ASHRAE commenced a transformative renovation for its new global headquarters in January 2020. The newly acquired, 66,700-square-foot facility in Peachtree Corners, Georgia, showcases the latest HVACR equipment and technology, providing a destination venue for visitors to experience state-of-the-art technology in the built environment.
Consistent with the organization’s vision and values, ASHRAE set high sustainability goals for the building that required partners and solutions that could deliver an energy-efficient HVAC piping system. Given its vast membership base, the project also benefited from the participation of some of the construction industry’s top engineers, contractors, and manufacturers, as they worked together to make ASHRAE’s dream become a reality.
And while ASHRAE’s dream was big, the timeline was not. The project had to be completed by late summer so the organization’s 125-person staff could move in by October.
Tackling the HVAC System
Shumate Mechanical, an Atlanta-based commercial HVAC services contractor, and Victaulic, a global manufacturer of mechanical pipe joining systems, worked together to design, fabricate, and install the building’s basement-level mechanical room. Space was limited, and their short project timeline was at risk of further delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To expedite the work, Victaulic’s Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) team worked with Shumate to design the mechanical room.
Fitting a three-loop distribution piping system into the tight space would be a challenge and left little room for error. Victaulic used its proprietary software add-in, Victaulic Tools For Revit® (VTFR), to create models within a tolerance of 1/16th of an inch. The software also enabled easy file transfers to the Shumate team, streamlining the preconstruction process.
Don Lorenzo, BIM piping coordinator, Victaulic, said accuracy was only one of the many benefits provided by the software.
“We were able to get everything modeled in accordance to how it was truly going to work in relationship to the mechanical drawings,” he said. “We turned the designs around in less than three weeks.”
The project progressed quickly to fabrication, just as the coronavirus pandemic was peaking in the U.S. Fortunately, by utilizing Victaulic grooved pipe joining solutions, 70% of the mechanical room was prefabricated. The equipment was installed by Shumate in less than four weeks.
“Given the pandemic, the fabrication aspect of this job become crucial to ensure the project was finished on time,” said Troy Slider, regional sales manager at Victaulic. “Having most of the components delivered to the site modularly allowed for a fast and precise installation.”
Once the materials arrived on-site, the crews installed the HVAC system in four days. The use of Victaulic vibration isolation pump drops (VIPDs), outlet fittings, isolation and control valves, KOIL-KIT™ coil packs, strainers, and couplings on the 2.5-inch and larger piping engineered confidence into the build and helped the team complete the project safely and efficiently.
Victaulic’s VIPDs were integral components of the mechanical room. Delivered modularly, these VIPDs not only provide noise and vibration attenuation, flow control, and straining devices but also reduce joint construction significantly.
"The level of detail Victaulic provided from design through construction was noticed by everyone on the team, including the on-site foremen,” said Doug Weaver, division commercial sales engineer at Shumate Mechanical. “This project included a six-way control valve concept, which is very unique to the radiant panel design that was put together for ASHRAE. Between our upfront work and the detailed tagging of Victaulic's KOIL-KIT™ coil pack parts, it helped simplify the installation of a complex HVAC system.”
Shumate successfully pressure-tested the system without incident and covered it with Victaulic’s new insulation for grooved end products.
“Victaulic did a great job of helping us keep to our schedule from start to finish,” said Weaver. “It was exponentially faster to use Victaulic’s prefabrication package and couplings throughout the mechanical room.”
A Successful Outcome
ASHRAE set out to demonstrate the economical renovation of an existing building into an efficient, high-performance, net-zero energy facility. Shumate and Victaulic rose to the occasion on one of the most critical aspects of the building — the mechanical room and its distribution piping. By combining VDC and fabrication services with mechanical joining solutions, they helped ASHRAE deliver on its promise all while dealing with the significant impacts of a global pandemic and a short project timeline.