspections for a range of purposes including: compliance with construction documentation; due diligence reports; emergency assessment of risk to public safety; cause and source of water leaks; general condition of cladding materials and systems; assessment of remaining service life; and materials assessment.
The final strand of Fenestra’s façade management service remit then glances ahead to skills development and the wider upliftment of an industry very much in bloom.
“[Training-wise], Fenestra organises awareness workshops on sustainable design, the retrofitting of existing buildings, and building services commissioning as part of our commitment to developing sustainable knowledge in the building industry and all parties interested in the built environment,” the Company explains. “Our dynamic, engaging and relevant sessions provide practical information and the knowledge base required to undertake real projects in confidence.
“Our experiences as consultants provide the real-life perspectives, stories, lessons learned and knowledge that are the backbone to our education and training.”
Masoud Moinfar, Managing Director
Masoud is a mechanical building services engineer. He has more than 28 years of professional experience in design and construction management of a range of projects. Masoud has a wide experience in all aspects of building engineering including design, documentation, project administration and construction management. His experience has a strong focus on value engineering and project management. Masoud is passionate about reducing energy consumption of buildings and an ardent advocate of introduction of green technologies in commercial developments. Masoud is a registered GBI facilitator.
The second and increasingly pertinent facet of Fenestra’s overall offering revolves around ESD consulting; an eco-focused showcase of the Company’s foremost attribute - its environmental acumen.
“From small refurbishments to major new builds, Fenestra’s knowledgeable, accredited professionals are able to assist our clients in gaining green accreditation for new and existing buildings as well as whole township developments,” the Company details. “Our expertise covers facilitation for the Malaysian GBI (Green Building Index) as well as the US LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating systems.”
This GBI and LEED certification management has a positive influence whether clients are only just beginning their design process or whether the process has already begun; Fenestra then inputting the right questions in order to facilitate the interdisciplinary coordination required for integrated sustainable design.
The Company continues: “We [also] help clients to make an informed decision whether or not to pursue certification by evaluating projects to determine their potential certification level. We show them exactly what they need to do to get their green building and/or neighbourhood development certification; including time commitment, level of effort, possible performance gaps, and guidance on associated costs.
“We start our process by conducting collaborative design workshops early in the project to get all the stakeholders to have the same understanding of the basic principles and promote holistic thinking. Through active sessions with the project team, we facilitate the formation of viable strategies to design with lower carbon footprints, waste reduction and increased productivity in mind; resulting in more sustainable development at the lowest possible cost.”
Zulkarnain Abdullah, Executive Director
Zulkarnain is an Executive Director of Fenestra and has over 16 years of experience in curtain wall and façade systems. He has a wide experience working with contractors, which has given him a full understanding of various systems and design, factory and site installations. In addition, Zulkarnain possesses an excellent knowledge in building materials, such as glass, aluminium, stainless steel, masonry and stone.
ESD considerations are completed via an entire roadmap report whereby Fenestra provides the project team with an objective assessment of each component of the green building grading criteria in order to attain certification.
And across both traditional façade management and the additional ESD services, no demographic of sector is off-limit.
Catering for areas inclusive of mixed-use developments, offices, retail, residential, institutional, special, hospitality and townships; Fenestra’s turnkey remit is mirrored by the project portfolio it can now boast.
The business has won numerous awards for its input towards projects including Phase 3 of Platinum Park; Menara KKR 2; Menara Hap Seng 2; The Grand Hyatt Hotel; Tower 3 KLCC; Menara CIMB - KL Sentral; and Nu Sentral office tower.
However, perhaps none epitomise Fenestra’s overall capabilities better than Menara OBYU. Completed in 2012, the Company provided consultancy services for façade engineering as well as the facilitation for green building certification.
