More than a half a century has passed since I was fortunate enough to begin my HVAC career, and some things never changed. In particular, the way equipment manufacturers produce shop drawing submittals. Oh sure, some manufacturers will provide computer-aided drawings of the equipment, but basically, the submittal contains the same data as in years past along with the standard manufacturer’s O&M manuals.

Last month, I wrote about eliminating the contract document schedule sheet and combining all the pertinent information on a specific type of equipment into the HVAC section of the contract specification for decentralized HVAC systems. Well, what I’m going to suggest this month is applicable to decentralized or central HVAC systems. It is the 22nd-century shop drawing submittal format. I’m guessing no manufacturer is going to take my suggestion in this 21st century.


Shop Drawing Submittal

  • Cover sheet. Standardized template with the name of the project, client, contractor, etc.

  • Specification page from contract document. Cut and paste from the contract documents, as well as a cut and paste of the equipment schedule from the specification of contract drawing.

  • Manufacturer’s equipment page (size, capacity, specification). Standard equipment brochure edited to delete unrelated text for this particular piece of equipment for this project.

  • Manufacturer’s recommended piping detail. Cut and paste from the contract document detail sheet in lieu of using the manufacturer’s own piping detail because the design engineer will probably include additional valves and fitting beyond what the manufacturer would suggest (e.g., balancing valve, pressure/thermometer plug).

  • Manufacturer’s sheet metal detail. Cut and paste from contract document detail sheet in lieu of using the manufacturer’s own sheet metal detail because the design engineer may have additional sheet metal shown (e.g., outdoor air and return air mixing box configuration).

  • Manufacturer’s installation and access equipment detail. Using the manufacturer’s recommended mounting drawing, but include recommended area around the equipment for access, panel door swings, coil removal, seismic hangers, etc.

  • Manufacturer’s automatic control sequence of operation. Cut and paste the contract document automatic control sequence of operation noting what comes integral with the equipment and what is provided by others (e.g., electrical power and disconnect not included).

  • Manufacturer’s startup and shutdown checklist. Taken from the standard equipment brochure.

  • Manufacturer’s functional performance test (FPT) narrative/checklist. Cut and paste the contract document commissioning FPT narrative. Note: the equipment manufacturer should have its own FPT if the equipment is a self-contained unit such as a PTAC, fan coil unit, variable air valve, fan-powered box, etc.

  • Manufacturer’s troubleshooting checklist. Taken from the standard equipment brochure.

  • Manufacturer’s preventive maintenance work order. Taken from the standard equipment brochure but reorganized into a more formal preventive maintenance work order with standard safety precautions (e.g., lock-out, tag-out); tasks (e.g., remove filter, vacuum enclosure); task frequency (e.g., quarterly); and list of special tools needed to complete the work (e.g., Allen wrench, specific lubricant).

  • Manufacturer’s parts, material, and lubricants. Taken from the standard equipment brochure.


Now many, if not all, equipment manufacturers will say that all this information can be found in the standard equipment brochure and the associated operation and maintenance manual, but someone (e.g., the facility engineer) has to go searching for this information and then, after a lengthy review, what if the facility engineer doesn’t find all the information? What a waste of time and less than satisfactory results for this busy facility person.

My suggestion to the 22nd-century manufacturer of HVAC equipment is to hire a co-op engineering student for the summer and reorganize the manufacturer’s standard equipment submittal. When it comes to drafting a FPT for much of the equipment, the manufacturer already has a select few available sequences of operation to draw from, so why not “close the loop” with a select few FPTs to mirror them?

Think about it! How long will it take to complete a small group of standardized fan coil unit shop drawings to be available for use when the manufacturer is producing and selling millions of these terminal units? Seems like “short money” to achieve the above, and the manufacturer will be a century ahead of the competition.