Reed Consulting Engineers, Cayman Islands
Frank Reed founded Reed Consulting Engineers (RCE) in 2015, after eight years in Cayman and with more than 30 years of experience in the engineering industry. Now in its sixth year, RCE has grown into a boutique, full-suite engineering firm with 11 full-time staff members. It is the only firm in the Cayman Islands to offer structural, civil, MEP-F (Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing and Fire Protection) and geotechnical engineering consulting under one roof. The focus of RCE is quality results balanced with cost-effectively bringing the design vision to life. Frank shares with us his insider’s advice when it comes to your building project.
RL: What makes RCE’s approach unique?
FR: From our firm’s inception, we had the vision to grow horizontally rather than vertically to integrate the various engineering disciplines involved in delivering successful development and construction projects.
From my experience in Cayman, I often saw clients underserved due to a lack of inter-discipline coordination from the project’s outset. The island has a wonderful selection of very talented architects that bring their client’s dreams to fruition. But when engineers design in silos delivering independent MEP, Structural and Civil packages, there is a significant risk of projects going over schedule (and over budget!). For example, clashes between mechanical ductwork and structural beams may go unnoticed until on-site.
By designing structural, civil and MEP in tandem and in-house, coordination is consistent through each design phase. We hope that this helps deliver more seamless projects.
RL: What experience and commitment to creative engineering solutions sets RCE apart?
FR: Our senior leadership team brings with them a wealth of experience in large multinational firms and island regions, resulting in world-class engineering design expertise and a strong understanding of local practices and methodologies.
I was taught that excellent engineering is where creativity, practicality, and rules converge. It’s a lesson that I’ve carried with me throughout my career and continue to impart to our younger team members. Our job as Engineers is to make designers’ visions a reality. We love creative designs and focus on being very solutions-orientated. Where there is a will, there is a way.
RL: What type of projects do you typically work on?
FR: Some days we are designing multi-storey developments with sophisticated Structural, Civil and MEP systems and others, we are investigating foundation cracks at existing homes. It’s thrilling to see landmark projects getting built, but we have just as much time for a first-time home builder or a small renovation. No project is too small or too big for our firm.
RL: What advice do you offer clients before, during and after a building project?
FR: The advice I most often give to friends and clients embarking on a new build is to meet with as many consultants as they can before committing. An excellent and like-minded relationship with their architect, engineers and builders can make all the difference – feeling comfortable with the team leading the process can make it much more enjoyable and ultimately successful.
Rushing the process is never advisable either. Of course, people want to see their visions become a reality as quickly as possible, but the further into the process you get, the more costly changes become. Make sure your consultants are making time for you to discuss the details early on.
Finally, don’t underestimate the value of having your engineers attend the site throughout construction and answer contractor queries to ensure that what you get is as intended. Let your builders know that they can call us to clarify anything they are unclear about. A phone call is cheaper and faster than fixing a construction mistake.
RL: What new technologies do you incorporate more and more into your work?
FR: In the last couple of years, we’ve invested heavily in staying at the forefront of technology – most notably in the BIM modelling software Revit. BIM modelling allows us to deliver projects in 3D, letting clients walk through the space virtually. This drastically improves cross-discipline coordination with engineers, architects and interior designers. In essence, we can all work on a single model and simulate the whole project’s construction long before it reaches the site.
RL: What does the future hold for RCE? How has your team developed and grown?
FR: Five years ago, when I founded the company, it was just me. Today, we are a team of three Structural Engineers, five MEP Engineers and three Operations and Administration staff. We hope that the next five years will see us winning a larger share of the market, and we will continue to adopt new technologies, but we don’t foresee moving into other disciplines. We are an engineering firm through and through and don’t intend to depart from that.
RL: What is your work mantra?
FR: Our mantra is ‘Professionalism. Experience. Integrity’. As Professional Engineers, we have an ethical responsibility to our clients and the community and hold ourselves to accordingly high standards. We will always do what we say we will and strive to deliver projects on time, on budget and with a smile!
Underscoring everything we do is our commitment to integrity. We don’t always tell people what they want to hear, but we always tell them what they need to know. We are never pressured into delivering subpar projects because we believe that people choose us for our expertise and professionalism. Our highes t priority is always safety and long-term value.
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