Managing Director, Masoud Moinfar recalls: “Apart from being GBI (Green Building Index) rated, the project had won multiple awards as follows: Fiabci World Prix D’Excellence Award 2015: Winner (Silver) - Office Category; Fiabci Malaysia Property Award 2014: Winner - Office Category; ARCASIA Awards for Architecture 2014: Public Amenity: Commercial Buildings (Gold); PAM Awards 2014: Commercial Design (Gold); German Design Council Iconic Awards 2014: Best of the Best Design for Architecture, Commercial; World Architecture Festival (WAF 2013): Shortlist, Office; and Malaysia Landscape Architecture Awards MLAA 2014: Special Honour Award.”
Promoting and contributing towards Fenestra’s rise to the top of the industry has been a plethora of long-term, trusted relationships such as the one enjoyed with mechanical coupler supplier, Halfen-Moment Group.
Halfen-Moment Group has been a regular and trusted partner of Fenestra for HALFEN Channel systems. The HALFEN Channel system supplied by Halfen-Moment is a cost-effective and reliable method for connecting façade elements to a building’s superstructure.
Meeting clients’ needs
To be completely recognised as a turnkey operator, there of course needs to be an ongoing search for expansion and diversification, and Fenestra certainly adheres to this notion as it looks to align itself more wholly to clients’ needs on a year-to-year basis.
Subsequently, a whole host of new or broadened offerings have been added to the Company’s remit in recent times, partially incorporating further areas of training and industry enrichment.
As ever though, the primary focus remains on where Fenestra can make a sustainable impact, as showcased through its growing list of energy operations.
From an audit and analysis perspective, “our services here include a review of utility data, on-site survey of energy systems, and a review of system operation”, the Company notes. “Energy audits can be customised to meet each client’s needs followed by analysis to provide detailed evaluation of energy use and economic benefits.
“Energy modelling through computer simulation then serves a variety of purposes, including energy code compliance and energy budget estimates. Models may also be used to evaluate design options, such as orientation, daylighting, materials selection, system selection, and energy sources.”
Energy management services go on to monitor utility data on a pre-determined timescale, further aiding owners with enhanced understanding across areas of energy use, trends and sustainability management.
Such consultancy attributes are similarly evident within Fenestra’s quality assurance-based commissioning management services, as well as its operations guideline development offering; while the emphasis on long-term client relationships are compounded by the Company’s lifecycle-tailored post-occupancy evaluations.
Fenestra continues on its website: “These evaluations focus on the people who inhabit the facility, to reveal how the occupants feel about the facility or to give an idea of how the work environment affects their productivity. Given that the relative value of the average employee costs, versus utility costs are more than 100 times, having comfortable and productive employees and building occupants could add more to the bottom line than reductions in energy costs.”
High quality analysis
Naturally, expanding the Company and its services at such an exponential rate requires an equally prevalent adherence to the latest industry trends in order for such expansion to be successful.
To this end, much of Fenestra’s focus in recent years has been not just on service enhancement but on the technologies being used to refine said services.
“Utilising the latest in simulation technology, Fenestra’s sustainability consultants can trial and demonstrate the effectiveness of different design options for building systems and internal/external features to determine how they impact on both the running costs of a building and the comfort of the building’s inhabitants,” the Company says. “This is most effective when analysis and modelling is incorporated right from the earliest stages, well before key design decisions are set in stone.
“High quality analysis information can quantify and inform iterative decisions for both new and refurbishment projects, allowing the team to effectively develop creative sustainable solutions. Analysis can then be used to further refine the design as it progresses.”
Optimising such models, Fenestra can create a detailed, dynamic predictive modelling of a proposed scheme in order to demonstrate a multitude of specifications across areas of natural ventilation, passive design measures, mechanical engineering design, energy efficiency, façade and shading system design, materials selection, carbon emissions, and the potential for renewable energy usage.
Computational fluid dynamics and the aforementioned usage of daylight modelling further epitomises Fenestra’s willingness to move not just with, but ahead of the times and this will only compound the Company’s market-leading status over the next seven years and beyond.