Welcome to the BC Comfort Air Conditioning Limited Insights Newsletter for December 2015. In this edition, we share our expertise on developing powerful mechanical specifications, along with ideas for streamlining your next construction project.
We encourage you to visit our blog and LinkedIn Page for more information on improving energy efficiency along with some of our insights on Sustainable Design and Mechanical Systems. If you would like advice for your next building project or to learn more about how we can help you to save energy, please contact us today.
Powerful Mechanical Specifications
Recently, BC Comfort delivered a presentation at the Design Build Institute conference in Toronto on:
How to Maximise Value from Mechanical Performance Specifications, while Minimising Risk.
In this article, we’ll summarize the key insights from the presentation, including:
How to identify what adds value to mechanical specifications, and what restricts innovation
How to identify what requirements should be in your mechanical specifications, and what details should be excluded.
“What’s the best mechanical system for my building?”
This is a common question we get asked. While some engineers will propose a variety of different solutions: a VRF, Fan Coils, VAV Air Handling Units, Watersource heat pumps, RTUs, the answer is very complicated because the best solution is based on pricing, desired comfort levels, and market conditions.
The problem is there are two extremes with Mechanical specifications:
1) No Requirements - Having very vague specs where requirements are not clearly defined. Without requirements, you might receive a product that won’t meet your expectations. By default, you will only get code requirements, which aren't up to industry standards.
2) Being over specified - A second extreme is where every system, product is specified in a project. This leaves no room for innovation in terms of cost, energy reduction or comfort.
What’s the solution?
Include measurable requirements, not product specifications
By defining the requirements, instead of products or systems, you allow the proponent, contractor, engineer to add value and ingenuity to their design and installation. This ensures that you get the product you want, and that you stay within your budget.
There are two key parts to defining measurable requirements:
This first is Owner Involvement
Owners need to be stating mandatory requirements, desired requirements and optional requirements clearly in the RFP, room data sheets, and other documentation. The more clear the requirements are, the better the project will meet the expectations of the owner.
The second is Market Conditions
This involves allowing the contractor/proponent to use their expertise to maximise value on the project. These are items of interest to proponents as they can use this to your advantage.
It’s important to allow local contractors/consultants to use their expertise to source the best value solution. Often, it’s because solutions will vary depending on region.
Your proponents have this local knowledge and know how to create the best value solution based on your requirements.
Therefore, it’s important not hard spec a system type, or a product, in order to allow the contractor and consultant to explore the best value option.
Based on this article, you now know what to look to for in a mechanical
performance specification. Just to re-iterate, the three main points are:
1. Specify requirements, not solutions.
2. Having owner involvement is critical.
3. Maximise value using proponent expertise.
For more advice on developing powerful mechanical specifications, or to request a consultation to clarify requirements for your next building project, contact our Design team today.
Energy Savings Solutions
BC Comfort is pleased to feature informative videos that improve the performance and sustainability of buildings.
In this video, you'll learn building analytics can quickly resolve a building's operational issues by pinpointing problematic building systems and equipment, analysing HVAC system performance, identifying root cause, and prioritising issues by energy cost and occupant comfort.
Click here to learn how Building Analytics provides energy savings, greater building control, and improved building performance.
Streamline Your Next Construction Project
Construction projects often end up full of extras: extra time, extra costs, and extra frustrations. in this article, you'll learn how integrating design and construction more closely, you can create a much more efficient build process.
With traditional construction, designers first create preliminary drawings, then the actual construction drawings, and then contractors begin construction. During construction, the owner typically becomes the middleman, having to resolve disputes that can arise between the designer and the contractors. Communication can break down, with designers and contractors blaming one another for cost overruns and project problems.
With the design-build method of construction, the system is streamlined from start-to-finish, allowing projects to be completed much more quickly and efficiently. Communication takes place through one point of contact, allowing you to better understand the process and retain control over the project.
The design and construction goes on simultaneously, creating a much more integrated and streamlined process. This means that construction starts sooner, helping your project move towards an earlier completion date.
Fewer Communication Problems and Delays
With designers and contractors responsible for working together on the project, there are far less problems with communication and contractors interpreting designs.
The designer and contractors work closely to avoid any problems in turning the designs into a well constructed building. Because there is no breakdown in communication, this avoids a multitude of problems and construction delays.
Better Budgeting and Cost Control
Another key benefit of using the design-build method is overall cost. Building owners work closely with the design team to establish the project costs upfront so you know the maximum cost early on, and fewer change orders occur as a result, which minimises your financial risk.
Having the right construction partner makes a significant difference in how streamlined your project is, no matter which approach you choose. To learn more about our design and construction services, contact us today.
To discover a range of projects that have benefited from our streamlined construction method, visit our Projects Gallery below.