Engineering for a new era

All Technical Committee members recognized during the Engineering Forum event on January 23 for providing great support for completing KAUST standards are pictured here.

As a center of innovation, KAUST continually pushes boundaries in terms of research efforts and physical space. As evidenced by the rapidly developing Research Park, where industrial partners are setting up a footprint, the community along the shores of the Red Sea continually grows in terms of research facilities and also through the building and maintenance of school facilities and various other community building projects.

“KAUST is embarking on a huge construction era—and eras—for many years to come,” said Nadhmi Al-Nasr, KAUST executive vice president for administration and finance. A strong engineering team is needed to take on these ambitious challenges.

Established in March of 2015, the Engineering Team of the KAUST Engineering and Project Management (E&PM) Department was created under the leadership of Marc Jackson, director of E&PM, to establish the standards and design criteria needed for the institution to embark on this bold era.

Setting the standards

“Compliance is key. It’s really important to adhere to engineering and design standards. These minimum standards are meant to ensure that we build safely and cost-effectively,” said Jackson during his opening remarks at a recent Engineering Forum held on January 23 and organized by E&PM.

The aim of this forum was to share the latest developments in KAUST Standards and Design Criteria. E&PM developed an intranet website for the KAUST standards and design criteria, which have been made accessible to all KAUST stakeholders and organizations.

Engineering Forum
Some of the projects that are already implementing the KAUST standards and design criteria include residential projects, facilities management projects, academic projects and non-academic projects.

At the forum, Al-Nasr noted, “As engineers, designers, construction engineers and everyone at E&PM, we should be the custodians of the quality of work and every project we undertake in this institution. Standards are not matters that should only be comprehended by engineers. Standards should be clear to the users, the implementers and to the quality controllers. Even if you are not an engineer, it’s your right to understand the standards.”

Roadmap for the future

As KAUST embarks on a huge construction era, the entire E&PM group recognizes the importance of having ownership in the journey to excellence.

“Why do we need to develop our own standards at KAUST? We need to do this to establish a common language of standards for all KAUST stakeholders and organizations to avoid contradictions. We also would like to have standards that fulfill the requirements of KAUST for good quality in terms of safety, optimum cost and reliability,” said Mohammad A. Balamesh, engineering head of the engineering team at E&PM.

As the custodian of KAUST Standards, it is expected that E&PM Engineering will spearhead standardization using KAUST standards and design criteria for all new projects at KAUST together with all stakeholders from Facilities Management; Health, Safety and Environment; Government Affairs; Security; Innovation and Economic Development; and Engineering and Project Management.

Other speakers at the Engineering Forum included Sami I. Sarhan, engineering & project controls manager, and Mohsen M. Ibrahim, technical supervisor, described how the teams within E&PM are providing technical support and services to stakeholders. Most importantly, they highlighted that while the KAUST standards and design criteria have been completed and made accessible on an intranet website, this is a live document that needs to be updated on a continual basis and improved and enhanced.