HVAC Systems and HVAC Contractors for Your Construction Project

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HVAC

It’s sad to see the world slowly getting wrapped up in poor quality air. We see a higher population of people acquiring respiratory and skin diseases because of this. This is why HVAC is more important today than ever.

Despite the need, there are still some firms that put HVAC at the bottom of their priorities. But HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) should be an integral part of the construction plan. The objective of HVAC is to ensure that an indoor environment is both safe and comfortable for humans. 

Designing HVAC Systems

Designing HVAC systems is something that a mechanical engineer does. They provide a layout of the best ventilation system to use in the building and should be in conjunction with the floor plan. That said, HVAC becomes an important document for building construction, as well as for repair or replacement of ventilation equipment. Your HVAC plan should show the location and connection of HVAC equipment. In designing the HVAC system for your construction project, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind, like:
  • All Air Handling Unit rooms should include a floor drain because condensation will connect in the unit.
  • The Air Handler should have access to fresh air that it will circulate throughout the building.
  • Split Units do not provide any fresh air so they should be used only when you are sure that doors in the building you are erecting will be opened frequently.
  • Make sure that the AHU rooms you build have doors opening outward and they should be airtight.
  • Rooms in the building that you think will cater to activities that produce foul air like the kitchen or the restrooms should be installed with extraction so that they remain at negative pressure. This way, you’re able to prevent the foul air from drifting out to any other space in the building.
  • If the project is for office occupancies, then it is a good idea to provide standalone AC units for conference rooms and executive cabins, which can be used when people are working late or on weekends when the main AC system is off.

The Importance of Having a Good HVAC System

As mentioned, heating and ventilation are of utmost importance in buildings, whether they are for residential or commercial use. HVAC systems maintain the comfort and safety of building occupants. The units for heating and cooling in the HVAC system will be responsible for controlling the indoor climate and proper airflow. This will ensure that occupants won’t freeze during the winter or sweat like mad during the summer. Furthermore, the health benefits of a well-maintained HVAC system come into play with the prevention of mold, which frequently thrives in warm, damp areas.

These are among the top concerns of building owners these days as they sell spaces in their building faster when they can prove that the structure is sustainable and supports health goals.

When it comes to savings, HVAC systems have an important role they play too. Modern HVAC systems have gotten so much better since the 1970s or 1980s, cutting down their electric consumption to 30-50% less energy to produce cool air. This is good news to building owners too as it becomes another asset to the building they’re selling.

So when you draft your bid and do your design, always include HVAC in your plan and see to it that the placement of the components is right so you can access the full potential of the system.

HVAC System Selection

For a contractor who doesn’t specialize in HVAC, you will definitely need the services of HVAC contractors to help you pick the right system to use in your construction project. The design of your HVAC system will greatly depend on your construction design and so is the type of HVAC you should use.

Basically, an HVAC system selection will depend on these three main factors:

  • Building configuration
  • Location’s climate conditions
  • Building owner’s requirements/desires

The HVAC design engineer you choose is responsible for considering various systems and recommending the best one that he’s confident will meet the goal and satisfy the owner of the building. Other criteria he looks into are:

  • Building capacity
  • Spatial requirements
  • Costs - capital cost, operating cost, and maintenance cost.
  • Life cycle analysis
  • Reliability and flexibility of the system

Types of HVAC for Your Construction Firm

There are many different HVAC systems and they have long been available in the market. But the advanced HVAC construction technology can make the difference and an expert in HVAC design is someone who can give you that.

The more commonly used HVAC technologies used in the construction field include:

1.Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are useful in construction projects located in places with cooler climates. The heat pumps will suck the heat from the atmosphere and use it for heating the closed area. There is a cooling portion too for you to use during warmer days.

This type of HVAC system is generally set up outside the buildings as the compressor and condenser need to be outside to draw the air in to use.  The pipelines are, however, internal, so you need to look into adding the pipes into your floor plan.

The Heat Pump HVAC system also needs and electric back-up resistive heater to pull enough heat from the outside air. A lot of firms choose this HVAC unit because it is simple to install and cheaper than every other system. 

However, there are not too many control options and these HVAC units only last an average of seven years.

2.Rooftop HVAC Units

Rooftop units, as its name suggests, sits on a roof or anywhere outside of the building and on the ground.  A gas furnace is used to heat the building but it is possible to use other types of fuel as well. It can mix the outside air with the return air. The heated or cooled air will then be sent inside the building through the ducts.

This type of HVAC system can also be easily installed and are also affordable than other types. But the downside to this HVAC system is that there are unsightly ducts running vertically through buildings that your client may not want when he is looking into selling the beauty of the building.

3.Chillers

The chiller system is slightly different from the two others above. Chillers need to make cold water that it will distribute through the pipes then to the air cooling coils. Likewise, it needs a boiler to make hot water that it will distribute through the heating cycle.

The chiller is a two-pipe system that requires a system changeover when the building owner wants to go from heating to cooling.  This system is quite energy-efficient, but they are expensive to install and difficult to maintain that’s why only a few firms go with this type of HVAC system.

4.Heaters

The heater system uses furnaces to provide heat by burning wood, coal, gas, oil, or other fuels.  Direct fired gas heaters are an excellent option, as they use fresh air and fan distribution.

5.Fans and Ventilation

Fans and ventilation don’t provide enough cooling nor heating as this system only uses massive wall fans. They offer good ventilation, though, to pull out the warm air from the building to make the space a little cooler.

When choosing the right HVAC system, it is not always easy to determine what size you will need. But using BIM will help you get a clearer idea of what size is perfect for your system. There are also specific guidelines for each space that will allow you to calculate the specific needs for the space that they are working on.

Otherwise, hire an HVAC contractor who will help you do the calculations and present you with better and more logical recommendations on which HVAC system to use in your project.

Hiring Design-Build HVAC Contractors for your Construction Project

Recently, the construction industry preferred the design-build method of construction rather than the usual design-bid-build. This goes the same with HVAC contracts.

By finding a reliable design-build HVAC contractor for your construction project, you will be able to deliver a dependable HVAC system to your client. Here are other things to enjoy by employing a design-build HVAC contractor in your project: 

1.Experienced professionals designing HVAC with your best interest in mind.

You need a devoted subcontractor who will help you achieve your goals and deliver a better project result to your client. That said, it is good to consider using a design-build HVAC team. This kind of HVAC contractor has a team of experts who know how to get to a solution or your unique building project.

2.Building with you from ground-up.

In the past years, we’ve seen contractors who can only design HVAC systems but can’t work alongside contractors in building the plan. But with build-design HVAC contractors, they are able to layout what they designed so the system will be more efficient as the work is done by true HVAC specialists. From the measurement of the square footage in the building that will require heating or cooling, to the fabrication of your ductwork, and development of a ventilation system that allows in fresh air without wasting valuable heating and cooling, design-build HVAC contractors are the ones who will truly strive for the perfect balance of comfort and cost efficiency.

3.Deadlines are met.

One of the final phases of construction is the HVAC installation along with the plumbing and electrical systems. Using the services of HVAC experts will help you meet deadlines and avoid overruns from delays. They ensure that both efficiency and budget needs are met while your operations are ongoing.

Design build HVAC professionals can be your advocate to make sure timelines and budgets are followed. That’s the real expertise that you need in the design-build method.

Final Thoughts

It’s not enough to employ the most advanced construction technology in your field including management software like Pro Crew Schedule, digital techs like artificial intelligence and machine learning, or automation through robotics. It’s also important to hire the right subcontractor for specialized works in your project like HVAC to ensure the health and comfort of the occupants when you already deliver the project to the owner.

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