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Avoiding the Fall: The classic pitfalls of commercial air conditioning and how to avoid them

Updated: Nov 23, 2018

Airmaster’s Director of National Projects, Neil Dickson recently contributed to AIRAH’s Ecolibirum publication as one of the leading HVAC practitioners discussing the pitfalls of commercial air conditioning.

Although Australia’s HVAC industry is generally a high-performing one, fundamental errors in design and installation continue to occur for a variety of old and new buildings.

Neil’s thoughts on the pitfalls of commercial air conditioning match those of other leading experts. He highlights the importance of unrealistic pricing restraints applied at tender period along with time pressures contributing to errors.

Ecolibrium: What are the common mistakes/errors you’ve come across in commercial HVAC design and/or installation?

Dickson: Another is the over and under-designing of capacity of equipment, which is created by the unrealistic pricing restraints applied at tender period.

Ecolibrium: Are the time pressures placed on modern commercial HVAC projects and their key stakeholders one of the reasons why such errors occur?

Dickson: Absolutely! The erosion of tender periods, design, approval, construction and commissioning phases are a matter of fact and result in partially completed or poorly completed works in some cases.

Ecolibrium: Does an iterative design process, or more time in design, ensure most design errors are avoided?

Dickson: Better design equates to a better installation and less errors, dependant on the designer’s experience.

Ecolibrium: Has BIM been a game changer in helping to identify errors in design prior to installation?

Dickson: The use of BIM and the 3D concept has improved the ability to identify errors or clashes of building structures or services in the new built environment. But from my experience, it is not as widely used in the refurbishment or existing structure arenas.

This is an excerpt from a full article in AIRAH’s Ecolibrium publication.


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