Ensuring access

While I agree with the intentions outlined in Howard McKew's May 2006 "Tomorrow's Engineer" column (Haven't You Had Enough Manual Labor? page 90), there is a problem I see with his suggestion. His solution of doing away with the printed manual is based on the premise that the manufacturers have all of their manuals online and the bigger issue is that they will keep them in the same location (web-site address) for years to come.

The way that websites are changed and updated now, I would be willing to suggest that a year from now, if you were to click on that same York website referenced in the article, it would no longer exist. It would have been moved to the obsolete section, replaced with a newer version at probably a different address, or just re-named, but the bottom line is that the customer will no longer have this link. Until a contractor is willing to put a server online and guarantee drive space to maintain links in the future, I think that this process won't work.

What I would like to see, and what we are trying to do as much as possible, is move O&M manuals to CD-ROM instead of paper. Some of the equipment O&M manuals can be hundreds of pages long. We like to give a couple of pages of equipment data and then a CD-ROM with the lengthy manuals on it. If we can get to the point that manuals are pretty much paperless and just consist of a CD-ROM of all the O&M data, we will have made great advances in saving labor and natural resources. These manuals can then be printed out any time by the customer.

John G. Frugard, C.E.M.
Vice President
Capitol Engineering Company
Newton, MA

McKew responds:

The example I used in my column is a job where I went to the website and downloaded the information for our project file and for the owner's file. At that point in time, if we had chosen too, we could have made a paper copy of the document, too. True, things change, es-pecially when it comes to the Internet, but this is a quick and efficient process that allows the owner access to the O&M right after the equipment submittal (also in electronic format) approval and not have to wait until the end of a project.

You are also able to print out any and all pages from this document as well as save the entire file on to a CD-ROM.

Keeping equipment clean during construction

This letter refers to Howard McKew's "Tomorrow's Engineer" columns.

Thank you for you wonderful articles and interesting perspectives!! I am an avid reader of your published articles and enjoy your guid-ance and education from all of these pieces.

I was wondering if you might be able to lend me some assistance on finding some documentation. I am looking for material that would back up the impacts of the operation of HVAC equipment prior to the space construction being completed. I am currently working on a pro-ject that the general contractor has insisted on the operation of this equipment during construction, even though major drywall and general construction debris is still heavy in the air. They are trying to isolate areas to minimize the carryover of dust and debris, but it is my opinion that no matter how hard they try, they are still negatively affecting the performance of this equipment over its lifetime.

Do you know of any literature that would support my opinion, or otherwise, that I could review and maybe have for my own reference?

Isaac Claypool
Lead System Specialist
Ft. Lauderdale, FL

McKew responds:

I'm not aware of any publications that have been written on the topic, so I have copied a couple of people on the construction side of the business who do a very good job at keeping the job site clean and safe. Maybe they can offer some direction relative to construction cleanliness and the use of HVAC systems during the construction phase. Possibly the AGC (Association of General Contractors) or the DBIA (Design Build Institute of America) have some documents on the issues and concerns you are expressing.

In my experience, the requirements for using new HVAC equipment should start with a detailed plan, mutually agreed upon at the start of construction, that addresses the following:
  • Daily cleanup procedures
  • Dust containment by maintaining negative pressure within the work area
  • Filtered return air duct inlets in addition to temporary AHU filters
  • Filter management for the hot water heating system
  • Understanding of what "turning over the equipment in new condition" means (in writing) and when the warranty starts
  • Routine preventive maintenance of the above
  • Final cleaning

I will also ask around in our office to see if there is anyone who may know of publications on the topic. Hopefully, we will be able to come up with some documents, as this is not an isolated problem.