By Badawy Shalaby
Mamdouh Azmy,Head of the Architecture Division of the Egyptian Engineers Association (EAA), said that his organisation is working to develop architectural engineering techniques in Egypt in order to bring the country up to date with current state of the art practices.
He emphasised the need to transform current thinking about architecture in Egypt and to change the academic curriculum in architectural engineering schools.
Azmy called on the field to draw from all schools of engineering in order to raise the quality of architecture in Egypt.
He added that the EAA is one of the largest unions in the world, with members numbering approximately 470,000 engineers from all specialisations.
Azmy said that the Architecture Division will strive in the coming period to develop the field of architectural engineering so that it can meet the demands of the market and so that the EAA will become a primary consultant for the state in large national projects.
He added that construction costs in Egypt can be lowered by applying modern techniques.
The field has witnessed a number of significant developments over the last several years, according to Azmy; costs have lowered, construction periods have shortened, and the quality of buildings in areas such as weather insulation, sound proofing, and earthquake resistance have been improved.
He noted that in the coming years the field will tend to use low cost, environmentally friendly construction materials, stressing the need to phase out the use of cement and iron.
He predicted that low-cost energy efficient structures will become available in Egypt in the coming years.
He called for the establishment of new residential areas at a distance of 20 to 30 kilometres from established centres in order to prevent sprawl and unnecessary increases in population density.
Azmy also called on businessmen to help fund research in the field of architectural engineering, saying that they are the first to benefit.
He noted that properties that utilised “green” building techniques in the United States and Europe were not affected by the global economic crisis, which had a significant negative impact on real estate in general, because of their low energy costs.
He stressed the need for the Ministry of Housing to rely on engineers and architects when designing projects, particularly to lower costs and to ensure that new housing complexes are environmentally friendly.
He considered the transition to green construction techniques a shift in civilization, saying that the Housing and Building National Research Centre (HBRC) should cooperate with other countries to develop an Egyptian green building code and to establish a national green construction agency to be headed by the Minister of Housing.
He predicted that construction companies will eventually phase out cement and iron, noting that both are energy intensive industries that increase building costs, while new, cheaper construction materials are being developed.
Azmy called on real estate companies to rely on new, cheaper, more durable construction materials instead of depending on red bricks, cement, iron, and concrete, especially in desert areas.
Azmy praised the HBRC for creating new building materials that were locally produced, low cost, and environmentally friendly.
He called on the state to improve education and increase the technical skills of architects because they form the basis of the construction field in Egypt.