Patrick Fernbach Featured on Construction Bros. Podcast

Patrick Fernbach, PE, WELL AP
Principal | Director of Mechanical Engineering
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Patrick Fernbach, PE, WELL AP, director of mechanical engineering at of Kohrs Lonnemann Heil Engineers, Inc. (KLH Engineers), was featured on Construction Bros. Podcast in an episode titled “A Mechanical Engineer Speaks” published June 28, 2023.

Fernbach discussed the challenges he observes in the building design and construction industry with the hosts, brothers Tyler and Eddie Campbell, and how unhealthy projects can occur due to the lack of collaboration between stakeholders. In the design-bid-build approach, owners have two separate chains of contracts — one with the architect and design team, and the other with the general contractor and trades. Fernbach feels this practice puts engineers and the trades at opposite ends and makes it difficult to have meaningful collaboration.

“If you looked at that in any other industry on the face of the earth, you would think they were at odds with each other. And I think that’s the thing that really sets us up to have some unhealthy projects, so that we can’t really execute projects as a project team and collaborate,” said Fernbach.

While engineers can design what the owner or architect wants, they don’t always share the same expertise or constraints as the trades. Fernbach’s goal is to create more value for the trades while also serving the architect. He feels if he can get closer to the trades and gain a new lens on his drawings, the easier both of their jobs will get.

“I’m always looking for trades to build relationships with just to ask them, ‘Did you use it [our sets]? … What were the pain points?’” said Fernbach.

In design-build projects, Fernbach has seen an increasingly smooth process. He works with contractors before they write the proposal so they can add KLH Engineers’ drawings to their bid and counts to their proposal. KLH Engineers is able to expedite the design process and provide more data to its downstream consumers due to its advanced in-house software.

Fernbach urged listeners to be intentional when they create BIM models.

“Be intentional when you design and think about what value you are creating … Create value for the downstream consumer, for the owner, and that will make us all better. If we’re all trying to create value for one another, we all get better, we all grow, [and] we’re all having better conversations,” said Fernbach.

Listen to the full podcast here.

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About KLH Engineers:

KLH Engineers is nationally ranked among the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing and technology engineering firms. As a leader in the AEC industry, KLH leverages building information modeling (BIM) and advanced in-house technology to deliver innovative and value-driven solutions. KLH  serves the civic, education, healthcare, hospitality, lifestyle, industrial, retail and workplace markets.

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