– consultants in the Nigerian construction industry By Anthony Aihie (continued from last issue)
As consultants for the built environment, we are in the construction industry. Consultants’ roles are often misunderstood, overlooked and/or undervalued in our society. This article gives and overview of the construction industry and the important role played by consultants in it.
Other specialist consultants whose expertise may be required on projects can be identified. These specialists give attention to particular aspects of the work that are beyond the knowledge of the major and minor consultants mentioned above. We show the following list (this list is by no means exhaustive as arising needs on projects determine expertise needed):
- LIGHTING CONSULTANTS: These consultants take an artistic view in designing specialized lighting concepts to enhance the architect’s design. Their expertise is critical in projects like nightclubs, retail environments, significant architectural buildings as well as historical buildings and monuments.
- ART CONSULTANTS: In projects where clients are interested in displayed art as investment, these consultants play a major role in procurement of art works.
- INTERIOR DECORATION: They carry out the decoration of residential interiors and decorated settings in commercial developments. They specify and assist the client in the procurement of wall finish colors, window treatment and other soft furnishings like chairs, sofas, pillows, beddings, plants, ornaments, artwork and other embellishments. Work with the interior designer to provide soft furnishing for a structure, e.g. curtains, chairs, candle stands, rugs, etc.
- ELEVATOR CONSULTANT: They assist the architect in the calculation of elevator and vertical movement requirements in large buildings and also assist the mechanical engineer in the technical specifications of the elevators and escalators. These specialists are often engineers with manufacturing or design experience at the manufacturing companies.
- PHYSICIST: They are critical in projects involving high particle matter and radiation processes. These projects include Radiology departments and MRI (Magnetic resonance Imaging) departments of large hospitals, nuclear laboratories and power plants and scientific observatories.
- AUDIO VISUAL (A/V): These consultants specialize in specifying and applications of electronic equipment for audio and visual activities in projects. This expertise is needed in performance theaters, film theaters, Radio stations as well as conference rooms and learning labs with audio-visual equipment.
- EQUIPMENT CONSULTANTS: In general any complex equipment may require a specialist consultant to aid in the correct choice, procurement, installation, use and maintenance. Equipment include but are not limited to Zambonis (Ice making equipment for ice rinks), synthetic tracks and fields, large scale seating, fountain equipment and theatrical stage equipment to name a few.
- IRONMONGERY (HARDWARE): Door hardware specification can be quite complicated and this consultant assists the architect in specify required hardware like mortises, handles, closers, thresholds, astragals, stops and other such hardware for door openings.
- FOOD SPECIALTY: This consultant assists in the design and specification of equipment for eating areas, serveries and kitchens in sophisticated eateries like fast-food restaurants, banquet arenas and cafeteria of colleges and universities.
- ACOUSTICS: They provide design and construction detailing for optimum acoustical requirements in auditoria, churches, theaters, film halls, Nightclubs, radio stations and even homes where sound control and acoustics is important. They deal with the issues of sound quality, absorption, reverberation time and sound isolation and enhancement.
- FIRE PROTECTION: They assist the architect in ensuring the fire safety of the design proposal. Also included in their work are the specification of fire suppression and fire-fighting equipment and the inspection of building assembly details to ensure compliance with fire rating standards.
- IT : These consultants provide design and specification of Information technology systems in buildings. They advice on server room sizing, cable routing, equipment placement and use.
- FINANCE: Project finance is a critical part of any project for which all of the cash is not resident with the client. For projects where equity partners might be needed and/or debt finance needs to be raised, a finance consultant is critical in looking at the model for raising the money as well as payback terms. They assist the client in determining the financial viability of the project, raising equity and debt finance as well as negotiating and structuring payback terms with lenders.