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The Maintenance Conversation

Sean McGowan speaks to Rob Huntington, part of Airmaster’s National Business Development about the recent update to AIRAH’s DA19 HVAC&R Maintenance manual and what it means for the industry and best practices.

Now in its fourth edition, AIRAH’s Design Application (DA) manuals are technical publications designed to assist people in day-to-day work in the HVAC&R industry. The newest addition has been developed with considerable industry engagement and features significant updates relating to energy efficiency, system sustainability, asset management and the digitisation of maintenance (smart maintenance).

Good maintenance practices underpin the performance of HVAC&R systems and services. They promote safety, reliability and comfort as well as helping to manage operational costs, achieve environmental ratings and meet legislated compliance. Yet maintenance can be seen as a monotonous yet necessary task to many, it is what keeps equipment performing at its optimum, benefiting the client with energy and cost savings and improving tenant satisfaction.

According to Rob Huntington, this latest edition is a vastly improved resource which should also be much better understood for the benefit of both contractors and clients.

“Previously, clients have specified DA19 in an effort to achieve a maintenance regime beyond just that of compliance,” Huntington says. “In some cases, it was assumed that by specifying DA19, all tenderers would apply it the same way and enable clients to assess tenders and make decisions based on value for money. “Of course, this was based on the view that all responses to a maintenance tender that used DA19 as a reference would be the same. But in practice there was a varying level of understanding of DA19, resulting in huge price differences between those who applied it as a specification and made allowance for all tasking at the nominated frequencies, and those businesses that ignored it completely.”

To counter this, the new DA19 includes three levels of maintenance schedules: Compliance, Good Practice and Best Practice. This allows building owners, facility managers and end-clients to customise maintenance schedules to meet individual objectives and budgets.

“Regardless of the size of the building, the sector, the owner or tenant, I believe all owners and building managers are trying to create a safe and healthy environment for their tenants while trying to manage and reduce energy costs,” says Huntington.

A good maintenance regime is informed by the contractor’s experience and the owner's needs. The DA19 manual has been structured so that owners, building managers and service

providers can work through the key sections together in a collaborative way, leading to the

development of an ideal approach for their building and mechanical services assets.

This story references the article “The maintenance conversation” which was featured in AIRAH’s HVAC&R Nation, to read more about the conversation download the full article here.


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