Focus On Janet T Beckett: CIBSE Design Engineer and Director at Carbon Saver UK

Focus On Janet T Beckett: CIBSE Design Engineer and Director at Carbon Saver UK

For the fourth article in our ‘Focus On’ blog series, I spoke to Janet T Beckett - CIBSE HVAC Engineer, Low Carbon Consultant and Director at Carbon Saver UK.

Tell us a little about yourself…
I am a heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) design engineer, which led into an interest and further qualifications in low carbon building design and architectural engineering, a natural extension of my existing experience and skills.

What does your typical day look like?
Most of my work is office based, however, the good thing about being a building services design engineer is that we hardly ever have two days which are the same, this certainly keeps the job interesting. This week for example on Tuesday I had a meeting in the morning about progressing BIM (Building Information Modelling) for SMEs (small or medium enterprises) with the BIM4SMEs government task group at an Architect’s office in Leeds. In the afternoon I was on site witnessing the final testing and commissioning of the ventilation systems with the contractor on some zero carbon mansions to ensure compliance with Building Regulations.

The following day I had a trip to London for a meeting at the CIBSE (Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers) headquarters in London to discuss the importance of verifying energy performance certificates and how we might best achieve this. For a flavour of how day to day is for me and other engineers, try following @mydayengineer #mydayengineering on twitter (or me @carbonsaveruk!) there is a real variety on there.

Who do you work closely with?
We work very closely with Architects and other design team professionals, structural engineers, quantity surveyors etc together as a team with the client to determine the best value, best fit solutions for a low carbon building, which will also meet the budget. We also do work with friendly contractors and sometimes directly with clients who are building or refurbishing buildings to help them navigate the minefield of information and choices available to them. Mainly we are very lucky and get to work with people we like and who we also get along well with.

What resources do you use regularly?
CIBSE Guides and Knowledge series are the building services design engineers' bible, we use these all the time, there are 1119 CIBSE publications to help us. We also have to refer to literally 1000’s of industry standards, guidance notes and regulatory documents as well as manufacturers' specific information and sector specific documents. So if anyone is wondering why I do not always have all the answers in my head, that’s the reason, but I do always know where to go and look for the answer.

We use specialist IES VE Pro software for dynamic thermal building simulation 3D building modelling, also Hevacomp, excel spreadsheets, lots of emails and as an occasional treat good old fashioned pencils, paper and felt tip pens for creative concepts.

How do you find this information and how easily?
Books in the office in hard copy. Online we use specialist search engines such as IHS Construction information service, Barbour, CIBSE online knowledge database and manufacturers' catalogues. Sometimes I may ask a colleague or “phone a friend” or chat to a technical representative for a second opinion and of course we do use Google.

You have to know what you are looking for and what information to trust and what to disregard, this comes with years of experience, not everything in writing these days is correct. We can spot a blagger a mile off, so don’t even try it. :-)

How do you specify products?
With complete professional impartiality, this is what differentiates us from supplier/specifiers and installer/specifiers. Our professional code of conduct means we have no affiliation with a product or supplier. We match the best products for the systems we design which will suit the client's specific requirements and budget. We want the client to be happy and comfortable in their new building with the lowest energy use possible.

Further information

Janet T Beckett is the Director at Carbon Saver UK, a team of CIBSE Low Carbon Consultants, Energy Performance Assessors, Chartered Building Services Engineers specialising in designing low cost, low carbon buildings.

You can follow Janet (@carbonsaveruk) on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.

Do you specify building products?
If you’re interested in featuring in our ‘Focus on’ blog series, or would like more information about Barbour Product Search, please contact Grace Lewis, Interim Editor:

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